Archive for July, 2009
Board members and mentors from the Greater Washington, DC chapter of the ACE Mentor Program visited The Flynn Center last week. Representing the full spectrum of ACE professionals - architects, construction managers, engineers, and high school and university instructors - the volunteer group works to introduce high school students to possible careers in architecture, construction and engineering. Collaborating on projects also shows the students the role each profession plays in the process.
Yesterday’s group got a clearer picture of the contribution made by skilled craftworkers, and the investment they and their contractors make in quality construction. It’s an investment that rivals many white collar jobs in terms of training, professional dedication and job satisfaction.
That’s a particularly timely message. As the economy alters many college plans, educators and parents are getting more realistic about career choices. As one mentor put it, “Not everybody is going to go to college.”
That makes ACE’s work even more timely, notes Affiliate President Chris Reseigh from Parsons Brinckerhoff. “ACE is serving a great need. You can have a very rewarding and satisfying career in the building industry.”
“There are all sorts of choices.”
We just came back from a very educational trip to Xella’s autoclaved aerated concrete plant in Georgia, where they make blocks, panels, cladding and more. The company bills itself as the world’s leading manufacturer of the lightweight concrete, and it’s easy to see why.
The plant has nine autoclaves going full steam - literally. (In fact, they recycle the steam multiple times, which helps them earn sustainability points.)
Even more impressive was their approach to quality control. Producing good stuff is something that really speaks to us as we seek out new products and work opportunities, and partner with manufacturers to ensure quality training.
The real kicker might be their distribution system, which addresses the simultaneous needs for speed, availability and geographic diversity. For those people thinking about trying AAC, this might be a perfect time to take another look.
NEWS UPDATE: Coastal Living magazine just chose Xella’s AAC blocks for its 2009 Idea House, touting it for design and building solutions that include good acoustics, energy efficiency, fire resistance, and decreased maintenance. (Check out the construction video). For more information, go to http://www.xella-usa.com/html/us/en/index.php
For more on the virtues of autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC), check out this recent CNN clip. One caveat, though: an inaccurate headline made it sound like California officials are hesitant about AAC because of seismic concerns. AAC’s seismic performance has been clearly demonstrated in laboratory tests and real conditions, and accepted by major code bodies.
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