Recurring Concerns - Design and Construction

Certain themes are woven throughout this blog and surface again and again in different, often widely varying contexts. These represent a set of concerns that fall into two broad categories: building performance
and building construction. 

The performance concerns relate to the inescapable problems that must be confronted in every building: fire; building movement of every kind, including foundation settlement, structural defl ections, and expansion and contraction due to changes in temperature and humidity; the fl ow of heat and air through building assemblies; water vapor migration and condensation; water leakage; acoustical per-formance; aging and deterioration of materials; cleanliness; building maintenance; and others.

The construction concerns are associated with the practical problems of getting a building built safely, on time, within budget, and to the required standard of quality: division of work between the shop and the building site; optimum use of the various building trades; sequencing of construction operations for maximum productivity; convenient and safe worker access to construction operations; dealing with inclement weather; making building components fit together; and quality assurance in construction materials and components through grading, testing, and inspection.

To the novice, these matters may seem of minor consequence when compared to the larger and often more interesting themes of building form and function. To the experienced building professional, who has seen buildings fail both aesthetically and physically for want of attention to one or more of these concerns, they are issues that must be resolved as a matter of course before the work of a building project can be allowed to proceed.

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