Things Have Changed
Conventional Structural Designs Waste Valuable Resources
World War II Technology
By conventional construction, we’re referring to the way wood and steel frame buildings have been built for the last 70+ years.
In college for Building Inspector certification we’re taught that in the early 1940′s during World War II, the US Army Corps of Engineers designed a system of wood framing that capitalized on the availability (at the time) of the world’s vast forests of lumber and training young soldiers with little to no construction skills to build structures safely and quickly.
This method allowed inexperienced raw recruits to construct buildings quickly with minimal oversight. Single bottom plates and double top plates, with 16″ on center studs allowed for structural integrity without having to stack the joists and rafters. Soldiers brought this system home after the war and applied it to the construction of all kinds of buildings, becoming the basis for most wood structures over the decades that followed.
For our purposes though, the building’s style has minimal bearing on delivering the most efficient building envelope (sometimes referred to as the “shell”).
We still consider conventional construction to be the type of building, especially a wood-framed building, that you’re accustomed to seeing on a suburban job-site. We will get into all types of buildings on this website, including non-standard SIPS and ICF structures, concrete block and steel superstructures with glass and light gauge steel (LGS) curtain wall construction.
Similar in many ways to multistory apartment complexes and commercial buildings, the hotel framing business eventually gave way to building these larger complexes as a General Contractor, then as a Construction Manager, Owner’s Rep. and real estate developer. Wood buildings became steel, glass and brick; wood framing turned into LGS and gypsum wallboard or glass curtain walls. Multifamily projects waned, and we diversified into building commercial, retail, industrial, institutional and municipal projects and shopping centers. When that business became unsustainable in the late 2000′s, we went back to the drawing board – and our roots.
A Little History Goes A Long Way
Beginning in 1986 as a carpentry company in the high-production rough framing business, ABCS’s predecessor Builder’s Edge Contracting delivered the lumber, trusses and building products along with the labor and equipment to build dozens of larger hotel projects, multifamily complexes and commercial centers.
IN those days we employed hundreds of carpenters, mechanic, operators, technicians and laborers to build Marriott’s Residence Inns and Courtyards, Fairfield and Hampton Inns, Holiday Inn Express, Ramada Inns and many more – as well as single family subdivisions with dozens of luxury and starter homes in them.
Surviving and often thriving since those early days, ACC has been engaged in the pursuit of “conventionally” constructing buildings faster and more efficiently. Our goal has always been to get people jobs and keep them working so they can take care of their families and help others in need.
How Things Have Changed
It’s been at least 10 years since we’ve seen many such projects in New England. The pursuit of the fireproof building has been largely accommodated by thoroughly inspected and avidly monitored construction, code changes, across the board implementation of fire sprinkler systems in all but single family structures (in most cases) and new construction which is inherently less fire-hazardous by design. So, for the time being at least, fire hazards built into new construction have apparently been reduced to acceptable levels.
Until 2006, the focus was on fire prevention; now it’s on energy efficiency. With the acceptance of peak oil, the primary concern turned to finding more sustainable ways of constructing buildings, both in terms of the products and materials used – to reduce dependency on our forests and non-renewable resources – and to slow-down the rate of energy consumption in order to conserve fossil-fuels. Conservation of resources is now more important than ever.
Abide Systems utilizes higher quality workmanship and better engineering to safeguard our natural resources, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and minimize our “carbon footprint.”