The Allwin Church Addition was added to the National projects. More pictures were also posted to the Park Towers page.
The "About Vanguard" tab was updated. Chris Rust and Crosby Wood bios were added.
Vanguard has a sleek new look, and up to date information. The new blog will be found here. There is a new "Contact Us" where you will be able to send in request tickets.
Vanguard Blog #3:
When an owner acquires property to build a new home he selects an architect to develop the building plans or the design. The architect meets with the owners and works out the design and features of the house like the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and interior finishes, for example. Sometimes the owner comes to the architect with a set of plans from a previously built house that they’ve seen around or has brought inspiration. Certainly there is always a budget that is worked against the owner’s “wants, needs and desires” but rarely does the materials for the building structure come into play.
Specifying the materials that are to be used in the construction of a new homes structure is typically not done by the Owner unless it is custom. The majority of homes are going to be built with wood since it is the most common to the industry. Many custom and production home builders have embraced the newer technologies and made them standard as the inherit benefits improved their bottom line, especially the number of “call backs.” Change is hard and slow.
Builders have the unique opportunity to work with all kinds of materials and on a regular basis. When a product or material has problems Builders or Subcontractors are usually the first to know about it. If a Builder has never worked with a product or material it typically goes two ways: 1. The builder has an open mind and willingness to use new materials, or 2. The builder does not have an open mind and will only use the products that he/she are familiar with.
The fact is time equals money for most builders. Working with new materials takes more time as there is the typically a learning curve to understand how to properly use and/or install it. Most Builders are fine when the budget allows for the Builder to work with new products and most often products are similar in nature that there is no difference.
But what happens when the Owner asks the Builder to use an alternate building material to frame the entire structure? I’ve run into a scenario in my earlier days when the Owner wanted to build his house out of Light Gauge Galvanized Steel but the Builder said “No.” The challenge is that the Owner had selected the Builder prior to selecting the material for the building structure since he was the preferred Builder in the area and had a great reputation. Prior to the start of the project the Builder kept complaining and complaining and advised the Owner to use wood framing as that is what he was familiar with.
Fortunately, the Owner ended up getting what he wanted but the Builder charged more even though the structure took a fraction of the time and skilled labor to install since it was engineered with prefabricated walls panels, floor and roof trusses. The Builder is long gone now but the Owner is still enjoying the savings of a highly energy efficient home that has a lower carrying costs (insurance and maintenance) since the structure is highly resistant to fire, flooding, mold, mildew and termites.
When you look back over the last hundred years and compare the advancements in various technologies likes cars, mobile phones, the Internet, etc., most would agree that residential building technology has changed very little. The majority of builder are still banging nails (shooting them pneumatically) into wood studs.
Change is slow.
Vanguard Blog #2:
If you ask any American what kind of materials are used to build the structure of their home most would say “wood.” They would be right. Wood framing (timber) has been used as the primary building material since the very first settlers landed in the New World and it continues to this day. Early homes were made from trees harvested in forests that had never been touched by man. Wood was plentiful, strong and imperious to insects such as termites due to their tight growth rings. Many of the houses built around colonial times, often more than 200 to 300+ years, still stand today and they will outlast most of the houses built in 2012.
Most of the wood used to build houses today is mass produced in tree farms throughout the United States and in Canada. Since it has been genetically altered to grow fast it often yields a very poor quality but it still remains standard because it is such a major part of our culture and our belief system. Wood has become the standard material of choice for a large part of the industry due to the fact that every carpenter and builder knows how to use it and the tools needed for the job are cheap and readily available. When I started building Light Gauge Steel houses and additions in the late 1990’s it was all on the job learning, the tools were more expensive and certain materials (like self-tapping) screws were not commonly found in the big box stores. All of that has changed today.
I often pondered this question, “If wood was invented (discovered) today would it have any chance being approved for use in residential and commercial building applications?” The answer is a flat out “NO!” Wood has all of the attributes that the international code agencies are trying to ban. It’s highly susceptible to fire, rot, mold, mildew and most importantly fire. Since it was once a living thing it is also prone to warp, split, twist, and bow.
I love to hear the wood industry say that their product is green and a renewable resource. There is nothing renewable about the homes that were destroyed by recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy. Most of the homes that were destroyed ended in the landfill. How is that environmentally friendly? Houses built using Light Gauge Galvanized Steel would have had another life. While “used wood” has little value Light Gauge Steel does so it would have been collected, sold for cash and then recycled back into more houses.
What is interesting to consider is that houses built with Light Gauge Steel probably would have survived the strong winds and flooding since these types of homes are stronger and since steel does not absorb moisture the structures would not be affected by water. The galvanization would protect it from rusting.
We are proud to say that the Light Gauge Steel that is used in our building systems is made mostly from recycled steel. As a matter of fact our cold-rolled galvanized steel is produced with approximately 89.7%+/- recycled (metal scrap) material. Since steel is the most recycled material in the world; more so than paper, plastic and glass combined, we know that after its useful life the metal in our buildings will go on to serve another purpose. Now that is a “green and renewable resource.”
Vanguard Blog #1:
I remember my first experience with an Impact Driver. It was not on a home building site but at my mechanics shop. I had picked up a nail somewhere along the road and found myself with a flat tire that needed to be repaired. The mechanic used an impact driver, which was powered by air, to take off the nuts holding the wheel in place. The tool was built to provide a strong, sudden rotational and downward force to loosen and tighten bolts, etc. It did the job on those frozen and rusty nuts.
When I was getting my Bachelors of Science in Architecture I was taught that wood was used to build homes while steel was used to build commercial projects. So when I started designing and building homes in the early 1990’s I will admit that my primary tool was the hammer.
The electric impact driver became a necessary tool in my box. It came into use during every deck building project. Lagging bolts into the ledgers and building up beams was done with minimal effort and time compared to the days placing bolts manually with the socket set or crescent wrench. What a time saver and money maker.
When I started building houses with light gauge galvanized steel I will admit the tool industry was lagging a bit behind and so was my arsenal. We built a number of houses with battery powered drill/drivers. It took time for those self-tapping screws to go through the heavier gauge steels. But the extra time was compensated by the knowledge that you were making a connection that was maybe three to four times stronger than a nail. With “time being money” it was, however, a bit of a challenge to make the labor costs of the project add up. The hammer and nail when used by a master is definitely faster to set than a drill/driver and screw any day.
I think every tool made today comes with the option of electric or battery operated. From sanders to reciprocating saw its all cordless. Though I’m not sure who brought the battery powered impact driver to market first but every builder should pause and give thanks to that company prior to using it. When you can personally observe the minimal effort required to set a #12 ¾” screw into two layers of 16 gauge steel with an impact driver it is only then can you realize the benefit. Plus the added bonus is that you know when it has reached its proper depth by the change in the sound of the ratcheting action.
What is equally impressive is the advancement of power storage devices. I remember lugging around my DeWalt 18 Volt Drill/Driver trying to attach ½” drywall to our metal frames. Thumbing for screws in your tool belt while wrangling the tool couldn’t be done for a long period of time before needing a break. I think the battery weighed more than the tool did. Now you can get the screws on collated strips with attachments to any top brand impact drivers making the installation just as fast as nailing the drywall to the wood frame. By the way a good builder will screw the drywall to the wood frame.
The batteries (lithium) continue to get smaller, more powerful and manufactured to last longer than any made before. It is amazing to see how much the industry has developed over the past 15 years. Working with light gauge steel framing is much easier, faster and cost-effective and I can’t wait to see where we going over the next 15 years.