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The purpose of sustainable architecture is to: "eliminate negative environmental impact completely through skillful, sensitive design." 

Considerable thought about how the project will affect the environment begins the sustainable design process.  Beyond eliminating adverse environmental impact, any sustainable design must create projects that are meaningful innovations that can shift behavior; a dynamic balance between economy and society, generating long-term relationships between user and building, which is respectful of the environmental and social differences.

Relieving over-stressed resources requires reducing pressure on them, not continually increasing them, whether more efficiently or not. Best is a greater reliance on natural materials that are compatible with the environment.

Sustainable applications and principles require the use of:

  • Non-toxic, energy-efficient and sustainably produced materials.
  • Emotionally durable architecture to reduce the consumption and waste of resources which increases the relationship durability between people and the design.
  • Design influence measures for total carbon footprint and life-cycle assessment of the resources based on sustainable standards.
  • The Constructal Law, which is a physics principle that urges the use of sustainability and evolutionary design in general.

Globally supported, the concept of sustainable design is the ultimate environmentally responsive goal. Any person looking to construct a building from the ground up or remodel an existing building should seek out the advice of a professional architect. Not any architect, but one who is respectful of sustainable design. The interdependence between human design and the impact on the natural world demands co-existence in a healthy, supportive and lasting way.

Scott Henson, a full-service Architectural firm, knows sustainable design. Ask how he can update your environment in a responsible way. Contact Scott Henson today.

Imagine an umbrella large enough to protect a roof. While that would be interesting, a better solution for protecting roofs against water damage is membrane roofing. Membrane roofing is typically for flat roofs and was invented approximately forty years ago as a means to prevent leaks and general damage that buildings often suffer from water exposure. Famous New York City, of course, is a flat roof haven in which membrane roofing is essential.

Membrane roofing is typically made of synthetic rubber. This type of roofing can also be made of modified bitumen and thermoplastic, as well. Membrane roofing simply serves as a barrier for water. Leaks and flat roofs go hand in hand, but it is important to note that roof leaks are far more than a nuisance. 

A leak is part of a cycle that results in many leaks. Multiple leaks often result in the entire collapse of a roof in serious circumstances. Of course, this is a huge safety concern that can have devastating consequences for those involved. Surely such a devastating occurrence is incredibly costly, as well. To prevent tragedies much like a roof collapsing, membrane roofing is crucial in areas with heavy precipitation.

Annual rainfall in New York City is typically 44.73 inches. This is nearly 4 inches higher than the national average. Additionally, the average snowfall in New York City is approximately 3 feet. Of course, snow melts and becomes water. These amounts are potential threats to buildings and further validate just how essential membrane roofing is in New York City.

To conclude, membrane roofing is a cautionary measure that prevents disasters from happening. Membrane roofing is essential and incredibly beneficial in places like New York City.

For more information on membrane roofing, please contact us today.

Without a doubt, New York City is the greatest metropolis in the world.  Repeatedly the beauty of the city is affirmed by all who come and experience its magnificence. An architectural marvel, New York City, continues to shape the lives, hopes, and dreams for millions of people. Those who are lucky enough to call this city home, are continuously surrounded by the light, and the movement, and the design that are legends of poetry.

Lucky as they are, the residents of New York City must deal with some harsh realities. Many who live in historic buildings find that elevator problems are common. The elevator stops abruptly, moves haltingly, and then stops short of the hallway floor. The door sticks, and it is evident it is time for an elevator upgrade. While it is desirable to live in a historical marvel, modern life begs for convenience.  Elevator upgrades ensure proper mechanical operation that is essential for safety.

Solutions for Common Problems

The brains of an elevator system are the controller.  Controllers usually last about 25 years and generally are the major component replaced during an elevator upgrade. The newest controllers are microprocessor-based with variable frequency. A Variable Frequency Drive provides for smooth cab movements because the ride begins slowly and then gradually increases and then reduces speed for a gradual stop. There is no reason to put up with an erratic elevator trip when easy solutions are available.

Scott Henson Architect has all it takes to create an elevator design and installation blueprint. Scott knows that every customer, every building, every elevator installation is unique. We get to know our clients and examine the unique specifications of the project. Our goal is to design and plan to deliver the best possible results.

Contact Scott Henson Architect to see how easy it is to upgrade the elevator in your New York City building.

As you consider the implications of new construction, you may be wondering if LEED certification is a financially viable choice for your project. LEED certification allows you to qualify for credits in multiple categories (Sustainable Sites (SS), Water Efficiency (WE), and Energy and Atmosphere).  LEED certified buildings also benefit from increased property values and lower energy consumption.

What is LEED certification? According to the U.S. Green Building Council:

LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. LEED certified buildings save money and resources and have a positive impact on the health of occupants, while promoting renewable, clean energy.

Scott Henson Architect offers design strategies that leverage green building practices as part of our sustainability services.  In turn, these practices add value to a property while reducing energy consumption and improving air quality. For example, we are experts in converting unused roof space into vegetated roof systems, which are greener and more aesthetically pleasing.

The cost efficiency of LEED certification has been verified by a variety of independent agencies.

If you are interested in exploring LEED certification for your building, contact us.

 

All great things require planning. Ancient Rome and the Pyramids did not just come to be. Instead, they were the result of a vision and a plan. Building preservation is subject to extensive planning and has a multitude of factors to consider. While building preservation planning is never actually easy, some buildings or places have fewer things to consider during the construction of the plan.  

It is the responsibility of the owner of a historical place to preserve the history the location offers. Essentially, these people have a duty to keep history alive. This entails a process. Essentially, historic building preservation planning is a process by which the specific needs of historic collections are determined, the priorities to ensure preservation are established, and the resources necessary for proper preservation are identified. This process results in a written, long-range preservation plan. 

This written document includes many subjects and points. Records of not only the current preservation plan are included, but the records of past preservation are incorporated, as well. These records shape the overall future of the historical collection. 

In addition to the past and present records, a needs assessment survey is incorporated into the overall plan. The needs assessment survey determines the needs of the place and the actions necessary to meet these needs. Typically, one assessment survey is sufficient, but historical places such as museums need multiple surveys as they have multiple historical collections. 

All historic building preservation planning must evaluate the policies, practices, and conditions of the historic property. Additionally, all plans must include the current state of the historic collections and describe how to improve their conditions. The plans must also highlight how to preserve their history in the long-term.  

To conclude, historic building preservation planning must identify the needs of a historical place, item, or collection. The plan must then organize and prioritize these needs to ensure the solid preservation of something's history. For more information on historic preservation planning, contact me today.

It didn't take long for experts to start speculating about the cause of a devastating balcony collapse in Berkeley CA last summer. Six young people lost their lives in the horrific accident, and many others were seriously injured, when the balcony sheared away from the structure and flipped the occupants to the ground five stories below. The fact that the accident may have been averted with proper balcony maintenance and repair is more than chilling.

In Los Angeles Times article dated June 16, 2016, Oakland structural and civil engineer Gene St. Onge was quoted as saying “It appears to be a classic case of dry rot, meaning water intruded into the building and rotted the wood. It gave way. It didn’t have enough residual strength, and it failed.”

Evidence shows that not all requisite flashing was installed when the Library Gardens apartment complex was erected in 2007. There may have been other structural defects, as well. The Alameda County District Attorney's Office is currently leading a criminal investigation into the June 2016 accident, says the San Jose Mercury News.

No matter who is ultimately found to be culpable, the facts indicate that this horrible occurrence could have -and should have- been prevented. Could the same sort of thing happen in New York City? You bet it could. There are thousands upon thousands of balconies in the city, and each of them ought to regularly inspected and maintained.

If you are planning to build in NYC, or if you would like to schedule a thorough examination of your balconies, please contact us without delay. We are Scott Henson Architecture, and we can coordinate your inspection and perform every sort of requisite maintenance and repair.

When one takes the time to step back to actually study the details of a historical building's appearance, they will discover that there are clues as to what purpose the building played in the community. 

Through the years, styles and designs have evolved to meet the demands of the time. In cities, towns and villages, throughout our nation, industry, agriculture and diversity of regions inspired the designs of buildings.                   

The details in these structures, whether they are tall, fluted columns, a Flemish bond brick pattern, intricate corbels or the simple lines of a Federal style home, dictate a particular design and/or the wealth of the owner.

In times past, local craftsmen helped to build the framework for their communities in order to help with the growth and needs of their neighbors. Today, when planning a facade design for historic buildings, it's important for both the architect and the client to realize the purpose of the structure, to honor its historical value and to find ways to update its use without compromising its integrity. There are many ways in which this happens, whether by using original materials or techniques or by replicating certain features, to achieve the timeless appeal of historic buildings.

Here, at Scott Henson Architect, we act as today's local craftsmen in that we have the knowledge and experience to breathe life back into your historic buildings. If there is a project that you are thinking of taking on or have any questions regarding a historic building, please contact us .

Historic buildings are an important part of our historical landscape and it is imperative that we do justice to their designs and use.

Energy efficiency is a serious concern for businesses.  A commercial energy audit is necessary to help cut costs significantly.  In order to achieve optimal results, a reputable auditor that is vendor and solution neutral must perform the audit.  

At Scott Henson Architect, we pride ourselves in being or having experienced, honest and thorough auditors.  An inaccurate audit can waste money by installing the wrong energy conservation measures (ECM) or by recommending ECM equipment that is either not suitable for that type of energy efficiency or provides a return that is less than the auditor had estimated in their report. 

A commercial energy audit is a report that will compare current ECMs and proposed ECMs with advice on how to improve energy efficiency without an unrealistic cost to the business. There is not a generic form used between similar building structures for this audit.  A commercial energy audit is unique and conducted on each building based upon several things, such as building square footage, age of the building, date renovated, purpose of the building, number of floors, daily operating hours per week, number of occupants and existing ECM equipment.  

A commercial energy audit report will include the current Energy Conservation Methods (ECM), a proposed ECM, estimated annual savings based on the proposed ECM, expected cost of implementing proposed ECM and estimated return of investment.  

The correct audit report can help a business save money in energy costs by giving advice on where to invest money to improve energy efficiency and estimate the cost of implementing a new ECM. The data collected during an audit can save or cost businesses in the long run.

Please contact us for questions, concerns, feedback or suggestions.

New York City, as a place, has a sense of wonder about it. Creativity shines on every corner in the Big Apple, and without a doubt, the place illuminates glamour. Surely enough, this means that mediocre storefront designs can decrease the likelihood of someone looking at your store—much less visiting it. What gives a storefront appeal in New York City, then?

Vintage City Design

New York was established in 1788, and wasted no time in becoming the bustling city that everyone knows and loves today. Strangely enough, old-fashioned designs are still widely appreciated in the city. Keeping history alive is an important thing, and locals absolutely love melding historical items with modern-day amenities. 

The Empire State Appeal

New York City is loud, it is in your face, and it is bold. The storefronts within the city should absolutely represent these traits by being colorful, eye-catching, and picturesque.

Visible Product Displays

How can one enjoy the activity of window shopping if they have nothing to look at? More importantly, what do you sell that people want to buy? New York City storefront design should allow for plenty of the store's product to be displayed. We are in the shopping capital of the country, after all.

Perhaps the most important thing to consider when planning the design of a New York City storefront is that first impressions are truly everything. The storefront is the face of your store, and needs to be inviting. Additionally, and chances are, that in New York City, your storefront probably holds a lot of history—regardless of how many times it has been renovated.

Keep history alive and appealing when designing your New York City storefront. Contact me today to discuss your design plans.

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Scaffold Inspections for Job Site Safety

Scaffolding problems on a job site are one of the most frequent safety violations cited by OSHA. Maintaining compliance with scaffolding safety standards not only reduces your risk of receiving a citation, but it also creates a safer work environment for workers and lowers the cost of workers compensation claims.

What are some of the key components of scaffolding safety? In order to be safe, scaffolding must be:

  • Out of the way of egress, exits, paths, and fire safety systems.
  • Level and supported by bracing, resting on a firm foundation.
  • A safe distance from power lines.
  • Free and protected from debris and falling objects.
  • Made of fire-retardant material.
  • At least 18 inches wide on platforms.

The general safety requirements established by OSHA for scaffolding can be found here.

While you can observe the condition of scaffolding on the job site, the standard requires that a "competent person" complete inspections on a frequent enough basis to uncover problems before they become safety concerns. Competence in this sense refers to someone who:

  • Has completed training about the requirements of OSHA's scaffold standard.
  • Can readily identify hazards.
  • Is able to correct problems and eliminate hazards.

A scaffold inspection must take place after it is built, before it used, and periodically in the course of the job. The specific timeline for inspection has deliberately been left vague by OSHA because inspections should take place often enough that safety threats are identified before they arise.  Contact us to schedule your inspection.

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