Archive for January, 2010

KJG Architecture – Greater Lafayette Building Bulletin

January 27th, 2010 No comments

Our good friends at KJG Architecture put out this great “building bulletin” every month.  I finally got around to asking the owner if I could use the letter in our blog – he warmly agreed.  If you are even casually interested in the local building community, real estate or local business I think you will find a lot of the information presented interesting and useful.

KJG Architecture
January 2010
Published by KJG Architecture, Inc.           Volume 2 No. 1
& Hot Spots
A roundup of local construction activity, real estate information and projects designed by various firms, including KJG Architecture:
New Commercial Construction
Purdue University completed $107 million in construction in 2009, including First Street Towers, Discovery Learning Center and Niswonger Aviation Technology Academic Building.
Underway: $224.6 million in projects, among them Mackey Arena and Hockmeyer and Hanley Halls.
Hicksgas is building in Park 52
Ground was broken for the $1.3 million Purdue Crew Boathouse
New funeral home and crematorium announced for two-acre site at Schuyler and Colfax
Residential Building
Permits through December 31, 2009: 405 homes; 85 in Lafayette; 72 in West Lafayette; and 248 in Tippecanoe County.
Commercial Sales
1307 Tower Drive, fraternity, $4 million, Reef & Michael LLC to Roger and Kathleen Bauer
122 W. Wood, apartments, $2.6 million, F2M Capital to Brett Gutwein, Beograd
3215 S. 18th, retail, $700,000, to KANB LLC
220 S. Salisbury, apartments, $500,000, Greg Sutter to John and Connie Basham
3131 Concord Road, warehouse, $400,000, Jamac Corp. to Henry Ebershoff
138 S. Chauncey, apartments, $400,000, F2M Capital to Beograd
Residential Sales
All of 2009: 1,774 homes, $245.5 million
On the Market
Downtown: buildings at 124 and 216 N. Fourth St., 120 N. Second St., and 529 Main St.
Retail: 3600 S.R. 38 East
Commercial: 725 Sagamore Parkway North; Elmwood Plaza, 1904 Elmwood; 811 Earl Ave.
Industrial: 3150 Bencyn Court
Office: 3504 Morehouse Road
Warm Up with This Winterizing Checklist
Winterize Your Home
Implemeting energy- and cost-saving measures
can make winter much more comfortable.

As snow falls and winter winds roar, these winterizing tips can warm up your home or office.
Stop Drafts
Everyone knows to caulk windows. Less obvious spots to check for drafts:
Outlets on outside walls: preformed insulation kits easily curb heat loss.
Baseboards: seal those up.
Mail slots: use an outdoor mailbox.
Doors: install weather stripping.
Pipes and vents: fill any gaps.
Interior Ideas
Inside your home, also consider:
– Furniture: Place it away from outside walls to increase air flow
and keep people further from cold spots.
– Fireplaces: Cover with a glass screen or door and close the damper when not in use.
– Insulation: Add additional to your attic and crawl space.
– Sunshine: Open window coverings to let the sun in; close at sundown. Consider skylights for more sunshine.
Some equipment tips:
– Fans: Turn off or reverse room fans to counter-clockwise to push hot air down.
– Humidifier: Get one—moist air retains heat better.
– Heating: Clean heat registers, change furnace filters and install a programmable thermostat. Make sure all heat ducts are insulated and connected; use metal-backed tape or an aerosol sealant to reconnect them.
Spring Landscaping
Take a look at your yard in the winter and note wind patterns and where snow drifts accumulate. In the spring, do some landscaping with shrubs, trees, walls and fences to lower wind speed and chill.
Plan Ahead
If you’re going to remodel, add on or build new, consider every opportunity for energy-saving tips.  Take note and evaluate all new materials and equipment coming on the market, keeping up with advancements that could make a significant energy and cost difference.  An architect can provide valuabe insight when designing a new home, addition or renovation and provide guidance on all options to help make your home more energy efficient.  When hiring an architect, it is important to verify that the designer is knowledgeable on new energy efficient technologies and can creatively incorporate these feautures into the owners’ existing home or new dream home.

Spotlight:  Snow Drifts

Snow Drift
The size and geometry of a building and the
proximity of its neighbors affect the size and
location of snow drifts on the roof.
Remember the childhood fun of playing or sledding on a huge snow drift?  With the right direction and magnitude of wind, just a few inches of snow on the ground could shape drifts several feet high, providing countless opportunities for fun.
Snow Can Damage Roofs
Few realize, though, the harm snow drifts can cause to buildings.  The Indiana Building Code stipulates how designers must account for the loads snow and drifts will place on a structure. Tippecanoe County and most of Indiana must be designed for 20-pounds-per-square-foot of ground snow load—about 14 inches of average-density snow. In northern Indiana, loads exceed 30 pounds per square foot, approximately 20 inches of snow.
The code also specifies how to calculate potential snow drift loads on roofs. That involves the height of any roof projections where snow can collect and the area of roof upwind where snow can be blown from to create drifts.
Aerodynamic Shade Important to Consider
Building owners often overlook the impact of constructing a new, higher building near a lower one. Neighboring buildings with different roof heights create aerodynamic shade, where snow from the higher roof blows onto the lower roof. This can be extremely dangerous, particularly if the lower roof was not designed to accommodate a higher neighboring building.
The Indiana Code requires that buildings within 20 feet or less of each other be investigated for aerodynamic shade effects.  Structural engineers and architects are a valuable resource when planning or designing new structures to ensure the roof is properly supported for those loads. With winter in full swing, the fun—and dangers—of snow are here. With the aid of a structural engineer or achitect, an initial assessment of your roof structure can be the first step toward assuring that your property can withstand the weight of Mother Nature.

Take a Look:  Rick Davis

Rick Davis
Rick Davis, Graduate Architect at KJG Architecture, Inc.
enjoys the company of some friendly tigers in Tibet.

The pyramids in Egypt, The Parthenon in Greece and Frank Lloyd Wright homes all around the U.S. are among many stops on Rick Davis’ travels. “That’s what our professors told us—visit the great architectural achievements,” says the Graduate Architect at KJG.
He’s been to Bali, Cambodia, Turkey and many European locales—39 countries in all—and 45 of the U.S. states. Still on his to-see list: Portugal, Beijing and the Galápagos Islands.
A Crawfordsville native who still calls the tree-filled city home, Davis earned a Bachelor’s degree in Building Construction and Contracting from Purdue University in 1976, spent several years as a carpenter, then earned his Bachelor of Architecture Degree and Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Design from Ball State University in 1999.
After graduation, Davis worked with C. Thomas Walgamuth & Associates until joining KJG Architecture in 2008 where he primarily works in the residential division, while often helping out in the commercial building division as well.
This diversity has afforded Davis the experience to design several vacation lake homes and many other high-end homes throughout Indiana.  His work with KJG’s residential department includes a wide variety of clients including restaurant owners, military generals, teachers, retired couples, and lakefront homeowners.
Architecture appeals to him, Davis says, because “it combines building and a lot of different disciplines, from math to art and everything in between.”  Davis enjoys home remodeling projects, and he waves pennants for Purdue basketball, the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco Giants.

KJG Architecture, Inc.
527 Sagamore Parkway West, Suite 101
West Lafayette, IN 47906
Tel: (765) 497-4598
Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Electrical Tip of the Day: Careful getting advice from home store Joe!

January 19th, 2010 No comments

So recently I was at a local big box home store in the electrical section and overheard a conversation between a homeowner and the guy working the electrical isle.  It went something like this >>>

Homeowner “I am trying to sell my house and was told by the home inspector that it need to have GFCI’s installed”

Big Box Guy “yup – every outlet within 3′ of water – that is a city code now you know”

Homeowner “oh… OK – can you show me how these things wire up”

Big Box Guy “no problem – just put two of the wires here (points) and two of the wires here (points again)”

Homeowner “does it matter which wires go where on this thing?”

Big Box Guy “not really sure, but I think it can wire either way”

Homeowner “thanks, you have been a big help”

So – there are a couple of points I want to make with this weeks tip.

The first one is – don’t automatically trust the advice you get from the home store Joe’s of the world.  In the case above not only was the employee wrong about the code (it’s 6′ and is actually a NEC code) he also instructed the homeowner to wire the device incorrectly (I was standing right there).  This happens all the time  – we get homeowners that get stuck in a pinch, call us to help, then tell us “but the guy at the home store said this was going to be OK”

A second point is – it takes a long time to get a proper education in the trades.  A good combination of an apprenticeship program,  in the field work, and continuing education is a must.  If you do intend to take advise from the home store folks – ask them about their credentials and the source of their knowledge before excepting it as fact.

Here is another example.  I took this picture a few days ago at a local home store.

photo (19)

It is of a big poster display advertising the manufactures product, snap-and-fit ENT (electrical non-metallic tubing).  IMO this stuff is already a pretty low end solution for most applications, and frankly most electrical contractors won’t use it.  The picture shows a junction box with 4 conduits in it – all wired up pretty and ready for the devices to be put in after drywall.  The display is meant to be a an example of how to use the product and it’s install applications. 

HERE IS THE KICKER – the install as pictured has several pretty obvious NEC code violations.  The conduits are not strapped correctly and the box pictured is too small to be used for the application shown.  A box of that size – per 2008 NEC table 314-16(A) – is only permitted to have 9 wires in it – yet the one pictured clearly has 12 or more (I lost count) – and we have not even accounted for the extra room that is required by the NEC for the devices to be installed.  I can only imagine that this same display is up in every one of this chains stores – and yet, no one in the electrical department of any of these stores has noticed that it depicts several code violations?  Way to go home store Joes!

In the end it is your responsibility to make good decisions about your projects and their level of safety and quality – if you have doubts or concerns about electrical installs please feel free to contact me – always happy to help in any way I can.

Categories: Tip of the Day Tags:

Electrical Tip of the Day: Do-it-yourself book recall

January 13th, 2010 No comments

This just came to me from my Dad, he is a journeymen electrician, electrical inspector, and safety trainer out West.  Just goes to show how much bad information and lack of knowledge is out there in the trades.  Take a look at the recall list below, you have probably noticed these books at the home stores and major booksellers.  If you have question about how to safely do an electrical install at your home or business and do not feel that you are properly trained please contact a qualified electrical contractor.


U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207

January 8, 2010
Release # 10-104
Firm’s Recall Hotline: (866) 696-7602
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

Home Improvement Books Recalled by Oxmoor House Due to Faulty Wiring Instructions; Shock or Fire Hazard to Consumers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following products. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Home Improvement Books

Units: About 951,000

Publisher: Oxmoor House, Inc., of Birmingham, Ala.

Hazard: The books contain errors in the technical diagrams and wiring instructions that could lead consumers to incorrectly install or repair electrical wiring, posing an electrical shock or fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: The recall involves nine home improvement books, as listed below:

Title ISBN Publication Date
AmeriSpec Home Repair Handbook 978-0-376-00180-1 January 2006
Lowe’s Complete Home Improvement and Repair 978-0-376-00922-7
September 2005
December 1999
Lowe’s Complete Home Wiring 978-0-376-00928-9 May 2008
Sunset Basic Home Repairs 978-0-376-01581-5
February 1995
January 1975
Sunset Complete Home Wiring 978-0-376-01594-5 December 1999
Sunset Complete Patio Book 978-0-376-01411-5
January 2006
January 1998
April 1990
Sunset Home Repair Handbook 978-0-376-01258-6
October 1998
February 1985
Sunset Water Gardens 978-0-376-03849-4 January 2004
Sunset You Can Build – Wiring 978-0-376-01596-9 January 2009

Sold at: Home improvement stores and bookstores nationwide from January 1975 through December 2009 for between $13 and $35.

Printed in: United States

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using these books and contact Oxmoor House for a full refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Oxmoor House toll-free at (866) 696-7602 anytime, or visit the firm’s Web site at

Picture of Recalled AmeriSpec Home Repair Handbook Home Improvement Book

Picture of Lowe’s Complete Home Improvement and Repair Recalled Home Improvement Book

Picture of Sunset Basic Home Repairs Recalled Home Improvement Book

Picture of Recalled Sunset Home Repair Handbook Home Improvement Book

Picture of Recalled Lowe’s Complete Home Wiring Home Improvement Book

Picture of Recalled Sunset Complete Home Wiring Home Improvement Book

Picture of Recalled Sunset Water Gardens Home Improvement Book

Picture of Recalled Sunset You Can Build - Wiring Home Improvement Book

Picture of Recalled Sunset Complete Patio Book Home Improvement Book

CPSC is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell us about it by visiting

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. The CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed significantly to the decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC’s Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC’s teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054. To join a CPSC e-mail subscription list, please go to Consumers can obtain recall and general safety information by logging on to CPSC’s Web site at

Connect with Us!CPSCs OnSafety BlogSee our videos on You TubeFollow us on TwitterSee our pictures on Flickr

Categories: Tip of the Day Tags:

“Almost” a bad day pictures!

January 11th, 2010 No comments

I get pictures in all the time from friends in the trades… thought I would share a few today.  To the best of my knowledge these are all real, no photo shop.  While these are all pretty funny I hope they serve as a reminder to how a bad decision is only one step away from something far worse.  Enjoy.

2009-04-27_002.jpg - jboxNo way this is going to go well

2009-04-27_003.jpg - tree trimmer“almost got it man, get another ladder”

2009-04-27_006.jpg - man under rockWell, points for the hard hat anyway

2009-04-27_008.jpg -man under car“No way am I buying jack stands”

2009-04-27_010.jpg - law tractor on carYou have to admire this… that was not easy

2009-04-27_012.jpg - lattice on carI see “this guy” at the home stores all the time

2009-04-27_014.jpg - driving ground rodNot sure who is better off here…

2009-04-27_009.jpg - low bridgeDang it!

2009-04-27_015.jpg - bucker painterPainters… what can you say 🙂

2009-04-27_011.jpg - truck on bridge“dude, gun it – you got this”

2009-04-27_019.jpg - tree on truckMaybe a little better plan would have been in order

2009-04-27_013.jpg - boy with head in chairThe futue of the trades?

2009-04-27_001At least someone is holding the ladder


Categories: What's Going On This Week Tags: