Thursday 29 November 2007

Software Software ....... everywhere

In the last week we received delivery of our new software. On Tuesday of last week NBS Scheduler arrived. We'll be using this to assist us in generating specifications for projects. After spending a few hours examining it I have figured out how to use it.... Now for the real test.... to put it into practice on a project. Its content appears to be sufficent for what we do, which is important, I would have got my ass kicked if it didn't cover our basic bread and butter work.

Yesterday I took delivery of AutoCAD's Revit Architecture Suite. Haven't had a chance to use it yet, although I did manage to find time to install it on my laptop. For the moment I'll work thought the tutorials to get familiar with the software before attending a training course. The best way of learning is of course to start a project, but as we're on the run in to Christmas, the pressure will be on to get stuff out in hurry. New Year new beginnings or that's the plan anyway.

Friday 16 November 2007

Plan Expo Visit

Last Thursday I visited Plan Expo and attended the seminar on Alternative House Building Types. The exhibition itself , had a large selection of stands devoted to energy efficiency, from heat exchangers to air tightness membranes. Many of the more traditional exhibitors were missing, no Velux windows, no Moy Materials to name a few.

The seminar on alternative house building types was worth attending. Gerry McCaughey, Chief Executive, Kingspan Century Ltd as expected spent the afternoon telling us that timber frame is the future in housing building and that the concrete block is on the way out. What a load of sh!te. Naturally the concrete representatives disagreed. Each of the building methods have their own advantages and disadvantages and should be examined for individual projects.

The main thing I took from the seminar was, the standard of workmanship on site will have to drastically improve as air-tightness is here to stay whether we like it or not. It was stated that insulation standards are now at the standard where any further reduction in u-values would not have a significant improvement in energy efficiency, however substantial improvements are to be gained by improvements in air tightness of the construction. Off-site construction, where services are integrated into the construction in the factory definitely have the advantages as regards air tightness and quality control.

The question is how well the builders will adopt to the new requirements and at what cost .Time will tell....

Sunday 4 November 2007

Plan Expo

Heading to Plan Expo this week , which is Ireland's largest annual construction show. In the past, I used only visit the event every second year, however it is now necessary to attend every year to keep abreast with new technologies and advancements within the industry. This year there is a zone focused on sustainability, no doubt in response to the growing interest in the area.

As part of this year's visit I will be attending a seminar on
Alternative Housebuilding Types which takes place on Thursday afternoon. It should be a useful seminar and hopefully give an insight of how the industry as a whole foresee the future of housing.

While attending the event, I hope to do some networking and gathering information for future CPD events, both for the office and CIAT. Naturally I'll also be looking for information for some projects that are in the pipeline and will be going to tender soon and of course doing some research of products for my own house which is under construction. I will particularly be interested in sustainable elements, solar heating, rainwater harvesting etc, which I am considering to put into the house, might even be ale to twist a few arms and get a few deals or at the very least ensure that the builder isn't going to screw me.

I'll report on my visit next week.