The Green New Deal Explained

The Green New Deal Explained

Wikipedia states it thus: “The Green New Deal is a set of proposed economic stimulus programs in the United States that aim to address climate change and economic inequality”. Pretty good goals wouldn’t you say?

Data for progress states it this way: “A Green New Deal is necessary to meet the scale and urgency of environmental challenges facing the United States, based on the best available research. A Green New Deal can bring job growth and economic opportunity, with particular focus on historically disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.” Wow! Can we really pull this off? Data for progress follows up by stating: “A Green New Deal is financially feasible and necessary”

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GREEN NEW DEAL

GREEN NEW DEAL

In my work as a residential construction Owner’s Representative and Project Manager I get to interact with some very interesting clients. Just recently I had a thrilling discussion with one of my owners over the Green New Deal currently being proposed by the democrats.

I am certain that the ramifications of climate change are far greater than is being acknowledged in the media or known by the bulk of the public. There are insidious collateral damages that have a chain reaction effect threatening the balance of nature. Our planet is a living entity that has evolved over 3.5 billion years to become the cradle for the abundant life that we know and enjoy daily. Just two samples, the death of coral reefs which are the nursery for much of ocean life, or as we are just hearing now, the drastic decline in insect population world wide, will have impacts on the overall balance of nature that we cannot accurately predict.

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ADMINISTRATIVE DUTIES OF A GOOD PROJECT MANAGER

In the last writing we focused on the on-site duties of a good construction project manager.  In this issue we will delve into the administrative duties that are also necessary.

Construction project managers have come from one or two basic paths:

  • Those that rose up doing physical work on site, typically carpentry.
  • Those that graduated from a college with a degree in construction project management.
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Are We Over Structuring Today’s Buildings?

Are We Over Structuring Today’s Buildings?

Quite often we find ourselves removing an existing structure prior to building a new one, or making substantial improvements to an existing building.  Once the above ground structure has been taken down, (hopefully deconstructed not demolished), the old foundation has to be removed.  This often is not too bad; some jackhammering, some hydraulic equipment, some loads to the concrete crushing plant.

What strikes me is the huge difference in the amount of concrete that we are pouring into the ground now compared to the old foundations we are removing.  What currently is not that big a deal to have a large excavator dig up and truck away is being replaced with five, eight, ten times the amount of concrete and steel.

Someday these structures we are building now will be remodeled or taken down. I wonder what future builders will need in terms of equipment and energy usage to remove the massive amounts of concrete and reinforcing steel that we are now putting in the ground.

Is it all necessary?  Are we overdoing it?  Is the safety factor getting exaggerated?  Is CYA at every level making it just too much?

Building code has a typical safety factor of about 40%, and that is considered the absolute minimum.  The structural engineers want to add their own safety margin.  Then there is perhaps the civil engineer with their concerns about drainage, etc., and don’t forget the soils engineer who also makes a recommendation. Here in Marin County California we need to add seismic considerations so our structures can withstand potential earthquakes.Richard Wodehouse's Over Structuring 1
Before pic
So all these factors add up to a lot of structure, which may appear ridiculous to the owners who are paying for it. We seem to build as if our structures will be here forever, which is probably the same mindset that the builders of the structures we are demolishing had.

So what can be done to better this situation?  Safety is certainly a key component of building, and as your Construction Project Manager I can help ensure that your home has the foundation and structure it needs. I also take into consideration the environmental impact our buildings will have on future generations and can help eliminate excess without compromising safety.

If you bring me in as a Project Manager during the design process, I ask structural engineers to simplify for constructability. I can examine the plans and question items that might seem excessive or perhaps suggest how the needed result can be achieved in another way.  A mutually respectful evaluation is bound to result in some improvements.  My expertise can help your project strike the proper balance between safety and cost-effective environmental consciousness.

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