Archive for July, 2010

Late this past week, I had a lengthy conversation with a client about how her windows should be flashed.  Specifically, she was looking for my thoughts on pan flashing below the windows, as the flashing pan below the window is the last bastion of defense against water getting into the house around the windows.

 I usually begin a conversation on flashing with the following statement:  “There is only one basic rule when it comes to flashing – Water runs downhill.  If this fact is respected, your home will stay dry”.

 Flashing is the most important element of an enclosure system.  It is the single element that makes a rain screen system work, whether that system consists of siding, brick veneer, EIFS, or any number of other types of systems.  If the enclosure system isn’t properly flashed, the framing behind it will ultimately rot out and there will be mold problems in the house.  Left unnoticed (this is usually a concealed condition), the very structure of the house will be impaired.

 A properly installed flashing system should not add to the cost of a house.  You will find, in fact, that most codes require it.  Simple attention to doing it correctly and providing a means for drainage caught by the flashing to be diverted from the structure will save headaches and the costs associated with correcting them for the life of the structure.

 As time goes on, I will post more specific writings on this topic.  Green construction depends on getting the moisture control right, and flashing is the most important component of moisture control.


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I first realized my calling to the profession of Architecture at the age of six.  I am pleased to say that I was inspired to do so by my grandfather who practiced architecture here in Charlottesville from the 1930’s until shortly before his death in 1981.  Having a role model such as he was essential to my development as a professional.

Likewise, in CSI, I have a particular set of heroes, mentors if you will, who have been influential in my development as a member of this organization.  All of these individuals would probably wish to remain anonymous, so I won’t mention them by name.  They may not even realize the magnitude of their influence on me.  What is important, though, is that they have always made themselves available whenever I had any sort of question or problem.

In the years since becoming active in CSI, I have had the privilege of having a number of members coming to me for advice on various matters relating to how to do CSI and sometimes, why to do CSI.  I can only say that the influence of my own mentors is spreading to so many more people as I pass on that wisdom.

I have often said that as an architect, I intend to leave a positive mark on the physical landscape that will survive me.  In CSI, each of us has the opportunity to influence the process of creating and sustaining the built environment through the transfer of knowledge.  This transfer can take place as part of the mentoring process, but more commonly, it takes place in the form of the networking that takes place at the monthly membership meetings.  In this sense, through service to this organization, hopefully I am leaving a permanent, positive mark on the professional landscape.  If I am successful at this, then every single one of my mentors will have done so as well.

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It has long been the opinion of this writer that building green starts with making the correct use of building materials. 

Being an ex-contractor, I quickly learned how to make the most of whatever materials I was working with.  This entails working in 8″ increments on masonry projects and use of a 24″ or 48″ module when working with wood framing.  These two simple methodologies and their counterparts for other materials result in less waste at the jobsite and, by extension, fewer trips to the landfill.

Doing this costs absolutely nothing and reduces the cost per square foot by increasing the square footage produced with exactly the same materials purchased.  Whenever possible, I do this for every project.

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Learning to Blog

I am new to the world of blogging, but here goes.

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