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May 20, 2013

Demo of Sandy-Damaged Roller Coaster
Filed under: Cool Projects — Tags: — nedpelger

When hurricane Sandy blasted through New Jersey, the Seaside Heights roller coaster became one of her most famous victims. The iconic photo below helped raise relief funds.

But now it’s time to move on and that means demolition.  Here’s a photo from the Courrier-Post that shows a floating crane working on the demo.

Follow this link to see the video of the actual demo. It is fascinating.


April 30, 2013

Some Fascinating Construction Info
Filed under: Cool Projects — Tags: — nedpelger

The construction infographic from Rock and Dirt magazine has some fascinating info. Did you know the Great Wall of China is over 31,000 miles long and took over 2,000 years to build? Or that over 30,000 workers died in building the Panama Canal?

I also learned that the most expensive construction project in the world (in recent history) was the US Interstate highway system, coming in at $425B US. The highway consists of over 47,000 miles and 25% of all vehicle miles in the US are on the Interstate highway system.

So take a couple of minutes and follow this link, to see the fun and informative construction infographic.


April 18, 2013

Best Liquidated Damages Ever
Filed under: Cool Projects — Tags: — nedpelger

If lanes on the Tappan Zee bridge in NYC aren’t kept open during construction, the liquidated damage fine will be $1,500 per minute. ENR reported that Tappan Zee Constructors, the Fluor-led joint venture team, will replace the $3.9-billion Tappan Zee Bridge. There is also a $120,000 per day fine  for each day after April 3, 2018. Those are some serious fines.

The photo below from Wikepedia gives a sense of the current bridge.

I remember in my early days in construction being terrorized by $500/day liquidated damage threats. I guess they were the good old days.


April 17, 2013

Something Fishy about that Elevator
Filed under: Cool Projects — Tags: — nedpelger

Elevators can do so much more than vertical transport. I love when the building design uses the elevator to create cool. So I’ll do some posts over the next few weeks about the world’s coolest elevators.

The AquaDom in Berlin is a 82′ tall elevator enclosed in a glass aquarium at the Radisson Blu Hotel.

The 12.8M Euro AquaDom project was completed in 2004. The World Geography article describes it well:

The outside cylinder was manufactured on-site from four pieces; the inside cylinder for the elevator was delivered in one piece. The Aquadom is the largest acrylic cylindrical aquarium in the world, with a diameter of about 11 metres (36ft), and it is built on a 9 metre (30ft) tall foundation.

Filled with 1,000,000 litres of water, it contains over 1,500 fish of 50 species. The feeding of the fish and the cleaning of the fish tank is performed daily by 3-4 divers. The fish need 8 kg of fish food.


March 29, 2013

NOLA Musings
Filed under: Cool Projects — Tags: — nedpelger

TBW and I took a few days and vacationed in New Orleans. From the gorgeous Spanish architecture of the French Quarter

to the compelling sculptures in City Park,

we loved what we saw. The WWII museum was a special highlight. It’s expanding in several directions, almost doubling in size. The exhibits were well done and the Tom Hanks narrated 4D movie was amazing. Planes flew out from the screen, smoke billowed, the seats shook and rumbled as tanks drove by, the experience was unlike any other movie I’ve seen.

On the city bus tour, we had the most unique driver/tour guide. He started most sentences with, “I want to make you aware”, then repeated his facts (some of which were clearly made up) two or three times. After tossing out the fact he’d say, “Can you believe dat?” His delivery just cracked me up, so I was hugely amused throughout the tour.

When he got to the Katrina section of the tour, though, he suddenly got real. He’d experienced the devastation first hand. He knew folks (and showed us where they lived) that took their families into the attic, then broke through the roof with a hammer as the water rose, then floated on top of the house as it raised off the foundations, then hopped onto another floating house roof as the first one broke apart and were finally rescued 12 hours later by a boat. He said every drop of rain that hit you in that high wind speed storm felt like a bullet.

Our guide believed that Katrina was a disaster and a blessing. NOLA went from no work and tourism being the only industry to construction being #1 and tourism #2. He said anyone who wants a job in construction can easily get one. This last photo of a bumper sticker made me smile and gave credence to the vitality of the market.


March 18, 2013

Miami Condo Boom
Filed under: Cool Projects — Tags: — nedpelger

Miami, FL isn’t just slowly recovering from the construction depression, it’s Number One with a bullet.  The demand for high-end residential properties has been outstripping supply, so building booms. Since banks remain stingy with financing, a new funding model evolved. Thomas P. Murphy Jr., chairman and CEO of Miami-based Coastal Construction Group says:

“Nobody’s depending on the banks right now,” Murphy says. “Miami is really attracting rich (South Americans), and so many of them are used to not financing their second homes. So nobody’s primarily financing these projects with bank loans. They’re basically being paid as they go, and most of them have their buildings 50-70 percent sold before they start.”

One project, the Porsche Design Tower Miami, plans a car elevator that lets you drive your car right into your upper floor apartment. The video is worth checking out.

It’s good to see some markets heating up with construction work. We all know construction is a local business, but the rebounding economy and the pent up demand should make 2013 look good all over.


March 12, 2013

Twisted Masonry
Filed under: Cool Projects — Tags: — nedpelger

I got a comment posted from a blog reader,  JAG Exteriors in England, about the mesmerizing video of block laying I posted a few months ago. They included this fascinating masonry photo.

Now that’s a fun day at work! Hope you have the same.


February 13, 2013

$300M Exploratorium Project: The Grand Daddy of Science Museums
Filed under: Cool Projects — Tags: — nedpelger

Forty years ago, physicist Dr. Frank Oppenheimer opened The Exploratorium a few miles from San Francisco. He developed the concept of a hands on science museum. Growing from that start, 1000 participatory hands on science museums now exist around the world.

ENR reports that the Exploratorium’s $300M project, that moves the facility to the downtown pier area, will complete April 17, 2013. Exploratorium Executive Director Dennis M. Bartels said in a recent press release:

“The scale of our new home on Pier 15 will not only allow us to welcome a magnitude of new visitors, but also broaden our impact around the world by developing new experiences that make science accessible to all.”

They plan to be the first net zero energy large museum in the world. The 1.3-megawatt high efficiency SunPower solar power system on the roof  will supply are their electricity. System performance will be displayed in the lobby.

The Exploratorium construction website does a great job show casing how the project has been built. Photos and videos from the pier construction to the observatory steel shown above give a great sense of the construction process.

Pulling more American youngsters into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields needs to happen. The Exploratorium leads the way. I’m looking forward to visiting San Francisco and experiencing the exhibits.


January 21, 2013

You Got 35 Years to Kill?
Filed under: Cool Projects — Tags: — nedpelger

Sculptor Scott Weaver spent 35 years building a kinetic San Francisco model with 100,000 toothpicks. He gives a guided city tour in the video below, as the ping pong balls roll. Watch it and be amazed.


Do you have a hobby? Does it involve your construction skills (like me building a kid’s playground in the woods behind my house) or something like hunting or snowmobiling? We work hard in this crazy construction industry, I hope you’re finding some ways to just relax. I especially recommend hobbies that exercise your creativity.


January 15, 2013

NJ Mall Project Stirring
Filed under: Cool Projects — Tags: — nedpelger

ENR reports that the American Dream Mall (formerly Xanadu Mall) project may restart within a month.  Begun 10 years ago, the North Jersey shopping mall Xanadu got caught in the Great Recession. As the whimsically designed Meadowlands mall was being built in 2008, the economy sputtered. The project developers got worried and cut costs, producing what Gov. Chris Christie called, “the ugliest damn building in New Jersey and maybe America.” The photo below indicates the lack of overstatement.

For the last couple years, Triple Five Developers (owner of the Mall of America in MN), have been parlaying with NJ state officials over the financing package. The two previous developers have reportedly lost $2B US on the project and Triple Five estimates another $1.8B required to complete their new design (shown below).

In the current financing package, Triple Five puts in $200 million in equity, borrows 800 million from the private sector and $800 million via two public entities. The public sector loans would be repaid with future payments in lieu of taxes paid to East Rutherford by the developer. So it’s really more of a grant than a loan, since the taxes would have to be paid otherwise.

Gov Christie won the endorsement of the laborers union for his reelection and last month told them that they would be working on the project by January 2013. I wonder if this means he’s agreed to a Project Labor Agreement that stipulates all the work will be done by union forces?

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