A wise man once said, “change is good;” an even wiser man added, “… if change is necessary.” Over the last 10 years, the thru-wall flashing industry certainly has seen its attempt at change. Words such as “innovative” and “green” are being used in numerous print ads to attract architects and contractors.
The architecture scene in Toronto is growing and thriving. The metropolitan landscape there has become more than the CN Tower, which is prominent in the city’s skyline. But a building doesn’t have to be tall to be beautiful, distinctive and worthy of a tourism board’s postcards. For example, the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in the city’s rejuvenated Distillery District is as beautiful a theatre as you likely are to find anywhere in North America.
When the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) considered the idea of certifying mason contractors, there were many who were very skeptical of the idea. However, after careful thought and consideration, the Board decided that not only was certification the correct move for the industry, but without it, the industry would irresponsibly be ignoring the needs of our consumers.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that up to 48 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to global climate change are a result of building construction and maintenance projects. That’s a much larger percentage than most Americans believe. According to a recent survey conducted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), 40 percent of Americans blame auto emissions for global warming, while only 7 percent attribute the causes to the built environment.
Phoenix, Ariz., is among the nation’s fastest growing cities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city’s population has grown about 3 percent (now at more than 1.5 million) since 2000. The Bureau also reports that Phoenix, which a century ago was not even among the 100 most populous cities in the country, has passed Philadelphia in total population to become the fifth biggest American city.
As masonry wall design continues to evolve into the 21st century, terms like “air and vapor barriers,” “steel stud assemblies,” “rigid insulation versus batt insulation,” “ventilation with weeps and vents,” “clear air space,” and “oversize masonry units” are all employed to describe today’s masonry wall. Each one of these items can have a direct impact on wall reinforcing and anchoring systems. Add to that list things like “green” and “sustainable,” and, well, you get the idea. Masonry has gone through quite a transformation over the last handful of years.