Architectural 3D Printing

Like so many other technological advances, 3D printing was also slow to get off the ground. In more recent years, however, people are talking of little else. The fast and fascinating developments in this amazing technology are making everyone and every industry sit up and take notice. Architecture is one area where 3D printing is making a lot of headlines, and it will continue to do so in the years ahead. In this piece we explore what the future potential holds. We also look at the current limitations of 3D printing within the construction industry. Continue reading

All About Transparent Concrete

What is Transparent Concrete or Light Transmitting Concrete?
Transparent concrete also called as translucent concrete or light transmitting concrete is achieved by replacing aggregates with transparent alternate materials. The bonding material in transparent concrete may be able to transmit light by using clear resins the concrete mix. Use of optical fibers and fine concrete also used as transparent concrete. Transparent concrete was originally developed in 2001 by an Hungarian architect Aronlosonzi by using glass fibers. Transparent concrete is produced by mixing 4% to 5% (by volume) optical fibers in the concrete mixture. This concrete has less weight compared to original concrete. Continue reading

Choosing Between a Prefab ADU vs. Traditional Stick-Framed ADU

Construction Options for an ADU
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) continue to be a topic of heightened interest for homeowners and real estate investors.  As the need to have more usable space during a real estate market with scarce affordable housing increases, legislators are easing zoning laws and local building codes.

With relaxed restrictions, more homeowners are taking the next step of exploring which type of construction would be best for their particular ADU needs and usage plans. Should you construct your dwelling using the Traditional Stick-Built method to get exactly what you want? Or would a Prefab Modular Unit make more sense based on time and budget constraints? Continue reading

Bluebook Cities Envisions Private Cities Without Government Control

A group of Silicon Valley techies are now formulating a plan to build their very own dream city – away from the US entirely and governed by themselves. Twenty-five-year-olds Dryden Brown of New York University, and Charlie Callinan of Boston College, co-founded Bluebook Cities in 2019 — described as a “full-stack city builder,” which “partners with communities to develop beautiful, energetic, resident-owned cities,” the website states. Continue reading

US infrastructure Scores C-minus per American Society of Civil Engineers

America’s infrastructure has scored near-failing grades for its deteriorating roads, public transit and storm water systems due to years of inaction from the federal government, the American Society of Civil Engineers reports. Its overall grade: a mediocre C-. Continue reading

Mass Timber And Taller Wood Construction

What is Mass Timber Construction?
Mass timber construction, in contrast to light-frame wood construction, is built using a category of engineered wood products typically made of large, solid wood panels, columns or beams often manufactured off-site for load-bearing wall, floor, and roof construction. Mass timber is engineered for high strength ratings like concrete and steel but are significantly lighter in weight. Mass timber products are thick, compressed layers of wood, creating strong, structural load-bearing elements that can be constructed into panelized components. They are typically formed through lamination, fasteners, or adhesives. Mass timber can complement light-frame and hybrid options and is an environmentally friendly substitute for carbon intensive materials and building systems. Continue reading

A Guide to Gypsum Wallboard

Drywall is a construction material used to create walls and ceilings. It’s also used to create many design features, including eaves, arches and other architectural specialties. It’s quick and easy to install, incredibly durable, and requires only simple repairs when damaged. In the commercial building world, drywall is used to wrap columns to conceal steel beams and is an easy and inexpensive way to top off masonry walls above ceilings. Drywall is also used to add fire resistance at walls and ceilings, containing the spread of fire so people can evacuate safely during an emergency. Continue reading

County of Santa Cruz Fire Recovery Permit Center

Firefighters make a stand in the backyard of a home in front of the advancing CZU August Lightning Complex Fire Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Boulder Creek, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The CZU Lightning Complex fires erupted on August 16, 2020, the result of a thunderstorm that produced close to 11,000 bolts of lightning and started hundreds of fires throughout California. These lightning strikes initially started fires separately known as the Warnella Fire near Davenport, the Waddell Fire near Waddell Creek, as well as three fires which would merge with them to become conflagration now known as the CZU Complex Fire destroying approximately 1,490 buildings. In response to the CZU Complex Fires the County of Santa Cruz implemented a Recovery Permit Center (RCP), a resource dedicated to rebuilding after the fire. In order to accelerate its efforts, the County Planning Department outsourced the fire-recovery permitting efforts to the Pleasanton-based consulting company 4Leaf, Inc. This article outlines the goals and objectives of the Recovery Permit Center (RCP) and it’s procedures, particularly as they continue to evolve. Continue reading

Your Discretionary Permit on the Central Coast: The California Coastal Commission

California-Coastal-CommissionOverview:
The California Coastal Commission is a state agency with quasi-judicial regulatory oversight over land use and public access in the California coastal zone. The Commission’s mission is “To protect, conserve, restore, and enhance the environment of the California coastline”. The Commission was established in 1972 by voter initiative via Proposition 20, initiated in part in response to the controversy surrounding the development of Sea Ranch, a planned coastal community in Sonoma County. Sea Ranch and other similar coastal projects of that era prompted the formation of activist groups whose efforts eventually led to putting Proposition 20 on the ballot.

Development Defined:
Development activities are broadly defined to include construction of buildings, divisions of land, and activities that change the intensity of use of land. Development usually requires a Coastal Development Permit from either the Coastal Commission or local government. The Coastal Zone is described as the area from the Mean High Tide Line to a distance of between a couple of hundred feet in urban areas, to up to several miles in rural areas.
The Commission is the primary agency which issues Coastal Development Permits. However, once a local agency puts in place a Local Coastal Program (LCP) certified by the Commission, that local agency takes over the responsibility for issuing Coastal Development Permits. A Local Coastal Program (LCP) is composed of a Land Use Plan and an Implementation Plan. A Land Use Plan details the Land Uses permissible within the local jurisdiction’s area, specifying the general policies applicable to each Land Use. The Implementation Plan is responsible for implementing the policies contained in the Land Use Plan. The Implementation Plan is generally a part of a city’s zoning ordinance.

Coastal Zone Regulation, County of Santa Cruz:
In Santa Cruz County this zone extends about five miles inland from the North Coast. From Natural Bridges to 41st Avenue in Capitola, it extends about 0.6 miles inland. From Capitola to the south County boundary, it extends to Highway One.
Within this Zone, any person who wishes to do any sort of land development must obtain a Level 5 development permit. “Development” includes:
• Construction, reconstruction, alteration, or demolition.
• Grading, removing, placement, and extraction of earth material.
• Subdivision and minor land division.
• Change in the density or intensity of land use.
• Harvesting major vegetation, except for agriculture and timber harvesting.
Coastal Commission proceeding in the County of Santa Cruz are administered as Level-V application and heard in Public Hearing by the Zoning Administrator. For more information see: https://www.sccoplanning.com/PlanningHome/ZoningDevelopment/DevelopmentPermits/Level5ZoningAdministratorPermits/CoastalPermits/CoastalZonePermits.aspx

Coastal Zone Regulation in City of Santa Cruz:
The City of Santa Cruz has a fully certified local coastal program. Applications are processed either by administrative review or, if necessary, before the City’s Planning Commission. For more information go to: https://www.cityofsantacruz.com/government/about-us/general-plan

Coastal Zone Regulation in City of Capitola:
The City of Capitola has a fully certified local coastal program. Applications are processed through the Planning Department’s discretionary permit process administered by the City’s Department of Community Development and if necessary, heard by the Planning Commission. Additional information go to: http://www.cityofcapitola.org/general/page/community-development-home

Coastal Zone Regulation in Monterey County:
The Local Coastal Plan for the County of Monterey was written in conjunction with a citizen’s advisory committee and adopted by the Board of Supervisors as part of the the County’s Zoning Ordinance. Because the County of Monterey’s Coastal Plan has been certified by the State of California Coastal Commission, the County is authorized to issue Coastal Permits. Implementation is through the County’s Regional Management Agency (RMA): https://www.co.monterey.ca.us/government/departments-i-z/resource-management-agency/planning

Coastal Zone Regulation in City of Marina:
The City of Marina has a fully certified local coastal program. For information about Marina’s local coastal land use plan go to: http://www.ci.marina.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=171

Coastal Zone Regulation in Sand City:
Sand City has a fully certified local coastal program. For information go to: http://www.sandcity.org/government/departments/Planning.aspx

Coastal Zone Regulation in City of Seaside:
City of Seaside has recently implemented a local coastal program in accordance with California Coastal Commission requirements: https://www.ci.seaside.ca.us/272/Local-Coastal-Program

Coastal Zone Regulation in City of Monterey:
City of Monterey has recently implemented a local coastal program in accordance with California Coastal Commission requirements: https://www.co.monterey.ca.us/government/departments-i-z/resource-management-agency-rma-/planning/application-process-forms-fees/permit-process/coastal-development-permit

Coastal Zone Regulation in City of Pacific Grove:
The City of Pacific Grove does not currently have a local coastal program in place. Coastal permit applications within City limits are referred to the regional California Coastal Commission. The City has an implementation plan located at: https://www.cityofpacificgrove.org/sites/default/files/general-documents/local-coastal-program/pg-ip_feb-2017.pdf

Coastal Zone Regulation in City of Carmel:
The City of Carmel has a fully certified local coastal program. Carmel-By-The-Sea’s Local Coastal Program (LCP) was certified by the Coastal Commission in 2004. The link to the City’s Coastal Land Use Plan is at: http://www.coastal.ca.gov/sc/carmel-rev-lup.pdf

A Guide to Gypsum Wallboard

Drywall is a construction material used to create walls and ceilings. It’s also used to create many design features, including eaves, arches and other architectural specialties. It’s quick and easy to install, incredibly durable, and requires only simple repairs when damaged. In the commercial building world, drywall is used to wrap columns to conceal steel beams and is an easy and inexpensive way to top off masonry walls above ceilings. Drywall is also used to add fire resistance at walls and ceilings, containing the spread of fire so people can evacuate safely during an emergency. Continue reading