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Construction Updates

Monday, July 28, 2014

I Can't Hear You..... (July 25)

UAS FH Construction Update for 7/25/2014

I Can’t Hear You (July 25)

And that is a good thing, when you are sharing living quarters with 100 other UAS Freshmen. 

The Design Team for the UAS Freshman Housing project included an Sound Engineer, whose job it was to include components in the building that help keep the sound from transmitting through the building. 

WoodTrends Topline Acoustical Wood planks are one of those components.  These planks are constructed form a soft fibrous material with a brown cheery wood veneer.  The planks are then cut into an overlapping sound catching pattern.  The end result is a good looking wood panel that has a NRC, Noise Reduction Coefficient, value of 0.75.   

Check out their website at

                       Topline Acoustical Wood Plank Section.

Ac Tile 1





                                                     Topline Acoustical Wood Plank

Ac Tile 4



The Contractor had scaffolding and large work platform for the workers to install these Acoustical Planks.  You could not see them up there on the platform working, but you could hear them.  It was neat to hear the noise level go down each day as they put more of these Acoustical Planks up.

Work Platform for Contractor installing Ceiling Tile

Work Platform



Ceiling of the Commons area and Classroom/Conference room.

Ceiling Tile



 Additional Layers of Gypsum Board is another component that the design team has used to prevent sound transmission.  The fire code requires two layers of gypsum board in specific areas to provide a greater fire protection between two types of spaces, like the stairwell and the hall way.  (See Update April 25)   The design team added a second layer of gypsum board in additional places like the bedroom/bathroom walls for more sound insulation, even though it is not required by the fire code.    The Design Team also used a clip and cross bar mounting system behind they gypsum board. This reduces the connection points that sound can transmit from the gypsum board surface and into the metal stud walls.

Sound Clip Mounting System:

Clip System



Concrete floors are another very effective component for preventing sound migration between floors.  This large concrete solid mass absorbs the sound and prevents it from transmitting to the floor below.  The Laundry Room is on the second floor and has a concrete floor that is twice as thick as everywhere else so sound in the laundry room stays in the laundry room.

                                                         Concrete Floors

Concrete Floors



Sound is like a two-year old’s finger, it will find and penetrate any small opening.  Therefore, one last component the Design Team has used to prevent sound migration is to minimize all openings in walls, floors and ceilings.   Penetrations are then sealed with drywall plaster or fire foam.

Wall penetration sealed with fire foam

Wall Penetrations




Nathan NLEIGH1 09:10:15 AM
Friday, July 18, 2014

Building of a Different Color- Part 2 (July 18)

UAS FH Construction Update for 7/18/2014

Building of a Different Color – Part 2  (July 18)

My idea to keep the utilitarian color of the building (see weblog March 7) was dismissed as Engineering technobabble.  This week you can really see the Architect’s building color selection.  The main building color is “Champagne Metallic” on a corrugated metal panel.  The interesting thing about this color and material is the different shades of color the building emit depending if it is sunny, cloudy, morning or evening.  The tall corner pilasters and building ends are Hemlock Green” on a metal panel that has a small relief pattern.  The roof trim is a wide “Classic Green” edge flashing with a “Copper Penny” accent strip. 

This morning’s photo makes it easy to see why the Architect gets to make the color selections and not the Engineer.

Building of a Different Color July 18, 2014

Champain Siding


The Contractor has also been working the past week in the metal framing for the glass curtain walls that covers the face of the commons area and encloses the stairwells.  The curtain wall is constructed from an aluminum frame that is stick built on site and fastened to the building.  Once the frame is set, large triple-pain-argon-filled windows will be set in the frame openings and then secured in place with additional aluminum framing members.   Notice that the color of these frames are copper penny, to match the accent strip going around the roof line.   Even I, have to admit that Architects make our community a much better looking place to live.

Aluminum Curtain Wall Framing Members

Aluminum Framing



View from 4th floor class/conference room.

Curtian Wall Window Frame



All of that Metal Siding and Curtain Wall Framing is installed by construction workers in a man-lift.  This month there have been 4-6 lifts on site. But one day, we had six man-lifts on site.

Six Man-Lifts on site!

Six Man-Lifts



Nathan NLEIGH1 12:05:51 PM
Friday, July 11, 2014

UP's and DOWN's of Construction

UAS FH Construction Update for 7/11/2014

UP’s and DOWN’s of Construction (July 11)

During construction projects, we hope everything is UP and nothing is DOWN.  However, this week we were all glad to see dozens of UP’s and DOWN’s when the Contractor completed the installation of the Elevator.  The Elevator subcontractor, Otis Elevator Co, showed up on the project site a couple of weeks ago and brought with them lots of cool tools to install the elevator.


Elevator Shaft


Elevator Workers PUlly


Elevator Workers Pulley – Used to lift up Steel Elevator Railing

One of the first was what every Engineer and Physics student loves is the simple rope and pulley.  The first year in Engineering 101, I was amazed to learn that with enough rope and pulleys I could lift by hand a full 10-yard cement truck. The second year in Engineering 101, I was disappointed to learn that there is no such thing as a frictionless rope and pulley.  This means that it does not take long before all of my strength pulling on a rope is used up by friction in the pulley and rope itself.  So in real life, using real rope and pulleys, you can typically only 6 – 10 times your own lifting capacity.



Elevator 4-way Laser

Elevator 4-Way Laser



Elevator Laser Target

Elevator Laser Target

Second neat tool was their laser alignment tool.  Most construction crews on the construction site have a laser that casts a horizontal or vertical line.  The Elevator crew had a fancy laser tool that cast four way vertical columns.  Using small laser targets, they used this laser tool to align up the four corners of the elevator travel.   With a little fog machine, the elevator shaft could have looked like one of those spy movies with all of the security alarm lasers.


Elevator Door

Elevator Door – Floor 3

Third is the elevator itself.  What a neat invention where  you can walk into a small room, push a button and then walk out on a different floor of a tall building.  Our furniture crew will be particularly appreciative of the elevator so they don’t have to haul beds, dressers and refrigerators up 4 flights of stairs.


The Contractor continues to work on other parts of the building.  The suites have all been painted out in Hall II with lights and cabinets installed in the top two floors.  A wood acoustical ceiling has been installed in the vaulted ceilings of the community and conference rooms.  The electrical subcontractor continues to pull miles of blue communication cables throughout the building.  Look for glass store front framing to start appearing next week.


Room 451C

Room 451C - Painted and Trimmed out.

Nathan NLEIGH1 03:26:30 PM
Friday, June 27, 2014

Stone or Wood?

UAS FH Construction Update for 6/27/2014

Stone or Wood? (June 27)

What would you call a new material that looks like wood but wears like stone?

How about Stonewood.  

Stonewood is a trade name for an architectural panel manufactured with a core of phenolic resin impregnated Kraft paper and a face of melamine resin, compressed at high pressure and temperatures. 

Stonewood Panel Layers      

StoneWood Panel

StoneWood Panel




The result is a thin panel sheet that is extremely durable, resisting wind, rain and UV deterioration.  The finish on these panels comes in over one hundred different colors and patterns from Antique White, to Black Granite, to the Monticello Maple the Contractor installed today on the UAS Freshman Housing project.

These panels are being installed on the underside of the building entrance canopy and provide warmth to the entrance, alongside the Yellow Cedar timbers we talked about on June 13th.


Monticello Maple Panel


Montincello Maple Panel

Montincello Maple Panel



UAS Freshman Residential Hall Entrance Canopy


UAS FH Entrance

UAS FH Entrance



As you can imagine, paneling for a building entrance, is just one use of this unique building material.  Check out the manufactures website for other projects that used these panels for walls, ceilings and the exterior cladding on the Tasina Lodge in Valdez Alaska.


Most of the trades are still working inside the building including electrical, mechanical, sheet rock, drywall, painting and the flooring subcontractor started this week and should have the top floor of Hall II carpeted out by Monday.   Look for some near complete photos of Room 451B in next week’s Blog.



Nathan NLEIGH1 04:40:49 PM
Friday, June 20, 2014

Closed Doors (June 20)

UAS FH Construction Update for 6/20/2014

Closed Doors (June 20)

Closed Doors are often associated with something negative.  However, the doors inside the New Freshman Housing Suites are so beautiful; Closed Doors can only be associated with the great and amazing things in life.   Check out how good just a couple of these Closed Doors look.

Closed Door – Suite 451C                                                  Closed Door  Suite 451B


Door Suite 451C

Door Suite 451B

The doors are made by VT Industries in Iowa.  VT Industries have used a multiple layer construction method for the doors in the UAS Freshman Residential Housing project.  They start with a core consisting of a Structural Composite Lumber then add a layer of High Density Fiber (HDF) crossband and then a finish layer of real Hickory wood. More information than you ever thought possible about doors can be found at VT Industries website:

The real Hickory wood naturally varies in pattern and shade which makes each door different and unique.  Just like every UAS student that will be living in the Freshman Residential Hall. 

Closed Door – Suite 351B

Door Suite 351B


Besides a beautiful wood surface to enjoy, I have found many other positive benefits of Closed Doors including; keeping the warm air inside, keeping flying mosquitos outside, making it dark to sleep at night, physically defining my personal space, shutting out the sound of my brothers choices in music and locking out pesky little sisters. 

So whether you like open doors or Closed Doors, we can all be happy that the Architect selected a beautiful hickory door and that the Contractor has installed doors in the top two floors of Hall II. 


Closed Door – Suite 454B

Door Suite 454B



The Contractor continues to make progress with sheet rocking, painting and connecting the electrical and mechanical systems.  The building entry canopy is ready for roofing and the building metal siding will soon be visible on the north-west corner of the building.


UAS Freshman Housing – Entrance Canopy

UAS FH June 19




Nathan NLEIGH1 11:26:09 AM
Friday, June 13, 2014

Aroma Therapy (June 13)

UAS FH Construction Update for 6/13/2014

Aroma Therapy (June 13)

If you have walked down wind of the UAS Freshman Housing project this week, you would have caught the defining fragrance of Yellow Cedar.  The Contractor has been installing the framing structure of the entrance canopy consisting on many large glulam wood timbers made from Yellow Cedar.  

Yellow Cedar Entrance

Yellow Cedar Entrance


Yellow Cedar Column

Yellow Cedar Column


There are many traits of Yellow Cedar that makes it an excellent material for building and carving.  Its fine straight grain makes it strong and dimensionally stable and easy to cut and carve.  The wood resin is resistant to weather, fungus and insects making it a building material that will last a long time with little or no maintenance.  The Aroma coming from Yellow Cedar is an added pleasantry to those lucky enough to be around when it is freshly cut or milled.

Working Yellow Cedar

Yellow Cedar Working


These large Yellow Cedar Glulam beams are 8-3/4” wide and 18” deep.  These Glulam timbers were fabricated by taking twelve smaller 8-3.4” wide boards and stacking them on top of each other and gluing them all together into one large beam.  This method of fabrication makes for a much stronger beam than a single piece of wood of the same size because all of the natural imperfections in wood are more uniformly distributed throughout the beam.  Glulam timbers can also be fabricated in larger and longer sizes than solid wood timbers.   The glulam timbers used in the Freshman Residential Housing we fabricated by Boise Cascade where you can find more about glulam timbers.


Yellow Cedar Gluelam


Yellow Cedar Gluelam




Nathan NLEIGH1 12:35:16 PM
Friday, May 16, 2014

Roundabout Update (May 16)

Roundabout Update (May 16)


You already know that DOT&PF and their Contractor has started back up on building the Back Loop Roundabout. 


Contractor working on Curb and gutter for the Back Loop Roundabout

Back Loop Roundabout
Back Loop Roundabout


The traffic delays do not appear to be as long as last year.  However, I have seen cars backed up past my office window.   Construction can always be inconvenient, especially when you are late to work and stuck in traffic. 

I just want to mention that there are several lights at the end of the tunnel (or roundabout).


¤ Curb and Gutter started this week

¤ One half of the sidewalks will be paved by the end of May

¤ The roundabout will be paved by the end of June. 

¤ The will have some minor work to do after June, but it should not disrupt traffic.

¤ One of the items that will likely be completed after June is the landscaping.  Take a close look at the roundabout landscaping plan below.  It was based off a sketch by our own David Lendrum. 

This project will be a great addition to our community.


Roundabout Landscape Plan



Roundabout Landscaping
Roundabout Landscaping




Check out the DOT&PF website if you would like to know more about the Back Loop Roundabout and the next phase of construction that will add sidewalks to both sides of the road from Fritz Cove to Seaview.





Nathan NLEIGH1 12:50:15 PM
Friday, May 09, 2014

Wire, Wire Everywhere (May 9)

UAS FH Construction Update for 5/09/2014

Wire Wire Everywhere (May 9)

This week the Electrical Subcontractor has been pulling in lots wire into the electrical panels thru-out the building.  This wire varies from the small going to every light and wall outlet, the large 600 KCM cable used for the main building power and the electrical boilers that will heat the water that circulates in the concrete floors, heating the building.  I remember my Father telling me when his family first got electricity into their house and they were so excited to be able to pull a string and turn on a light in the middle of the room.   Today, now everything in the Freshman Residential Housing runs on electricity; Ventilation, Heating, Refrigerator, Microwave, Community Oven, Computers, Fire Alarm System and yes the lights.  That’s why there is Wire Everywhere, in the ceilings, in the walls, in the floors and hanging out of boxes on the walls.  Have you ever wondered how much wire there will be in the Freshman Residential Housing?  Well I have, it comes with being an Engineer.

Here is my rough estimate


( 150’ Building Length) x ( 50’ Building Width)  x (4 floors) x( 8 wraps ) = 240,000 feet


I am using (wraps) as a rough estimating factor, by estimating how many times the wire would wrap around the building if all in one long wire.

8 wraps = 3 power = 1 lights + 1 Doors + Fire Alarm + 2 Computer or data cable.


I will need to check with the Electrical Subcontractor to see how close my rough estimate is with how much wire they purchased for the building.



Electrical Meter Base installed this week.


Meter Base
Meter Base


Main electrical wire lines coming into the building.


KCM 600 Main Wire
KCM 600 Main Wire


Electrical Wires in 2nd floor Control room


Wires 2nd Floor
Wires 2nd Floor


Electrical wires in Residential Suite Vestibule


Suite Wire
Suite Wire


Conduits Now Full of Wires

Conduits full of Wires
Conduits full of Wires


Electrical Generator,  So when the lights in Juneau go out, they will not go out here at the UAS Freshman Residential Housing.

D7_Setting Generator
D7_Setting Generator


Nathan NLEIGH1 05:09:23 PM
Friday, May 02, 2014

White Mud Tours (May 2)


UAS FH Construction Update for 5/02/2014

White Mud Tours (May 2)

This week we were able to take several UAS staff on a tour of the UAS Freshman Housing project. 

We were able see some of the work that was going on this week that included, pouring concrete wainscot walls, insulation in Hall I, installing hot water storage tank in the boiler room, sheet rocking fourth floor of Hall 1, White Mud & Taping of Floor 3 in Hall II and some spectacular views the Mendenhall Glacier. 


Another Wonderful View


Another Wonderful View
Another Wonderful View


We stopped and talked to the Drywall Finishing crew and got a quick lesson on how to White Mud / Tape a sheet rock wall.  For those of us who have tried to mud and tape a wall using only a putty knife, we were simply awe-struck with the automatic tape gun.  This mechanical wonder holds the mud in a long tube and then a roll of tape at the end runs through the mud and onto the wall all in one motion.  So you can White Mud and Tape a wall about as fast as you can move the tape gun across the joint.  A job that would take me 20 minutes with a putty knife, only took our Drywall Finishing expert 30 seconds. 

This is one of those “use the right tool for the job” lessons.  


Automatic Taper

Tape Gun
Tape Gun


Check out this website.,  to purchase one of these labor saving devices, or just to learn more about professional drywall finishing tools.

And after finding out that the automatic tape gun costs $1,325.00 (plus shipping)  I guess that my putty knife will have to do for a few more years.



Talking to the Dry Wall Finishers


Taping Crew Visit
Taping  Crew Visit


Lesson in Dry Wall Taping


Tape Lesson
Tape Lesson


Sheet Rock Wall – Before Tape and Mud


Before White Mud and Tape
Before White Mud and Tape


Sheet Rock Wall – After Tape and Mud


After White Mud and Tape
After White Mud and Tape




Nathan NLEIGH1 12:13:15 PM
Friday, April 25, 2014

White Walls ( April 25)

UAS FH Construction Update for 4/25/2014

 White Walls (April 25)

White Walls have appeared this week when walking through the UAS Freshman Residential Housing project.  Starting on the fourth floor of Hall I and flowing all the way down to the first floor, like a large bucket of white paint being poured inside the building.


White Walls from Room 454C


White Walls 1
White Walls 1
White Walls 2
White Walls 2


These White Walls come complimentary from two new subcontractors on site. One installing sheet rock and the other following close behind mudding the joints and fastener holes.  Sheet rock is also known by Dry Wall and Gypsum Board.   Sheet Rock, as we know it today, with plaster sandwiched in-between two layers of paper was introduced in the building industry in 1910.  Sheet rock is made by mining gypsum out of the ground, grinding it to a fine powder, mix in some other ingredients depending on what special qualities you want and then pour it out on a sheet of paper and cover it with another sheet of paper.  North America uses 42,000,000,000 square feet of sheet rock each year.  That is enough to sheet rock the whole state of Rhode Island in every year.  Or that’s enough sheet rock to cover the UAS campus every 10 minutes


The UAS Freshman Residential Housing project has used our fair share of sheet rock.  Six semi-truck loads.  One of the main reasons the building uses so much Sheet Rock is because it an excellent material for resisting fire and quieting sound.  One-half of the walls and most of the ceilings will actually get two layers of sheet rock.  Some to create fire barriers and some to create sound barriers.  Anyway you cut it, we now have a lot of White Walls in Hall II of the Residential Hall and by the end of next week Hall I will have White Walls also.


Sheet Rock Ready for Hall I


Sheet Rock Ready
Sheet Rock Ready





Nathan NLEIGH1 05:11:29 PM

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