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More stories about Features

  • Gable-End Retrofits

    A couple of decades ago, not much was typically done to secure gable-end trusses: at most, a few toe-nails, perhaps an occasional strap or diagonal brace. But these measures prove insufficient in a high-wind event, where negative pressures are the most likely forces to pull apart an underbuilt...

  • Wild Winds and Rolling Waters

    Despite months of front-page Hurricane Katrina news coverage in 2005, building codes and enforcement practices continue to vary greatly. Moreover, surprisingly little is known about how hurricane winds pull apart and drive rain into homes — and what affordable measures can seal them tight. Plus...

  • Floating Out the Storm

    The devastation and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina set Bill and Bryan Spatz in motion rethinking what type of foundation makes sense in flood-prone areas. The Noah's Ark Project is a steel-framed modular home built on a barge. The home looks like a typical 2,700-square-foot home with an asking...

  • High and Dry

    In the flood-prone Gulf region, an elevated home is a no-brainer. The classic poured-concrete slab-on-grade — a simple monolithic pour with nothing more than a thickened edge at the perimeter — is not enough where floodwaters from a storm surge or rising water levels pose a threat. Using a raised...

  • Coastal Resources: Safe and Durable Coastal Decks

    A casual inspection of just about any wooden boardwalk or ocean-side deck provides ample evidence of what a harsh coastal environment can do. Fortunately, there is help at hand to guide builders toward code-conforming deck design and good construction practice. Design for Code Acceptance 6:...

  • Insulation That Works

    In more than 25 years of consulting with builders on ways to avoid callbacks, Steve Easley has spent his time solving problems related the heat and moisture transfer, because this is where builders — even very good builders who deliver well-appointed homes to the coastal elite — most often get...

  • Green Building: Island Solar

    At South Mountain, a 100% worker-owned remodeling firm on Martha's Vineyard, employee-owner Phil Forest has discovered that venturing into renewables — including energy audits, solar electric panels, solar water heaters, and wind-turbine generators — fills a niche in the building business that is...

  • Weather Barriers for Coastal Conditions

    According to general contractor Bill Robinson, the building industry is going through a renaissance of sorts when it comes to weather protection. He predicts that as the current best practices become standardized, even more detailed requirements will be brought back to the codes. And that's a good...

  • Church, Going

    Stricken by falling attendance and a major scandal, the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston is closing 65 parishes. As other cities grapple with the same problem, what becomes of America's urban churches?

  • 3555 Hayden

    The research-intensive firm of Eric Owen Moss Architects layers a swelling rooftop addition onto a warehouse.