4 Heartwarming Construction Stories to Make Your Day

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With the holidays over and the sun not having been seen in what feels like 8 years, we need some happy stories to lift our little vitamin D deprived souls.

I scoured the internet to find the best happy construction stories.  These stories will warm your hearts and make your day.   

1.  San Joe Construction Worker Rescues Kidnapped Baby

This story sounds like the plot of a movie, but it's real.  A construction worker, with the help of a homeless woman, rescued a kidnapped baby.

The father of the baby had strapped his son into the car, but forgot his lunch and ran back inside.  When he came out, the car was missing with his son.

Via kron4.com. 

Via kron4.com. 

A few hours later, the car was parked outside a construction site with people arguing outside it.  A man, who seemed to be on drugs, was yelling at a homeless woman.  The woman kept signaling to the construction worker, Colin Blevin.  She was trying to get Blevin to notice the baby.

The baby was sitting in a hot car with the windows rolled up.  Blevin began to ask, "Is that your baby?" to everyone around.  He was ignored.  The kidnapper walked away and began to try and break into another car.  Blevin opened the car door, grabbed the baby, and called the police.

A short time later, the baby was reunited with his father.

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2.  300 Plumbers Got to Flint, MI to Install Free Water Filters

Residents of Flint, MI have been dealing with drinking water issues since 2014.  Many people aren't able to use their tap water in their homes.  Some residents can't afford a water filtration system, so plumbers from Local 370 have gone to Flint to install free water filters in homes.

3.  Construction Workers Rescued Drowning Boy

Three construction workers were working near a pond when they saw a boy drowning.  The men were having a meeting when they saw a woman jump into the pond with her clothes on.  It looked odd, so they investigated. 

All three men ran toward the dock and discovered that a woman was trying to rescue a toddler who had fallen into the water.  One jumped into the water and grabbed the boy, setting him on the dock.

But, the boy wasn't breathing.

The men did CPR, which they were trained on for their construction jobs.  

They couldn't feel a pulse.

They kept going.  Soon, the boy vomited and began to cry.

"I got to be a part of it.  That was a blessing, and I've got two brothers because of it," Sean Sumner, one of the construction workers, concluded.

4.  Contractors Work Together to Build 1st Ultra-Accessible Water Park

AGC Charities and dozens of construction firms worked together to build Morgan's Inspiration Island.  It is the first ultra-accessible water park.  The construction involved building a main building, five new pump houses, and a lighthouse.  The charity raised $350,000 in funds for the project.  Linbeck Group was the lead general contractor.

It was the first water park built with special needs in mind.  

 

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How Technology Can Change Workplace Safety as We Know It

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The construction industry is planted firmly in the ground, building the physical infrastructure of the world. That doesn’t mean, however, that the industry isn’t affected by the 21st-century technological boom.

In fact, construction tech innovation is a thriving field that is increasing productivity, profit margins, and most of all, worker safety. Construction is a high-risk industry, but with the help of technology, it is getting safer every day. 

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Exoskeletons


Hard hats and heavy boots are the quintessential symbols of a construction worker. These safety measures might not be enough, however. 25% of accidents are from workplace foot injuries, and that’s with all the advanced features construction footwear now provides.

It seems as if better construction gear is in order. Enter the exoskeleton. One of the leaders in exoskeleton technology is Ekso Bionics, a company that has been developing exoskeletons for healthcare and construction work for the past ten years. Their construction exoskeletons include an upper body exoskeleton to support the spinal cord and an arm that can reduce repetitive stress injuries from heavy-duty construction tools. 



Another construction exoskeleton is suitX from US Bionics. Their exoskeleton is modular and workers can choose to add on pieces as they feel necessary. The modules include suits for the back, legs, and shoulders. This exoskeleton is designed to reduce stress on joints and muscles while remaining unobtrusive so workers can still carry their tools. Each module can be worn separately or together. 



Smart Wearables


Protective construction gear has long been one of the most relied-upon safety measures. In the modern age, protective clothing is getting smart. Wearable tech can monitor workers’ biometric data including heart rate, skin temperature, and respiration rate. This data can be used to monitor stress and fatigue, alerting safety managers if a worker becomes overheated or exhausted. 


Some wearables can also sense changes in the environment and position, a function that would be extremely useful should a worker get buried under rubble in an emergency. One wearable incorporating location services is a smart vest. It connects to a real-time locating services platform that can allow actuators to slow or deactivate machinery when a vest is detected nearby.

Hard hats and helmets are a popular target for wearable companies. Some of the features included in this technology are fall impact detection, emergency alerts, and sensors.

A smart helmet can incorporate augmented reality technology to allow workers to see plans projected onto the site. This reduces the need to carry cumbersome books, sheets, and laptops on the site, freeing up workers’ hands to focus on safety. The helmet also has a rear camera to give workers eyes in the back of their heads, enabling them to see danger behind them.



Monitoring Systems


Many construction safety measures focus on the actions of the workers. Some technologies, however, target the job site itself. Monitoring the environmental quality for red flags such as air pollutants can alert managers to potential hazards as soon as possible. There are several technological monitoring strategies being applied to construction sites, including sensors and drones.

Sensors for construction sites can detect temperature, pressure, humidity, vibration, dust particulate, and volatile organic compounds. The data can then be used to analyze the environment over time, and to keep the job site safer by detecting hazards right away.

Drones are another major tool for monitoring construction safety and the progress of a project. An aerial view of the job site can reveal faults or hazards on the site that are not obvious from the workers’ perspective. Additionally, these unmanned aerial vehicles can be used to monitor workers to make sure their safety is always protected on site. 
 

Robotics and Self-Driving Vehicles

 

Perhaps the most blatant sci-fi motif, robots are coming to the construction site, along with their cousin, the self-driving vehicle. These tools can reduce the need for humans to complete certain backbreaking tasks. Vehicular accidents are also a major cause of injury and death in the industry, and automating them will drastically reduce accidents. 

The past year saw major advances in the area of construction robotics. Construction juggernaut Caterpillar has decided to back tech company Fastbrick Robotics, developing a robotic bricklayer.

2017 was also the public debut of the first self-driving construction vehicle, the Autonomous Impact Protection Vehicle (AIPV) by Royal Truck and Equipment, designed to protect vehicles behind it from rear collisions. Later in the year Built Robotics debuted its Autonomous Track Loader, a self-driving track loader.



Conclusion


Both new startups and established construction brands have been innovating nonstop, and the results are exciting. Companies are learning to protect their workers by leaning into the massive leaps in technology.

Soon, it might be the norm for a job site to be monitored by a drone and a sensor, while workers in exoskeletons work alongside robots. This trend can improve workplace safety forever.

Author:  Vincent West

With an educational background in Engineering Design and a personal interest in all things construction and workforce related, Vince is behind WorkBootCritic.com. He’s a news geek, especially when it comes to keeping up to date with the industry’s biggest developments. 

HVAC and Flu + Cold Season - What You Should Know

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February is the peak of cold and flu season.  If your office is anything like ours, everyone has gotten a bug at some point this season.  In fact, it is the worst cold and flu season in almost a decade.  It is on pace to reach the death toll of 2014-2015's cold and flu season.  During that period, 56,000 Americans died of the flu.

Did you know HVAC can have an effect on colds and flu?

It's true!

Your HVAC filters air throughout the property.  By making smart HVAC decisions, you can reduce the likelihood of cold or flu viruses spreading.



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1.  Change your air filter

HVAC filters should be changed monthly with high-efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filters.  These filters can reduce tiny particles in the air that can spread colds and flu.

 

2.  Moisture in the air

Studies have found that the reason that flu season is in the winter is because of the lack of humidity.  Humidity affects how long the flu virus is stable.  It is believed that the water vapor deforms the virus.  

Add a whole house humidifier to your property, if you don't already have one.  In addition to deforming the flu virus, humidifiers reduce the symptoms of colds like sore throats, post nasal drip, congestion, and scratchy throat.

3.  Keep temperatures warm

Button you coat; you'll catch a cold!  While that is not true, what is true is that warm air holds more moisture than cold air.  As you saw in the previous section, moisture help prevent the flu and reduce symptoms of a cold.   Additionally, bodily natural defenses are less active in the cold.  The silica hairs in your nose, which trap germs, become less effective in cold temperatures.



4.  UV Lights

Did you know that UV lights used in HVAC systems have proven to reduce fungal growth?  It's true.  An NCBI study installed UV lights on certain floors of an office building and, as a control group, not on others.  The UV light floors had reduced fungal contamination in the air-handling units, in the fiberglass insulation, and reduced airborne fungi in the floor space.  

This year, Americans have already lost their lives to the flu.  To keep your home, apartment building, or office healthy - try these four tips for reducing flu and cold viruses with smart HVAC decisions.



 

 

 

Computrols 2017 Distribution Partner of the Year!

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F.E. Moran Mechanical Services and Computrols began their mutually beneficial partnership in fall of 2016. Over the past year, the two companies have partnered on a number of projects, mostly in the Greater Chicago Area.

 

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When asked about Computrols’ HVAC controls solutions, F.E. Moran Mechanical Services Tom Rogers, said, “I really like the flexibility of the controllers. One controller can do almost anything just by manipulating the software. Also, any point on their controllers can be configured as an input or output. No other controls company can do that.”



 

Mike Clayton, Computrols’ Manager of Strategic Partnerships, said, “Tom and F.E. Moran Mechanical Services understand and communicate the value of Computrols building automation systems as well as any distribution partner we have. They have become experts at implementing our CSI I/NET integration and controlling large-scale HVAC systems through CBAS.”

Rogers concluded, “one of my favorite parts of working with Computrols is how responsive they are. Everyone on their team is really passionate about the company and that extends to their network of distribution partners.”



F.E. Moran Mechanical Services is a part of the Moran Group of companies which was founded as a boiler and radiator installation service provider in 1931. Today, the business has blossomed into a turnkey construction group that includes HVAC services, custom pipe and sheet metal fabrication, fire protection, special hazard systems, mechanical services, and plumbing.

This is the second annual Distribution Partner of the Year Award given by Computrols. The 2016 winner was Williams Mechanical of Jonesboro, AR. The main criteria for the award is a passionate commitment to representing Computrols products.

To learn more about becoming a Computrols distribution partner, click here to hear from this year’s winner.



The Top 4 Multifamily Amenities to Attract Millennial Tenants

Tenants are looking for something new.

Gone are the days of paying via a drop box and never seeing your neighbors.  Today, millennial tenants want an experience.  They want social responsibility.  They want convenience.

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Property managers are seeing that and changing the way they operate.  Property management isn't just maintenance calls anymore.  Now, they are looking for new, innovative, and sometimes back-to-basic ways of giving tenants what they want.

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1.  Community Engagement

Today's tenants want a sense of community in their apartment building.  Property managers can host events to bring the community together in addition to having community space.  Host a wine tasting in the lobby, a super bowl party, or a yoga class.  Take old space that is no longer used and convert it to a BBQ area.  Property managers have the opportunity to foster relationships and comradery with residents, and that is exactly what they are craving.   

Related - What Do Property Managers Need to Know:  Five Year Fire Sprinkler Inspection

2.  Pet-Friendly 

According to petfoodindustry.com, 84.6 million millennials have pets.  Of that group, 63% think their pets should be pampered.  Residential buildings that cater to pets will have an advantage for millennial tenants (the biggest renter market).  If the building has open space, consider making it a dog park area where owners can let their dogs off leash for some fun.  When 70% of people who live in apartments have a pet, you want to capture that market by catering to them.  Other pet-friendly amenities include on-site grooming, boarding and pet sitting, in-house dog walkers, indoor/outdoor dog parks, and more.

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3.  Green Utilities

Millennials prefer an energy efficient home.  Apartment units should have energy efficient appliances.  They look for Energy Star labels on their dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerators.  In addition, add smart control to the HVAC.  These choices will keep utility costs down for the building and tenant.  Offer recycling in your building.  Millennials care about environmental issues, and would choose a building that has recycling over another.

Related -  5 Blogs to Keep Property Managers at the Top of their Game

4.  Convenience

Today's tenant wants convenience.  They want online payment portals, online leasing, and maintenance requestsThey want on-site fitness centers.  They want car services.  They want WIFI.  

What are you doing to differentiate your building from your competitors?

 

 

New OSHA Chief is Ex-FedEx Executive

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Donald Trump nominated a FedEx executive to lead the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), and he got the thumbs up by the Senate.

Trump nominated Scott Mugno on October 27.  He is currently the VP of Safety, Sustainability, and Vehicle Maintenance at FedEx Ground.  He is also the chair of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's OSHA subcommittee.

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Related:  OSHA's Recommendations for Protecting Temp Workers

Mugno was grilled during the hearing by Senator Patty Murray.  "I'm concerned about your record that stands against everything OSHA should stand for," Murray said during the hearing on December 1.  She continued, "During your two-plus decades at FedEx, you have consistently opposed stronger safety and health protections for workers.  Can you name a single rule proposed by OSHA that during your career you supported?"

Mugno replied, "I don't recall."

Related:  OSHA Eyes Workplace Safety for Temporary Workers

MA Democrat Elizabeth Warren asked if you would go back to the practice of issuing press releasing for big fines against job safety violators.  Under Obama, OSHA averaged 400 press releases a year.  Under Trump, there was only 26 in the first year.  Mugno responded that he would need to consult with staff.

All republicans voted to recommend approval of Mugno and all democrats voted against Mugno.  By December 13, he was approved.

 

5 Top Tips for Managing Your Bathroom Renovation

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Planning a high-end renovation for your bathroom is a lot of things.  It's exciting, stressful, annoying, and satisfying.  While it is a rare soul that enjoys the process of renovating and managing contractors, most people can agree, when it's over, it was all worth it.

Bathroom renovations increase property value by 100% of the cost of the renovation or more.  It is always worth it to invest in renovation your bathroom or kitchen.  An important note:  Look at your surrounding area.  You don't want to renovate too high-end or too low-end if it doesn't match your neighborhood.  Do your research to determine how much to spend on your renovation.

Related:  Pros and Cons of Green Plumbing

For example, our plumbing residential customers are generally in Wilmette, Glenview, Northbrook, or Chicago.  These areas support high-end bathroom renovations.  Look at real estate listings in your area to get ideas.

We did some research, and found that these five tips are the most helpful in managing a bathroom renovation.

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1.  Plan Ahead.

Pre-plan your budget by picking out your fixtures early, and getting labor quotes before you begin the project.  Also, make sure to have all of your materials on hand before you begin construction.  You don't want to start the renovation, and then a key fixture is on back order, holding up the whole project.   

Choose a trusted contractor.  The cheapest contractor can end up costing you way more.  

Understand standard bathroom measurements and plan accordingly.  This will help you develop a good plan for your bathroom layout.  You can also hire an architect or ask the plumbing contractor to help you make the best placement decisions.  

Related:  The Pros and Cons of Green Plumbing

2.  Hire Good Help

The surest way to ruin a renovation is to not hire the best contractors.  Better Homes & Gardens recommends hiring a contractor with 3+ years of experience who can provide positive customer references and are members to their industry's association.

When deciding on a great contractor, visit a job site so you get an idea of how they work

Related:  Bathroom Inspiration - these pictures will have you running to the contractor.

3.  This is the Place to Splurge

Bathrooms are the best place to splurge on high-end materials.  They are small, but have big impact.  Plus, the added value to the home makes up for the cost.  Houzz said, "A little designer secret is that because bathrooms are usually smaller spaces, splurging on a few high end materials and finishes can be a good investment that can make your space seem incredibly luxurious."

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4.  You Can Manage Bathroom Projects Yourself (Except the Plumbing!)

According to HGTV, home owners can manage many of the elements of a bathroom renovation themselves, except the plumbing.  While tiling or putting in a vanity can be done DIY, plumbing should not, unless the homeowner happens to be a trained professional.  Running pipe and installing shower systems should be left to professional plumbers.

Related:  Bathroom Inspiration - These pictures will have you running to your contractor!

5.  Pay Attention to the Lighting

Lighting makes a much bigger impact than you would think.  Some things to consider:  recessed lighting over the bath, updated fixtures above the sink, and incorporate layers of lighting with accent, ambient, and decorative.

Do you have reno fever going into the new year?  Start planning now, and follow our expert tips.

 

Happy Holidays from F.E. Moran!

Happy Holidays from F.E. Moran!

A World of Good Wishes. 

One of the real joys this holiday season is the opportunity to say thank you and wish you the very best for the new year

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A Guide to Making Your Office More Energy Efficient

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Small businesses encounter a plethora of costs when they start up. From rental space expenses to salaries and benefits, all of these add up and have a significant impact on a business’ budget. The cost of energy also plays a big part in running a business and ensuring operational efficiency.

Water, gas and electricity can be pricey, especially if your employees work extra hours. This guide contains important recommendations for those who want to make an office more energy efficient. These pointers will not only ease the pressure on your budget but will also contribute to protecting the environment and using fewer resources than needed.

1. Install a Programmable Thermostat

The easiest way to cut costs and make your office more energy efficient is to install a programmable thermostat. Heating and cooling are two of the biggest energy users in any work space. A programmable thermostat enables you to heat or cool certain spaces only during working hours by setting comfortable temperatures. Thermostats are easy to use by anyone in the office and the settings can be adjusted manually for special circumstances such as working overtime and staying late.

Related:  How to Make Your HVAC More Efficient

You will notice a significant change in your energy bill when you start using this type of thermostat. Other advantages of installing the device are being able to maintain a consistent temperature, spending less time constantly adjusting the settings, utilizing resources more effectively, putting less wear and tear on your heating and cooling systems and keeping the office’s HVAC system optimized to the latest standards.

 

2. Replace Desktop Computers with Laptops

If your employees don’t need desktop computers, you shouldn’t hesitate to upgrade the old PCs to newer, more cost efficient laptops. A desktop computer uses between 60 – 250 watts even when it is running a screen saver. And if your employees use additional monitors, the energy usage is even higher. A 17 inch or 19 inch LCD monitor uses anywhere between 19 – 40 watts while a 20 inch or 24 inch LCD monitor uses between 17 – 72 watts. By comparison, a laptop only uses 15 – 45 watts, considerably less than a desktop and a monitor.

Desktop computers are not only inefficient from an energy point of view, they are also bulkier and more restraining than a laptop. Desktops emit a lot of heat and during summer months this might make employees turn the AC on lower temperature settings, thus using even more electricity. Additionally, employees are more satisfied with a laptop than a computer. It allows them to work in different places around the office and even to work remotely when they need to.

Related:  Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) HVAC Gaining Ground in the Global Market

3. Upgrade the Lighting

Traditional incandescent bulbs consume between 20 – 80% more energy than energy efficient bulbs. Light emitting diodes (LEDs), compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and halogen incandescents all fall under the energy efficient light bulbs umbrella. Depending on the size of your office, energy efficient fixtures can save you a few hundred dollars in energy costs yearly and don’t need to be changed as often as traditional incandescent bulbs.

New energy efficient bulbs come in a plethora of light levels and colors so you’ll be able to take your pick and find what you need for your office environment. These types of bulbs are more expensive than the obsolete incandescents, however, the cost is justified in the long run.

4. Switch Off Unused Equipment or Use the Hibernation Feature

The vast majority of office electronics feature a hibernate or sleep setting. Monitors, laptops, desktops, and printers automatically switch themselves to a low power mode but you should check and make sure this setting is enabled. Each employee can also manually put their laptop or computer into hibernation mode, which enables them to save the existing work and continue wherever they left off the next day. Activating the sleep setting can save roughly $50 per computer yearly.  

Along the same vein, equipment that is not in use should be switched off completely. This includes scanners, microwaves, coffee makers, toasters, lights, vending machines and air conditioners. Switching these electronics off helps decrease the energy bill and conserves energy. This should be a standard procedure over the weekend and, more importantly, during holidays.

5. Invest in Energy Efficient Devices

Energy efficient devices are pricier than traditional ones but they also come with a rapid payback. Energy Star certified equipment uses less energy and is more efficient. For instance, a smaller, new refrigerator consumes less and will significantly reduce the energy bills. Keep in mind that a small office doesn’t need a big refrigerator and can definitely do without a freezer. A small fridge will not only occupy less space in the office kitchen but will also be more energy efficient.

If your office is located in an old building and it came with outdated equipment, it’s high time you changed it. Old systems such as air conditioners and heaters are most likely drawing unnecessary power and failing to work at maximum efficiency. In other words, outdated equipment is making you bleed money. Replacing these with Energy Star, newer versions will reduce the electricity bill and the maintenance costs.

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6. Allow Your Employees to Work from Home

Thanks to new technologies, most businesses can give employees the option to work remotely at least once a week. Using a VPN, employees can still safely access the work network, keep in touch with their colleagues and stay up to speed with the latest developments. Virtual meetings are not an issue either with tools such as Skype and WebEx helping employees to connect with each other or with clients regardless of their current location.

Allowing employees to work remotely one day per week helps businesses reduce the electricity costs since less lighting, cooling, heating and power is required. This method is not only energy efficient and environmentally friendly but it has also been proven to improve employee morale and help individuals stay motivated. 

7. Think About Installing Solar Panels

Solar power is considered the future for a good reason. Solar panels create pure, clean energy from the sun. Using these to fuel the equipment and electronics in your office will drastically bring down your electricity costs. There’s no denying that solar energy does not come cheap. This renewable source of energy is pricey, however, statistics show that the expenses can be recovered within just a few years as long as the solar panels are used almost exclusively.

Installing solar panels will initially put a strain on your budget but you will only reap the benefits in the long run. What is more, you will be bringing your personal contribution to decreasing the world’s dependence on fossil fuel and combating greenhouse gas emissions.

Author Bio

John Stuart works on behalf of sovpsl.com in outreach and content creation. He creates engaging content that help businesses connect with their audience and stand out from the crowd.

ENR Midwest Project of the Year: 150 N. Riverside

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F.E. Moran and F.E. Moran Fire Protection are excited to announce that their project 150 N. Riverside was chosen as ENR Midwest's Project of the Year:  Office/Retail/Mixed-use.

Developers and architects deemed the property at the corner of the Chicago River "unbuildable."  However, Goettsch Partners and Riverside Investment and Development found a way to make it work beautifully and transform the landscape of the Chicago skyline and riverwalk. 

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Here is an excerpt from ENR Midwest.

For decades, the less-than-two-acre sliver of land that would eventually become the home of 150 North Riverside sat vacant and unwanted, deemed unbuildable by developers and architects alike.

Despite a desirable Chicago loop location with easy access for commuting workers, the site offered a scant 47 ft of space to build a tower due to seven active Amtrak rail lines on the west and the city’s requirement for a riverwalk to the east.

“The idea of transferring perimeter columns into a core (via steel structural members) was the solution from Jim Goettsch’s first sketch,” says Joachim Schuessler, a principal at architect Goettsch Partners. “We knew we couldn’t land the main structure of the tower within the train tracks or too close to the river. We asked Ron Klemencic [chairman and CEO at Magnusson Klemencic Associates] if we could make that work, and he said, yes, we could and he came up with the necessary tools to do that.”

Read the full article in ENR Midwest.

 

Six Golden Safety Rules for Data Centers by Data Center Knowledge

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Data Center Knowledge and Digital Realty Trust's Director of Environmental Occupational Health and Safety developed an article about the cultural shift in the data center industry.  As data centers have grown and become more complex, the risks have grown as well.

Programming editor for CSS language

Here's an excerpt:

There’s a culture shift afoot in the data center industry. It puts new emphasis placed on safer working conditions for data center engineers and electrical contractors where, historically, such emphasis was a second thought. As equipment has grown increasingly complex and sophisticated, so too have the risks. This new safety awareness is a welcome change.

Today’s data centers -- from the hyper-scale to the agile colocation centers -- have increased in size, complexity and importance. They use massive amounts of power and cooling to ensure reliable operations. Data center companies have come to recognize that safety excellence is imperative to maximize uptime for their customers while reducing operational risk. Of the many safety issues that today’s data center operators must consider, these six rules are at the top of the list

Average Hourly Wage of Plumbers by State by Construction Junkie

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Construction Junkie has been tracking the hourly wage of construction professionals by state.  The full list is available here, but we're going to take a closer look at the plumbing profession.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May 2016 the current wage of plumbers by state.  As it turns out, Illinois is the second highest paying state for plumbers.  Below is the graph from Construction Junkie.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that Arkansas averaged $18.54/hour, the lowest in the country.  New York had the highest at $36.90/hour.  Illinois was just shy of that at $36.31/hour.  

The cost of living has a lot to do with the average wage.  When the plumbers wage was adjusted for the state's cost of living, which included cost of housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, health, and other living costs, Illinois had the highest wage for plumbers and New York moved to #24 and Hawaii moved to #51 as the worst paying states for plumbers.

Interested in learning more about plumbing positions at F.E. Moran?  Click here.

You might also like these stories about plumbing.

 

 

Season is Changing - What do you need to do for your HVAC?

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The season is changing.  At my house, on any given day, I could go from feeling my heat kick on in the morning and find my air conditioning on when I get home from work.  Both systems are getting to work, and both systems need to be maintained.  Your air conditioning just had a hard summer of work and your furnace is just about to start up its hard season.

So, what should you do? 

1.  Change your filters.

Air filters filter out airborne particles from entering the system and clogging it.  Dirty filters cause the furnace to run less efficiently.  There is a pressure drop, which leads to low air flow.  The system needs to work harder to function.  Any system that needs to work harder than necessary will burn out quicker.  Changing filters will keep the system working efficiently.

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2.  Test for Carbon Monoxide

When you are doing your winter preparation maintenance, you should complete a carbon dioxide test.  Anything above 15pmm is dangerous.  However, many CO detectors don't even register that low.  Carbon Dioxide can cause SIDS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ADD, loss of hearing, loss of sight, loss of speech, kidney disease, respiratory disease, heart disease, and other illnesses just from a small amount of carbon dioxide.  15pmm is the first level that can cause illness in people, and 30pmm effects most people.

3.  Clean Blower

A dirty blower can reduce the blower assembly air flow rate and increases heating and cooling costs.  It can also cause operating failures.  Inspectapedia measured that the difference in air flow and found a 50% or higher improvement in air flow in the blower unit when dirt is cleaned from the blower fan assembly.  It doesn't take much dust or debris to fill the curves of the fan blades.

4.  Check Gas Pressure

Improper gas pressure that is too high can cause the unit to overheat.  Gas pressure that is too low can cause lockouts on the flame sensor.  On the inlet side, too much gas pressure can cause gas valve failures.  Too little inlet pressure can cause sooting in the heat exchanger.

5. Clean and Balance Fan

If your filter is dirty or not installed, it can reduce your airflow.  With a reduced airflow, energy efficiency is reduced and cost goes up.

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6.  Check Bearings

A furnace blower motor has bearings that will eventually wear down.  Each fall, you should have your bearings checked to see if they need replaced.

7. Duct Cleaning

The EPA recommends cleaning ducts if there is mold or excessive dust/debris in the system.  However, unless your ducts are clogged, had mold, or vermin, they do not need to be cleaned routinely.  

8. Clean coil in Air Conditioning

The AC coil should be cleaned at least once every six months.  A good rule of thumb is to to do in the spring, in preparation for the summer heat and fall, in preparation for the AC shut down for winter.

You Might Also Like These Stories About HVAC Maintenance..

A Customer Thank You to our Plumber

A customer called to thank our amazing plumber, Brian Kiehm!

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Our Customer, Mr. R called to thank our Plumbing team for great service and express how much he appreciated the work done at his dad's house.

His dad is an 81-year old retired surgeon.  He has always had an interest in how things work - plumbing, electrical, and the list goes on.  Mr. R's dad could not say enough about how well he handled the service call and how personable Brian Kiehm was during the job.

Great job, Brian!

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Brian Kiehm

Plumber

 

For the Moran Group, customer service is our priority.  

Sure, every company says that, but at the Moran Group, we're a family company and we extend that relationship to our customers.

 

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Joe Beatty Gets Level 1 R&R Card Argonne Award for Lab HVAC Project

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Joe Beatty, F.E. Moran's Pipefitter was honored with an R&R Argonne award card for his work at Argonne National Laboratory. 

Chris Baltas, MDL Safety Manager said, "I don't give out many R&R cards to workers unless I feel they have gone above and beyond or have continually shown to be safety conscious."  He went on to tell the story of Joe Beatty and his gas line replacement project.

Baltas and Beatty were on opposite ends of a gas line that F.E. Moran was replacing.  Baltas was on the phone with the man on the other end of the gas line discussing if it was time to purge the line.  Baltas let Beatty know that they were ready to purge the line.  However, Beatty and his partner, Bruno, insisted in speaking in-person to verify that the line was ready to purge.

Baltas said, "I gave him a level 1 card shortly afterwards and thanked him for taking that extra step!"

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It’s our pleasure to assist the Will County Sheriff’s Office

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Ray Carpenter

Project Manager with F.E. Moran

 

When the county employees enter the new Will County Sheriff’s Facility in late November of this year it is sure that many of them will appreciate the nice ambiance of the buildings. New fixtures, computers, flooring and so forth but I wonder how many of these good people will give a thought to what went into the creation of such a facility; the concept, the planning, the architecture and from our standpoint at FE Moran, the mechanicals.

Each step in producing the finished building is critical. It involves much cooperation between contractors, suppliers, foreman, project managers and installers.

Mark Tetrick the project manager for FE Moran has the responsibility of coordinating the sheet metal and piping for the project as FE Moran was the lead contractor for the piping, sheet metal and building controls.

Although this project is certainly not the largest one FE Moran has tackled, there is still an enormous amount of materials and equipment required to complete such a building. 

Some of us employees get into the grind and don't think about the bigger picture.  When we reflect, we realize what this facility means to the people who live and work in this county.  Here is a nice facility that makes it possible for many people to be employed, being able to raise their families, pay their bills, and pay their taxes, which, in turn, educates the county's children and allows others to be employed.

There is a state of the art 911 center.  It helps anyone and everyone in the county who may need emergency assistance, saving lives.  What could be more crucial?

And of course all of us at FE Moran can appreciate their involvement with such a building reaping many of these same benefits as above.

In addition creating new relationships with vendors, contractors, equipment and control suppliers which gives us future references for new projects we may encounter.

So maybe next time we get caught up in the day-to-day struggles we face just pause for a moment and realize we are fulfilling a great need for a great many people. Contributing to our communities and to each other just by completing one project at a time.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this new Will County Sheriff’s Facility!

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Why Maintenance Agreements are Your Best Bet in HVAC

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Have you ever been in your office and all of a sudden need a fan?  

Or, it's the complete opposite.  It's ninety degrees outside, but you're wearing a sweater and have a space heater hidden under your desk.

You can avoid that.

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Proactive Maintenance Agreements

By having a proactive maintenance agreement, commercial building, residential high-rises, offices, and data centers reduce or eliminate HVAC downtime.  Not only that, you keep your system maintained, extending its lifetime and reducing energy costs.

What are the top benefits that maintenance agreement customers see?

1.  Reduced Equipment Failures

F.E. Moran Mechanical Services' customers have seen reduced equipment failures, downtime, and lost production.

2.  Lowered utility Bills

Energy bills are usually less once the building begins having regular maintenance.  Your system is running more efficiently and will be less likely to break down.

3.  Less Cost on Training

There is no need to train your internal maintenance manager or buy expensive tools to work with your HVAC system.  Rather than spending money on training and tools, you invest in a company that has been working on HVAC systems for thirty years.

 

F.E. Moran Mechanical Services has a full service, comprehensive maintenance agreement that includes repairs and preventative maintenance all at a fixed cost.  Businesses can easily budget their yearly HVAC needs with this simple solution.

Learn more about the proactive maintenance agreement here.

Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) HVAC Gaining Ground in the Global Market

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Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) HVAC systems are reaching new heights of popularity. 

VRF systems have already long been popular in Europe and Asia.  However, in the U.S. market ducts are built into most properties, so VRF isn't necessary. 

VRF's are beginning to gain traction in the U.S. because of the control.  VRF systems are easily able to be used in zones.  They are also much more energy efficient.  They save about 30% on HVAC energy costs.

Learn more about VRF systems in our article Why Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) HVAC Systems Are the Hot Topic of High-rise Buildings.     

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Infographic via ACHR News.

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Employers Need to Emphasize On-the-Job Driving Safety by Banning Cell Phones

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On the job motor vehicle collisions are as prevalent as ever.  It is essential for employers to emphasize on-the-job driving safety.

In the past two years, motor vehicle crashes have increased 14%.

“That is the highest increase over a two-year period since 1963. More than 1,000 people are suffering from life-changing injuries. We also know that the number one cause of on-the-job deaths are motor vehicle collisions,” said Jenny M. Burke, Itasca, Illinois-based senior director of advocacy at the National Safety Council.

The major reason for the increase in crashes is the distracted driver.

In a survey, 79% of people said that they would make phone calls while driving if it were legal.  Another 53% admitted that they would text while driving if it were legal or that they already were.

 

Exxon Mobile, Shell Oil, and Time Warner have implemented a no cell phone policy.  Experts say others should follow suit.

“We recommend that (employers) ban cellphones from job sites and cabs of heavy equipment,” Ms. Burke said. “We recommend that there are safe limited zones to use cellphones, that they allow cellphone breaks so employees don’t feel like they are stranded and can’t make those phone calls.”

Read more at Business Insurance.

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