Best practice for foundations in the construction industry

PBC Today | February 20, 2020

The technical team at structural warranty specialists Advantage Insurance take a look at what constitutes best practice for foundations in 2020. For this construction-focused edition of PBC Today, we’ve taken a look at the various options for foundations most commonly used within the construction industry today, and have also considered the key variables which will affect the final choice of foundations at the design stage. We also provide information on current building regulations and British Standards intended to ensure foundations are designed to optimally fulfil their purpose. It goes without saying that mistakes at this early stage of the construction process can prove to be costly to put right and can be detrimental to the building’s structure and longevity. Essentially, the function of foundations is to ensure effective and balanced transfer of structural loadings acting upon the ground supporting the building while preventing the overstressing of that ground. The substrata of the ground will stand as one of the most important factors in choice of foundation.

Spotlight

Reliable subcontractors who can deliver work on time are vital for keeping any project on budget and on schedule. And choosing the wrong subcontractor introduces risk to
your project that grows exponentially as time goes on. It’s clear that picking the right subcontractor is one of the most important jobs a head contractor does, but it’s also
one of the most difficult. Slow, manual processes can impede your ability to find the right subcontractors, choose the best tender, and effectively communicate with your subcontractors when the project starts.


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CONSTRUCTION

Lafarge Canada to Double Recycled Aggregates Volumes Through Key Partnerships

Lafarge | April 22, 2022

In celebration of this year’s Earth Day, Lafarge Canada Inc. is proud to announce the ambitious goal of doubling Eastern Canada Recycled Aggregates volumes by 2025 a set target to supply customers with over 2 million tonnes per year the equivalent to a train pulling 16,000 fully loaded rail cars. The use of Recycled Aggregates alone is a key component of Lafarge Canada’s journey to Net Zero, directly associated with the global demand for sustainable building solutions to support better living standards. “2021 was a record year. Having achieved a 19 per cent growth rate last year exceeding our original ambition of 15 per cent, encourages our teams to confidently work towards our 2025 Aggregates Strategy,” commented Peter Sanguineti, Vice President, Aggregates Eastern Canada. “In fact, we are already looking to accelerate this year’s growth rate, aiming at 25 per cent a 10 per cent annual prediction increase based on our ongoing projects with key partners in Eastern Canada.” Lafarge’s investment in the Recycled Aggregates portfolio is a clear example of the company’s commitment to the concept of Circular Economy, for instance, when producing Recycled Aggregates from demolition waste and returned concrete, Lafarge avoids the disposal of these materials in landfills and presents a sustainable alternative to virgin materials, which are non-renewable resources. “In addition, our high quality recycled aggregates significantly reduce the volume of virgin material to be transported by trucks over time,” commented Marie-Michèle Poirier, Manager, Environment & Land, Eastern Canada, “In order to reuse construction waste and turn it into Recycled Aggregates, we transport the waste directly to stockpiles at cities’ depots, which traditionally is a shorter distance compared to virgin material transportation from quarries to construction sites, resulting in a significant decrease in GHG emissions.” “Our objective is to follow the circular economy's three principles of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle to build more with less and preserve our ecosystems. In that sense, our efforts are focused on expanding applications for Recycled Aggregates and raising quality and acceptance standards; and at the same time, address current barriers across Provincial and local governments,” affirms Sanguineti. “When you consider the logistics benefits of being close to the market and the need for a trusted outlet for demolition waste, we have a winning recipe.” Partnerships in Eastern Canada Over the past years, in Eastern Canada, Lafarge has supplied Recycled Aggregates to multiple projects in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and the Infrastructure Ontario, including Metrolinx and the most recent QEW Credit River project. In addition, lately, the company has been working with subcontractors to Mosaic’s Finch Light Rail Transit (LRT) project to supply Recycled Aggregates in Mississauga (ON). These applications prove the versatility and high performance standards of Lafarge’s Recycled Aggregates portfolio in traditional applications. “In one of our most recent endeavors, we have been supplying multiple contractor partners performing the work for the various projects as part of the City of Toronto Basement Flooding Protection Program, The City primarily uses recycled concrete for trench backfill and bedding as part of the roadwork and their Flood Protection Program upgrades to water and wastewater in infrastructure. This proves that with proper processes and controls in place to guarantee product specifications, quality and consistency in addition to proper traceability, it can be safely utilized in a much broader and complex range of applications.” Mark Lambie, Commercial Manager, Greater Toronto Area Aggregates As part of the execution of Lafarge Eastern Canada Aggregates Strategy, the company has been also partnering with Concordia University, in Quebec, leading a study in cooperation with the City of Montreal to assess Recycled Aggregates performance in different applications. “Another exciting channel is our collaboration with different industries’ interest groups, such as Circular Economy Leadership Canada (CELC) and our participation in their World Circular Economy Forum last year,” highlighted Sanguineti. “Lastly, in February this year, we had the pleasure to sponsor the ‘Maximizing the use of Recycled Aggregates for roads construction in Canada’, a national workshop led by Circular Economy Leadership Canada in partnership with Circular Innovation Council. The event was a great opportunity to share information amongst various industry stakeholders and further our common understanding of the success stories and remaining barriers.” Technical and scientific studies According to Nicolas Ginouse, Technical Director, Aggregates & Construction Materials, Eastern Canada, “Technical and scientific studies on this topic clearly show that the complete or partial replacement of virgin aggregates by Recycled Aggregates offers unique opportunities for supply chain security, reducing natural resources consumption, and global carbon footprint while ensuring similar, and in some cases, superior performances when compared to virgin materials. In some European countries and areas, such as in Paris, where sourcing virgin aggregates is very challenging, the use of Recycled Aggregates has become the norm, as they are essential to secure sustainable and cost-effective aggregates supply, while reducing CO2 emissions.” In 2019, the Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) estimated that more than 6 million tonnes of Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) were being stockpiled at over a hundred facilities across the province. “If we were to reuse this amount of RAP as an industry – the equivalent of over 500,000 full dump trucks – in producing asphalt for new roads, we would be looking at saving around 15 million cubic metres of freshwater, enough water for over 50,000 households for one year, and on top of that, we would be saving 125 thousand tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions,” concludes Lambie. Industry task force However, there are currently a few barriers restricting the accelerated growth of Recycled Aggregates in Canada. One of the most pressing roadblocks is the lack of trust in performance - related to a few unfortunate events that took place in the past associated with industry players that have supplied projects with substandard material, which have resulted in quality and durability issues. “This is why it is key for us to aim to define a set of regulations or a certification system that provides the minimum quality and consistency requirements to ensure high standard performance. However, Lafarge recognizes the fact that we cannot influence this on our own and there must be consensus among responsible players,” commented Sanguineti. “With that said, we have initiated an industry task force with like minded responsible industry players, looking to standardize acceptance requirements across local governments in Ontario.” About Lafarge Canada Inc. Lafarge is Canada’s largest provider of sustainable construction materials and a member of the global group, Holcim. With 6,000 employees and 350 sites across Canada, our mission is to provide construction solutions and products that build progress for people and the planet. The cities where Canadians live, work, and raise their families along with communities’ infrastructure benefit from the sustainable portfolio provided by Lafarge, consisting of Aggregates, Asphalt and Paving, Cement, Precast Concrete, Ready-Mix Concrete, and Road Construction.

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ENGINEERING TECH

H3 Dynamics & ELID Partner on Fully Autonomous Building Facade Maintenance, Link-up AXIOBOT Robotic Gondolas to H3 Zoom Façade Inspection Software

H3 Dynamics | April 11, 2022

Singapore industrial AI & robotics companies, H3 Dynamics and ELID Technology, have entered a commercial and technical partnership that ties H3 Dynamics’ AI-enabled façade assessments to ELID’s robotic façade repair gondolas. The combined technologies create the first end to end automation solution covering both inspection and remediation activities on tall buildings. This increases worker safety, while scaling up much needed maintenance in large-scale cities with aging populations and thousands of aging structures. Launched 3 years ago, H3 Dynamics’ H3 Zoom platform applies AI and workflow automation to help digitize health assessments of various structures and sites, with a first solution aimed at modernizing dangerous façade inspection work. This year Singapore enacted the Periodic Façade Inspection regime, making it compulsory to inspect buildings over 13 meters high and over 20 years of age every 7 years. Anticipating this development, Singapore’s JTC Corporation partnered with H3 Dynamics to develop an all-digital façade inspection solution as part of a national innovation initiative, now seen as the most advanced solution of its kind. The AI-enabled solution has been applied to over 900 buildings so far in Singapore alone. So far H3 Dynamics relied mainly on drone cameras to feed its cloud-based report generation system with HD and thermal images. But in the last 2 years its platform expanded to “non-drone" data workflows, connecting to body worn cameras, fixed cameras, and various robots – including AXIOBOTS robotic façade gondolas from ELID. “H3 Zoom is an agnostic site or asset intelligence platform - we purposely separated our software platform from our hardware developments so that we can open ourselves to new possibilities,” says Shaun Koo, CTO and co-Founder of H3 Dynamics’ H3 Zoom business. “Robotic gondolas can operate autonomously where drones cannot, especially in tight urban environments.” Following recent developments with CapitaLand, one of South-East Asia’s leading real estate companies – H3 Dynamics’ H3 Zoom platform capabilities have expanded to automated repair cost estimates, vendor management as well as repair project tracking. The platform links seamlessly to third party enterprise software, such as SAP’s work order management systems, or BIM tools from Autodesk, and has now partnered with HP Enterprise and Oracle to reach even more clients. The company’s system is open, agnostic, and can flow easily from assets anywhere in the field to clients’ operations. ELID’s AXIOBOTS robotic gondolas bring façade maintenance automation to the next level: they can paint, grout, clean, check for waterproofing and provide visual inspection. Combining AXIOBOTS with H3 Zoom AI-enabled platform fully automates the physical inspection and remediation process, linking precise positioning and qualification of defects with automated NDT physical checks and repair. “Our partnership with ELID exemplifies a powerful end to end innovation, where robots are not just capable of acquiring data, but also execute repair tasks identified by our AI analytics platform. This will make smart cities even smarter - bringing building automation to the next level,” stated Taras Wankewycz, CEO of H3 Dynamics. “We are proud to have H3 Dynamics’ market leading 'Facade Inspector' solution tied to AXIOBOTS facade robots. This provides clients with an easy all-in-one-solution for their façade maintenance needs,” Kenneth Wong, CEO of ELID Technology International H3 Dynamics and ELID are expected to begin trials of the combined solution in Singapore with JTC Corporation and Frasers Property Singapore, as a springboard to other megacities and countries with dense urban city-centers. About H3 Zoom by H3 Dynamics: Seeing digitization as the main driver for autonomous robotics and drone operations, H3 Dynamics created the H3 Zoom platform in 2015. H3 Zoom is a cloud-based and sensor agnostic autonomous analytics services platform that aggregates and transforms raw image and video files into cloud-based analytical insights. H3 Zoom’s broad array of expert services help accelerate maintenance and compliance decision-making for site or structure owners, facilities managers, and construction companies. The platform was launched commercially in 2019 and has since become a market leader for remote analytics as a service in Southeast Asia, with expansion now taking place globally through several partnerships including SAP, Oracle, and HP Enterprise. About ELID Technology: ELID Technology has been a renowned manufacturer of Access Control solutions since 1993 and started the development of AXIOBOTS in 2015. AXIOBOTS ’ autonomous painting system was completed in 2017 while its cleaning, visual inspection, and water-tightness testing capability was launched in 2019—making AXIOBOTS the world’s 1st automated 4-in-1 robotic façade solution, and a market leader in its field. AXIOBOTS has patents granted in 7 countries including Singapore and United States while 6 other countries pending grant. Deployable in any mode of access such as suspended platform, boom lifts and BMUs, and with a growing number of projects in Singapore, ELID is setting its sight on global expansion.

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CONSTRUCTION

Embrey Management Services (EMS) Selected To Manage Soneto On Western Apartments in Katy, Texas

Embrey | December 24, 2021

Nationally recognized and award-winning Embrey Management Services (EMS) has been selected to provide residential services for Soneto On Western located in Katy, Texas. The 330-unit community, formerly known as Lenox Grand Crossing, is part of the highly desirable Cinco Ranch neighborhood that is known for being family friendly and provides easy access to shopping, dining and entertainment.We chose Embrey Management Services because of their deep understanding of the market and the exceptional level of service they provide to residents," said Josh Kogel, Vice President for The Praedium Group, which owns the community. "Embrey's background as a fully integrated real estate investment firm and a highly regarded developer allows their team to take a unique approach to property management to deliver an exceptional living experience to our residents. Designed to surpass the high expectations of residents, the one-, two-, and three-bedroom units feature wood-style flooring, gourmet kitchens with granite countertops, smooth-top ranges, stainless steel appliances, deep single-basin sinks and brushed nickel finishes. The luxury residences feature walk-in closets, private yards, patios or balconies, detached garages and full-size washers and dryers. Community amenities include two resort-style pools with sundecks, a large central pavilion and cabanas, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a community work lounge with private workspace, a club room with a demonstration kitchen and a pet park with a dog station. "Embrey is known for building and managing properties that feel like home,We are proud to partner with the Praedium Group as their residential management company to showcase the premier community." -Allyson McKay, Managing Director and Executive Vice President of Embrey Management Services Division About Embrey San Antonio-based Embrey Partners LLC is a diversified real estate investment company that owns, develops, builds, acquires and manages multifamily residential communities and commercial assets in targeted markets across the United States. Since 1974, Embrey has developed more than 44,000 apartments and over 6 million square feet of commercial property. Embrey is a leading developer in the multifamily sector, with more than 6,000 units under construction or in development. www.embreydc.com

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ENGINEERING TECH

Gretel Announces General Availability of Its Privacy Engineering Developer Stack

Gretel | February 02, 2022

Gretel announced the general availability of its privacy engineering APIs and services. Gretel’s comprehensive offering enables users to classify, transform and generate the industry's highest-quality synthetic data. Combined, these capabilities remove privacy bottlenecks for a myriad of development and workflow processes that prevent data sharing and stifle innovation. A free plan for developers is available to anyone who wants to get started, and usage-based options are available for larger projects and teams.Gretel has tested its products in an open beta program for over a year, and incorporated improvements to its toolkit based on feedback from more than 60 enterprise engagements, its community of thousands of users, and open source users who have downloaded their SDK over 70,000 times. “We’ve built a privacy toolkit that’s accessible to all developers, and scalable to any enterprise-ready project. With Gretel, anyone can classify, anonymize, and synthesize data that’s privacy-proven and highly accurate in just a few clicks, Gretel’s advanced privacy guarantees also give users complete control to adjust data privacy levels, based on their project needs, and guard synthetic data against adversarial attacks.” -Gretel CEO and co-founder Ali Golshan. Today, working with data is… hard. Gretel is making it easier. By building flexible, secure, and easy to deploy tools to support data-driven developers, Gretel will open a world of progress across industries, said Max Wessel, Executive Vice President & Chief Learning Officer at SAP. Gretel has been working with teams and organizations across industries including healthcare, life sciences, finance, and gaming. Some of their recent work includes creating synthetic genomic data and synthetic time-series banking data. The broad interest in Gretel’s privacy engineering tools is not a surprising trend and is supported by analysts’ forecasts that by 2030, synthetic data will completely overshadow real data in AI models. Gretel is committed to fostering a culture of trust, transparency, and shared knowledge with the public and developer community. They continue to open source their core synthetic data technology and research as well as offer free access to its tools through its Developer tier. Advanced Privacy Engineering Made Accessible With Gretel’s all-in-one privacy stack, developers everywhere can streamline workflows, and access advanced privacy engineering tools to easily Create highly accurate, privacy-proven synthetic data Seed pre-production systems with safe, statistically accurate datasets Identify and remove sensitive data to reduce PII-related risks Augment and de-bias datasets to train ML/AI models fairly Anonymize sensitive data in real time, for data at scale “Asking data-driven developers to exchange real-world data for synthetics requires they not only have a deep dedication to privacy, but also access to simple, intuitive solutions that return value immediately. Gretel provides all of the above and helps simplify privacy engineering,” -Chris Hymes, the VP of Information Security, Data Privacy and Enterprise IT at Riot Games. Gretel is also previewing its AWS S3 connector for its toolkit, and anyone interested in it can contact Gretel directly. For more information about Gretel’s toolkit, see their product overview or visit http://gretel.ai. About Gretel Gretel pioneered Privacy Engineering as a Service and a comprehensive toolkit for generating high-quality synthetic data. Their platform offers easy-to-use APIs, an open-source AI-based core that’s available for free to all developers and individuals getting started, and flexible pay-as-you-go options for production-ready projects as they scale. Gretel’s services can be used through its SaaS cloud offering or CLI for local environments.Gretel is hiring for positions throughout the company. Check out their careers page for a full list of job openings.

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Spotlight

Reliable subcontractors who can deliver work on time are vital for keeping any project on budget and on schedule. And choosing the wrong subcontractor introduces risk to
your project that grows exponentially as time goes on. It’s clear that picking the right subcontractor is one of the most important jobs a head contractor does, but it’s also
one of the most difficult. Slow, manual processes can impede your ability to find the right subcontractors, choose the best tender, and effectively communicate with your subcontractors when the project starts.

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