Friday, September 1, 2017

Green Building in a Climate-challenged World

In today’s world, there’s much buzz around sustainable or “green” building design and construction, a method where resources are wisely used to create high-quality, more energy efficient, and healthier homes and commercial buildings.

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Green design strikes a balance between high-quality building and low environmental impact. A lighter footprint translates to a longer-lasting planet, which rewards both business and the environment.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, more popularly known as LEED, is at the forefront of green building. It is a voluntary national certification process that assists industry experts in developing high-performance and sustainable residential and commercial projects. Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES), meanwhile, is an automated approach to measuring a building product’s life-cycle assessment, as well as environmental and economic impact.

Green construction technology is a wide-ranging category, covering everything from appliances to geothermal heating. It includes solar power, cool roofs, biodegradable materials, and storm water management, to name a few. The so-called zero energy home, for instance, is built to successfully operate independently of the normal electric grid– it provides its own power through renewable sources.

Green building goes beyond its many parts and materials and embraces processes and impacts that benefit the environment at large. In a planet facing changing climate, increasing temperatures, and related environmental issues, building green becomes more than just a trend, but a potential necessity.

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Lisa Dudzik is a contracts and claims manager from Perth, Western Australia, who lived in different parts of the world as an expat. She is also an MBA graduate and is currently pursuing an LL.M. in International Commercial Law. Read more about the construction industry by visiting this blog.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The beaches of Oz: Australia’s top beaches

The continent-nation that is Australia is a paradise for beach-seekers on the lookout for a haven away from the hustle and bustle of city living. Here are some of the big country’s best beaches. 

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Turquoise Bay, Western Australia 

This magnificent beach can be found in the Cape Range National Park near Exmouth, about a 12-hour drive from Perth. It lies in the shallows of the Ningaloo Marine Park, and offers crystal-clear blue waters and living corals. The Ningaloo Reef is easily accessible (just 50m-100m offshore), and is a great spot for snorkeling. 

Maslin Beach, Adelaide 

Located 40-km south of Adelaide and facing Gulf St Vincent, this beach is renowned for being the first ‘legal’ nude beach in Australia. The 1.5-km beach is lined with limestone cliffs, and is the site for the Nude Olympics and the annual Best Beach Bum awards. It is the ideal Aussie hideaway to boldly go (pun intended) for fun and leisure. 

Boat Harbour Beach, Tasmania 

Tasmania, for those who don’t know, is an island state of Australia. And Boat Harbour Beach is located on its Nature Isle coast. It is a quiet seaside town, 30 minutes from Burnie on the state’s north coast. It is especially recommended for its diving and snorkeling, as well as for its proximity to the famed Rocky Cape National Park. 

Cossies Beach, Indian Ocean 

This is the most remote beach on our list, but is easily one of the country’s best. Located in the Cocos or Keeling Islands, Cossies was just named so in 2016, in honor of Peter Cosgrove, Australia’s 26th Governor-General. It is a 4.5-hour flight from Perth, and closer to Indonesia than mainland Australia. It is for the beach purist, boasting of a 300-meter stretch of white sand. 

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Lisa Dudzik is an expat who as traveled to many parts of the world. She enjoys her work and the people she meets along the way. Originally from Perth, she is an adventure-seeker and a lover of the great outdoors. More on her hobbies and interests here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Solving Construction Productivity Problems

Construction sites are dynamic and loud. Workers are constantly on the move. Their work requires them to be physically and mentally strong. But it’s not at all times that sites are active and productive. Contractors and workers may be taking steps that hinder their productivity without them knowing.

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Make use of newly available technologies. This may help in the planning process. There are software applications that are for project management, onsite productivity, and building information modeling that can shorten the time for waiting and rework.

Longer work days can be inefficient as the long hours can take a toll on tired bodies and worn-out minds. Overtime may decrease productivity as some may not be working their best. Poor mental attitude may get in the way of developments as well. Properly communicate what has to be done during the day to keep each one reminded of their duties for the time given. Instruct workers well to prevent inaccuracy in work. Bear in mind that their mental fitness is as important as their physical fitness by providing breaks from time to time for them to have refreshed bodies and minds.

Safety training is a must for every construction project. Accidents can result in project delays. Improving safety in the sites can prevent accidents as it educates employees how to do procedures safely. This may also encourage them to adopt new safety methodologies.

Having too many men working at the same time may cause delay. But hiring the right number of employees who are highly-skilled can increase productivity. With the employees’ welfare in mind, better scheduling should be planned and implemented. Safety of workers and proper communication among clients, contractors, and employees can keep a project’s development rolling at a steady pace.

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Lisa Dudzik
is a contracts and claims manager from Perth, Western Australia. For almost two decades, she has overseen large-scale constructions across different industries, including those for high-capacity subways and stations, highways, and roads. For similar articles, click here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Paris 2024: What An Olympic Park Looks Like

Los Angeles stepped aside so the City of Lights, Paris, can be bestowed the honor of hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics. This will be the third time the French capital will be cradling the Olympic torch, and as the number one tourist destination in the world, its hosting chops will be highly scrutinized.

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In its bid for hosting honors, Paris has immediately rebranded into an Olympic Park. Not that its natural beauty needs to be overlaid with too much development to stage an international event, but there are designated zones for specific audiences. For instance, the Paris Saint-Denis Zone will be meant for a youthful and diverse audience, while the Paris Centre Zone will put all of the city’s historical attractions front and center.

While hosting Olympic Games is never inexpensive, Paris’ inherent infrastructure and well-maintained public structures make the reuse of existing facilities possible. This should represent huge construction savings. The city has also embraced a “responsible and sustainable Games concept” to keep the investment costs down and prioritize the event’s impact on communities.

The idea of working with what the city already has will be to the favor of its known tourist attractions. The emblematic Tour Eiffel itself will be the site of beach volleyball. The grounds of Chateau de Versailles will provide the stunning atmosphere for Equestrian, while the Esplanade des Invalides lends its historical airs to archery.

Notably, the Seine will play both the heart and the backdrop of the games, being the site of a few sporting events and the view of athletes’ accommodations.

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Paris will be a different break from the building sprees that have characterized previous Olympic games.

Lisa Dudzik from Perth, Western Australia, is a contracts and claims manager who lived in different parts of the world as an expat. For more reads on construction developments around the world, visit this page.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Tips On How To Prevent Construction Disputes

In construction projects, snags are sometimes inevitable. And the larger the scale of the project, the increased likelihood of different forms of disputes occurring between the owner, contractors, suppliers, and other individuals or groups involved in the project.

Because these construction disputes can increase costs and prolong completion time, it is in everyone’s best interest to prevent these disputes as much as possible. Here are some tips how:

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Read and understand the contract: In most cases, it is only when a dispute is raised before the contract is fully read by at least one of the parties. It is important that even before the contract is signed, that the document is read in its entirety and that every clause and agreement are understood, negotiated, and evenhanded.

Prioritize pre-construction work: A construction belief in construction projects is that every hour spent on pre-construction work can save two hours of actual construction work. Instead of going head on, rigorous preparation is needed in putting together solid and realistic estimates or schedules, procuring materials or equipment needed, and other key processes.

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Document properly: Daily reports on tasks, issues, and transactions are usually overlooked, but these documentations can prevent disputes because they provide a paper trail and a means to compare how the actual project is coming along based on the plan and contract.

Lisa Dudzik of Perth, Western Australia, has overseen large-scale construction projects across several industries and has experience in disputes resolution. Visit this blog for similar reads.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Augmented Planning: How The Construction Industry Is Relying On Virtual Reality

Construction is a dangerous business. There are a lot of things to consider when starting a project - one of which is ensuring the safety of workers. Construction managers understand that there are many moving parts in any project, be it a high-rise building or industrial building. Builders have to document each process and update their stakeholders on their progress. These reports have traditionally been made using photographs or on-site tours. Virtual reality gadgets have changed this.
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Planning: The longest phase of any construction is the planning. Architects and builders collaborate to design a model that suits their client’s needs while following protocols set by regulatory agencies. Building Information Modeling (BIM) have replaced traditional blueprints and allow for increased collaboration between builders and stakeholders. Virtual reality sets enhance this communication even further by providing access to a 360-degree view of the plan.

Construction: During the actual building, augmented reality gadgets are used to spot weak areas. This eliminates the need for workers to go to dangerous areas unless necessary. Moreover, these virtual reality devices are a fantastic way to train construction workers on effective strategies for extenuating circumstances.

Marketing: The real estate industry is now relying on virtual reality gadgets to market specific properties. Construction professionals can now do the same. These augmented reality sets capture the entire project that can be saved and transmitted to other clients in real-time. The effect is that construction companies have an online portfolio of their work which improves their business relevance.

It has been noted that the construction industry was one of the last sectors to involve itself with technology. Yet the past couple of years has seen a significant shift. It is interesting to see where and how much the construction industry will use technology to its advantage.
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Lisa Dudzik of Perth, Western Australia, oversees construction projects across several industries, including those for subways, roads, and highways. For more insights on the construction industry, follow this Twitter account.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Is It Time To Mourn The Great Barrier Reef?

Those who love this colorful and expansive jewel of marine life might be monitoring new developments in the assessment of damage absorbed so far by the Great Barrier Reef. Climate change has wrought its visible effects now, even as skeptics question some of the facts. Photos of bleak corals, whose colors are now as dull as barnacles, are arresting. Even more so are the consequences such photos depict: the loss of millions of fish, the decimation of other marine species on which relies also millions of livelihood and tourism revenue.

Image source : The New York Times
Climate change scientists and marine biologists have been spending their time flying low into the area, at great risk to their lives. For it is a matter of life and death: the world’s biggest expanse of living creatures might be dying from rising ocean temperatures. Based on underwater and aerial surveys, two-thirds of the northern Reef’s corals have died. Corals have been bleached as algae react to warmer water temperatures, thereby producing toxin.

Climate change is not the sole culprit. Human activity has lent an insidious hand to the widespread destruction. Some areas of the reef bore the brunt of overfishing, runoff, sewage, and even agriculture.

Moreover, the Great Barrier Reef represents a spreading trend among the world’s other coral reefs. National Geographic reports that 12 percent of the world’s corals have bleached, auguring the most prolonged bleaching event in the Earth’s natural history.

Image source : The New York Times
Scientists have been working together to, in the best scenario, reverse the tides at the Great Barrier Reef. Surely, tourists and locals who have once been captivated by its beauty will be compelled to confront their carbon footprints in the wake of such a disaster.

Perth native Lisa Dudzik loves nature and the outdoors. She is into sports like horseback riding, rugby, mixed martial arts, and football. Having lived in different places as an expat, she lists Maldives, Belize, and the U.K. as her favorite travel destinations. For more updates about the state of the Great Barrier Reef, visit this Twitter page.