Plan Lab

In by Andy Bozeman

We Build Wrong. Here’s Why.

Old Habits Die Hard.

Home Building hasn’t changed for 500 years.

The human race has been housing itself for centuries using techniques that seemed like a good idea at the time, but…………….

In the PLAN LAB we’ll look at long-wrong building practices. This will be continuously expanded, so bookmark it and come back, often.

Sure, some minor material developments have come,……and gone.

But, we still stack lumber up the same way, …which is inefficient, wasteful, and weak.

We select materials based on how they look, brand new, instead of how they’ll look and behave a year after installation………… or twenty.

We buy and build based on what someone tells us, instead of spending the tiniest bit of effort to verify and learn for ourselves.

We copy anything we think we like, never regarding if it’s right or a mistake.

We accept false security, at face value, based on popular phrases like “up to code,” and “built to a higher standard,” and “building green.”

We only apply the word more, when enough is enough.

The Growing List of Topics to Be Presented :
•Standards – There were few standardized practices 500 years ago. There are few now.

•WRONG Shape for angular roofs and square walls – Roofs are shaped like airplane wings and achieve similar uplift characteristics. Square wall respond to wind-drag, and create high-speed, damaging vortexes. Hobbits have the right idea.

•Footings are the wrong shape –
•Roofing Materials that add heat because of color, texture, materials, solar exposure
•Photo-Voltaic Pavement for Electric Power – This may belong in another category but I need to write it down. Why isn’t there photo-voltaic pavement? PV thread and fiber can be mixed with a paving material (????), then magnetically aligned for transmission to connecting points along the side of the road. Yes, it’s very inefficient, but there can be so much surface area that efficiency doesn’t matter. The problem can be overwhelmed by surface area. Converting to low-voltage Direct Current for uses and devices, across the board, can eliminate the risk of electric shock, just like Thomas Edison intended.
•Site Water-table Replenishment – Permeable Concrete is frowned upon because it’s weaker than its commonly used non-permeable counterpart. Simply use thicker PC.
•Foundation – Make the Earth do ALL the work – drilled piers, concrete and helical – ram driven pilings. These don’t work well : monolithic slabs, or crawlspaces on ribbon footings, resting on weak, fluid-when-wet bearing soil; engineered pads which are poorly drained and never maintained.
•Building Materials ◦Walls – Use manufactured ( self-made and factory produced ) dry-stack-able concrete building blocks
◦Framing – carbon-fiber ceramics

•Vapor Barriers used in the wrong places and the wrong way – (see Joeseph Listerbeck)
•Crawlspace Vents – DON”T
•Long-Span Floor Systems – trampoline effect
•Long-Span Ceiling Systems – Drum-head effect
•Cooling – Shaded Design with a Second Roof and Second Skin – The Shaded House™ – reduces load on conventional cooling systems
•Wasting Water – Most water is wasted while the user is waiting for hot water to travel the long distance from the water heater to the faucet. Use Hot Water Manifold Distributors to send hot water directly to the fixture.
•Multi-Level and Multi-Zone HVAC Systems – A Thermostat can only sense the temperature in exactly one spot, and that’s where the temperature is controlled.
•Envelope Holes – Reduce the number of holes in the house. ◦Combine vent stacks with manifolds
◦raised floor system allows for [more instances of] single penetrations of plumbing supply and drain piping
◦Combine similar electrical wiring into groups to reduce penetrations ◾high-voltage household power
◾low-voltage utilities : phone, alarm service, data, entertainment cabling.

•Self-Sustenance ◦No preparation or traditions for Roof-Top Gardens. This is so easy it’s pathetic. Nearly everyone knows nothing about it. The technology has been around for more than 500 years.

•Duct Work, the Dirty and Moldy kind – Use DUCTLESS systems – Mitsubishi – Fujitsu
•Crawlspace with NO curtain wall – open to rodents, weather, invasion of all sorts. Draft under the house can add air to a fire.
•Buried Water Lines – Plumbing under a slab is inaccessible – Pour a slab, then use raised-platform-floor-supports. Simply remove flooring as needed for easy reach and repair of any plumbing.
•Foam Insulated Roof Systems – Foam conceals leaks
•Foam insulated walls – Foam makes repair work in walls very difficult.
•Simulated materials, the ones that work. – They may have a long use lifetime, but not a long color life.
•Fixed Ceilings – Drop-in ceiling allow for all-access to wires and pipes
•Framing – Rigid, continuous framing, instead of stacked platforms
•Ceiling Height – Human proportions call for more than 8′
•Window Height – A simple thing like a raised header can add  feel to a room
•Not Enough Light – in the Day – Small windows, and bad planning block sunlight from entering the house.
•Too Much Light – At Night- Appliances and devices DO NOT have to have LED lights. Make them so they work well enough that we don’t need to care if they’re charging or working properly.
•Poor Storm-worthiness – ◦Screws instead of nails
◦Adhesive instead of screws
◦Rectangular shape is most susceptible to wind drag at corners
◦curved shape is least susceptible to wind drag
◦Customary roof pitches are aerodynamically susceptible to uplift from wind. A roof acts just like an airplane wing.

•Overhead Electrical Service – Easily damaged by wind, fire, ice, flood.
•Utilities protected in large under-street conduits
•Nobody talks – Poor communication between owner, designer, contractor, sub-contractors, decorators, inspectors, and neighbors.
•Trim Over-Valuation and Excessive Adornment – Trim is expensive – not always needed – can be added anytime
•Water Heater – A single source and long travel distance wastes water and energy
•Grab Bars – They’re good for EVERYBODY and they should be EVERYWHERE.
•Garages and other vehicle parking – too small, no standard size, just whatever a builder can get away with.
•Driveway Cracks and Breaks – Driveways need footings just like a house. They have to support a heavy car.
•Room Size – Too many rooms make them all too small.
•Narrow Passages – ◦Halls
◦Stairs ◾width
◾Landing at top and bottom

•Electrical Outlets – installing too few, wrong height
•Electrical Switches – wrong height, wrong locations
•Door Knobs – Levers have always been better, more useful to everyone
•Shower Benches are the wrong ◦Too shallow
◦Rectangular shape is un-usable
◦Should be oval and project into shower stall so user can straddle for sex, or sit to relax. Grab bars are essential

•Security – make the thief want to NOT break-in
•Small Window Panes –

•CABINETS – wrong height ◦base cabinets typically too short
◦wall cabinets too low on counter

•GARDEN (Green ) Roof – ◦No new technology is required.
◦Requires only a slight adjustment in construction skills, design, and techniques
◦No more expensive than traditional shingles.
◦Adds Outdoor Living Area,
◦Grow food
◦Shades the house
◦Moist earth is has cooling effect
◦Well “rooted” vegetation can withstand high winds better than shingles.

•Points of Attachment Equals Points of Failure – The more points of attachment there are, the more points of failure there are. ◦nails, rivets, screws
◦example – lattice fencing and partitions. each connection at every cross-piece can fail.

More to follow……………..


Andy Bozeman