Chimneys & Foundations

July 31, 2014 1 comment

Originally posted on Casa Buena Builders - Providence, RI:

Over the past few months, we have undertaken two moderate size masonry projects. The first, a chimney on the Southside of Providence – on a slate roof with entricate design details. Second, an old stone and brick foundation that was on the verge of collapse.


The existing chimney was crumbling, with the entire back having been broken off. The chimney was rebuilt by Jared and Kurtis – with help from the ground from a myriad of employees. The area surrounding the chimney had to be completely staged, and the entire project took about a week and a half. The chimney was rebuilt with a mixture of the original bricks and a new brick created to have a weathered look. The mortar was a lime, sand and white Portland cement mix, with a touch of dye to darken the bright white.


The existing foundation suffered greatly from heavy erosion…

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Roofing Geometry for Unusual Roof Penatrations

Originally posted on Casa Buena Builders - Providence, RI:

Victorian houses are beautiful no doubt, but they often present complicated rooflines that require above average designs for flashing.  This problem is one such example.  We were recently commissioned to rebuild this chimney and flash in properly with permanent roofing techniques.  This means no solder, no sealant, and NO cutting corners.  The difficulty in this fabrication is created by a hip intersecting the chimney on the rear corner.  The roof pitch is 10:12 which would be very simple to flash if there wasn’t a hip cutting through the flashing right where a seam is required.


Since we are using a fillet seam, all the transitions and angles must be found in the flat before the pattern is cut out and formed…

First we draw a plan or top-down view:


From the plan we are able to create two sections or side views:



There is one key ingredient missing here though…

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Minimum Wage – A Construction Perspective

The minimum wage debate has been raging, without a ton of fanfare, in Washington D.C. Recently, Seattle, WA voted and approved a minimum wage hike to $15 an hour, to be raised gradually over time. Workers rejoice, businesses groan, but what does this mean?

Obviously, unless you are a waiter/waitress, or some other job that receives tips, or you are some sort of apprentice/trainee, you will start out at $15 an hour. What does this mean for skilled laborers though?

Personally, I work in the construction field, mostly office work and small to mid masonry projects, as well as some small to mid level carpentry and other related construction projects – mostly on historic homes. This means: I have had, and those who work with me have had – on the job training, have more then basic math skills, have some knowledge of structural engineering, historic techniques and processes, work and coordination skills with others (fellow workers, subcontractors, project managers and home owners), know terminology, can read engineering and architectural drawings (and understand them), and have job management skills. Obviously, each person that I work with is different with each of these skills, and many others – from swinging a hammer, to mixing mortar from scratch, to figuring costs of labor and materials, etc – and that is, again, obviously apparent in scale of pay. Likewise, so is experience. Personally, I get paid better then what Seattle has approved for minimum wage, but not everyone who works for the company I work for does, nor does everyone who works in construction – but in a few years, if this company was in Seattle, they would. So what does this mean?

Examples: (Hypothetical) Here are some examples, not to be taken as a literal picture of the company I work for, but as a hypothetical.

General Labor -
Labors: (5) $10.00 an hour
Skilled Labor: |
Carpenter: (3) $20.00 an hour
Masonry/Tile (2) $18.00 an hour
Painter: (4) $15.00 an hour
Foreman: (1) $25.00 an hour

That is 20 employees, if all worked 40 hours a week, payroll would be: $9,240.00
This does not account for office employees, etc.

If everyone received a 50% increase (because the laborer did, payroll would be: $13,860
Again, no office employees, or insurance costs, that is an increase of $4,620, which over one year is an increase of $240,240.00… wait, how much? Yep. Granted, all employees would not receive the same pay, nor would all receive a 50% hike, but you most certainly have to give your painters a raise – general laborers are not expected to paint, then you would mostly certainly have to give your masonry/tile guys a raise (you paid them more then the painters for some reason) and then you would have to give your carpenters a raise (just ask a carpenter why :) ), which means you would have to give your foreman a raise as well – I mean, he is the foreman. This not only raises payroll – and yes, makes the workers happier, but it also increases expense, which in turn will raise cost. If a job is expected to last six months, and it is expected that all of your workers will be on the job everyday, 40 hours a week, that would mean an increase of $120,120.00 just in labor, if you add in 20% for profit and overhead, that is an increase of $144,144 (based on the 10% overhead. and 10% profit standard). That does not take into account if suppliers and lumber yards are effected as well. So, in labor alone, you have an increase in cost of over 50%, plus you will undoubtedly will have some sort of increase in material cost.

To put this in perspective, if you have a $500,000.00 job that will take six months, you are now looking at a $650,000.00 job, and that increase is just in labor. That is a lot of money, especially when a lot of those jobs are subsided through grants and special loans.

I’m not against raising the minimum wage, and maybe the only reason I think this way is because I do the majority of our companies estimates. This has the potential to not just burden the business owner, but the home owner as well. Beyond that, it has the potential to burden the worker, because a lot of businesses will not be able to justify such a large increase in cost, therefore causing workers to either be laid off, laborers (or equivalent) not being hired, or skilled workers not being paid a fair wage as compared to the laborer.




Populist Christianity: Part 1


Old post, some spelling miscues

Originally posted on Saepe Nihil Cogitamus:

Preface Note:

First, with this article, I do not wish to offend anyone, though I am positive I will, and though I do regret offending anyone, I am not sorry. Second, by Populist, I am not referencing the political party of the United States during the turn of the 19th Century, nor am I referencing the modern political approaches of certain political pundits, but a trend I have observed in Christianity, especially after the democratization of Europe and the West.

Populist Christianity

Populism is simply defined as leaders, particularly those of political association, who “fight” for the common good of the lower man against the powerful elite. With this definition, one could say that in a way, Martin Luther was a “populist” for the common Catholic against the powerful elite of Rome, and that, in its defense of being called a rebellion, Protestantism was truly just a populist movement to…

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Charismatic Episcopal Church Releases International Canon Law

March 15, 2014 Leave a comment

ICCEC Canon Law

The Patriarch’s Council of the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church has released its International Canon Law. The process is noted as beginning in 2009, and is now completed enough to produce this.

Elder Scrolls Online Vs. Final Fantasy XIV: ARR

March 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Originally posted on New England Gamer:

The revamped FFXIV: ARR has been out since last August and has a wide following – due in part to the huge legacy of Final Fantasy. Elder Scrolls Online – by Zenimax and Bethesda, promises us to be the largest and most advanced MMO and RPG of all time, and the fever for this is also fueled by another huge legacy – The Elder Scrolls.

Which will you choose, or will you play both?

FFXIV obviously is pay to play, and ESO will be as well – so far FFXIV has done an excellent job with both its servers and new content, and ESO promises the same. Graphically – if you have played the beta of ESO like I have, it is more “realistic,” as much as you can be for a fantasy style game, then FFXIV – but the questing, etc seems about the same. If you are like…

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“20 NES Games Thar Are Enjoyable Today” – Shared Article

March 3, 2014 Leave a comment

Originally posted on New England Gamer:

“20 NES Games Thar Are Enjoyable Today”

Neat article.. I’d include the Dragon Warrior RPGs by then Enix as well as the original Final Fantasy.

What original Nintendo games would you include?

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