There seems to be quite a few members who have changed their email addresses or websites. In order to update the Westcon website and keep all links properly connected, please check your listing and email (email@example.com) or call (707) 792-1323 if there is anything that needs to be corrected. I will forward on all the information to our web person, Kate McAllister, for correction.
If you would like to upgrade your Westcon site, you may do so with Kate at some great discounted rates. You can contact her directly at bluemoondesignworks.com.
Your help will be gratefully appreciated!
WORST OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
From the Richmond Times-Dispatch
The citizens of Sausalito, California have been debating over whether to build a new police station since a 1995 flood destroyed their old headquarters. The new building’s design has opponents who have complained about its size, aesthetics and, worst of all, its lousy feng shui (the art of harmonious arrangement that pays attention to how physical surroundings affect spiritual energy, or chi).
According to Mayor J.R. Roberts, “There are energy forces we can’t see out there.” Critics say the proposed design would block the positive flow of energy through town. Feng shui expert Nancy Bennett testified that it would “cut off the mouth of Chi” and create “arrows of sha.” The cops wonder if they’ll ever get their new building. Pessimists say, “not in this lifetime.” To which the optimists reply, “But maybe in our next one.”
Our airlines throw away enough aluminum cans each year to build 58 brand new 747’s. Add to that 9.000 tons of plastic and enough paper to make a 230-foot building, says Allen Hershkowitz, a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Airlines and airports only recycle about 20% of their waste. If the industry matched the amount of recycling the rest of America does, it could power the equivalent of 20,000 homes and save the emissions of more than 80,000 cars, says the NRDC.
BY SARAH LANGFORD - the California Builder magazine
In April 2007, Sarah and her father decided to tackle a project: convert the one-car garage on her half-plex in Sacramento County into a bedroom and laundry room. As a single homeowner, the extra income that could potentially be generated from renting out the bedroom was appealing to her, as was doing her laundry in an enclosed area of the house instead of in the garage.
She was banking on the fact that at resale time, she’d get more interest in the house by adding nearly 30 percent to the home’s existing square footage and an additional bedroom.
Little did she know what this seemingly simple project would entail.
She decided to take the high road and apply for a work permit from the county. She knew that without it, she could not count the remodel as a bedroom at resale time - an important factor for her.
Unfortunately, permit fees in Sacramento County had gone up by 30 percent two weeks before she applied. Even though she and her father were doing the work, and therefore the cost of the project was actually less than $5,000 for materials, the county estimated the value of the project at $15,000 and based the fees on that. To convert her 260 square-foot garage would cost her nearly $1,000 just in fees.
She felt the fees were a little steep for a small conversion project, but wasn’t going to let that stop her from getting the permit and moving forward.
When she first submitted the plans, which had been approved, they clearly showed a window on the west wall of the garage/bedroom conversion. However, it wasn’t until weeks later when she stopped by the county’s building department to ask an unrelated question that the staff person behind the counter looked more closely at the plans and broke the news - she would have to get a Title 24 report analyzing the proposed energy use, or move the window.
Moving the window wasn’t an option. For both privacy and resale value, it had to go on the west wall. So she did what she had to - paid another $175 for a company in Southern California to conduct a Title 24 report remotely, and prayed that the little house would pass. This required gathering numerous measurements, including the slope of the roof, and submitting side elevation views in addition to the plans she had already drawn for the permit.
When the report came back with 8 percent “wiggle room” on the home’s total energy usage, she rejoiced, promptly purchased a window from the Home Depot, and installed it in accordance with the plans on file with the county.
She thought the window problems were over. Then she called the inspector out.
The county inspector took two measurements and told her the newly installed window didn’t meet the emergency egress code. According to the 2001 California Building Codes Chapter 2 “Escape or rescue windows (like this one) shall have a minimum net clear openable area of 5.7 square feet”. He went on to explain that the window’s minimum net clear height must be 24 inches. Her window, previously approved by the county, measured 33 X 22 inches for a total of five square feet of openable area.
But, she said, the window could not be over a certain size or it would not meet the Title 24 standard. That was true, claimed the inspector, but it had to be large enough to meet the egress code, too.
Incredulous, she contacted the Title 24 firm again and asked them to reconfigure the report based on measurements that met the egress code. The very kind owner processed the request at no extra charge, and the new report found that she was still more than 7 percent under the limit for energy use, thereby complying with Title 24.
The new window eventually passed inspection and she is currently on her way to finishing the garage conversion.
The county staff person behind the counter said “Sorry” when she returned to give him the new Title 24 report and he realized what had happened.
An innocent mistake? Probably. An indication that things have gone too far? Unquestionably.
June 11, 2008 6pm
(Federal Expert Witness Assn.)
“The Ethics Related to disclosure of electronic documents, an area of developing law and evolving issues”
Stanford Park Hotel, Menlo Park
THERE ARE NO WESTCON DINNER MEETINGS IN JULY OR AUGUST!!
June 25-28, 2008
ASTM C24 Building Seals & Sealants
3rd Symposium on Durability of Building Construction Sealants and Adhesives
Hyatt Regency Denver, Denver, CO
September 17, 2008
Westcon Dinner Meeting
Encinal Yacht Club,Alameda
IDEAS? If you would like to give a presentation to Westcon, or have ideas or topics you would like discussed, please notify Fred Field, Program Director at (415) 4855882. All suggestions are welcome!
Published monthly by WESTCON (Westcon Consultants Association)
for general membership and friends. Publication of original articles or
reprinted material does not imply approval or endorsement. Submitted material
becomes property of WESTCON. Not responsible for accuracy of content.
Views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of editors of WESTCON.