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Criterium Engineers

Six Steps to Success

Latest "Your Home" Article - Thu, 10/28/2010 - 15:25

Which siding is best? Which roofing? What about the windows? Which appliances? What should I choose? How can I make the best choice? We often hear these questions from clients, and with good reason. Choosing building materials, whether for repairs, renovations or new construction, is tough. There are many, many choices. What’s right for you?

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Categories: Criterium Engineers

Feng Shui – Is it Science or Superstition?

Latest "Your Home" Article - Thu, 10/28/2010 - 15:23

Feng Shui, or "wind water," is believed to be the process of maximizing the fl ow of energy to achieve harmony between people, structures and nature. It has been an important part of many Eastern cultures for centuries. However, after the Communist take over of Mainland China in the 1940s, Feng Shui was branded as a superstition, at least in that country.

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Categories: Criterium Engineers

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters - Whose Fault Is It, Anyway?

Latest "Your Home" Article - Thu, 10/28/2010 - 15:20

The term Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is likely familiar to you. But did you know that a GFCI is a device that, when properly installed, provides you and your family with enhanced protection against electrical shock? And now, there is a new phrase to get familiar with: Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI).

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Categories: Criterium Engineers

Indoor Air Quality

Latest "Your Home" Article - Thu, 10/28/2010 - 15:15

Indoor air quality - IAQ - how significant is it and should you be concerned? Perhaps more importantly, what can you do about it?

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Categories: Criterium Engineers

Copper Pipe Crisis

Latest "Your Home" Article - Thu, 10/28/2010 - 15:13

Recently, copper pipe, which is widely used in plumbing systems, has been the target of many complaints regarding unexpected and premature deterioration, often leading to leaks.

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Categories: Criterium Engineers

Wild And Crazy Roofs - It's Not All Good News! Have You Noticed?

Latest "Your Home" Article - Thu, 10/28/2010 - 15:12

Have you noticed?

Roof lines are getting more and more complex and creative. The traditional gable roof (single ridge, symmetric slopes and vertical end panels) is quickly becoming a distant memory. While a gable roof may not be architecturally exciting, it is simpler to maintain and the risk of premature leaks is minimal.

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Categories: Criterium Engineers

New Construction: If It's New, Is It Good?

Latest "Your Home" Article - Thu, 10/28/2010 - 15:09

How good is new construction in the United States and Canada? Generally, it is pretty good, but there are some significant areas of concern.

Our goal is to provide information that will allow quality-oriented builders to improve upon the products they deliver.

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Categories: Criterium Engineers

Septic Systems

Latest "Your Home" Article - Thu, 10/28/2010 - 14:07

Approximately 25% of the housing units in the United States are served by septic tanks or cesspools (private, subsurface wastewater systems), according to a 1995 American housing survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. That means there are currently more than 25 million septic systems in the United States. Further, each year about 400,000 new systems are built. In Canada, there are about 3 million active septic systems and about 40,000 new systems built each year.

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Categories: Criterium Engineers

Other Wastewater Systems

Latest "Your Home" Article - Thu, 10/28/2010 - 14:05

Wastewater systems come in many forms. While the most common is the septic system described above, there are alternatives. For various reasons, most often unacceptable soil characteristics, ledge or high ground water, several alternative systems have been developed. These include gray water systems, composting toilets, pressure-dosed systems, mound systems, and sand filters.

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Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs)

Latest "Your Home" Article - Thu, 10/28/2010 - 13:48

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) have received a lot of attention in the last few decades. Some folks believe they cause cancer, especially childhood leukemia. Others argue that there is no risk.

Controversy and confusion continue. It seems like a good time to review the current thinking on the subject.

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Categories: Criterium Engineers

Pressure-Treated Lumber - Should You Be Concerned?

Latest "Your Home" Article - Thu, 10/28/2010 - 13:45

Blood poisoning. Cancer. Infection.

These have all been linked to pressure-treated (P/T) lumber in recent years. How real are these risks, and what, if anything, should you do about them?

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Categories: Criterium Engineers

Energy? What Does It All Mean?

Latest "Your Home" Article - Thu, 10/28/2010 - 13:39

Have you ever wondered how you use energy in your home? More basically, have you ever wondered about energy itself? The following is a review of the basics of energy and how we use it to heat and cool our homes. We will also look at some guidelines for saving energy. This is a brief summary of an extensive, complex subject. It is intended to offer a practical perspective, not a detailed analysis.

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Categories: Criterium Engineers

That Noise is Driving Me Crazy!

Latest "Common Foundations" Article - Wed, 10/27/2010 - 13:15

Community living has many benefits.

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Energy Conservation in Community Associations

Latest "Common Foundations" Article - Wed, 10/27/2010 - 13:00

With existing buildings consuming 40 percent of our energy supply, they represent a logical and necessary target for energy conservation measures. In this issue of Common Foundations,our goal is not to convince you that energy conservation makes sense. Most of us can agree that it does. However, community associations represent an ownership class with a wide range of needs, opportunities, and responsibilities. In this issue, we try to address what a prudent board might do with regard to energy conservation, depending on the type of associ

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Categories: Criterium Engineers

How Much is Enough?

Latest "Common Foundations" Article - Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:50

How much should our association keep in our reserve fund? is a question we are often asked. At first blush, the answer seems simple – enough to cover all anticipated expenditures over the reserve period. Upon further analysis, the answer is not so simple at all. A number of inter-related factors may affect this decision dramatically.

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You Can Meet the Challenges

Latest "Common Foundations" Article - Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:43

Recently, we spoke with about two dozen community association professionals – property managers, association managers, lawyers, and engineers. Our objective was to learn how they dealt with the real challenges that we must face every day. In this issue of Common Foundations, we would like to share what we learned in the hope that this collective wisdom will be of some help to you as well.

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Categories: Criterium Engineers

Managing an Association?

Latest "Common Foundations" Article - Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:32

In the last two years, FannieMae has amended its guidelines for selling and serving mortgages on condominiums, cooperatives, and planned unit developments three times. Why should we, as service providers to and managers of community associations, care?

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Municipal and Association Responsibility

Latest "Common Foundations" Article - Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:25
Where does the Town End and the Community Begin?

Homeowners new and old to association living question why they have to pay monthly dues or assessments, particularly for items such as trash removal and sidewalk repair. Aren’t those covered by the local municipal government? In reality, these services are quickly becoming the sole responsibility of community associations across the country.

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Categories: Criterium Engineers

When a Critical Component Fails Early

Latest "Common Foundations" Article - Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:02

It happens to even the most prepared of associations. The roof that was supposed to last 25 years starts leaking after only 15. A harsh winter takes its toll on the parking lot and you’re suddenly faced with a large re-paving project 5 years before anticipated. The elevators in a high-rise are constantly out of order, despite their being only 20 years old. These items will need to be immediately replaced or extensively renovated – which means unexpectedly using a significant portion of your reserve budget.

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Categories: Criterium Engineers

Winter 2006 - Red Flags that Signal Structural Defects

Latest "Common Foundations" Article - Wed, 10/27/2010 - 11:49

Although the housing market has slowed, approximately 80 percent of new construction is still being built as a community association. The recent boom in the housing market has led more people to purchase condominiums and townhouses on impulse, without the benefit of several walk-throughs or an inspection by a Professional Engineer. More than likely, this has happened in your community as well. But what does it mean for the association and its residents?

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Categories: Criterium Engineers