Welcome Guest,

I'm glad to connect with you here. This is my official online diary where I scribble my thoughts and experiences as an Architect. If you add your email in the box below, you will be notified of every new post I make and you will get a free author's signing of my e-book: 48-Laws-Of-Architectural-Consulting!

Follow by Email

COUNTRY-HOME PROJECT, AMAECHI-UWANI ENUGU

Posted By 
Kosi Emmanuel Chukwujindu
Project Architect

The project is a five(5) bedroom duplex. Its site is the private residence of an extended family hosting an existing six bedroom bungalow which was taken down to erect the new duplex and a smaller bungalow.

The rubble from the deconstruction process was reused in leveling of the site which has a gentle slope to the rear. The wood recovered from the roof was reused for some form-work during construction. The old bungalow was enveloped by the new duplex footprint which saved time and allowed for removal of only conflicting walls.others were levelled and used as fill in the new foundation.

Its internal features include a 4m high headroom main lounge in the ground-floor which flows into a 5m x 5m wide dining hall. The kitchen is complete with store and a door that leads the residents to the rear side of the house where they can interact with the existing bungalow, an ante - room with a visitor's toilet. It also has a 5m x 3m wide family lounge on the first floor which shares a curtain wall with the main lounge on the groundfloor. The master bedroom and the

ARCHITECT : KNOW YOUR CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENTS


As a project Architect, Knowing your construction equipments by name, is unavoidable. This post  is dedicated to highlighting the common construction equipments and explaining their uses.





PROJECT MANAGER : ISSUES WITH THE STAFF

This post is a sequel to the earlier post: "Project Architect: resolving staff conflict in site"

Enugu south international building materials market
from left: Architect, Carpenter
As a construction project manager, issues with staff are going to abound. What matters in the end is still Results!

In my experience, workers over time tend to grow too friendly and thence become rebellious. They suddenly seem to have got a hunch that you have been manipulating them into doing 'your' Work while you get all the 'big' money. This feeling if not checked leads them into acting abnormally uncooperative and even ready to end the relationship.

As the Architect, and project  manager, you have the responsibility of keeping your site in control so that you can continue to produce results, Especially if you work for a senior Architect who has entrusted the site in your management.

Here are a few of my own  tips on managing crisis in the site:


1. Understand that; when all is said and done, violence or force benefits nobody. With this in mind, you are left with the effective tool : diplomacy. Use diplomacy to coerce your workers into doing whatever you want without realising they are all players in 'your' game.

2. Your boss expects results, results and more results, he hardly has time to attend to reports from you or your staff, he believes you should Handle whatever situation arises on site with minimum supervision. Dont prove him wrong! 

3. Preach and emphasize teamwork to your workers. They would think twice before starting up a fire next time, if they see you as a brother instead of a boss.

4. Remain aloof, but make sure you are the smartest guy in the site. No tricks can evade you unless you let it for a higher cause. Use occasional little favours like careless tips, relaxed timing or bonus pays, to buy the hearts of your workers in preparation for the day you will make huge demands from them. 



ENSIBUM PROJECT ROUNDING OFF : REFLECTIONS ON LESSONS LEARNT

By Kosi Emmanuel Chukwujindu
Project Architect

ENSIBUM is short for the : Enugu-South international Building materials market. The first phase of its development is 95% complete. This zone is for sale of reinforcement bars. 

It features a small 3m x 2m office space with large 6m x 12m frontage/ per occupant for stacking the reinforcement bars for sale. A total of 200 single units have been completed so far, and is on sale to the general public at a flat rate of N2,500,000. 

As we know the developer is Mc.Donalds manufacturing and industries ltd. The technical consultancy service from scratch was rendered by GEOMETRIX consultants and Builders ltd. while the construction was done by MALDINI construction company ltd. our sister company. I have been the project manager here for over a year now.

This post highlights my personal reflections about the project as it gradually nears hand over. As a great man said: "in life, we never really lose, its either we win or we learn something". I can say I have picked up a thing or two while working on this project.

1. Never forget who you are directly answerable to. While assuming the perfect courtiers posture to everyother interests.

2.
Never conive secretly or openly with your staff to loot the company. It will be blown out of proportion when they speak of it and you will be made to look like a thief..just like them. As much as you can, keep the books tidy.

3. Dont assume you know everything just because you have a college degree. Listen to others ideas but remain the decision maker.

4. No matter how lonely she is at home, never bring your spouse to the site. Let work be work and family be family.

5. Monthly paid or at least weekly paid staff, perform netter overall than daily paid staff. They also offer greatter degree of dependability.

6. Dont live inside your own box, ask around elsewhere for broader ideas, methods and rates before you decide on your own project.

7. Dress for the job. Wear suitable clothes for the work always..make sure there is clear distinction between the worker and you.

8. Never employ anyone who is too old or way above your physical and psychological control. Make sure your staff remains loyal to you and you alone. Do not invite them to sit with the m.d when you are having a meeting, else they get a false sense of belonging and grow rebelious. Discharge such rebellious ones at once else they plan a mutiny against you.

9. Diplomacy is the key to manipulation. Use it always to get your way, without force, plead when you have to, enforce when you need to, coerce people to do your work happily.

10. If the project does not provide a vehicle, buy one for yourself!

11. Be reacheable and ready always.

12. Dont forget to learn!





PRODUCTION AND INSTALLATION OF DECORATIVE CEMENT SKIRTINGS

posted By : kosi Emmanuel Chukwujindu

Architect: and Skirting Moulders

There are many methods of producing decorative skirting used at the corners of columns, walls,Windows etc.  
There is the traditional plaster-of-Paris skirting made from white P.O.P cement. This is used mostly for suspended ceilings and waist level skirtings within the interior of buildings. This type has the advantage of being lightweight and mouldable into almost any shape or design. The challenge however with this type is that it is not very resistant to water and thus it is seen to depreciate in aesthetics when exposed to prolonged dripings especially when used in exterior locations.

There is however an alternative method; THE USE OF ORDINARY PORTLAND CEMENT moulded to shape and finished with white (or any color)  paint. Skirting made from portland cement are typically resistant to water and last longer than those made from P.O.P cement. It however tends to be limited in versatility of design, due to its heavier weight. it is usually used for window trims, wall edges and fence trims, and other exterior needs etc.

At the ENSIBUM market project, we decided to use skirting made from cement to add some mass to the already gigantic entrance gate. This post is dedicated to describe how we made these skirting in-situ and installed them.

STEP 1: MATERIALS REQUIRED; semi coarse sand, soft texture sand, water, cement, a custom mould. 

STEP 2: PREPARE THE BASE : start by making a mound of about 4ft. length and about 6" high  using the semi-coarse sand. this will serve as base for the skirting, as well as separates it from the ordinary earth after the cement has cured and hence makes it easy to lift and shift. Use two range devices to protect the boundary on both sides of the mound. Using concrete nails to support the ranges along the lenght, making sure the space between them is even all through.  This will provide for a perfect edged skirting in the end.

STEP 3: MIX THE CEMENT: The skirting is made completely of cement mixed with water and a little fine texture sand.( when necessary).  A bag of cement can be properly mixed with about 15 - 20lts. of clean water. it should be stirred properly in a bucket or bowl or any open container that will allow for ease of scooping while molding.

STEP 4: MOULDING :
Pour the cement paste gradually onto the sand mound. Use the hand held, locally carved  mould to shape it into desired pattern (as shown here) and allow in same position for at least 12 hours before attempting to remove.
Remember to make nail size openings along the skirting to allow for nailing during installation.

STEP 5: INSTALLATION: 
By physical inspection, you can tell when the skirting is strong enough to be handled without breaking. You can then raise it neatly, and carry to point of fixing. The plumb device is used to mark straight positions along the wall. this is to ensure that the skirting is not slant at any point which will look bad to the viewer.
Nail the skirting onto the wall, siupported by wooden noggins and use cement to dress the edges neatly!


BEFORE CEMENT SKIRTING


AFTER CEMENT SKIRTING

WRITING QUOTATIONS FOR PROJECTS


As an Architect, you will be required to prepare work estimates in form of job quotations for proposed projects. Your ability to predict or forecast real life site requirements from your drawing board will be tested.
Whether you fail or succeed has serious functional implications through the project timeline. Some contracts do not leave room for future amendments while some do. Whichever the case is, it is advisable to predict and provide for as much as possible afore time.

AN AFFORDABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR THE PLUMB DEVICE

By kosi Emmanuel chukwujindu



Kosi Emmanuel Chukwujindu
Architect: How to make your own Range device
As Architects and project supervisors we often require perfectly level/flat surfaces for floors, walls, lintels e.t.c. To achieve this, the practice is to make use of a device called the plumb. It is a horizontal steel pipe with a liquid trapped in a clear glass such that when the pipe is placed on a level surface, the air space is exactly at the center. This will indicate to the Architect or supervisor that the given job is okay. 
The challenge however is that for large  construction projects that have a lot of edges/surfaces to be confirmed, it may be quite expensive to procure the plumb device in large numbers. Moreso if there is no guarantee that they will all be returned after use. It becomes very wasteful to provide one plumb for each worker. In such case, about 2-3 workers can be assigned a plumb device while an alternative instrument -the range, is shared among all.
The range is similar to the plumb in shape. It is also a steel pipe which is about 6ft. Long x 1" wide. But it does not have the liquid trapped in clear glass. It is usually made of heavier metal than the plumb. It is especially useful in verifying how level a surface is. It can be used in the vertical or horixontal positions. And it is far cheaper than the plumb. It can be easily found at building materials markets or stores, but it is cheaper to make your own. 
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN RANGE DEVICE IN PLACE OF THE PLUMB.
STEP 1:
Visit your local welder or steel pipes vendor,and ask for the 2" x 1" x 24' hollow steel pipe. In Enugu state, This sells for about N900. 
Step 2: 
Ask him to cut same into three pieces each  of 6' lenght. (Nb: you may vary this according to how much length you require). 
Step 3:
Ask him to weld some scrap metal over the two open ends of each pipe to prevent sand and other debris from entering the pipes while in use at the site. 
Once this is done, congratulations you have your self made range device ready for site work!

AN ALTERNATIVE METHOD OF CONSTRUCTING THE CONCRETE FASCIA

posted by
Kosi Emmanuel Chukwujindu

Concrete fascia detail sketch by Arc Jude Uche; M.D /C.E.O Geometrix Consultants
Conventional Nigerian builders will construct a wooden/metal formwork to the shape of the desired fascia right about the roof edge/building wall, install the reinforcement bars and cast the whole volume with concrete. well this is the 'text-book' thing to do, right?

Unfortunately, The problem with this method is that it typically consumes much more materials (steel, concrete and woodwork) and when the building(s) is a large one or are numerous, it becomes simply impractical and time consuming.

Goodnews is; the Architects at Geometrix have over the years through experience under the leadership of the meticulous Arc. Jude Uche, developed an alternative method of constructing the concrete fascia. This method (as in sketch above) involves a pre-cast moulding of the fascia and a systematic fastening on exposed reinforcemnet bars sticking out from already existing roof beam using 6mm binding wires.

step 1: ROOF-BEAM:  the traditional roof beam which is done right around on top of the last course of block, is done, but the 4- reinforcement bars are not completely covered with concrete yet, the top two are exposed in order to receive the binding wire that will be used to fasten the pre-cast fascia.

step 2: PRODUCTION: moulders are vigrously moulding the concrete fascia on site using only cement and sand. (NB: this eliminates the need for reinforcement bars in the curved concrete fascia (CCF). they are allowed to cure and set, on the ground before cutting and lifting to avoid breakages. the final product is quite heavy. tiny openings are provided at intervals to allow for passing of binding wires.

step3: CUTTING TO SHAPE: once the concrete fascia has set (usually 36 hours after molding) it can then be cut into desired lengths according to the building corners. a typical piece would be 4' - 6' long. The cutting is done with a concrete sawing machine. the same type used to saw through block walls.


step4: INSTALLATION: After the cutting, two workers lift up piece by piece, insert the binding wires and with the help of in-situ scaffolding, climb and actually fasten the wires on the
two top exposed bars in the already made roof beam.

step 5: STRAIGHTENING & FINAL CASTING:
the straightening is done externally using a long plumb device and then held in place by wooden supports along the body of the wall. The binding wire that has been passed through openings on the pre cast concrete fascia is tied onto the top exposed bars tightly and is then covered with a second layer of concrete to hold it in place forever. 

step 6: JOINT TREATMENT: 
The final step is to 'tack' the joints properly with same binding wires and short pieces of wood which help prevent the different piecs from shifting until the final casting is done. they will be removed once the concrete sets. the thin openings at these joints will be covered with neat mortar and painted.


ADVANTAGES OF PRE-CAST CONCRETE FASCIA:
i). reduced volume of concrete.
ii). elimination of reinforcement bars in the fascia.
iii). reduction in overall weight of the fascia.
iv). same result as in-situ cast, sometimes even better!
v). If production begins early enough, Its installation takes less time.
vi). reduced cost of production due to elimination of materials such as reinforcement bars and wooden form work.

LIMITATIONS OF PRE-CAST CONCRETE FASCIA
i). shortage of trained staff, may delay work
ii). curing time may delay work where production is not started early enough.


ARCHITECTS PROPOSE TWIN SKYSCRAPERS THAT CASTS NO SHADOWS

originally posted by
cnnnews.com

CNN) - An architecture firm is shedding new light on building skyscrapers, literally.
A concept for a "No Shadow Tower" was recently put forward by the London branch of NBBJ architects. The ambitious structure would be built to reflect light between two high-rises to ensure more sunlight can reach ground level.
It works by using an algorithm in the design phase to calculate which panels on a building will be in view of the sun at certain hours of the day depending on its location, shape and the time of year.
These panels can then be strategically placed during construction to bounce light down into public spaces at the foot of the buildings.
"You can't remove the shadow from one building," said Christian Coop, design director of NBBJ London.
"(But) if you have two buildings, one to the north and one to the south, you could form the building to the north to act like a mirror that would reflect the light in complete sequence to track the shadow from the south."
Promotional literature from the architects says this technique can help reduce shadows by about 60%.
NBBJ submitted the concept for a recent competition run by New London Architecture (NLA) think-tank that aimed to discover how skyscrapers could benefit public spaces.
 


ARCHITECT: HOW TO MERGE SEVERAL .PDF FILES INTO A SINGLE .PDF FILE WITH MANY PAGES

by Kosi Emmanuel Chukwujindu

Architects in dealing with distant clients are often requested to send and receive drawings through or over the internet. these drawings may be pictures, .dwg or .pdf files. pdiles are however the most widely used formats for several reasons. This is due to its light weight, versatility, non-edit-ability (in some cases). Compared to the .dwg, .jpeg or any other file formats,  the .pdf file format has come to be known as the business file format.

This post is dedicated to teach the Architect how to convert a CAD drawing (.dwg) file into a  .pdf file as well as how to merge these .pdf files into one in case this is required.

Lesson 1: How to save a drawing from AutoCad as .pdf

Step 1: Open the drawing file on your AutoCad workspace.

Step 2: go to file - print - under plotter select .dwg to .pdf plotter (How to install PDF plotter) if its not found in your list of plotters.

Step 3: select desired paper size iI.e a4, a 3 or other.

Step 4: using the window tool marquee the drawing from your model workspace and cluck preview to see how it is positioned on paper.

Step 5: click OK and set save folder for he new .PDF file. You may repeat the process to create several sheets of your drawing eg floorplan, elevation, sections e.t.c.

LESSON 2: HOW TO MERGE MULTIPLE .PDF FILES INTO ONE WITH MANY PAGES

Once you have finished saving those different drawings as different .PDF files, you can either send them individually or merge them into one .PDF file. This has the advantage that the mail you will be sending to your client will be compact and scrollable as against the open- view-close, open - view - close .....method of viewing single .pdf files.

Step1: (dont laugh) please dont bother touring the web scavenging for apps that promise the whole workd and deliver nothing. Just download an app called "PDF merger" (from playstore) on your android phone.

Step 2: once you have this simple but very efficient app installed on your desktop you can copy all the  pdf files to your phone using your usb cable.

Step 3: open the app interface and add the files which you need to merge and click merge.

Step 4: specify the file name and save location.

Step 5: you are done!

PROJECT ARCHITECT - RESOLVING STAFF CONFLICTS ON SITE

by Kosi Emmanuel Chukwujindu

SAT. 21-02-15
Today there was a fight at the site. An Ibo worker fell out with an Hausa worker. The Ibo worker was working on the site for the first time after a long while. He was brought in by the site foreman. He was asked to construct the form work for one roof beam in the fourth line because our resident carpenter was absent on that day.  The Hausa worker was a mason; one of our most loyal. He would do whatever he was asked to do with smiles and never complained about anything other than wage related issues.

He was rounding off his block work, when the counting supervisor came to record his work. The Ibo man who had finished his roof-beam, and so was feeling good about himself came over and joined in counting the blocks. Jos, as the Hausa guy was popularly called, asked him to please not count his blocks as it was not his duty. He had no right to count blocks, there was a designated supervisor who handled that. The Ibo man, failed to listen and in fact insisted on doing the same. This led to a rough exchange of abuses, and ignited a bloody fight between the two.


AUTOCAD 2014; WORKSPACE SWITCHING

by kosi Emmanuel Chukwujindu

Launching the new AUTOCAD 2014 interface was a great experience. it looked and felt fresh. I hadn't used a latest version software recently. my last was autocad 2012 but I had to revert to 2010, when I experienced some sluggishness in paning and zooming functions...smh!

Just YEsterday, my Autocad 2010 wont open. When I tried, it displayed the following error message:

"the application has failed to start because its side by side configuration is incorrect. please see the application event log or.....bla bla bla!!"

I hadnt used the app in a long while, so I was thrown off when I saw this. But as usual I went online, Thanks to google, I found some Autocad user forum where someone suggested the solution could be uninstalling and re-installing a program called microsoft  c++ redistributable. I ran this by my local system administrator, he didnt know anything about it, rather he advised me to simply install AUTO CAD 2014 and do my work.

AUTOCAD 2014 - Autocad Classic Workspace
When we eventually did, the first time screen looked strange. I was uncomfortable with the new positions of the tools. I loved my previous classic workspace back at 2010. I had a bit of trouble finding the switch. but I did and here above is a  screenshot from my beautiful Autocad 2014-classic workspace. I think it looks amazing!! The red circle near the down right corner in the image points to where YOU can also find and switch yours.

ARCHITECT?...HAS YOUR HP PAVILION G6 KEYBOARD STOPPED WORKING?

by Kosi Emmanuel Chukwujindu 

KOSI EMMANUEL CHUKWUJINDU
HP-PAVILLION G6, KEYPAD LOCKED
might sound funny but, it happened to me.  first I thought it was a joke, I tried typing  harder, till i was hitting the keys hard and it still wasn't working. Then it occured to me there was a problem. 

what was it? 
someone had been trying out wrong passwords on the system which apparently locked the keyboard as a defense mechanism - The day before , I had left my PC in the care of a neighbor who was visiting with his younger brother. In my absence, the kid was the culprit.

I went online and found a gracious blog where the problem had been solved and documented. I tried it exactly how it was prescribed and it worked. 

click here for information on how to solve "HP PAVILION G6 KEYBOARD STOPPED WORKING" problem.