Best of the Build Smart Blog 2015

Since launching our Build Smart Blog in February, we’ve enjoyed sharing the most unbelievable feats of engineering and innovation in the AEC industry. We’ve written about some of the most talented designers, engineers, architects, trade partners and visionary owners in the business and are amazed by how much they accomplished in 2015.

Highlighting everything from carbon-capturing concrete to a 3D-printed bridge in Amsterdam and Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, we have never been more excited about the future of construction. As we get ready to ring in 2016 we are taking stock of this year’s posts.

Before we sign off for the year, we’d like to share five of our favorite posts from 2015 that you might’ve missed:

1. Hardly a day at the beach: Building an underground parking garage on the Atlantic Shore: The first ever post on the Build Smart Blog dives deep below Miami’s shallow water table to tell the story of an underground parking garage that sits right on the ocean. This is unheard of in South Florida.

2. Harnessing solar energy with windows: By far one of our favorite posts this year was the story of companies turning windows into solar panels. Imagine if One World Trade Center in New York was basically a giant solar panel. How cool is that?

3. California water crisis spurs innovation: All the news media coverage of the drought in California this past summer got us thinking about what the construction industry can do to help. Turns out a lot. Our video about the benefits of using a membrane bioreactor to recycle water within a building is a good start.

4. Lean like Duggan: With the 17th Annual Lean Construction Institute Congress being held right in our backyard this year, we decided to highlight one of our trade partners that has fully embraced Lean manufacturing. E.M. Duggan is a lean, mean prefabrication machine. See for yourself.

5. The sky’s the limit for maglev elevators: For our money, the most exciting innovation to take a major leap forward in 2015 was maglev elevators. We posted about the unveiling of a 1:3 scale model of these cable-free elevators last month, but in May our intrepid writer, Dan Antonellis, explored this groundbreaking technology in full.

We look forward to another amazing year of innovations in the construction industry. You can share your innovations with us in the comment section below or email them to Justin Rice at jrice@suffolk.com.

Happy New Year!

Lean like Duggan

With the 17th Annual Lean Construction Institute Congress wrapping up last week in Boston, we’ve had Lean on our minds. The following post highlights how Lean was successfully implemented at E.M. Duggan’s prefabrication warehouse in Canton, Mass.

Working for one of the oldest family-run plumbing contractors in the country in the early 1980s, Mike Eakins was brought up in the industry the old school way.

Eakins and his E.M. Duggan colleagues did a lot of housing jobs where equipment and materials were stored in trailers on the jobsite and the last thing loaded into the trailer at the end of the day had to be the first thing unloaded the next morning. Back then, many plumbing systems were assembled on the site before being installed.

“It was a lot of unnecessary work,” Eakins, who is now Duggan’s facilities manager, told us. “That’s just the way that jobs went.”

Continue Reading ›