Hillside Lots and the Slippery Slope

City of Phoenix - Hillside The city of Phoenix requires the review of hillside plans for any project deemed in the hillside development area (those properties having a 10 percent or greater slope). The Landscape Section checks the grading and drainage plans for ordinance requirements, such as height of the building over natural grade, lot coverage, and area of disturbance outside of the roof. Hillside plans are classified as civil plans and therefore are reviewed under the civil plan revie...
More

POLYBUTLYLENE PIPING – A Soggy Tragedy

What is Polybutlylene? Polybutylene is a form of plastic resin that was used extensively in the manufacture of water supply piping from 1978 until 1995. Due to the low cost of the material and ease of installation, polybutylene piping systems were viewed as "the pipe of the future" and were used as a substitute for traditional copper piping. It is most commonly found in the "Sun Belt" where residential construction was heavy through the 1980's and early-to-mid 90's, but it is also very common...
More

Decks and Patios – Places to Relax

In architecture, a deck is a flat surface capable of supporting weight, similar to a floor, but typically constructed outdoors, often elevated from the ground, and usually connected to a building. The term is a generalization of decks as found on ships. Wood or timber "decking" can be used in a number of ways - as part of garden landscaping, to extend living areas of houses, and as an alternative to stone based features such as patios. Decks are made from treated lumber, composite material, A...
More

CONDOMINIUM or CONDOMANIAC?

A form of real estate ownership of a multifamily residential dwelling. Each occupant has 100% ownership of his own apartment and partial ownership of common elements such as hallways, elevators, plumbing, etc.  Also see cooperative. This article refers to a form of housing. For information on the international law describing a territory in which two sovereign powers have equal rights, please see condominium (international law). A condominium, or condo for short, is a form of housing tenure. ...
More

FENG SHUI – Truth or Myth?

Feng shui is a discipline with guidelines that are compatible with many techniques of agricultural planning as well as internal furniture arrangements. Space, weather, astronomy, and geomagnetism are basic components of feng shui. Proponents claim that feng shui has an effect on health, wealth, and personal relationships………. "The qi that rides the wind stops at the boundary of water."  In ancient times as well as today, Feng Shui, pronounced in English as ("fung shway"), was known as "Kan-Yu"...
More

BASEMENTS – The Low Down on the Down Under

base·ment (bâs'mənt) n. The substructure or foundation of a building either partly or below grade.  . The lowest habitable story of a building, usually below ground level. The lower part of the wall or walls of any building. The substructure of a column or arch.  Frequently, the applicable building code specifies that only one floor level shall be classified as a basement. A basement is one or more floors of a building that are either completely or partially below the ground floor. ...
More

Construction An Addition

With our great Arizona weather, any time is a good time to add to an existing home or building. While there are many factors that drive a decision to add on, the most common reasons are a growing family, financial considerations, having to care for an aging parent or loved one, or just needing more space for that new gaming system! Hire a good architect or designer! These professionals will help you determine what kinds of zoning ordinances govern things like the addition size, the prox...
More

ALBERT EINSTEIN’S GUIDE TO HOME SAFETY

There are many potential situations present in a home that can cause injury.  You don’t have to be Albert Einstein to recognize such hazards and take the necessary steps to eliminate them. The following is a list of a few of the more significant safety issues that we as engineers have identified in the more than 10,000 home and building inspections we’ve performed over the last two decades plus.   While the list does not include all of the possible safety concerns that may be present in your hom...
More

A GENIUS’ GUIDE TO HAZARDOUS MATERIALS IN THE HOME

CPSC Home Household Safety Publications Web Exclusives Document Number Publication Description 523 Non Reversing Garage Door Openers A Hazard (HTML) (PDF) Safety Alert. 5006 Infants and Toddlers Can Drown in 5-Gallon Buckets (HTML) (PDF) Safety Alert. 5015 Aluminum Cookware Can Melt and Cause Severe Burns (HTML) Safety Alert. 5022 Overheated Clothes Dryers Can Cause Fires (HTML) Safety Alert. 5028 Prevent Injuries to Children from Exercise Bikes (HTML...
More

The Purpose Driven House

canyon
Perhaps at no time in recent history has it been more appropriate to examine the purpose of a home or building. The most obvious purpose of a home or building is to provide shelter for the occupants. Of course, what the occupants do inside the structure defines it’s purpose. Is this a home for one or for a family of six?   What is the age mix of people that will be occupying the house? How much time will I be spending in the house each day? Other purposes of a home or building could be ...
More