Friday, July 29, 2016

Energy Department Announces Largest Energy Efficiency Standard in History

The U.S. Department of Energy on December 17, 2015 announced historic new efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners and furnaces. Developed with industry, utilities, and environmental groups, these standards will save more energy than any other standard issued by the Department to date. Over the lifetime of the products, businesses will save $167 billion on their utility bills and carbon pollution will be reduced by 885 million metric tons.
“Just days after the Paris agreement to cut global emissions and create a new era of affordable energy, today’s announcement marks the largest energy-saving standard in history and demonstrates that America is leading the effort to reduce energy costs and cut carbon emissions,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “This rule also shows that strong public-private partnerships can reap environmental and economic dividends and drive technology breakthroughs. These standards are a direct result of the Energy Department’s negotiated rulemaking process which brings diverse stakeholders to the negotiating table and supports industry innovation, demonstrating how government and business can work together to meet U.S. carbon reduction goals.”
During the Obama administration, the Department has finalized new efficiency standards for more than 40 household and commercial products, including commercial refrigeration equipment, electric motors, and fluorescent lamps, which will save consumers nearly $535 billion and cut greenhouse gas emissions by over 2 billion metric tons through 2030. Today’s announcement brings the Energy Department more than two-thirds of the way to achieving the goal of reducing carbon pollution by 3 billion metric tons through standards set in the President’s first and second terms. This is equivalent to cutting more than a year’s carbon pollution from the entire U.S. electricity system.
These new commercial air conditioning and furnace standards will occur in two phases. The first phase will begin in 2018 and will deliver a 13 percent efficiency improvement in products. Five years later, an additional 15 percent increase in efficiency is required for new commercial units.
Commercial air conditioners, also known as rooftop units, are commonly used in low-rise buildings such as schools, restaurants, big-box stores and small office buildings. They cool about half of the total commercial floor space in the United States.
To finalize this standard, the Department convened 17 stakeholders, including major industry organizations, including the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute and Air Conditioning Contractors of America, along with some of the nation’s leading manufacturers, utilities, and efficiency organizations. Manufacturing new products will provide skilled jobs for American workers, garnering the support of labor leaders. These standards also come after years of industry innovation.
The Energy Department’s High Performance Rooftop Unit Challenge catalyzed several manufacturers to develop more efficient, cost-effective rooftop air conditioners. With these new units commercialized, the Department’s Advanced Rooftop Unit Campaign has spurred businesses to upgrade over 40,000 rooftop units by providing them with technical assistance throughout the process. The new standards will ensure all businesses have access to energy-saving air conditioners that lower their utility bills for years to come.
Find more information on the energy efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners and warm air furnaces established today at
From HVAC Insider
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Thursday, July 28, 2016

SOLUTIONS: Installing a green roof is worth the investment

Princeton University has been a local leader in efficient, clean energy production. Its purpose in adopting its several systems has been both to save money and reduce CO2 emissions. In addition to its steam-producing co-gen plant, its large solar array, its chilled water plant, and its groundwater-heat pump systems, it has also recently installed a green roof on the new Wawa store at the Transit Plaza.
This green roof is essential a rolling meadow, with “artfully constructed” mounds and pathways” atop a 4,200-square-foot flat roof. It stores 79,000 gallons of rainwater which helps insulate the building and is not simply piped off as storm water.
But is this really worth the effort and cost?
The answer is that green roofs provide several benefits, including insulating so that they reduce heating and cooling costs, protecting a roof’s membrane thereby extending its life, saving and storing rainwater (which acts as a second insulator,) so that not as much has to be piped elsewhere, and creating a natural habitat producing clean air and supporting plants for birds and insects (and pollinators.)
In addition, this new roof can serve as a living research facility (as did earlier installations at the campus’s Butler College, and Sherrerd Hall) and provide a sustainability case study. (These two prior green roofs generated evidence that theycan be cost-effective investments, although probably limited to flat or rolling roofs.)
But for most of us, this concept raises a number of questions. Is it worth the investment? Does its extra weight require substantial strengthening? How long can it be expected to last? How much maintenance is required? How does it compare to a white roof? Financially, can it be compared to a roof with solar panels?
The answers provided by the university’s Architectural Department and Facilities Department are: The university has long been meticulous in evaluating all these new technologies for both cost savings and environmental benefits. It would not have undertaken this project had there not been demonstrable savings and environmental benefits — from its prior green roofs, and other sources of evidence.
To anticipate the roof’s weight requirements and life expectancy, the project’s architects, structural engineers, and green roof consultants conferred to ensure that their needs would be met. The original flat roof, plus the rolling green roof, with its extra, shaping insulation, would be heavier than normal, and so extra strength was designed and built in.
While there is no established, finite number of years for the life expectancy of green roofs, in Germany where many were constructed in the 1970s, those roofs are now approaching 50 years of service. The Chicago City Hall green roof is close to 20 and remains “healthy and vibrant.”
For Princeton’s Wawa roof, different degrees of maintenance have been required. Over the first two years, the green roof contractor needed to provide supplemental irrigation, in addition to rain, to “support initial root development.” But that is no longer necessary.
“The landscape architect selected green roof plants for their drought tolerance and ability to provide long-term coverage on the roof.” Still required is “early spring maintenance,” including weeding and cutting back grasses to provide room and light for new growth. In addition, during the summer, perennial flowers are pruned to encourage new blooming. Fall maintenance seems to be guided by aesthetics more than system health.
The variety of plants installed includes not only flowering perennials but a mix of cool and warm season grasses that together produce the look of a local meadow.
In the winter, the plants go dormant but the seeds remain to repopulate in the spring, and provide food for birds.
About 75 percent of the rainwater that falls on the green roof will be absorbed and stored by the plants (and surrounding insulation and bordering crushed granite.) The rest flows into drains.
Studies show that green roofs “perform similarly to white roofs in cooling roof spaces and reducing urban heat islands.” But green roofs maintain this cooling ability as they age, although they do require gardening maintenance. White roofs also need regular attention as they must be regularly cleaned and serviced to sustain their performance.
Finally, there is aesthetic value in a living, rolling (or flat) green roof, in contrast to the usually less-than-beautiful flat roofs that cover many institutional and business buildings.
Because green roofs generate no electrical power, compared to solar paneled roofs, they are an entirely different approach to addressing sustainability. But because the new Wawa roof follows two prior university green roofs, the university’s decision to install another is evidence that this technology is worth the investment for the right building. 
From Central Jersey
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

New rooftop solar project coming to Middleton business

  • If there is a Special Fall Town Meeting in Middleton, a new solar energy project will be on the warrant. Last month Todd Fryatt , founder and president of the ECA Solar Corporation of Boston, made a presentation before a joint meeting of the Middleton Board of Selectmen and the Board of Assessors outlining a plan to place solar arrays on multiple commercial/industrial buildings located at 3 Ajootian Way and 30 Log Bridge Road.
    The buildings are privately owned by Ralph DiGiorgio and Rick Nekoroski.
    A Payment in Lieu of Taxes [PILOT] Agreement with ECA Solar was approved jointly by the Selectmen and Board of Assessors at the meeting, but still needs voter approval at a Town Meeting.
    “We have to do this because Massachusetts law requires approval of PILOT agreements at Town Meeting,” explained Assistant Town Administrator Ryan Ferrara.
    To come in under the current State incentive program, this project has to be mechanically complete, but not operational, by January 8.
    “If we do not have a Fall Town Meeting, they now have enough of an agreement in hand to start construction and it can then come before the voters in the Spring,” said Town Administrator Andy Sheehan. “ECA Solar needed the document in hand to move forward with financing and what they have so far is sufficient to get started.”
    The plan
    ECA Solar is projecting electricity generation of 835 kw and 1,161 kw at the respective Ajootian Way and Log Bridge Road sites generating 1.996 MW of DC electricity. The electricity produced from this project will be sold to the Middleton Electric Light Department (MELD). ECA Solar and MELD are working cooperatively on his project that will significantly enhance MELD's renewable electricity portfolio.
    It is expected that the 2 million watts of electricity produced annually by the solar project would be enough to power 200 average local homes. MELD would purchase 100 per cent of the energy generated.
    In a lighter moment, Selectmen Brian Cresta drew a laugh from the audience when he interjected, “My kids can’t shut a light off, so I guarantee we are more than that (average).”
    The 25-year PLIOT program would have ECA making an annual payment to Middleton that at full build out would be $19,404.09. According Town Administrator Andy Sheehan, this figure is calculated by averaging the total projected combined annual tax of 25 years by the 25-year useful life of the equipment. ECA Solar is also responsible for paying all permit fees associated with the construction of this project.
    In addition, ECA Solar is responsible for all maintenance, carries sufficient insurance and would be responsible for the removal of the panels at the end of the agreement.
    “Since the Natsue Way solar proposal failed, MELD has been looking at other options to add more solar energy to their portfolio. This plan is a good option because the panels will be on the roof in the business parks and barely, if at all visible to the public,” said Ferrara.
    From Boxford

  •  Trenton H. Cotney
    Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
    Trent Cotney, P.A. 
    407 N. Howard Avenue
    Suite 100
    Tampa, FL 33606

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


People whose jobs require them to be outside are really feeling the heat Friday.

If you thought your jobs was tough, try roofing in extreme heat!

"This is probably one of the toughest jobs. Road workers maybe but being up there you have no shade. It is all sound and it is just beating down on you," said Gary Selleck from C&C Family Roofing and Siding.

These workers with C&C Family Roofing and Siding say when the heat is on, they are on the job. While many try to avoid going outside during the oppressive days of summer, their livelihood depends on it.

"We are out, we are doing roofing. If somebody has a leak in their roof, then we are here to fix it. We can't say it is too hot! Everybody has to eat and everybody has families," said Selleck.

Like other outdoor workers, roofers also have a similar recipe to try and stay in cool in the sizzling heat.

"We use a lot of water. We start early and finish early," said worker Chris Carransa.

"Hydrated, hydrated, hydrated. A lot of times you are working and you are so into the job that you don't realize you are getting so hot," said Selleck.

Selleck says there have been times when workers have been overcome by the heat and have had to stop working.

This week, the heat index has made it feel like it's 100 degrees, but up on a roof, the temperature gets much hotter.

"We had a gun one time and we took the temperature of the roof and it was over 150 degrees up there with the shingles and black tart and being so close to the sun," said Selleck.

They all admit the heat is relentless and they're no match for the sun's aggressive warmth, but it's what they do and they've learned to cope.

"Unless it is snowing or raining where we can't do it, we tarp the roof but in the heat or cold we are out there. It's is never too hot or cold," said Selleck.

From ABC Action News

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Monday, July 25, 2016

The New Green Roof: Solar Panels That Change Colors

When it comes to solar panels, the industry has long embraced Henry Ford’s sale pitch for the Model T: You can have any color as long as it’s black. Now a Boston start-up has developed a technology to turn your roof into a palette of electricity-generating colors and patterns.

Starting next year, Sistine Solar will begin selling “SolarSkin” panels that blend in with the texture of a roof by mimicking tiles, slate, wood shingles and other materials. Want a truly green roof? Sistine Solar panels can be made to look like grass.

Company founders Senthil Balasubramanian and Ido Salama came up with the idea while studying business at the MIT Sloan School of Management. They hope their product will persuade people to go solar who had been reluctant to buy standard blue-black solar panels for esthetic reasons.

“We are lovers of solar and clean energy and wanted to figure out how to get people motivated to love solar too,” Salama said. “We learned that many people thought solar panels were ugly. We found an almost latent rejection of solar that people weren’t really talking about.”

The panels are now available on preorder, and installations will begin in 2017. Salama said the company has seen “tremendous demand” but declined to say how many solar panels have been sold.

The camouflage panels function the same way as traditional photovoltaic panels by converting sunlight directly into electricity but with a trompe l’oeil twist.
“We added a little bit of a layer that allows a majority of the sunlight to go through while some that is reflected,” Salama said. “What gets reflected back tricks your eye into thinking you’re seeing that image.”

The technology can produce almost any color or mimic any texture. It could even be used to create murals, “although that’s more complicated,” Salama said.
The SolarSkin panels convert about 15 percent to 17 percent of sunlight into electricity, Salama said, which is roughly the same rate of efficiency as the average household panel, although some have efficiency rates as high as 23 percent. The costs are “slightly” higher than the average traditional panel, he added, but still below the most expensive models on the market.

Some companies make solar shingles that look like slate or asphalt, although solar shingles are typically less efficient than panels and absorb heat directly into the roof.

Salama said he believes Sistine Solar is the first company to create custom-made panels that project images that faithfully mimic any rooftop color, pattern, or design.

“I personally have not seen anything like this,” said James Hewett, program manager at the American Council on Renewable Energy.

“Broadly speaking, what companies like this show is the maturity of the sector and a shift to consumer choice,” Hewett added. “For consumers that were hesitant to put panels on roofs because of esthetics, this would provide them with an option that would help assuage this reservation by giving them a greater retail choice in their energy production.”

Sistine Solar’s new technology has not gone unnoticed. The firm won the 2013 MIT Clean Energy Prize in the renewable energy category and, last November, received a $1 million grantfrom the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to help commercialize its products.

The company designed a solar canopy that resembles green grass for the courtyard at the Starwood Element Hotel in Irving, Texas.

“Showcasing beautifully designed solar panels and weaving them into the guest experience is a great way to change people’s perception of renewable energy and goes hand-in-hand with Element’s ‘green without compromise’ mantra,” Paige Francis, Starwood’s vice president for global brand management, wrote in an email.

Microsoft is also a Sistine Solar client.

“By designing products that generate electricity more elegantly, we can help drive the adoption of clean energy,” Salama said. “By making solar more beautiful to appeal to the masses, we hope to get from 1 percent of homes with solar energy to 99 percent.”

From Take Part

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Friday, July 22, 2016

Housing Starts in U.S. Increased More Than Forecast in June

New-home construction in the U.S. rose more than forecast in June, providing some momentum for residential real estate near the end of its busy selling season.
Residential starts increased 4.8 percent to a 1.19 million annualized rate, the most since February, from 1.14 in May that was lower than previously estimated, Commerce Department data showed Tuesday in Washington. Permits, a proxy for future construction, also climbed.
The residential construction industry has remained in a steady but tepid recovery, struggling to make further progress as homebuilders run up against scarce land supply and credit standards stay tight in the eighth year after the last recession. At the same time, stable job gains and prospects for faster wage growth should buoy real-estate demand in the months ahead.
“The housing market continues to chug along quite nicely,” said Thomas Costerg, senior economist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York, whose projection was among the closest in the Bloomberg survey. “With mortgage rates so low, that provided an additional boost to the market, but at the same time we’re close to reaching cruise speed so I don’t think we’re expecting stellar performance going forward.”
The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 73 economists projected June starts at 1.165 million, little changed from the previously reported 1.164 million for May. Estimates ranged from 1.095 million to 1.2 million.

Volatile Data

The starts data, while very volatile from month to month, have held in a narrow range over the past year, indicating residential real estate will have trouble adding to its post-recession rebound. Still, the report showed a wide range for error, with a 90 percent chance that last month’s figure was between an 8.7 percent decline and an 18.3 percent gain.
Permits climbed 1.5 percent to a 1.15 million annualized rate, matching the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Because the number of applications were lower than starts, it suggests it will be difficult to sustain last month’s gain in home building.
Beginning construction of single-family houses rose 4.4 percent to a 778,000 rate, the most since February, from 745,000 in May.
Groundbreaking on multifamily homes, such as townhouses and apartment buildings, climbed 5.4 percent to an annual rate of 411,000, the most since September. Data on these projects, which typically have led housing starts over the past few years, can be especially volatile.
Starts climbed in two of four regions, led by a 46.3 percent surge in the Northeast. They rose 17.4 percent in the West to 317,000, the most since July 2007.
From Bloomberg
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Boral Roofing shows community spirit

LAKE WALES – It’s a big company with a big heart.
That’s what Karen Tiner, president of Habitat for Humanity of East Polk County, said about Georgia-headquartered Boral Roofing. The nation’s largest maker of clay and concrete roofing tile systems employs about 100 people locally in unincorporated Lake Wales at its largest of 12 locations.
“They are so amazing,” Tiner said. “They’ve been our premier sponsor this past year and this year as well.”
Donna Baldwin, the company’s Lake Wales director of e-commerce and supply chain, said stigmas and stereotypes that come with large corporations don’t necessarily apply to Boral. Baldwin said she enjoys working for a company that has built a legacy upon giving back.
“We feel like it has that small-business feel,” Baldwin said. “It’s been a really great place to work. Many of our employees here in Lake Wales have been here for more than 20 years.”
Since its inception in 1987, East Polk’s Habitat for Humanity branch has donated more than 140 homes. Boral has provided brick, stone, trim and roofing to the nonprofit.
“It can really be a one-stop shop,” Baldwin said. “It’s really nice that we’re able to offer so much for those building homes.”
Boral has also been a supporter of Habitat’s two biggest annual events: 5K in the Park and Chili in the Park.
Tiner said Boral is a big part of why Chili in the Park was successful this year. “We were able to increase the prize money.”

From The Ledger
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Roofing options offer style, durability

A roof is a roof is a roof?
Or is it?

While homeowners often may not think about what's above their heads until it needs to be replaced, the expense and investment of doing so may motivate you to contemplate what's next for your roof. And while asphalt shingles dominate the market -- they're sturdy, they're reliable and perhaps most important, they're affordable -- your roof can look stylistically different and even last longer with different materials.
It really depends on how much you're willing to invest in your roof.

"Slate has been around forever, and there's metal roofing and wood shakes," says Joan Crowe, director of technical services at the National Roofing Contractors Association. "These are expensive roofing systems that last longer than asphalt shingles, but people don't want to spend money on them."

And while asphalt shingles may take up more than 50 percent of the market, according to an NRCA study cited by Crowe, the rest of the market is a mix of new and alternative materials on which people are willing to spend money because of the stylistic and longevity benefits.

So if you'd like your roof to look a little different from those capping your neighbors' homes, consider these materials:
Synthetic slate tiles are being made now to replicate the durability of older slate products.
  Synthetic slate tiles are being made now to replicate the durability of older slate products. -

Synthetic slate
Don't knock a rubber roof until you've tried it. Or plastic. Or recycled products.
A newer product on the market, synthetic slate, has been gaining in popularity, according to Nick Sabino, president of Deer Park Roofing in Cincinnati.

"The good thing about the synthetic slate is the material is very lightweight," Sabino said. "That allows people to have a slate look without the weight of the slate bearing down on a structure."

A slate square can weigh up to 1,500 pounds per square -- the equivalent of 100 square feet -- while asphalt weighs about 250 to 300 pounds per square, according to Sabino. Synthetic slate weighs about a quarter of what real slate does.

Another advantage is the customization available with synthetic slate. "People really like the look, and it comes in a number of colors," Sabino says. "One of the things about natural slate, you can't really control the color, whereas synthetic slate, you can control what the roof system looks like."

One disadvantage to consider is that because synthetic slate is relatively new to the roofing marketplace, the warranty, even though it could be 50 years to a lifetime, is unproven. (If you do opt for real slate, your roof could last as long as 80 to 100 years, or more.)

"A manufacturer can make a lot of promises as to how long they're going to last, but we don't have any historical data say how long a synthetic roof will last," Sabino says.


Metal roofs are not just reserved for Home Depot stores and International House of Pancake restaurants. People are attracted to them because of the durability, as they can last more than twice the life of asphalt shingles, which typically are good for about 30 years. "Metal is very, very popular," says Sabino. "Standing seam metal roofs, consumers get really excited about them, but they're a lot more expensive than asphalt shingles, so they're excitement usually turns into, 'Well, maybe the asphalt shingles weren't so bad after all.' None of the alternatives on the market today are going to be as inexpensive as asphalt shingles."

A metal roof will cost you about $10 per square foot, he says, versus $3.50 for a square foot of asphalt shingles. Michael Giese, a project manager in residential roofing based in Highwood, a suburb of Chicago, praises metal roofs for their durability. "Metal roofing doesn't degrade," he says. "They're not affected by the sun, they're not affected by rain. They'll last just about forever until something just comes along and hits it. So they have a great durability factor. "He points to steel and copper as especially popular materials.

The metal, Sabino says, comes out, sometimes pre-painted in a factory, on a coil of a couple of hundred feet. Companies like his will put the coil through a roll former that will create the different shapes of a standing seam, manipulating such aspects as the striations and ribs.

The other thing to consider with a metal roof, he adds, is that some companies are limited by labor, as the installation must be exact for the durability to last.
Cedar shingles are a popular alternative to asphalt, but they will cost more.
  Cedar shingles are a popular alternative to asphalt, but they will cost more. - CTW 


As is the case with metal, cedar proves much more expensive than asphalt shingles. However, Sabino says, there's "much greater resistance to wind. So the cedar is a very durable product, but again, it's gotta be done correctly to reach the life span seen on other roofs." Cedar, he says, needs to breathe and needs room to dry out, adding that Western Red Cedar, often found in Northwestern states like Washington, tends to be the most popular. Cedar shingles and cedar shakes make for a good alternative to asphalt shingles, he said, but one thing not to neglect is flammability.

"They're very resistant to wind," he says. "Not so resistant to fire." A fire treatment, however, can be done on the shingles.

It's OK to go back to asphalt shingles. It is, after all, what most Americans, do.
Crowe, of the National Roofing Contractor's Association, does point out that laminate shingles, which usually are two or three layers (as opposed to a three-tab, which is a strip shingle) have gained in popularity, especially as they offer "more of an architectural flavor."

"Here's the thing about roofing," Crowe says. "Roofing is a lot of money. You really want to pick something that is going to perform well, and that's why asphalt shingles are the predominant steep-slope roof covering. For the price that you're getting and the service life, it's the biggest bang for your buck. So that's why they pretty much why they dictate the market share."

The National Roofing Contractor's Association has a consumer website,, that suggest the following things to look for when deciding whether you need to replace your roof:
• Look for shingles that are buckling, curling or blistering. This indicates the end of the shingles' life expectancy.
• Look for loose material or wear around chimneys and pipes.
• Look for excessive amounts of shingle granules in your gutters. Granules protect shingles from ultraviolet rays.
• Crowe says it's imperative to ask for multiple estimates from various contractors. She says to rely on referrals and on ratings from reputable agencies like Angie's List and the Better Business Bureau.

From The Daily Herald

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

One of the Best Examples of Modern Architecture Is a Former Livestock Pavilion in North Carolina

When you hail from one of the magnificent capital cities of New England, such as Boston or, in my case, Providence, Rhode Island, it’s sometimes a little hard to admit that there are worthy architectural landmarks anywhere else. But on a recent trip to Raleigh, North Carolina, I discovered what might be one of America's greatest examples of modern architecture: Dorton Arena, the former livestock pavilion at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds.

Although cattle-judging long ago moved to new quarters, Dorton Arena seats more than 7,000 spectators; it has been home to football, basketball, pro wrestling, and hockey (it was home to the Raleigh Ice Caps for most of the 1990s). It has hosted various college and high school graduations, as well as concerts. (The Supremes, the Beach Boys, the Four Seasons, Johnny Cash, and Ray Charles all played here.) The day I visited, it was set up for an extreme bicycle competition.

Built in 1952, the arena sharply contrasted with the existing Spanish Colonial stucco and red-tile fair structures built in 1928. State fair manager J.S. Dorton insisted that the new building should be the most modern in the world, and like much bold modern architecture, the arena is an engineering marvel. It is comprised of two reinforced concrete parabolic arches, between which is suspended a saddle-shaped roof. This meant that the entire unencumbered floor space could be open, while the non-bearing glazed walls admit incredible amounts of natural light. Best of all, the roof appears to float.

I had first encountered the livestock pavilion in an architecture class, where my professor waxed poetic about this dramatic modern building, noting that had its designer, Matthew Nowicki, not been killed in a plane crash, he would have become one of the outstanding avant-garde architects of the 20th century.

Born Maciej Nowicki in Siberia, he was trained in Poland. During World War II he was one of the architects who secretly and heroically documented Warsaw’s built legacy before the Nazis leveled it. After the war, he came to New York and worked on the design of the United Nations building, along with architectural luminaries such as Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer. Not wishing to return to Communist Poland, he joined the architecture faculty at North Carolina State University, which became one of the leading modernist schools of design in the country. At the time of his death, Nowicki was the chief architect for the new Punjabi capital of Chandigarh in India, a post that was then given to Le Corbusier.

Sixty-five years after its completion, Dorton Arena shows the effects of constant use. Even so, being inside is as exciting as experiencing some of the most notable Olympics structures, such as the Palazzetto dello Sport in Rome by Pier Luigi Nervi of 1960 or the Aquatics Center by Zaha Hadid for the 2012 London Olympics. And beyond sports and cultural events, Nowicki’s Raleigh pavilion bears positive comparison with some of the magnificent grand spaces of history—the Pantheon in Rome, France’s Amiens Cathedral, and the original Pennsylvania Station in New York.

Although pretty much taken for granted in a capital city that has choked itself with unbridled and hideous suburban development, the former livestock-judging pavilion should be treasured. This architectural wonder also stands as a testament to North Carolina’s golden age, when it was emerging from depression and world war to become the symbol of a progressive New South—a leader in education and modern architecture.


Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606

Monday, July 18, 2016

Roof repairs steady in Fort Smith; downtown construction permitted

Fort Smith Building Safety Division issued more than 180 permits for roof repairs this week, about $2.4 million in value, along with several repairs and remodel projects around town.
Randall Ford, 5500 Rogers Ave., was among the many Fort Smith businesses and homes damaged from a heavy hail storm April 29. Construction Masters will repair the Ford dealership's roof for about $135,000.
Other large commercial roof repair jobs include those at 2200 S. Waldron Road for $45,000 and 10300 Jenny Lind Road for $65,000.
Steven Almond, plans examiner for Building Safety, created a line item box to better keep track of the hundreds of roof repair permits. There have been well over 2,000 issued since May. For the past several weeks, roof repair valuations in each building permits report have been more than $2 million.
Petree Construction is permitted for a "modular building project" at 601 N. Eighth St. The valuation is $64,511. Future School of Fort Smith founder and CEO Trish Flanagan said last that modular buildings for extra classroom space would be delivered in the coming weeks for the city's first charter school. The building at 622 N. Seventh St. was once home to Girls Inc. and has been vacant for many years. Petree Construction in Fort Smith was permitted two weeks ago for a $235,000 remodeling job at the charter school, which is expected to begin classes in mid-August.
The Steps Family Resource Center at 708 Garrison Ave. was also permitted for $170,000 in remodeling work by Edwards Construction Co. A variance request for the project to create more office space at the Friedman-Wegman Building came before the Central Business Improvement District last month and was approved. The existing storefront on the 1890s building has a glass display area with a recessed entry not believed to be original. The request from property owners Hooks Properties stated the aluminum glass display case was possibly installed in the 1940s.
The Stephens Production Building at 623 Garrison Ave. will also see $10,500 in repairs. Almond said the work was for new windows. The building holds the city administration offices.
A Buddhist center at 4625 Armour Ave. is also set to receive $73,150 in work by Crawford Construction.

From NRCA 
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606