You learn a lot after a few decades, such as that you can build good buildings out of almost anything— Nature does it all the time— and you can build lousy but code-approved buildings out of all the mainstream materials sanctioned in the industrialized world. It all depends on how you use, or fail to use, the most valuable resources of all — human energy, experience and ingenuity.
Most building professionals are only familiar with the “conventional” materials presented in the building codes. In my 35 years as a structural engineer, I have studied both historic and innovative building systems from all over the globe, and have direct experience engineering and building with just about every “alternative” system that’s out there—as well as all the mainstream ones. I can help you select and work with the systems best suited to your project.
Every construction project I’ve seen has wasted money, materials, energy, and human resources, and finished up as something less safe, healthy or profitable than expected. With a slight effort — and sometimes with less effort — that waste can be turned into savings.
Let me help you turn the stuff you throw away into free resources.
I have worked all over the world, on hundreds of structures made of every kind of material, from Cuba to Cupertino, from Haiti to Hangzhou, from San Francisco high rises to New Mexico adobes, to Scottish lime to Mongolian straw bale. Every project I’ve seen suffers when the right information doesn’t get to the right people, resulting in things like smelly air, seismic hazard, and higher costs. Modern building codes have done a great job at protecting us from fire and earthquakes, but have left us exposed to danger from mold, toxic chemicals and the many problems that buildings create in the world that surrounds them. Let me help you turn the stuff you throw away into free resources.