News briefs February 2002

February 01, 2002 |

Speak now or forever …

People holding a stake in the practice of inspecting buildings can contribute to a standard for serviceability under development by the ASTM Subcommittee E06.21 on Serviceability.

The proposed specifications will establishment requirements for inspection credentials for potential use in the model building codes and related industries, particularly in inspections of firestops and joint systems.

Comments may be addressed to John D. Nicholas, Omega Point Labs, Elmendorf, TX, phone (210) 635-8100 or e-mail Committee E06 will meet April 14-17 in Pittsburgh.

Risky business

Engineers and scientists at the Johns Hopkins University will lead a new research center in creating new tools to gauge risks associated with hazardous waste sites and to develop new ways to clean up pollutants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently approved a five-year $5.2 million grant to launch the Center for Hazardous Substances in Urban Environments. The funds will support research and allow participants, which include to provide technical help to community groups, environmental regulators and industry representatives in the Northeast.

Other participating institutions are the University of Maryland, Morgan State University, the University of Connecticut and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Enron fallout will hike Houston vacancies.

The problems of fallen energy giant Enron will reverberate through the Houston office market. Enron was scheduled to completely occupy a new 40-story downtown office tower, which was designed by New Haven, Conn.-based Cesar Pelli & Associates and constructed by Bethesda, Md.-based Clark Construction. The company had moved into the base of the building, which includes four trading floors and one executive floor. These areas are expected to be taken over by UBS Warburg, if the bankruptcy court approves Warburg's bid to purchase Enron's trading arm. About 3.3 million square feet of Class A office space, including Enron Center South’s 1.25 million square feet, will come on the market over the next two years, conceivably increasing the downtown vacancy rate from 3 percent to as much as 20 percent.

Austin Convention Center will harvest electricity

As part of a 400,000-sq.-ft. expansion to the Austin (Texas) Convention Center, Austin-based A/E Page Southerland Page has designed a 90-ft.-tall glass curtain wall clad with a series of translucent, sun shading panels that feature photovoltaic cells on the outside surface. Part of the funding for the project came from Austin Energy, which will use the electricity generated by the panels. The project, which will double the size of the convention center, is scheduled for completion this April.

Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates of Atlanta is architect for 933 Peachtree, a $57 million development consisting of two 21-story apartment buildings in Atlanta’s Midtown area. Atlanta-based R.G. Griffin & Co. is general contractor for the project, which will include four floors of parking and 38,000-square feet of retail space.The first phase of the project will be completed this fall.


Davis, Carter, Scott Ltd. of McLean, Va., is architect for Two Washingtonian, a $32 million, mid-rise office tower under construction in Gaithersburg, Md. Bethesda, Md.-based Clark Construction is general contractor for the building, which is fully preleased to Marriott International. Fremont Properties of San Francisco is the owner.

Overlay Init