Podcast 196: A Conversation with Architect Steve Baczek, Passive House Designer, Former Carpenter, and Marine Corps Veteran
Kiley and Patrick sit down with Steve Baczek to discuss his path to becoming an architect and the lessons he learned from working with some of the smartest building scientists in the industry.
Follow the Fine Homebuilding Podcast on your favorite app. Subscribe now and don’t miss an episode:
In this episode of the podcast Patrick and Kiley pick Steve’s brain on how architects and builders can have a better partnership and what the real role of an architect should be. He also gives us a taste of his upcoming presentation at the Fine Homebuilding Summit. Patrick and Kiley talk about fitting drawers and building cabinet doors.
We heard from several listeners about CLT buildings (Cross Laminated Timber)
Listener feedback 1
Andre writes, Hi Podcasters; I’m a fan of the show and look forward to the latest air-sealing episode every week. I have done a variety of residential renovations in addition to my work building commercial kitchens.
The ‘plyscaper’ has come to life here in the Pacific Northwest in Canada.
The web links I’ve attached show some stellar examples of timber forward buildings and the 2017 build of Brock Commons.
Checkout the speed of construction on the time lapse:
The heavy-duty parts of a build program at the University ideally starts when students leave and is finished by the time the students return in the fall. As I understand the CLT Panels are made off-site with a CNC system and assembled into portable elements. In our relatively mild climate the CLT walls and floors provide insulation and structure in a simple application.
As Kiley mentioned there is a tendency in current building to just ‘add another layer’ and I am guessing that the drywall finish on the interiors come about through satisfying the various interlocking code requirements. The building continues to get great reviews from the student inhabitants.
Keep Craft Alive,
Listener feedback 2
Art writes: Here in Oregon, CLT has gotten off to a rocky start: He copied an article that first appeared in The Oregonian.
“When Oregon State University leaders decided in 2014 it was time to replace the aging home of its forestry school, they wanted more than a new building. They wanted a statement.
The new Peavy Hall would symbolize the rebirth of the state’s timber industry by showcasing its signature innovation: cross-laminated timber. With its ambitious use of wood that’s been fortified to rival steel, Peavy Hall would underscore Oregon’s place at the forefront of a revitalized forest products market.
But the general contractor saw significant risks in using an untested CLT manufacturer, like the one hired to supply the Corvallis project, and wanted financial cover, documents obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive show . School officials, instead, moved forward with a new builder in December 2016.
In March, a 1,000-pound section of the third floor buckled and crashed onto the floor below. Engineers traced the panel’s failure to the glue and determined at least five other panels showed signs of delamination. The closer they looked, the more bad CLT panels they found; by August, at least 85 were marked for replacement.
The months of delays, the experts and engineers, and the replacement panels will add millions to the cost of a project that already has climbed nearly 32 percent, to $79 million, since construction began.
The Peavy problem comes after years of efforts by state officials to promote a technology they view as an economic engine for rural Oregon. The state’s timber employment has fallen 62 percent since its 1980s heyday, from about 80,000 to 30,000. In 2015, the state deemed the development of cross-laminated timber buildings “essential” to the state’s economic interests.
The panels were made by DR Johnson, a venerable Douglas County timber company and newly minted CLT manufacturer, whose president, Valerie Johnson, sits on the forestry school’s board of visitors.
Special feature: Interview with architect Steve Baczek
Steve Baczek called in to chat about the presentations he has planned for the upcoming Fine Homebuilding Summit conference, which takes place in Southbridge, Mass., from October 2-4. Steve points out that, even if he wasn’t speaking at the conference, he would surely be attending to see the all-star team of home-building experts who will be giving talks at the Summit.
Steve, Patrick, and Kiley’s then go on to chart the interesting path Steve took from architecture school to a position at the industry-leading Building Science Corporation and on to becoming one of today’s top designers of energy-efficient homes.
Come see Steve Baczek and a dozen more experts speak at the FHB Summit
Steve will be giving the following presentations at the event:
Banquet Keynote: Positioning for Success – Steve Baczek
We all strive to do a good job, and we all think we know what that might be. Here Baczek will share what he considers to be the criteria for quality building, how to achieve it, and why we all should care. Baczek believes our responsibility extends beyond our physical tasks of getting a home built, and for most of us, that’s why we are in this business. He will discuss how we all can walk out of the room with a better perspective, and execute success.
Design with the Builder in Mind – Steve Baczek
Achieving high levels of energy efficiency is relatively easy on paper, but doing it in the field while maintaining a level of comfort for the builders and subcontractors is a whole different challenge. In this class, Baczek will discuss the faulty logic of designers specifying materials that are costly, hard to acquire, or unfamiliar to the tradespeople who will be installing them. The goal? Become conscious of the effort needed to fulfill such requests, and balance that with the expectation that builders will handle their installation or technique with the strictest attention to detail.
Learn more and register for the Fine Homebuilding Summit.
Use the Promo Code “SUMMIT” for a $50 discount on tickets
Kiley: Draw-face fix.
Patrick: Wardrobe cabinet doors.
KeepCraftAlive hats help celebrate the value of true craftsmanship–plus 50% of all proceeds from every hat sold go to the #KeepCraftAlive Scholarship Fund, supported by Fine Homebuilding and SkillsUSA.
This episode of the podcast is brought to you by MiTek and The Bilco Company
Brought to you by MiTek ProSeries Structural Wood Screws, the new standard in wood screws. MiTek’s ProSeries Screws are code compliant, reduce labor time, and are available for many fastening needs. And now the MiTek ProSeries line includes the WSTS Truss/Stud Screw. The WSTS includes an installation angle tool and driver bit to help you drive every screw at the exact angle needed without complicated jigs or measuring. Reverse thread angles on opposite ends of the screws provides higher load capacity while a fully threaded shank allows for more flexible installation. Get through the job faster, easier, and stronger with MiTek ProSeries WSTS Truss Stud Screw. Visit Mitek-Us.com and search Pro Series for more information.
And by The BILCO Company. Basement improvements are one way for homeowners to add livable and saleable square footage to their homes. BILCO basement doors and egress window wells provide access to finished basement areas and add light, ventilation and code-compliant emergency egress. Whether it’s a family room, game room, home gym or even an extra bedroom, get more out of your basement with BILCO. For more information visit BILCO.com.
We hope you will take advantage of a great offer for our podcast listeners: A special 20% off the discounted rate to subscribe to the Fine Homebuilding print magazine. That link goes to finehomebuilding.com/podoffer.
The show is driven by our listeners, so please subscribe and rate us on iTunes or Google Play, and if you have any questions you would like us to dig into for a future show, shoot an email our way: [email protected]. Also, be sure to follow Justin Fink and Fine Homebuilding on Instagram, and “like” the magazine on Facebook. Note that you can watch the show above, or on YouTube at the Fine Homebuilding YouTube Channel.
The Fine Homebuilding Podcast embodies Fine Homebuilding magazine’s commitment to the preservation of craftsmanship and the advancement of home performance in residential construction. The show is an informal but vigorous conversation about the techniques and principles that allow listeners to master their design and building challenges.
Other related links