May 132015

There are some very interesting articles out there about construction and we would like to bring them to you from time to time.  Here is what we are reading.

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How 3d printing is changing the global construction industry forever
- Infrastructure – Apr 16, 2015
The concept of 3D printing has been hovering around for some time now. The actual use of 3D printing and its adaption into the construction industry is now starting to become a reality. Architects and contractors around the world are beginning to build the first 3D residential structures including houses and apartment buildings……Continue reading here.

Dodge Momentum Index Moves Higher in April

NEW YORK – May 7, 2015 – The Dodge Momentum Index rose 0.8% in April to 122.6 (2000=100) from March’s 121.6, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year. April’s slight rise shows planning activity beginning to edge up once again after retreating 2.5% in March, continuing the up-and-down pattern that’s been present so far in 2015. Although the planning statistics have essentially plateaued in early 2015, the level of activity continues to be higher than a year ago, enabling the latest month’s Momentum Index to be up 8.5% compared to April 2014. With the commercial sector still helped by improving occupancies and rents, while the institutional sector is benefitting from the passage of recent bond measures, it’s expected that the Momentum Index will see a more sustained upward trend as 2015 progresses.  Continue reading here

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Jackson Clements Burrow’s “Lego tower” in St Kilda taking shape

6 May, 2015 Nathan Johnson An 18-storey apartment tower that will eventually look like a stack of colourful Lego blocks has commenced construction on the corner of a busy St Kilda intersection. Designed by Jackson Clements Burrows, ‘The Icon’ will rise 56 metres into the Port Phillip skyline in six modular tiers, wrapped in different coloured powder coated mesh screens. The first floors of The Icon were uncovered of their scaffolding wrap this week and the building will be revealed in one level sections over the course of three months as the construction progresses….Continue Reading Here

     Posted by at 2:41 pm
    Apr 282015
    Ocean Avenue Project

    1100 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco

    Rain screens have been used around the world since the 1960s, but they are just now starting to hit the U.S. market.  RFJ is one of the only companies presently installing rain screens on commercial buildings in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    RFJ Meiswinkel has worked on two projects in San Francisco installing rain screens.  One of the products used in both of these projects is designed by Swisspearl  out of Switzerland and distributed by the  Cladding Corporation.

    “95% of Swisspearl® cement composite is made up of natural raw materials from the Swiss mountains: cement, pulverized limestone, water and air…

    Swisspearl® cement composite panels are manufactured with low energy and a high level of environmental awareness. The manufacturing process based on a closed water cycle and a slow natural 28 days curing time requires little energy. Within the factory, panels are only transported by electric lifting trucks , – i.e. no colloid dust. The panels are 100% environmentally friendly since neither the raw materials nor the production process contain any dangerous substances”…From the Swisspearl website.

    RFJ Rain Panels Ocean

    The Swisspearl fiber cement rain screens come in many different colors and textures and is considered the top of the line in rain screens.

    Water barriers and insulation installed prior to the installation of the panel

    Water barriers and insulation installed prior to the installation of the panel

    The reason for rain screens is multipurpose.  They work at preventing thermal bridges, which is a cause of mold in newer construction.  They work to reflect heat off the building and protect temperature variations,  this helps to keep interior building temperatures consistent, helping with building energy management. They get their name because they work as a rain screen, preventing water from intruding and keeping the structural walls and exterior insulation completely dry.

    The principle behind the rain screen

    The principle behind the rain screen

    Air circulation in a rain screen

    Air circulation in a rain screen

    Rene Cazenave Apartments at 25 Essex Street in San Francisco

    Rene Cazenave Apartments at 25 Essex Street in San Francisco

    On the Rene Cazenave job RFJ utilized two different rain screens.  The gray panels are Minerit by American Fiber Cement Company and purchased from Foundry Service Company.  Minerit is made in Finland of  clean and non-hazardous raw materials, designed to withstand wear and extreme weather conditions. In addition, Minerit boards are non-combustible.  Minerit boards only come in gray.

    Some colors available from Swisspearl

    Some colors available from Swisspearl


    These products are available for residential use as well.  RFJ Meiswinkel looks forward to working on more of these projects with new and exciting building materials that are helping with energy efficiency and look great as well.

    Rene Cazenave Apartments at 25 Essex
    Architect: Leddy Maytum Stacy
    General Contractor: Cahill Contractors:

    Mercy Housing at 1100 Ocean Avenue
    Architect: Herman Coliver Locus
    General Contractor: Cahill Constractors

      Mar 112015
      Conceptual Drawing from HOK

      Conceptual Drawing from HOK

      The new Public Safety building for the City and County of San Francisco is nearing completion. The building sits in the Mission Bay Redevelopment area and will house the police administrative headquarters, a district police station and a new district fire station as well as fleet vehicle parking.

      The Public Safety Building places all emergency services of San Francisco under one roof, enabling police leadership to promptly and properly coordinate public safety services in the event of a major natural disaster. The work also includes the historic rehabilitation of Fire Station #30 which will provide a community meeting room and house the Arson Task Force.

      RFJ Meiswinkel at the SF Public Safety BuildingThere will be two major art installations in the building that come under the Art Enrichment Program.  This piece, by Shimon Attie entitled Spiral of Gratitude is suspended from a plaster ceiling done by RFJ.

      San Francisco Fire Stations Plaster Work RFJ MeiswinkelThere are two fire poles that go from the third floor down to the fire station.  The plaster work surrounding the openings, work done by RFJ, was challenging, and yet unique and fun.

      Fire Poles and Plaster

      Light Wells at the SF Public Safety Building

      One of the great features of this building is the abundance of light throughout.  RFJ was responsible for the lath and plaster work that surrounds these highly complicated light wells.  They all provided a challenge for our best and brightest.




      SF Police DepartmentSince the building houses both the fire and police departments there are dormitories and kitchens throughout.  RFJ was the lath and plastering contractor for all of these areas.

      SF Fire department


      San Francisco Public Safety BuildingIn the offices RFJ framed these low office walls, they were later finished off in fabric.

      The Public Safety Building is a very important building to the City of San Francisco. It was funded to provide a replacement facility for the SFPD Headquarters and the Southern District Police Station,  located at the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant Street. In the event of a major earthquake, the Bryant Street building is not expected to be operational and it is essential that the police command structure be fully operational  immediately after the “Big One”.   RFJ Meiswinkel is proud to have been a part of such a vital building in the safety of the citizens as well as the protectors of san Francisco.


      Architect:  HOK and Mark Cavagnero
      Contractor: Pankow
      Construction Management: Vanir and CM Pros
      Structural Engineers: SOHA




         Posted by at 7:21 am
        Feb 022015

        RFJ SFMOMA wave ceiling


        The ornamental wave ceiling is going up in a new building and boy are we excited.

        A mold for one of the shapes in the ceiling at SFMOMA

        A mold for one of the shapes in the ceiling

        The panels are of Glass Fiber Reinforced Gypsum (GFRG) and are produced by GC Products in Lincoln, California.

        The process consists of first producing molds that represent the various shapes that make up the ceiling.  Then hand placing a combination of both gypsum and a glass fiber sheet.

        Plaster and Glass Fiber sheets are used to make the panels

        Plaster and Glass Fiber sheets are used to make the panels

        After the plaster is sufficiently dry the panel is popped out of the mold, sanded, inspected and ready to go the job site.

        DSC_7873The panels, take two JLG’s and two men to attach to the Unistrut system that RFJ Meiswinkel has been installing for the last few months.



        SFMOMA interior ceilings

          Jan 052015
          901 Rankin Street in San Francisco - Photo courtesy of Architect

          901 Rankin Street in San Francisco – Architect’s rendering

          The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market was built in the early 1960s as part of a redevelopment effort in the Bayview. The merchants at that time were moved from what is now the area near the Embarcadero Center, where they had been operating since the 1870s.

          The Produce Market in the 1920s

          The Produce Market in the 1920s

          The City assisted with obtaining financing for the project, which was fully repaid from merchant rent. The Wholesale Produce Market has operated as a City-controlled entity operated jointly by the San Francisco Market Corporation and the San Francisco Produce Association, with oversight by the City Controller and the Real Estate Department.

          The SF Produce Market Today

          The SF Produce Market Today

          The Produce Market is undergoing a new three-phase development plan.  As a result, the Market will expand from 300,000 to almost 500,000 square feet.

          The first new building is 901 Rankin.  RFJ Meiswinkel did the framing for the load bearing walls on the north end.  The company was also responsible for the soffit framing, sky light framing, roof framing and the interior framing accompanied by gypboard installation and the interior finish.

          901 Rankin*

          901 Rankin*SF Produce Warehouse new building


          SF Produce New BUilding

          *SF Produce Market

          *SF Produce Market

          SF Produce Market

          Architect: Jackson Lilies
          General Contractor: Hathaway Dinwiddie

            Dec 182014

            Solano County Courthouse

            The Solano County Courthouse underwent a $27 million restoration and RFJ Meiswinkel was proud to be a part of it. Designed by E.C. Hemmings and built in 1911, this 2 story, 29,900 square foot courthouse is an outstanding example of Beaux Arts architecture and is part of the Central Solano County Heritage Commission’s inventory of “Lasting Heritage” buildings.

            Restoration PlasterBrad Hull of RFJ works on the high quality plaster restoration in the two story grand entrance of the courthouse.

            Historic Plaster RenovationBrad’s work once the building was opened.

            Historic Plaster RestorationThe stairway and much of the building is marble.

            Historic Plaster Restoration

            Most of what you see was original to the building, and if it was missing, it was carefully recreated.  That means the light fixtures and the ornamental grates behind the windows, as well as, the high quality plaster finishes.

            Jesus YanezJesus Yanez of RFJ works on a small chamber that was not available to our cameras after the courthouse was re-opened.

            Ornamental PlasterRFJ worked on a rather elaborate support system for the plaster walls on the first floor.   The walls were hollow clay tile, stabilized with a  Hilti epoxy injection system that utilized a test tube shaped perforated screen embedded prior to injection and bolted to 16 gauge framing.

            Ornamental plasterThe work was worth it.  At one end is the History room, holding an array of photos from of the Courthouse throughout the ages, and at the other end is the new County Clerks office.

            Solano County CourthouseThe courthouse was kept true to its history, including the wooden chairs and the beautiful wood railings.  Notice the plaster ornamented ceiling beautifully restored by RFJ.

            Plaster Restoration


            General Contractor:  Plant Construction
            Architect: Hornberger+Worstell
            Historic Architect: Carey and Company
            Interior Architect: Brayton + Hughes
            Structural Engineer: Rutherford and Chekene

               Posted by at 5:34 pm
              Nov 142014

              This public building  is moving along, albeit, what feels like a snails pace to many.  The acoustical waved ceiling is beginning to come together and we thought it time to bring you a few photos of our progress.

              Framing at SFMOMAHere is a long shot of the framing that we are doing not only for the walls but for the ceiling as well.

              SFMOMA Ceiling Framing UnistrutWe have installed a goodly portion of the ceiling framing, and the next step is to make the attachments for the ceiling panels.  The attachments will be hung from the framing you see here.

              attachments for ceiling panels at SFMOMAThe ceiling attachments are each individually crafted.

              ceiling panels at SFMOMAThis is a mock-up of the panels showing the custom attachments and the ceiling framing.  You can see how involved the project is and how unique the ceiling design is going to be by this one panel.  We are very excited about this truly luxurious and highly architectural project.

              SFMOMA ceiling panel with access

              Here you see the access panel in this particular piece, giving access to the equipment behind the ceiling.

              walls at sfmomaIf you look closely you can see that the walls are on an angle as well.

              Knuckle BoomWe have had to rent a Knuckle Boom from Sunstate just for the installation of this panelling.   The men on the job required special training to operate this equipment.

              The GFRC paneling is being produced by GC Products a company out of Lincoln, California.

              The metal framing is a Unistrut product that we are purchasing from Tomarco, out of Fremont, California.

              We are renting all of our equipment for this project from Sunstate.








                Nov 112014

                In scanning the Engineering News-Record on line I came across this:

                All Photos from the Diggerland Website

                All Photos from the Diggerland Website

                “New Jersey-Based Sambe Construction Co. in June launched Diggerland USA in West Berlin, N.J., 30 miles east of Philadelphia. It allows kids and the adults they bring along to operate construction equipment and ride on machines revamped into amusement park-style rides. The 14-acre attraction has a 50-piece equipment fleet and is modeled after a successful enterprise in England with four operating parks. Diggerland USA includes Spin Dizzy, an excavator that provides a 360° rotating ride, Backhoe Adventure and daily stunt shows by a veteran equipment operator.”

                I knew I was hooked, so I headed over to the Diggerland website. There is a 36” height requirement, check, and an entry fee of $30 or $35 if you just walk up, no problem, far less than the rental on one of these big bad boys. So I am thinking ROAD TRIP!

                Heavy Construction Equipment

                The place looks like so much fun. There are really ingenious rides, take the Dig-A-Round, geared for the younger crowd it is a carousel with JCB 8065 Buckets as seats, the heck with cute circus animals, this is a carousel!

                They have all the equipment you would expect, and yes you can do the usual digging and earth moving, or heck you can go bowling with these JCB’s. There are dump trucks and loaders and mini rovers, and then there are backhoes and battle trucks, what’s not to love.

                If equipment isn’t your thing there is also a rock climbing wall and a rope climbing course.

                Diggerland USA

                Oh, and in case that wasn’t enough, Diggerland is located right in front of a water park. This is important for those of you who are aware of New Jersey summer temperatures.

                I’ll let you know how it was as soon as I can get the boss to arrange a company field trip!

                Diggerland USA

                  Sep 302014

                  RFJ Fireproofing Contractors

                  Long gone are the days of asbestos fireproofing and all of its ugly side effects.  Today, most fireproofing consists of some type of plaster material, which is why RFJ Meiswinkel is so perfectly suited to apply fireproofing material in any type of project.

                  Nothing is actually “Fire-Proof”.  Items are classified as “resistant” under various circumstances.  The purpose of “fireproofing” is to make sure that people are able to leave a burning building safely.

                  Spray Fireproofing

                  Today’s “fireproofing” is done in several coats, and it is sprayed on until the legal thickness is acquired.

                  The correct use of a fireproofing gun requires hours of experience

                  The correct use of a fireproofing gun requires hours of experience

                  Among the conventional materials used in today’s fireproofing construction are:

                  Gypsum plasters

                  Cementitious plasters

                  Fibrous plasters

                  Considerable Preparation goes into the project before spraying to insure all items that must be protected are wrapped before the process begins

                  Considerable Preparation goes into the project before spraying to insure all items that must be protected are wrapped before the process begins

                  Some products that RFJ Meiswinkel uses when doing spray fireproofing include: Monokote by WR Grace Company , and Cafco 300 by Isolatek.  RFJ Meiswinkel buys their products locally from San Francisco Gravel and Westside Building Materials.