Monthly Archives: December 2015

addAccording to the National Association of Home Builders, in 2009 the size of the average American home was two thousand seven hundred square feet. That means for a family of four there would be, on average, six hundred seventy-five square feet of living space per person. Based on these numbers, a single person living in just five hundred square feet (the size of several micro homes) sounds perfectly reasonable, in fact, it sounds like what many people are already accustomed to. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the part about not being able to have a swimming pool, back yard, barbecue, tree house, tool shed, garage or anything else you would have outside of your home. Since most micro housing is being located in densely populated areas, the people that would live in them have already decided they don't need any of these things, or have found an acceptable alternative.

However, if you look at the bigger picture it sounds like we are choosing to be packed like sardines into a can. If you take into consideration that there are nearly three million square miles of land in the contiguous United States, and let's say half of it is either BLM, watershed or national park (that's a heavy estimate). This leaves us with one hundred and fifty million square miles of good old-fashioned Tera-firma. The current population of the United States is a little over three million people. Simple math will lead us to the conclusion that there is enough physical land to put only two people on each square mile.

That's thirteen million nine hundred thirty-nine thousand two hundred square feet each. With all of this land, why would someone intentionally choose to live in a space no more than five hundred square feet? Just so you can get an idea of the size, the five hundred square feet taken out of the center of a half square mile would be smaller (proportionately) than putting a postage stamp in the center of a football field.

If you put an acorn in a small pot it will still grow just as if you planted it in the forest, with one difference. Like a Bonsai, it will look just like its wild cousin, but it will never reach the height and depth that nature intended it to. It will be forever stunted in its tiny pot, being able to grow only as far as its environment allows let it. Will living in a micro-home have the same effect on the American spirit, stunting it to the point that we will stop reaching further and higher to better it?

The psychological aspects to living in such a small space could easily be found, just go to your local prison. A modern cell is just one hundred square feet and houses two inmates. In contrast, an NCO on a modern army base gets to share two hundred square feet with a bunkmate. Would people choose to live in these micro homes as the result of some deep seeded throwback to our caveman ancestors? Do they feel safer in a confined space from the sabre tooth tiger that's lurking around outside?

In NYC, approximately sixty thousand people applied to live in just eleven available units that are under construction on East 27th St. in Kips Bay, Manhattan. In the movie The Fifth Element, (released in 1997), the 23rd century New York City apartment that Bruce Willis' character occupied couldn't have been more than three hundred square feet. It had a bed that retracted into the wall, a shower that stacked on top of a full sized refrigerator and plenty of shelf space. Is that the direction we are heading, hundred story buildings packed to the gills with people?

The answer lies in a simple place, where the money is. If there is a profit to be made there will be funds available to grow the industry from eager investors looking for a percentage. Weather it takes off or not, only time will tell.

asEnsuring that a construction site stays clean means that you are ensuring the safety of everyone that enters the construction area, as well as everyone that works on the site. Any debris that is left lying around could be a potential threat to someone's safety and thus it is important that it should be cleared away as soon as possible. If the construction works with toxic materials and chemicals it is crucial that they should be disposed of properly. Not only would it be ethically wrong not to do it, but in many cases it could be illegal. If they are not disposed of properly they will become a threat to others and the environment.

A construction site that is not clean and properly organized inhibits productivity. With random debris scattered around, workers will become confused and start searching for tools and materials in the wrong places. If a disorganised construction site causes injury to one of the workers it impacts productivity even more since that worker will no longer be a part of the workforce.

A disorganised construction zone will also have a negative impact on your reputation. Debris and other materials lying around, causing injury to others and affecting your productivity will all create the image of inefficiency and laziness. If you're able to show others that you can maintain an organized workplace and that you care about the safety of others and the environment, they will be more likely to put their trust in you and find your work credible.

How to properly clean up construction zones

There are many companies that offer construction site cleanup, but if you would like to do it yourself here are a few basic tips:

    1. Dust will build up everywhere during construction. Clean up dust using the following methods:
      • It is important to wear masks during construction to avoid the dust entering your lungs.
      • If the construction took place in a house, make sure to clean any air filters such as your home's heating and air conditioning as these filters will have trapped dust.
      • Remove dust on walls by using a small wet towel and wrapping it around the base of the broom. Swipe it across the walls. Rinse the cloth frequently to prevent dust from staying behind.
      • Vacuum any carpets and furniture.
    2. Move large debris using trash cans or a larger container such as a dumpster if necessary. Many companies rent dumpsters to construction sites so finding one should be easy.


    1. Check all the nooks and crannies to make sure no dust or other residue stays behind.


    1. Check to make sure that there isn't any extra paint that needs to be removed.


    1. If the construction area has interior masonry, make sure it is cleaned properly.


    1. Clean any and all appliances that are present on the construction site.


  1. Dispose of all trash and do a final check of the construction site to make sure it is properly cleaned.

eeeClash detection is important for contractors during the pre-construction stage. Managing collision data is a painstaking and time-consuming endeavor. Hence, visualizing the conflict area in advance facilitates smooth installation, once the project is in progress. Collision free models help in quantity generation, scheduling and making cost-estimate. Now, various clash coordination software applications are available in the AEC market, but which software platform would you choose? Opt for the one that will produce accurate quantities by location and will generate more off-site prefabrication, saving time and re-work in the construction process. Check out whether the clash resolution software you are choosing will bring about smoother installation, shorter schedule and precise cost plan for your building project.

Let's consider the advantages provided by the various clash coordination software applications:

- Interference Checking - Navisworks clash coordination tools perform interference checking and manage potential problems before the beginning of construction, minimizing delays and rework.

- Data Sharing - Integration between Navisworks and BIM 360 Glue offers cloud connectivity to Navisworks user and supports shared Navisworks data and workflow with BIM 360.

- Collision Avoidance - Another way to avoid conflict is by using BIM co-ordination model in AutoCAD 2016, which lets you open Navisworks and BIM 360 Glue models within design products. Designers model the 'in-context' by using integrated Navisworks model for avoiding collisions.

- Potential Clash Reduction - Use Navisworks Manage for reducing potential clashes before construction, lessening delays and rework. In order to resolve conflicts, perform collision detection tests against specified geometry. Check laser scan data against 3d design and open clashes in design software applications. View collisions in the context as per geometric model, pertaining to other clashes. Make the non-collision items transparent for locating conflicts in the model. Support coordination by creating hard, duplicate and clearance tests. Besides, examine the space and time by associating collision tests to object animation and 5D simulations.

- Conflict Management - Working on Navisworks Manage helps you to manage conflicts easily. You can track the conflicts and resolve them. Moreover, group clash helps to address multiple conflicts as single issue. You can use grid and level location for managing group and filter collisions.

- Communication with project team - Navisworks Manage helps to communicate issues related to collisions to the project team. You can export reports with collision-test result, mentioning all comments and screenshots. In addition, conflict scenarios can be shared with other Navisworks Manage users through XML export/import for reusing on projects.

- Conflict Resolution - Use clash detection tools of Navisworks Manage for supporting identification, management and resolution of conflicts. The clash object colors, composite level collisions, saved viewpoint management, comment column, filter by selection new modes, reporting filtered results and user-controlled isolation settings help to resolve all conflicts.

Opt for the best BIM clash coordination software application and resolve all conflicts before the beginning of your construction project. Isolate collisions in specific sections of the model with the flexibility of 'Clash Manager' in Navisworks and clean up collision result data. This will reduce the time needed for managing conflicts, resulting in smooth and effective project planning.

sgThe contribution of private businesses to the community

In 2006, the Oakland Tribune reported that Burlingame's auto row "provides 50 percent of the city's sales tax revenue every year."

In 2013, the Orange County Register reported: "More than a fourth of San Juan Capistrano's sales-tax revenue came from local car dealerships in the 2010-11 fiscal year, which ended June 30... " *

So when a dealership needed an abutting vacant lot to expand, was the city wrong in taking the lot and selling it to the private dealership?

The money to buy the property came from the dealership. The adjoining lot had been vacant for years and its taking enabled the city to increase its tax revenue without taxing its citizens and thereby offer more services to its citizens for free.

One could say, "Well, that was a vacant piece of property and not some grandma's home." But that is begging the question.

That employs the same logic as the old story about the guy offering the girl $1,000 to go to bed with him and her accepting, only to have the guy then say "Would you go to bed with me for $10?" and her responding "What do you think I am?"

What she is had been established with her acceptance of the $1,000 offer. After that, they were just dickering price.

If your answer to the taking above was "Yes," then the philosophy of taking of private property for private business is O.K. The philosophy cannot be O.K. in the case of the vacant lot, but not O.K. in the case of the grandmother's house.

The distinction lies in the application of the law, not in the law itself.

The Law

The landmark eminent domain case was Kelo v. New London 545 U.S. 469 (2005) 268 Conn. 1, 843 A. 2d 500. wherein the court held, in an 8-3 decision, that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified private redevelopment plans as a permissible "public use" under the "Takings Clause" of the Fifth Amendment. In its ruling, the court noted, in part:

"The City has carefully formulated an economic development plan that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including-but by no means limited to-new jobs and increased tax revenue. As with other exercises in urban planning and development,12 the City is endeavoring to coordinate a variety of commercial, residential, and recreational uses of land, with the hope that they will form a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

As mentioned above, the Supreme Court vote in Kelo was 8 to 3. Could any reasonable person really believe that the justices are bad people because of their positions?

Can the power of private eminent domain be abused?

Sure it can.

But is the answer to "abolish the law" or to "abolish the abusers?"

When Congress thought President Nixon violated the constitution, it did not move to abolish the constitution, instead it moved to remove the president.

Purpose of this Article

The purpose of this article is not to advocate that private takings are good or bad, or to write a legal treatise on the subject.

The purpose is to demonstrate that reasonable people can have different opinions and their choices are not always between "good" and "evil."

Oliver Wendell Holmes, the renowned Supreme Court justice, had a standing bet with lawyers that no one could give him a law wherein he could not, in turn, provide an example of where that law, if applied, would have a bad result.

Holmes lived to be 93 and no one ever won that bet. With every law proposed to him, Holmes provided an example whereby application of the law would result in an injustice.


In summation, the question ought not to be whether the person or entity seeking enforcement of private eminent domain is good or evil.

The questions ought to be: (1) whether or not the taking serves the greater good; and (2) are the people answering the question unbiased and reasonable people?

In a December 7, 2009 "California Eminent Domain Law" Blog, A.J. Hazarabedian took the view that: "Taking property by eminent domain to benefit an auto dealership might create jobs and increase local tax revenues, but is one of those uses of eminent domain which should be examined carefully.

Is this truly a taking for public use, or is the City instead using eminent domain for private benefit and to benefit its own coffers? Eminent domain for the elimination of true blight may well be appropriate as a public use; eminent domain for the sole purposes of benefiting a private auto dealer and increasing local tax revenues is questionable."


*Note: The sales tax base with respect to car dealers, does not always have the same result in every state.

In places like Texas and Missouri, car dealerships do not pay sales tax to the cities where they are located, but rather where the buyer lives. In those cities, other business provide the brunt of the taxes.

In 2006, Thomas J. Erman, SIOR, Vice President, NAI DESCO reported, in "A developer wants to build a 476,000-square-foot retail center that is estimated to produce $170 million in sales per year within the first five years. The project would require a car dealer to relocate from that site."

John Pico, a retired attorney, is the managing partner of Advising Automobile Dealers LLC and Pico Publishing Company. He has served as a Court Appointed: "Consultant to Debtor" in bankruptcy cases; "Mediator" in automotive disputes; "Arbitrator / Appraiser" in partnership disputes; "Consultant to Receiver" in a check-kiting case; "Superior Court Mediator" in dealership / lender litigation

He has been recognized as an expert in both State and Federal Courts.

He has consulted on upside-down positions of over $50 Million, out of trust position of over $4 Million and bank overdrafts of $30 Million. Since 1972, Mr. Pico has completed over 1,000 automobile dealership transactions, including buy-sells, valuations, litigation, Chapter XI bankruptcies, and business plans for open points.