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Flood of Female Classics

first_imgAtletico and Barça will face at least up to four decisive duels in the next two months, with the option of adding a possible confrontation in the Copa de la Reina. The Spanish Women’s Soccer Classic show will begin in two weeks (January 25), with a duel in the fight for the league title. Barça, the undisputed leader of the First Iberdrola, will visit (12: 00h) the Atlético feud in Alcalá de Henares. With the 6-1 of the first leg in the Johan Cruyff stuck deep inside, the rojiblancas will seek a triumph of revenge, which allows them to shorten distances with the Barca team. Those of Lluís Cortés have half League in their pocket, with seven points ahead of an Atlético who has been crowned in the last three championships. From Alcalá to Salamanca with another cup in play, that of the first Spanish Super Cup in this category. Atlético and Barça will be measured in the semifinals (February 6) and only one can fight for the title in the final set on February 9 at the Helmántico stadium. Rojiblancas and Barça will seek to reign in this new competition, which will repeat the men’s format, even in one of their semifinal crossings. It should be noted that, in addition to Atlético-Barça, a Real Sociedad-Levante will be played.The Classics of the League and Supercup will serve as a rehearsal for a qualifying round in the Champions League, a competition that will face the two flagships of Spanish women’s soccer in the quarterfinals. Atletico, which comes for the first time in its history to this European round, wants to knock out the current continental runner-up, a club that aims to repeat as a finalist. Both clubs will be measured on March 25 (one way) and April 1 (round) and ensure a guaranteed victory for Spanish football, which will be repeated with representation in the semifinals of the Women’s Champions League.last_img read more

England level series

first_imgJamaica’s Sunshine Girls went down 63-50 to hosts England in game two of their three test series in Manchester, England, yesterday.The series is now tied at 1-1 after the Sunshine Girls’ 66-49 victory in the opening match on Tuesday.Captain and Player of the Match Ama Agbeze led the way in defence for England while Joanne Harten and Kadeen Corbin were relentless in their shooting accuracy with 91 per cent .Harten and Corbin were ruthless under the posts as the Roses forged a 10-goal advantage to lead 27-17 at the end of the first quarter.Sunshine Girls shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid could not repeat the dominance she showed in the opening match, with Agbeze giving her a tougher test inside the circle as England extended their lead to 32-20 at half time.The deciding game is set for Sunday.last_img read more

Malibu fire victims return home to pick up the pieces

first_img“Oh, well. It’s amazing when all your stuff’s reduced to … .” Roth trailed off into silence. Compounding the heartbreak of his ruined home, Monday was a beautiful day in Malibu. The skies were blue and clear and the air was cool. Crickets chirped, birds warbled and the ocean stretched out like stained glass, marred only by the yellow firefighting planes that swooped in to scoop out water. Fire crews stowed their hoses and axes and headed back to their stations. Residents returned home. The splendor of the day didn’t square with the numbers. On top of the destruction, fire damaged 35 homes and 11 out-buildings. Over 1,100 personnel and 163 fire engines were still on hand in the morning. Insurance investigators haven’t been able to offer an estimate of monetary damage, but it’s sure to be tens of millions of dollars. A handful of county firefighters, their turnout coats still grubby with soot, paused in what was once someone’s living room in Corral Canyon. The fire had removed the walls, offering them a clear view to the ocean. “Wow,” one said, pointing to an unscathed modern building, all glass and steel at crazy angles. “What a pretty house, huh?” At the canyon roads that led up to the brunt of the damage in Malibu Bowl, melted cars sat, their tires charred and windshields shattered. A fried hulk of a Porsche, not far from a charred Mercedes, served as reminders of the area’s affluence. The minivans and Ford sedans parked near burned-up homes offered the counterpoint that not everyone’s dining off silver spoons. “Everyone thinks we’re millionaires, but we’re hard-working, middle-class people,” said Grace White, an attorney who’s called the canyon home for 12 years and has fled five fires. “I get up every day to go to work.” She and her husband awoke to the sound of sirens early Saturday, grabbed their important documents and cats and fled down the hill. They returned to find their backyard completely blackened, but their house intact. Though frustrated with the fires – and the surrounding development they feel exacerbates the danger – the couple has no plans to move. “We think this is one of the most gorgeous places on Earth,” she said. Across the street on Sea Breeze Drive, Sandy Savas shoveled through a friend’s belongings. The 1970s-era wooden house was gone and the homeowners were off trying to get their lives in order, so Savas pulled on a mask and tried to find things she could save. Film canisters, pages of a book, a teacup and a slightly blackened baking tin made it through. “I suppose you know it’s fire country when you move in,” said Savas, a 15-year resident of Topanga who’s evacuated several times. “But you say, `I could live in this big, congested city with police cars driving past my window. Or I could live out here, where the coyotes howl and the birds sing.’ “I never realized how many disasters I’d live through when I moved in, but now it’s my home.” After his bowl disintegrated, Roth kept searching for a souvenir of his life in Malibu. His vintage Jeep, which he’d owned since he was 16, was gone. He managed to pull out a ceramic tile sign, reading “Villa Roth,” which he had received as a wedding present three years ago. As he was wrapping up, he noticed a rubber dog toy, miraculously unburned next to a blackened mess of undetermined origin. “Oh yeah!” he grinned. “Gotta take care of my dog!” Farther up the hill, Savas painted the numbers back on her friend’s mailbox. It was the only thing left standing. 818-713-3738160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! CORRAL CANYON – Larry Roth stood below his blackened kitchen, standing on tiptoe to reach into the rubble of his ruined home. The Navy veteran was in Mexico with his pregnant wife and family when he got word that his neighborhood was on fire. By Saturday night, he learned his house was a total loss. On Monday morning, he returned for the first time to see what was left. His rented, three-story home on Sequit Drive was almost completely gone. He figures embers caught his wooden deck on fire, then spread to his house, adding it to the sad, final statistics: 4,900 acres burned, 53 homes, 37 vehicles and 33 out-buildings destroyed by the time the fire reached containment Monday evening, according to Los Angeles County fire Capt. Greg Cleveland. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat Kings“I’d love to get that red bowl,” Roth said, straining his arm to the limit to pluck it out of the ashes. “That would be great.” He got a finger around it, then managed to wrestle it down, shaking out a black pile of goop within. He handed it to a friend who’d come along to help him sift through the remains. The bowl crumbled in the handoff, shattering into tiny pieces on its way to the ground. “Aww, you jackass,” Roth said with a wry laugh. “Sorry, man,” his friend said. “It was already all cracked.” last_img

NFL: QB Palmer’s injury worse than feared

first_imgCarson Palmer’s knee injury was “devastating and potentially career-ending,” involving numerous ligament tears, a shredded ligament, damaged cartilage and a dislocated kneecap, his surgeon said Thursday. The Cincinnati Bengals quarterback tore ligaments in his left knee when he was hit by Pittsburgh’s Kimo von Oelhoffen on his first pass during the Steelers’ 31-17 playoff victory Sunday. The team announced that he had torn the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments. The damage was much more extensive and severe, but Dr. Lonnie Paulos said surgery went well and Palmer could be back for the start of the season. Palmer had surgery Tuesday in Houston. Doctors used grafts from other parts of his body and donated tissue to fix the damage during an operation that lasted more than two hours. Palmer headed back to California on Thursday to do his rehabilitation. “It’s not just like it was a torn ACL,” Paulos said Thursday, in a phone interview from Houston. “It’s a magnitude more difficult to recover from and repair. It can and has ended careers, without a doubt. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita “However, I feel very comfortable with Carson as an athlete and the heart that he’s got. In the end, that’s the bottom line. I can see the look in his eye already. He’s ready to get going.” Coaching carousel Mike McCarthy was hired as coach of the Green Bay Packers, who hope the San Francisco 49ers’ offensive coordinator can revive a team coming off its worst season in 15 years. McCarthy, a former Packers assistant, received a three-year deal. He replaces Mike Sherman, who was fired Jan. 2 after a 4-12 season. Mike Mularkey submitted his resignation to the Buffalo Bills, a person familiar with discussions between the coach and the team told The Associated Press. Mularkey’s departure is a major surprise after team owner Ralph Wilson announced last week that Mularkey would stay on as coach. Wilson went out of his way to back Mularkey, holding a second press conference on Jan. 4, hours after he announced the firing of team president and general manager Tom Donahoe. A day later, Wilson replaced Donahoe by luring Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy out of retirement to take over as GM. Thursday was Levy’s first full day on the job. Hall of Fame receiver James Lofton interviewed with the Oakland Raiders, the second person in as many days brought in to discuss the team’s head coaching vacancy. center_img Fourth-and-goal Carolina leading tackler Will Witherspoon said he isn’t discouraged he hasn’t yet signed a long-term contract extension and still hopes to play for the Panthers next season. Witherspoon, who led the team with 109 tackles, becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Talks on a new deal have been slow, while best friend and fellow linebacker Dan Morgan signed a five-year, $28 million extension during training camp. A Phoenix man was arrested after allegedly using a credit card account belonging to Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre more than 40 times, authorities said. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office said William J. Joachim, 35, was arrested on four felony charges of theft, fraud schemes, aggravated taking the identity of another and misconduct involving weapons. The Baltimore Ravens hired former Pro Bowl defensive back Mark Carrier as their secondary coach. The Minnesota Vikings hired Green Bay quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell as their offensive coordinator. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

J&J loses Guidant bidding war

first_img Guidant last week declared Boston Scientific’s latest offer superior to J&J’s top bid of $71 a share. A five-day period for J&J to respond expired at midnight without any action by the company. J&J said Wednesday that topping its last $24.2 billion offer would not have been in the best interest of its shareholders. John Putnam, an analyst with Stanford Group Co., said a higher bid by J&J would have hindered the health products company’s ability to negotiate future acquisitions. “For them to bid more than they originally bid would have signaled to other potential acquisitions that they didn’t have the financial discipline they’ve always been known for,” he said. The acquisition, expected to be completed at the end of the first quarter, must be approved by shareholders from both companies as well as regulators in the U.S. and Europe. No date has been set for the votes. “We believe the transaction and the strategic rationale for this combination are in the best interests of our patients, employees, customers and shareholders – reflecting the full value of our firm,” Guidant CEO Jim Cornelius said in a statement. In addition to the cash and stock deal, Boston Scientific will pay the $705 million breakup fee Guidant owes J&J for walking away. Boston Scientific has said it is confident it can restore trust in Guidant’s pacemaker and defibrillator business. “We look forward to working with Guidant to complete the transaction quickly and to creating a global leader in cardiovascular devices,” said Jim Tobin, Boston Scientific’s president and chief executive, in a statement Wednesday. Combined, Boston Scientific and Guidant could have 2006 revenue of nearly $9 billion. In filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission this month, Boston Scientific said Guidant’s pacemakers and defibrillators could account for nearly one-quarter of projected sales. The heart device market is expected to grow by nearly 25 percent by 2008. That growth will likely offset any of Guidant’s legal liability that Boston Scientific may have to absorb. “I think it’s good for Guidant shareholders,” said Jan Wald, an analyst with A.G. Edwards & Sons. “I think, even though it’s dilutive, and perhaps dilutive for a long time, it’s a good strategic move on Boston Scientific’s part.” Boston Scientific plans to sell Guidant’s line of drug-coated stents to Abbott Laboratories Inc. for $6.4 billion in cash. That includes a $900 million loan and Abbott’s agreement to acquire $1.4 billion of Boston Scientific common stock. Guidant shares fell $1.59, or 2.1 percent, to close at $75.19 on the New York Stock Exchange. J&J shares fell 86 cents, or 1.5 percent, to finish at $58.50 and Boston Scientific shares fell 46 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $23.54. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card “Clearly, they paid a full price for it and there are uncertainties associated with Guidant,” said David A. Katz, chief investment officer at Matrix Asset Advisors in New York, which owns about 1.5 million shares of Natick, Mass.-based Boston Scientific. “But (the deal) does change the whole business and the franchise of Boston for the better, assuming they pull it off.” Since June, Guidant has recalled or issued safety advisories on about 88,000 defibrillators and more than 200,000 pacemakers. At least seven deaths have been linked to the faulty devices. The regulatory investigations and dozens of lawsuits that followed made J&J think twice about what it was willing to pay. The New Brunswick, N.J.-based company initially offered $25.4 billion for Guidant in December 2004 but wavered after the recalls began. Guidant sued to close the deal, and the companies agreed to a revised J&J offer of $21.5 billion in November. In December, Boston Scientific presented an unsolicited, $25 billion bid for Guidant, triggering the bidding war. INDIANAPOLIS – Guidant Corp. jilted longtime suitor Johnson & Johnson Wednesday in favor of a $27.2 billion offer from rival Boston Scientific Corp., ending one of the most highly charged bidding wars in years. The move capped nearly two months of negotiations and sweetened deals from J&J and Boston Scientific, which saw the Indianapolis-based company as an opening to the $10.3 billion cardiac device market. But Guidant also is grappling with months of product recalls and is less than a month away from the first of what could be several product liability trials. Securities analysts say it ultimately could be liable for as much as $2 billion in damages. Shares of Boston Scientific and Guidant fell about 2 percent Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange, an indication that some investors believed Boston Scientific’s $80-per-share offer was too high. last_img read more

Federal drug plan a pain for many

first_imgSACRAMENTO – Many California seniors still face problems getting medications they need through the new Medicare drug benefit, nearly three months after the federal program started, witnesses told two state Assembly committees Tuesday. “It really is survival of the fittest,” said Jeanne Finberg, directing attorney for the National Senior Citizen Law Center. Finberg and other witnesses told the Assembly Health and Assembly Aging and Long-Term Care committees that the problems are particularly acute for about 1 million low-income seniors who were transferred to the new program from Medi-Cal, California’s health care program for the poor, on Jan. 1. Finberg said about a third of those so-called dually eligible seniors were assigned to new drug plans that cover less than 85 percent of the medications they need. Lawmakers passed legislation last month allowing the state to pay for prescriptions that the dual eligibles cannot get through the new Medicare program, but that authorization runs out May 15. As of March 16, the state had spent $39.7 million to pay for those prescriptions. Stan Rosenstein, director of medical services for the state Department of Health Services, said there have been some “horrible, horrible stories and several problems” with the new program. “But for a lot of people the program is working, especially people who are low-income but not dual-eligible,” he said. “It’s still a good benefit for people who did not have any coverage.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88 “They’re going to have to switch plans and they don’t know how or can’t do it,” she said. “There are many, many obstacles for well-educated individuals such as myself. It’s almost impossible for this (elderly) population.” Holly Leeds, an Auburn physician, said she has Medicare patients who have trouble getting the particular pain medication that works for them. She said she tells them, “My choice is to make you so dopey that you cannot function or to leave you in pain because it’s your fault that your metabolism works a little bit differently.” Other problems include data system failures, overcharging for prescriptions, inability to get answers to questions and lack of information about the program in languages other than English and Spanish, critics said. Michael Negrete, vice president for clinical affairs for the California Pharmacists Association, said nearly two-thirds of the pharmacists responding to his group’s monthly surveys said they have problems processing claims and getting paid through the new program. last_img read more


first_imgTwo Co Donegal fishermen have been rescued after their boat caught fire off the Co Waterford coast.The crew of the Greencastle based ‘Kingfisher’ had been fishing for herring about four miles from Dunmore East when a fire started on board.Family and friends are tonight relieved the men are safe and unhurt. Search and rescue teams were alerted. Both men managed to get into a life raft as the flames engulfed the fishing boat.The Dunmore East Lifeboat was on scene shortly after, as was the Search and Rescue helicopter based at Waterford Regional Airport.Another fishing vessel picked up the fishermen and they were not injured.Attempts had been made by the lifeboat crew to extinguish the fire, but they proved unsuccessful. It is understood the ‘Kingfisher’ was fishing out of Dunmore East, but is normally based in County Donegal.The boat sunk as it was being towed back to harbour by the lifeboat.The crew are said to be very grateful for all who helped in this rescue mission.Tonight a spokesperson for the families paid tribute to the rescue teams for saving their lives.“The boat can be replaced, people can’t so we are so thankful,” said one. DRAMA AS DONEGAL FISHERMEN RESCUED FROM BURNING TRAWLER was last modified: November 26th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:DRAMA AS DONEGAL FISHERMEN RESCUED FROM BURNING TRAWLERlast_img read more


first_imgDesmond Stewart and Annmarie WardThe Sheephaven Mummers held their “annual mummers dance presentation” in McNulty’s Bar, Creeslough, with proceeds going towards the Donegal Hospice and the Oncology ward. The community had a special appreciation award for King Mummer Desmond Stewart (Woodhill, Dunfanaghy), who, for over twenty years has taken in over €200,000 for the Hospice and Oncology ward in Letterkenny.Desmond was presented with a painting of his homeland of Horn Head by Annmarie Ward (Donegal Person of the year, 2011). Desmond and his mummer friends are known throughout the county for visiting many pubs and venues from November right through to New Years.On some occasions, when wanting to round up an even figure, Desmond would contribute fifty, or one hundred euro out of his own pocket.The community of Creeslough and Dunfanaghy would like to thank Desmond for all the time he gives to these mummering events and we wish him many more years of good work.  COMMUNITY SAYS A HUGE THANK-YOU TO CHIEF ‘MUMMER’ DESMOND! was last modified: February 14th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:CreesloughDesmond StewartDunfanaghyMummerslast_img read more

Three wards closed as vomiting bug strikes Altnagelvin Hospital

first_imgThree wards have been closed at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry since yesterday afternoon as a result of an outbreak of Norovirus (vomiting bug).The Western Trust have issued a notice to patients and visitors that Wards 3 (Respiratory), 41 (Acute Medical Unit) and 42 (Acute Elderly Medicine) remain closed to admissions.A statement said that “the Trust’s Infection Prevention and Control team is continuing to provide advice to staff and increased infection control measures have been put in place in these wards.” The situation is being reviewed daily.Those who are visiting the hospital are asked to:– Thoroughly wash their hands before and after visiting;– Visitors should visit only one patient whilst at the hospital;– Refrain from sitting on hospital beds– Do not move from ward to ward when visiting.People should also avoid visiting the hospital if they are feeling unwellThe temporary ward closures has impacted on the capacity within the Emergency Department at the hospital.A spokesperson said: “Please be aware that if you are attending Altnagelvin’s Emergency Department you may experience a longer wait. Please consider your alternative health care choices, such as your GP, Out of Hours service or your local pharmacist.” Advertisement Three wards closed as vomiting bug strikes Altnagelvin Hospital was last modified: June 12th, 2018 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Altnagelvin Hospitallast_img read more

Are We Really Better Off With Building Codes?

first_imgBut aren’t we just building what buyers want?Joe Wilson recalls visiting a house well along in construction during an open house in his area. The builder was the head of the local building association for years. The house Wilson toured had five bedrooms and three and a half baths and would sell for $430,000 or more.“I spent some time going through and noting the 2×6, 16-in. on-center traditional (non-OVE) framing, the numerous unplugged gaps at penetrations, the builder grade vinyl windows, the lack of caulk or sealant or gaskets at plates and sills, a ripped piece of housewrap dangling from under the brick,” he writes. “Rolls of glass batt were in the garage, ready to go.”But three couples he saw at the open house were focused on the square footage, the size of the closets, and the granite, all of which brought a smile to the builder’s face.Later, the builder said no one had ever inquired about the possibility of building with a more modern approach.“He didn’t seem greedy, just like he saw his work as a business and that he wasn’t ‘custom,’” Wilson says. “He even offered me the names of three builders he said did custom work. ‘You’ll pay for it, but you’ll get what you want.’”He wonders whether builders and buyers can be taught to look at houses differently, but he doesn’t seem especially hopeful. After restoring historic buildings for more than three decades, Roy Harmon seems a little disillusioned, if not outright confused, with the current state of residential construction.Most of the buildings he’s worked on are more than a century old, built at a time when carpenters served apprenticeships but building codes did not exist. The only reason the buildings eventually fail is because of neglect, not inherently poor construction.In contrast, there are a “myriad” of building code requirements these days, but no training requirements to become a home improvement contractor or carpenter.“As a result, for the past 20+ years, thousands of plastic shacks called homes have been thrown together, by greed-driven developers that seem to dabble in the grey zone just below ‘minimum code requirements,’ ” Harmon writes in his Q&A post. “The untrained, inexperienced workers are all that this process seems to have afforded.”Harmon wonders whether we’re better served by skilled builders who really know what they’re doing, or a strict code enforced in an age of poorly trained labor and a focus on the bottom line. And in our haste to build green, are we sure that LEED standards and green materials will meet the test of time? RELATED ARTICLES Are Energy Codes Working?Code Green Blogs by Lynn UnderwoodReport from the ICC Code Hearings Free Digital 2009 International Energy Conservation CodeWrestling With the Bay State’s “Stretch” Code ProposalAverage Cost of Meeting 2009 IECC? Not MuchGearing Up for California’s New Green Building CodeEnergy Code Gets Slightly More Stringent Q&A Spotlight: Home Appraisal Woes Building codes are not the issueCodes are the result of the problem, not its cause, says Tony Olaivar. If it weren’t for building codes, shacks would still be common. Moreover, he adds, “I’d be willing to suggest that the shacks contemporary to your historic homes did not stand the test of time.”Codes, he adds, are actually improving over time: “Every time a house burns or collapses or an insurance claim is filed, there are statistics gathered. There’s plenty of science that goes into all of it. Don’t get discouraged.”“All current codes exist because of prior failures and catastrophes (both natural and man-made),” writes Andy Ault. “Codes don’t cause the substandard results, they exist because of them. And with the adoption of new requirements into some of the upcoming 2012 codes (such as air leak testing in the IECC) they are finally moving past simple life safety and actually getting into VERIFIED building performance.”GBA Senior Editor Martin Holladay makes another point: although it’s easy to take a rosy view of old-time carpentry practices, the longevity of buildings was not always assured. While he’s seen lots of solid historic homes where he lives in Vermont, the opposite also is true. “I’ve also see older homes with failing foundations that lean or bulge and older homes with rotten sills and sagging ridges and undersized rafters that look like a sway-backed old mare,” Holladay writes. “Plenty of builders in the old days didn’t use a span table and cut corners by framing their homes to what they considered were the minimum requirements — and they guessed wrong.”While imperfect, building codes are intended to eliminate those kinds of problems.“With rare exception I can’t think of many aspects of building codes that don’t add to the safety or performance of houses, although enforcement is sometimes limited because of budgets of the municipalities,” Allan Edwards says. Does the appraisal process contribute to the problem?Steve El thinks so. Because we’re a mobile society, families have to keep resale in mind, and lending is based on the appraised value of a home.“This is where a big problem creeps in, in my opinion, and that is the manner in which values are placed on homes is broken,” El says. “Take two next door houses on identical lots, where the houses have the same basic floor plan. One home is built to code minimum and the other is superbly built to a much higher standard.“For mortgage appraisal purposes, the two homes will appraise almost the same. There will be just enough ‘extra’ tagged on to the superbly built home’s appraised value to make the mortgage appraisal process look — repeat LOOK — legitimate. But in my opinion, the process has nothing to do with value.”Were buyers better educated to demand value and fix the appraisal process, then builders would be forced to follow suit or be out of a job, he says.Actually, says Riversong, the appraisal business isn’t broken. Appraisals “very accurately” reflect market value because they’re based on comparable sales in the same area.“If we want to have the intrinsic qualities of a thing valued then we need to be willing to acknowledge that kind of value in the marketplace,” he says. “Everything in our culture is superficial, shallow, short-term and narrowly-focused. It is our society which is broken. Until we fix that, we cannot expect our valuation formulas to be based on anything other than what we are willing to pay for.” Corporate model discourages quality outcomeOld World apprenticeships and craft guilds have been left behind, writes Robert Riversong, as the building industry adopted a standard corporate model for success.“We quickly became an industrial society with adversarial labor unions to attempt to win a few concessions from the bosses,” he says. “The corporate model of business, with profit as the guiding principle, became the standard for all enterprise — and the easiest way to maximize profit is through mass production and minimizing costs, including both materials and labor.“Both government regulation and building codes were the reaction to the problem, not the problem itself.”As Tony Olaivar put it, “all jobs have gone the way of McDonald’s,” with scant training for employees because that made it easier to fire them “at the drop of a hat.”Riversong sees workers in this system are “just another economic input which can as easily be undercut or outsourced as any resource input.”To add to these troubles, labor has become so specialized that building projects now require overseers to draw all the players together. Even then, there aren’t many “Master Builders” around who can see a project through from design to finish details.“When we return to understanding house building as a trade or craft and not a business, we might rediscover some of the pride in workmanship that was once the hallmark of well-crafted and durable architectural design and fabrication,” Riversong says. “And we will need to find ‘profit’ in our sense of satisfaction of a job well done rather than in adding cost that makes such a basic human need as shelter unaffordable for the masses.”There are efforts underway to train young workers, says Andy Ault, including Skills USA and Construction Challenge .“It’s no small task to try to convince tech savvy kids that it’s desirable (and maybe even ‘cool’) to be a contractor these days,” Ault writes. “So we all have to do our part to support and volunteer for these groups and put our time and effort where our complaints are. “ That’s the subject of this week’s Q&A Spotlight. Our expert’s opinionHere’s what GBA Technical Director Peter Yost has to say:I think there are really three separate but related issues in this discussion: codes, performance-based value, and education.First, a quote from an Environmental Building News feature article entitled “Sustainability and Building Codes” (EBN Vol. 10, No. 9), which I co-authored with David Eisenberg of the Development Center for Appropriate Technology (David is the director of DCAT, the leading organization for green building codes in the U.S.):“Building codes have long been used by societies to protect individual and general welfare, and to hold practitioners accountable for their work. As long ago as 1750 B.C., Hammurabi, the Babylonian king of Mesopotamia, created his famous Code of Laws covering a wide range of public and private matters. Number 229 of this Code states: “If a builder build a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built fall in and kill its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.” This type of “performance” code must certainly have had an impact on quality of construction, but it very likely stifled innovation!”We need and benefit from the codes because they, by-and-large, make for safer and better buildings. But I think codes must be performance-based (including third party performance verification) or we get silly prescriptions, such as “warm-in-winter” vapor retarder locations or “seal all holes” for air tightness.And we not only need performance in the codes, we need it in all aspects of the building industry; from design to construction to appraisal to sales. The single most significant purchase almost all of us make in our lives is a home, and yet most of us do NOT approach the purchase as a performance-based value proposition. That is just crazy, because we do performance-based purchasing for other large, long-lived products such as cars, and computers, and appliances, why not homes?And the need for education of how buildings really work is just as pervasive. We are asking more of our homes, but not asking more of all those who touch them—architects, builders, code officials, realtors, and homeowners. Every sector needs building science education about how buildings work; the codes can’t and were never meant do it on their own.last_img read more