Q. What is U-Form Technology?
A. U-Form Technology is a high speed, cost effective, building construction Technology that is used in the design and construction of super-energy-efficient, mid to high rise buildings, i.e., three stories and higher.
Q. Can U-Form Technology be used to build low rise (one and two story) buildings?
A. Yes, but on a case-by-case basis only because, if speed of construction is not a factor, there may be other technologies that might be more cost effective.
Q. How much time can be saved by using U-Form Technology?
A. U-Form buildings are usually built in about half of the time or less that it would take to build them using more conventional building systems. For example, Livonia Pavilion East, an 8 story, 120,000 sq. ft. general purpose office building, the world’s first major U-Form building, was built in only 7 months from start to finish. And, because of subsequent advances in the development of U-Form Technology, if that building were to be built today, it could be finished in only 5 months.
Q. How much money can be saved by using U-Form Technology?
A. When both soft and hard costs are considered, savings of up to 30% or more can be realized.
Q. What amount of energy can be saved in building operations with U-Form?
A. With intelligent design, heating and air-conditioning systems can be cut in half with corresponding reduction in electrical systems as well. Example: Livonia Pavilion East is an 8 story, 120,000 sq. ft., general purpose office building built in Livonia, Michigan, where winter temperatures can drop to -10º F or less and summer temperatures can rise to 100º F or more. It is the world’s first major U-Form building and is heated by a gas-fired boiler having only 960,000 BTU’s output. That computes to only 8 BTU’s per sq. ft., a record that stands to this day. It is a fact that U-Form buildings are counted among the world’s most energy efficient buildings. U-Form Technology was recognized as such in the World’s Fair for Technology Exchange where it was sponsored by the United States Dept. of Energy and won the coveted Best of TechEx Award. In fact, when Livonia Pavilion East first opened its doors for business, it was wintertime and Consumers Power, the local energy company, inspected the building almost on a weekly basis because they were convinced that their gas meter had somehow been bypassed.
Q. What is a U-Form panel?
A. A U-Form panel is a permanent form for building superior reinforced concrete buildings. The U-Forms are erected; reinforcing steel and concrete are inserted into the U-Forms; the concrete is vibrated to ensure a complete fill; and the U-Forms STAY IN PLACE to become permanent parts of the buildings.
Q. What is the R-factor rating of a U-Form panel?
A. R-factors can range from 30 on up depending on the design.
Q. Are there any standard designs for U-Form panels?
A. No, there are no preconceived designs for U-Form panels. U-Forms are designed to satisfy the structural and esthetic requirements of each individual building.
Q. What kinds of exterior surfacing materials can be supplied with U-Forms?
A. U-Forms can be surfaced with almost any kind of surfacing materials including thin brick, stone, exposed aggregate, pre-finished metals, stucco and/or even glass, to match local standards and esthetic desires.
Q. What kinds of interior surfacing/veneers can be supplied with U-Forms?
A. Interior veneers are usually a form of weather resistant sheetrock/drywall (used in case of inclement weather during the erection procedures) that can then be painted or surfaced with wallpaper, ceramic tile, wood paneling and/or the like.
Q. What about using U-Form Technology in earthquake and/or hurricane zones?
A. U-Form Technology is a reinforced concrete structural technology that is applied in strict accordance with ACI (American Concrete Institute) Code, which can be designed to withstand earthquake and/or hurricane forces. U-Form Technology has been approved by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Building Officials Conference of America (BOCA), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and more.
Q. What about fire ratings?
A. Fire Ratings, as confirmed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), exceed most code requirements.
Q. What about designing U-Form buildings in foreign (to the USA) countries?
A. Most foreign countries model their reinforced concrete building codes after the ACI Code. However, local (to the country) structural engineers must be employed to ensure compliance with all local codes.
Q. What about unions? If required, what unions claim U-Form Technology under their jurisdiction?
A. Masons cannot claim it because there are no bricks or mortar involved. Carpenters cannot claim it because there is no wood to cut or nail. Iron workers cannot claim it because there is no structural steel or any cutting or welding of reinforcing steel involved. Accordingly, in union areas, composite crews are used wherein one man may be a mason, another a carpenter, another an iron worker, and laborers… all working harmoniously together, where no man can tell another that he cannot do this or that because of jurisdictional claims, and everyone is satisfied.
Q. We notice that it only took a 6 man crew to erect two 12 story buildings. Doesn’t U-Form put people out of work?
A. On the contrary, you are forgetting about the people who fabricated the U-Forms in the first place, as well as all of the rest of the subcontractors required to build those buildings including plumbers, electricians, HVAC, carpenters, tile setters, painters and the like. As a matter of fact, because U-Form buildings can be built twice as fast as the competition, and you can build two U-Form buildings in the same time as it would take to build only one of the other, you could argue that U-Form Technology actually doubles the work force demand.
Q. Is exterior scaffolding ever required to build U-Form buildings?
A. No! Exterior scaffolding is usually never required. The only scaffolding that is required is a 6′ high scaffold set up around the interior perimeter of the working deck for the crew to pour and vibrate the concrete. U-Form easily satisfies all U.S. Dept of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements.
Q. When should U-Form Technology be considered in the design process?
A. U-Form Technology should be considered right from the beginning because, if a building were to be designed with either standard structural steel and/or reinforced concrete column and beam design and then considered for U-Form, none of the original plans can be used, including not only the structural plans, but the mechanical and electrical plans as well. They would all have to be scrapped and the construction documents created all over again.
Q. What about floor and roof systems? Can U-Form be used with anything besides precast, prestressed, hollowcore concrete planks?
A. Yes, U-Form can be used with almost all floor and/or roof framing systems. The important consideration, however, is how quickly those systems can be erected. Remember, the “name of the game” is SPEED and it makes no sense to erect your U-Form walls in only 2 or 3 days and then have to wait 2 or 3 weeks for a floor/roof system to be put in place. And, when precast, prestressed, hollowcore concrete planks are employed, an immediate, safe working deck is created without having to wait for anything else.
Q. How is U-Form Technology to be employed or sold?
A. U-Form Technology can be licensed either for a building; a definitive territory such as a state, a province, or a country; or even to specific contractors for use in their construction businesses world wide. Each license is considered on an individual basis.
Q. Can U-Forms be fabricated locally to a specific jobsite?
A. Any good sheet metal shop can fabricate U-Forms on a subcontract basis. If none is available, one can easily be set up.