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By: Sid Burns

Conference Flyer ImageNABIE once again chose the warm and sunny south for its annual conference and while Atlanta proved to be neither, the guest speakers and most of the registered members made it in and out without problems while the rest of the country was experiencing the effects of global non-warming.

NSPE President-Elect Tim Austin, P.E. led off the meeting with a discussion of challenges and changes at NSPE.  His presentation raised interesting questions regarding ethical issues surrounding advancements of technology and applications thereof.  He challenged us to consider the effects of technology on society and plans to have NSPE critically review its role in this process.IMG_0367
Dominic Sims, CBO of the International Code Council (ICC), gave an overview of the ICC’s organization, operations and summarized the technical sections and available resources.  Everyone left with a glimpse at coming changes and an enhanced understanding of ICC’s operations.  Bill Coulbourne, P.E. even had his burning question answer as to why “International” is in the name, as Dominic explained that the intent was that the code be adopted beyond the US and its territories and that in fact was happening.
Winston DuBose of Complete Roofing Systems of Atlanta delivered an overview of various residential and commercial roofing systems and defects encountered during inspection.  He particularly focused on the effects and severity of hail damage on the various roofing types and detection methods in each.
Following the annual Order of the Engineer breakfast on Saturday morning, Brian Rindt, P.E. discussed environmental issues commonly encountered during PCA’s and utilized his background as an attorney to present potential resulting liabilities.  His presentation is replete with exculpatory language useful to all of us who perform PCA’s without the intent of getting drawn into the legal aspects of environmental issues.
Lee Cope, P.E. of Wiss, Janney, Elstner & Associates presented a number of case studies on exterior facade investigations including defects, causes and remedies.  Of particular interest was the quote he shared from Richard Nickel who said, “Great architecture has only two natural enemies: water and stupid men.” He went on to discuss the mechanisms of water migration in and through walls and how sometimes men do stupid things to facilitate it.
Ted Salgado, P.E. of Reserve Advisors, Inc. and past president of the Association of Professional Reserve Analysts (APRA) provided NABIE members with a refresher on their obligations to apply ethical practices in performing PCA’s.  Not much was shared about performing reserve studies, so we’ll have to call Reserve Advisors, an ARPA member or figure it out ourselves.
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Scott Edwards, P.E. of Oasis Consulting Services discussed a number of foundation issues and provided case studies for analysis and repair using various underpinning methods.  Chad Costello of Atlas Piers of Atlanta presented hardware applications, installation methods and showed a number of field installations, including methods for raising settled buildings back to a relatively level position.
Mark Swanson, AIA (and too many other acronyms to mention) led off Sunday morning with one of the best presentations from the International Masonry Institute.  With much of his presentation focused on the common Wythe Wall, and with references to former NABIE presenter, Joe Listurbek, P.E.’s “Perfect Wall”, Mark taught class on the proper detailing and construction of common masonry wall types.  He went on to discuss common issues and considerations to avoid problems.  His excellent technical detail images are available online at
Paul Beers of GCI capped off the conference with a detailed presentation summarizing the six types of curtain walls, pros and cons of each system, common failure mechanisms and provided a three phase assessment methodology.
At the Saturday evening banquet, President Mark Soderlund recognized Past President Bill Coulbourne, P.E. as a Fellow in NABIE and appreciation was shown for his Coulbourne at Banquet 3contributions to NABIE and the building industry as a whole.  In total, the Conference was one of the best NABIE has offered.  Thanks to Executive Director, Alexandra Binder, everything ran smoothly, the facilities were most accommodating, food was good and the rooms were really nice.  Much thanks are also due to our area host, Gary Caruso, P.E., Mark Waldman, P.E. and Bill Coulbourne, P.E. for their work in securing the excellent lineup of guest speakers.