October 2018 - Sachse Construction

Inside CitizenM’s New York Flagship, The World’s Tallest Modular Hotel

Amsterdam-based “affordable luxury” hotel chain citizenM is set to expand significantly in North America, revealing plans to build a dozen more hotels in the U.S. by 2020.

CitizenM opened its Bowery hotel last month as the brand’s new flagship in New York City, joining citizenM Times Square as the company’s second location in the U.S. and 13th in the world. Founded only 10 years ago, citizenM creates modular hotels for guests with an appreciation for art and design.

According to a press release, in the next two years, the company plans to start construction on a dozen more hotels in North America, including locations in the U.S. like Seattle, Boston, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami. By 2020, it will seek to have more than doubled its portfolio to 40 total hotels internationally.

 The brand’s “affordable luxury” concept seems oxymoronic at first, but citizenM CMO Robin Chadha believes that it can be accomplished through the company’s modular concept, which means every single room in the hotel is built identically. This will help citizenM achieve its ambitious plan to grow from two to 14 hotels in the U.S. in just two years, and more than double its footprint globally.

CitizenM Bowery towers at 20 floors of 300 identically sized rooms, which makes it the tallest modular hotel in the world, according to Chadha. The 21st floor consists of a large rooftop bar and terrace, while a public plaza out front of the building features a 5,000-square foot wall mural by Jonathan Cohen.

Moody’s Turns Positive on the Retail Industry

Moody’s is bullish on retail, upping both its operating income and sales growth forecasts.

Moody’s Investor Services said Thursday that its outlook for the U.S. retail industry has turned positive for the first time since mid-2015. In a new report, Moody’s said retailers are finally starting to reap the benefits of investments aimed at cost efficiencies, enhancing their e-commerce capabilities and customers’ in-store experience. This, coupled with a strong economy, will result in higher profits, according to the report.

Moody’s upped its 2018 forecast for the industry’s operating income growth to 4.0% – 5.0% from 3.5% – 4.5% and its sales growth forecast for the year to 4.5%-5.5% from 3.5%-4.5%. Moody’s also forecasts holiday sales growth to be a healthy 5%-6% this year.

Discounters and warehouse clubs, dollar stores, auto parts, online and off-price stores are all expected to perform well this year. The improvement will accelerate next year when department store declines begin to taper and higher growth at specialty retailers, supermarkets, apparel and footwear and drug stores provides a lift to overall operating profit.

“The positive outlook for the U.S. retail industry reflects increasing topline growth and operating profits as companies’ investments to improve both the online and in-store shopping experience continue to gain traction,” said Mickey Chadha, Moody’s VP and senior credit officer. “The improvement has been spurred by a very strong macro-economic environment, with improving consumer confidence and low unemployment.”

Growth in online sales will continue to outpace overall retail growth, according to the report, which forecasts that online sales will grow to about 20% of total sales during the next five years. Amazon will continue to dominate in e-commerce, but brick and mortar companies will gain more of the online market share as they set up their own platforms.

The report, titled “US Retail: Going positive as investments start bearing fruit and economy boosts growth,” also pointed out the downside risks for the retail industry, which include a tighter labor market and increasing freight costs. In addition, a significant and prolonged escalation of the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China would negatively affect U.S. retailers that import a meaningful portion of their products from China.

Moody’s industry sector outlooks represent the agency’s expectations for the fundamental business conditions in a given industry over the next 12-18 months.

Continuing Education: Zero Waste

Architects—even those who don’t call themselves super-green—by now are obliged to design buildings that conserve energy and water. But do they expect to create structures that allow occupants to better manage and reduce the waste they produce? Not so much. Nevertheless, that is what a number of zero waste champions say is needed.

How can architects help? First, the background: every day, Americans create mountains of trash. We toss food scraps, garden clippings, dog-eared magazines, soiled takeout containers, threadbare clothing, and broken furniture. In 2015, the U.S. generated approximately 262 million tons of municipal solid waste, according to the most recent figures available from the Environmental Protection Agency. But, of that, only 91 million tons, or less than 35 percent, was recycled or composted. The majority was sent to landfills or incinerated.

As everyone knows, trash and recyclables clutter loading docks and obstruct basements. Garbage bags clog sidewalks and attract vermin, while the collection of this refuse exacerbates traffic and has an adverse impact on air quality. Municipalities and businesses spend huge sums to dispose of their waste, often shipping it to distant states or even internationally to landfills or recycling centers.

Less well known, perhaps, is the relationship between the disposal of waste and global warming. Since landfill gas is in large part methane—a greenhouse gas that is many times more potent than CO2—effective resource and waste management are needed to slash heat-trapping emissions. According to the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), increasing the national recycling rate by just 8 percent and reducing the amount of waste we generate by only 5 percent could eliminate the equivalent of 20 million metric tons of carbon.

Many progressive cities, of course, do recognize better management of their refuse as a powerful climate-change mitigation tool and have adopted ambitious waste-reduction targets in their long-rage environmental plans. This summer, 23 cities signed on to an “advancing towards zero waste declaration,” sponsored by C40 Cities, a global environmental non-profit organization. The signatories, which included seven U.S. cities, pledged that by 2030 they would reduce the amount of waste generated by each inhabitant by 15 percent and cut the amount sent to landfills or incineration by half.

What does the term “zero waste” actually mean? The Zero Waste International Alliance defines it as “designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of water and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.” In practice, however, absolute zero is a tough mark to attain, especially for industrial economies, and many international and U.S. organizations recognize a 90 percent diversion rate from incinerators, landfills, or the environment as zero waste.

New York is one city whose zero-waste goals call for reducing what it sends to landfills and incinerators by 90 percent by 2030 (compared with a 2005 baseline of 3.6 million tons). Now, however, only about 20 percent of the garbage the city produces each day is diverted, and just over half of the metal, glass, and plastic that inhabitants discard is collected for recycling. A meager four percent of food scraps and other organic waste is collected for composting, through a voluntary program. To have any hope of reaching its targets, the city will have to drastically reduce the amount of waste generated and dramatically ramp up recycling and composting rates.

Architecture and design can help remove some of the roadblocks in the way of achieving goals like those adopted by New York, according to zero-waste advocates. One way is through clearer messaging. “People don’t recycle, because it is confusing,” says Ushma Pandya Mehta, cofounder of Think Zero, a waste-reduction and diversion consultant. The rules are constantly changing, and they are different from place to place, she says. But facilities with good signage and well-placed receptacles—along with education—typically see strong participation, adds her Think Zero partner, Sarah Currie-Halpern.

That’s what San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is banking on. As part of its goal to reach zero waste by 2021, it examined all aspects of airport operations, including offices, maintenance shops, and terminals. Then it reached out to Gensler for help. Sustainability director David Briefel describes the firm’s role as one that was “graphics heavy” but also involved coordinating with SFO management and custodial staff and assisting with studies of waste-diversion rates and sorting accuracy at security screening points, food concourses, gates, and at back-of-house areas. The physical product of this exercise was new trash receptacles and signage intended to help airport users and employees better differentiate the various waste streams. The graphics and bins have so far been installed in Terminal 2, but will ultimately be implemented airport-wide.

Reducing waste and recovering more for recycling and reuse can also entail infrastructure-scale strategies, such as the installation of pneumatic tube systems. Powered by turbines that generate a vacuum, these whisk away trash at high speeds to a central terminal. The technology reduces the amount of space that individual buildings must devote to storage of waste and eliminates the need for piling trash bags at the curb. Best-suited for new, multibuilding complexes, the first systems were installed in Sweden in the 1960s and now exist all over the world.

Although they are still rare in the U.S., the apartment buildings on New York’s Roosevelt Island have a single-stream system that has been in continuous operation since 1975. It has been expanded several times and now serves 12,000 residents in 16 buildings. By the middle of the next decade, the city could have another complex relying on pneumatic waste collection. Plans for the primarily residential second phase of Hudson Yards—the megadevelopment rising over rail lines on Manhattan’s far West Side—include a pneumatic network with dedicated tubes for landfill items, recycling, and organics that would connect to seven buildings with a total of 4,000 apartments.

New developments can also provide resources that serve a much larger surrounding urban district. Clare Miflin, an architect and founder of ThinkWoven, a New York–based urban-ecology consulting firm, points to Ménilmontant, an 85-unit social-housing complex under construction in Paris’ 11th arrondissement. In addition to incorporating a community garden and neighborhood sports facilities, it will include a below-grade espace tri—a staffed facility that will accept items that Parisians are not permitted to dispose of at curbside, such as appliances, furniture, and household hazardous waste. As part of its long-range environmental plans, the city aims to establish such a bulk waste center in every arrondissement by 2020. Ménilmontant’s espace tri will be the first in a residential complex. According to Pierre Maurette, a partner at Vincent Lavergne Architecture Urbanisme, the integration of the facility with the other neighborhood amenities was one of the reasons his firm was selected for the project.

Tools are starting to emerge that can help architects and their clients better manage the waste stream. Last year, AIA New York and a host of collaborators, including the Rockefeller Foundation, published a set of Zero Waste Design Guidelines, a 270-page examination of commercial and residential building design, urban infrastructure, collection methods, and policy. Already the document is influencing design decisions. The guidelines helped persuade the project team for Sendero Verde—a 655-unit mixed-income housing project for the Harlem neighborhood—to include a second trash chute for recyclables, according to Lauren Zullo, director of environmental impact for developer Jonathan Rose Companies. The three-building complex, by Handel Architects, slated for completion in 2021, is targeting Passive House certification, but also has a goal of waste-stream optimization, she says.

The guidelines are focused on solutions for New York, its unique building typologies, and its dense urban condition, but organizations in other locales are taking notice. Groups in Seattle are among those interested in adapting the recommendations to their circumstances, according ThinkWoven’s Miflin, the document’s lead author. She cautions, however, that it “is still very early days.”

Another framework for the design and operations of facilities that minimize waste is the rating system TRUE, short for Total Resource Use and Efficiency. Previously known as Zero Waste Facility Certification, it was acquired two years ago by GBCI, which also oversees LEED and WELL (an occupant-health-focused standard). Similarly to those two systems, TRUE has a point-based structure and graded recognition levels, in this case Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Minimum requirements include demonstrating at least 90 percent diversion from landfills, incinerators, and the environment, and submittal of diversion data annually to GBCI.

Since Stephanie Barger, TRUE director of market transformation and development, maintains that the design of a facility “is absolutely critical to zero-waste success,” it is ideal for ambitious targets to be adopted early in the life of a project. But such commitments can also be made later, as was the case with Chou Hall, a 76,000-square-foot, six-story classroom building for the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Designed by Perkins+Will, it is pursuing the certification trifecta of LEED, WELL, and TRUE. Although certification under LEED and WELL was decided upon during the design phase, the third rating system was added just a few months before opening, in August 2017. Administrators felt that Chou Hall should be the first TRUE-certified building on campus as part of the University of California’s system-wide goal for zero waste by 2020. “The idea was to create a blueprint that other Berkeley buildings could follow,” says Jessica Heiges, a master’s candidate in the College of Natural Resources, and one of the leaders of Chou’s TRUE-certification effort.

Chou Hall has many advanced and integrated features for energy efficiency, water conservation, and health, such as a high-performance building envelope, extensive daylighting, rainwater collection, and an inviting central stair to encourage students to forgo the elevator. Aspects of the design that should help with its TRUE certification include water-bottle filling stations and waste-sorting bins that are cleverly integrated into niches on each floor.

But since formally adopting the zero-waste goal, the multidisciplinary faculty, staff, and student TRUE team has closely examined Chou Hall’s operations, establishing new initiatives that had not been part of the design brief. One area of particular scrutiny is the building’s café and the catering for its top-floor events space. “Food is the single largest generator of waste,” says Heiges. Some of the practices intended to shrink this footprint include collecting coffee grounds separately from other organics and sending them directly to a nearby farm; selling snacks from bulk containers, from which customers dispense the desired amount themselves into paper bags (to reduce the amount of uneaten food and eliminate plastic wrappers); and relying on reusable tableware and utensils for people who eat in and compostible ware for those who carry food out.

But all of these initiatives require space for storage and equipment, which is at a premium, says Danner Doud-Martin, the assistant director of operations for Haas’s international business-development program and the faculty leader for the TRUE certification effort. “Real plates and dishwashing capabilities were just not in the plans three or four years ago.” Despite these space constraints, Chou Hall is on track to achieve both True Platinum and LEED Platinum, along with WELL Silver, which would make it the first academic building to be certified under all three systems.

Such an intense focus on minimizing trash, like that exhibited by the Chou Hall certification team, may be relatively new, but it is an important aspect of building operations. TRUE’s Barger calls waste the “next frontier” in facility design. Let’s hope it is widely explored and embraced by architects and building owners. Getting to zero depends on it.

Construction Projects Planned and Ongoing by World’s Megacities Valued at $4.2trn

A total of 6,645 planned and ongoing construction projects by the world’s megacities, valued at US$4.2trn and fueled by the increase in population, are sparking interest in residential and infrastructural developments, according to GlobalData.

The United Nations predicts that, between 2016 and 2030, the percentage of the world’s population living in cities with at least a million inhabitants is likely to grow from 23% to 27%, and the number of megacities is projected to increase from 31 to 41.

Following a recent assessment of project pipelines in major cities worldwide by GlobalData, a listing of 50 ‘Construction Mega Cities’, discovers they each have a pipeline of projects with an investment value above US$30bn.

The report states that Dubai tops the list with total project values amounting to US$374.2bn, just ahead of London in second place with US$328.7bn and Moscow in third with US$191.5bn. However, the Asia-Pacific region dominates the list, accounting for 25 of the 50 cities, and having a combined projects pipeline valued at US$1.7trn.

Yasmine Ghozzi, Economist at GlobalData, comments, “The ranking of Construction Mega Cities in the Gulf states shows they are spending the most on major development projects relative to the size of their populations. Dubai, for example, has a population of 3.2m, but it holds the top position in terms of the value of the construction mega-projects pipeline per capita.

“In addition, the number of people living in Doha has increased to 1.1m as the Gulf state recruits tens of thousands of workers to work on major infrastructure projects linked to the 2022 FIFA World Cup; their project pipeline valued at US$105.6bn.”

There are major differences among the 50 Construction Mega Cities in terms of the value of the project pipelines compared to the size of the economies. Visakhapatnam, one of India’s largest ports and an important industrial town and seaside resort, tops the ranking primarily owing to the government’s push on infrastructure and affordable housing.

Ghozzi continues, “The two main cities in Vietnam, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, also feature in the top 10 ranking of cities in terms of the value of the project pipeline in relation to the city’s economy. Ho Chi Minh City’s economy recorded high economic growth in the first six months of 2018, with the construction industry recording growth of 7.7%. The city is expected to grow by around 8.8% a year, ahead of Hanoi (8%) and many other major cities in the region – outside of China and India – between 2018 and 2022.”

Several Barriers Holding Back Widespread Construction of Zero Energy Buildings

Zero energy buildings are on the rise in some areas, but barriers that are retarding their spread nationwide remain.

That’s the conclusion of a new report, “Pathways to Zero Energy Buildings through Building Codes,” by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. One barrier is a “solar-only” mindset where an owner adds solar to a building but gives short shrift to energy efficiency.

Debate over whether community renewable energy options should be favored over on-site renewable generation in net zero buildings is another barrier. The report says that zero energy can be accomplished with both power-generation strategies. Buildings can be made zero-energy ready, with generation added later.

Disinterest in energy-efficient or zero energy buildings still exists in many regions. Code improvements and voluntary programs could help overcome that barrier. Code updates could focus on specific building equipment, such as improving management of plug-load energy use, increasing HVAC efficiency, or including solar-ready roofing and connections. They could also be used to improve performance path scores or create an outcome-based performance path.

Tech Companies Driving Manhattan Office Market, and Many Others

According to CBRE’s annual Tech-30 report, which measures the tech industry’s impact on office rents in the 30 leading tech markets in the U.S. and Canada, demand from technology tenants in New York City remains steady as the sector experienced a more than 12 percent increase in local job growth over the past two years.

Manhattan’s tech leasing velocity surpassed one million sq. ft. for the ninth consecutive year with tech leasing at 1.61 million sq. ft. through the third quarter 2018.

“Demand from tech companies in New York City remains robust, with over four million sq. ft. of active requirements, more than 20% of the demand for spaces of 50,000 sq. ft. or larger,” said Nicole LaRusso, Director of Research & Analysis for CBRE’s Tri-State region. “Supply remains limited, which combined with strong demand from start-up, mid-sized and the most sophisticated tech companies, makes market conditions favorable for landlords.”

Impact of Tech Job Growth on Office Markets

The influence of tech job creation on office market growth is pervasive across the U.S. and Canada, with eight of the Tech-30 markets posting rent growth of 10 percent or more between Q2 2016 and Q2 2018.  New York City has experienced a 12.4 percent growth in tech jobs during the past two years, on top of a 25 percent increase during the prior two-year period. Despite an overall citywide rental rate decline of 1.4 percent from Q2 2016 through Q2 2018, technology tenants are willing to pay higher rents in desirable Manhattan submarkets.

For example, the supply-constrained Midtown South submarket remains the most desirable location for tech companies in New York City, pushing tech taking rents to an average of $88 per sq. ft. as of Q2 2018, a 27 percent premium over the overall Midtown South average taking rent.

Country-Wide Expansion of Large Tech Firms

Technology companies based in the top four tech headquarters markets–the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Boston and New York–are expanding into new markets, creating more demand for office space and driving office rent growth in the beneficiary markets. Together, tech firms headquartered in these four markets have taken more than 25 million sq. ft. of space outside of their headquarters markets over the past five years.

The top four tech headquarters markets are also feeding each other, with cross-market expansion between the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Boston and New York accounting for approximately 14 million of the 25 million sq. ft. of migration. New York has benefited from this cross-market expansion, with major tech companies based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Boston taking 4.5 million sq. ft. of office space in New York over the past five years.

“As space availability in top tech submarkets continues to tighten, we expect large tech companies to continue to expand outside their headquarters markets–including further into secondary and even tertiary markets. Large tech company expansion into smaller markets will help foster innovation clusters, further boosting job creation and creating additional office demand,” said Colin Yasukochi, director of research and analysis for CBRE in the San Francisco Bay Area.  LaRusso adds, “In New York, where tech companies are finding it harder to find space in Midtown South, we’ll continue to see migration of the tech industry across Manhattan, especially Downtown and into Midtown’s submarkets proximate to Midtown South.”

2019 Construction Starts to Hold Steady at $808B

Total construction starts in 2019 will inch up to $808.3 billion from the $806.8 billion predicted for this year, according to the 2019 Dodge Construction Outlook report, which was released Thursday at Dodge Data & Analytics’ 80th annual Outlook Executive Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. In dollar terms, nonresidential building will stay at its current level, residential building will decrease 2% and nonbuilding construction (highways, bridges, environmental public works, etc.) will increase 3%, the report found.

This stabilization comes on the heels of healthy double-digit increases ranging from 11% to 14% each year from 2012 through 2015, 7% increases in both 2016 and 2017, and a 3% increase estimated for this year, according to the report. While the construction industry faces growing headwinds in the form of rising interest rates and trade tensions, Chief Economist and VP of Economic Affairs Robert Murray said that the data does not yet signal a transition to decline. “The fundamentals continue to be sound, and I don’t think we’re going to be seeing a repeat of what took place back in 2008 and 2009,” he said at the event.

Commercial building will see a square footage decreases in all categories — warehouse, office, hotel, store and shopping center — with overall value dragged down by the store construction sector, which has been disrupted by online retailers. The overall nonresidential estimates, however, are buoyed by expected growth in the institutional building sector (partly due to school construction bond measures passed in several states), manufacturing plant construction and public works construction.

The stock market’s slumps in the past several weeks have had many observers spooked, but while warning flags of a decline are beginning to appear in the form of a tightening labor market, rising inflation and other factors, economists at Dodge’s Outlook Executive Conference were confident that the industry will not be looking at a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis any time soon.

The U.S. economy’s momentum is currently the industry’s strongest tailwind, Murray said, with growth projected to hit 3.1% this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Easing up of lending standards for businesses and Dodd-Frank restrictions on mid-sized banks, which are often important for financing projects in local markets, have also helped fuel momentum forward, he added.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has yielded more of a mixed bag of results. Although Dodge attributed current growth in the U.S. economy and commercial building sector to the legislation, the report expects some of the benefits of these cuts to begin to fizzle out in 2019, returning the economy to a growth rate of about 2.5%.

As for headwinds, the trade war that’s brewing between the U.S. and China and resulting U.S. tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods have the potential to drive material prices up and increase inflationary pressures, many economists have noted.

In an analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data, the Associated General Contractors of America found that material prices rose almost 9% from May 2017 to May 2018, which is the biggest annual increase in seven years. This data did not yet factor in the 25% tariff on steel and 10% tariff on aluminum, which AGC expects will hurt construction, in particular, by causing budget overruns, project delays and even cancellations.

Regarding rising inflation, Dodge anticipates one more Federal Reserve interest rate hike by the end of the year to a range between 2.25% and 2.5%, as well as three to four quarter-point hikes next year, but the question analysts are considering, according to Murray, is: “Have [these rates] reached the threshold yet where they’re going to be cutting off construction?

“I don’t think it’s close to that point yet,” he said. “Basically, the levels of activity we’re expecting in 2019 are not that different than what we saw in 2018.”

Five Tapes Every Building Contractor Needs in Their Toolbox

Although it’s often concealed from view, pressure-sensitive adhesive tape is important to the building and construction industry. Tape is used in every segment of the building process, including HVAC, electrical, painting, and minor repairs. Here are the five types of tapes every contractor needs:

HVAC, Housewrap, and Insulation Tape

HVAC, housewrap, and insulation tapes range from foil/film tapes to metal building insulation or mastic on rolls. HVAC tape is used to join and seal joints on rigid and flexible ductwork, while housewrap tape accomplishes the same function on housewrap, sheathing, insulation, and vapor barriers. Insulation tapes seal joints between pieces of pipe insulation or duct insulation.

The goal of these tapes is to provide a seal—often waterproof, airtight, and permanent—on a variety of materials. They may also be used to prevent air and moisture infiltration.

Because they are used on different materials, HVAC, housewrap and insulation tapes each have characteristics that make them suitable for their specific application. When selecting an HVAC tape, contractors must carefully consider the environment, surfaces to which tape will be applied, and UL listing (181A-P for rigid ductwork or 181B-FX for flexible ductwork) to ensure a quality seal that meets the code. Housewrap tapes must have excellent temperature, vapor, and humidity resistance to maintain a permanent seal in fluctuating conditions. In addition, insulation tapes often feature excellent water vapor and smoke transmission resistance, and may comply with applicable standards such as UL 723 (Standard Test for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials).

Paint and Masking Tape

Paint and masking tapes protect walls, floors, and other surfaces during painting, sanding, cleaning, or general construction activities. Colorful masking tapes can also be used for light bundling, color-coding or labeling.

Paint and masking tapes improve efficiency by protecting surfaces from paint and damage, helping to eliminate rework and costly touch-ups. These tapes are designed with varying levels of durability and adhesion, and may offer clean removability characteristics to prevent surface damage or adhesive residue left behind when the tape is removed. Durability allows them to withstand various environments and applications, such as indoor/outdoor use and heavy foot traffic when applied to a floor, while different degrees of adhesion allow them to be used on different substrates. For example, a low tack tape is best suited for delicate surfaces, such as freshly painted walls and faux finishes, while a medium adhesion tape can tackle harder-to-stick-to surfaces such as wood. Removability is a key characteristic when considering which tape to use: there are some formulations that do not offer clean removability, while others can remain on surfaces for one to three days, or a week or more, without damaging the underlying surface.

 Duct Tape

Duct tape is built with a cloth backing coated with polyethylene to provide durability and waterproofing characteristics. Duct tape is manufactured with a wide variety of strength and adhesion properties, for light duty to extreme duty applications. It’s important to note that, despite its name, most duct tapes, unless designed for that specific purpose, should not be used to seal ductwork. General purpose duct tapes are not UL certified like HVAC tapes, and may flag or fail when exposed to extreme temperatures and other elements that are often present on HVAC jobsites.

General purpose duct tape is typically used for strapping or bundling at a jobsite, or to perform both temporary and permanent repairs. Specialty tapes are also available for specific applications such as adhering to stucco or hanging certain materials. The strength of its adhesive and backing as well as its excellent environmental resistance also make it ideal for waterproofing applications. Duct tape can be found in a wide variety of colors, making it versatile for use on a range of surfaces. When choosing duct tape for a specific application, contractors should consider its strength characteristics, environmental durability, hand tearability, conformability, and the intended substrate or surface for application.

Electrical Tape

Electrical tape is used to insulate electrical splices, as well as wire jacketing, or to bundle wire and cable. While most electrical tape used in building and construction is black, colored electrical tapes – sometimes called phasing tapes – are used to label wire voltage strength, phase, or function. Using the right color is critical in phasing tasks, as using the wrong color could indicate an inaccurate voltage quantity, putting technicians at risk.

Electrical tape is nearly always made of vinyl or a vinyl-based material such as PVC, which is popular because of its durability and tensile properties. An electrical tape’s dielectric strength—the maximum electric field strength the tape can withstand before breaking down—is of prime importance when selecting a product. Important characteristics and specs include UL listing, testing to electrical standards such as ASTM D1000, hand tearability, elongation, and durability.

Safety Barricade Tape

Barricade tapes are non-adhesive and usually bear a written message to warn jobsite workers of the presence of wet paint, nearby high voltage wiring, or other hazards. Non-adhesive barricade tapes are used to block off dangerous areas, while adhesive floor marking tapes are applied directly to floors to mark hazardous areas. Floor marking tapes are available in a variety of solid colors and warning stripe patterns, each indicating a specific hazard or element that workers need to be aware of. Because of their role as a safety device, safety and barricade tapes can be subject to approval by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States.

Barricade tapes are often used outdoors, so they must have excellent moisture and humidity resistance and resist fading in relatively extreme environmental conditions. Other important characteristics include tensile strength, elongation, and clear readability of the printed warning message.