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GSBN: Digest for 5/12/04

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-> Re:  RE: GSBN:Finding Outlets
     by Strawnet@...
-> Re:  GSBN:Sustainable Building Design & Construction Curriculum
     by Strawnet@...
-> Re: GSBN:Finding Outlets
     by Derek Roff derek@...
-> Re: GSBN:Finding Outlets
     by billc_lists@...


Date: 12 May 2004 00:03:43 -0600
From: Strawnet@...
Subject: Re:  RE: GSBN:Finding Outlets

Hi all,

Regarding finding outlets or anything else in bale or other walls, I used 
to photograph each wall before it was finished, occasionally including a 
ruler or large enough notes indicating critical measurements from the 
floor or from a corner, etc. fastened temporarily next to any critical 
objects. That way you have a record of where boxes, wires, pipes, 
blocking, etc. are for future reference. I also used to put together a 
binder with copies of those photos, installation and instruction manuals 
from systems and appliances, and so forth, for the owners along with 
as-built drawings showing any changes from the original plans. I would do 
that for both interior and exterior and also locations of utility lines 
and so forth. A little thought about what someone (it could be you) might 
need sometime in the future and the small investment of money and effort 
can save a lot of time and money down the road. Short of the photos, you 
could also just do quick sketches of the walls with heights and 
horizontal locations of outlets before you plaster.  After the fact it's 
definitely harder...

On the other hand, I also used to leave the rough-in wiring protruding 
and tape up the boxes before plastering as the wise and experienced (and 
CASBA Builder of the year I might add) suggested. 


David Eisenberg
Development Center for Appropriate Technology
P.O. Box 27513
Tucson, AZ 85726-7513


Chinese Proverb:

Those who say it can't be done should not
interupt those who are doing it.



Date: 12 May 2004 00:22:11 -0600
From: Strawnet@...
Subject: Re:  GSBN:Sustainable Building Design & Construction Curriculum


I wonder if I might have a look at your curriculum even though I'm not 
from a currently bigger and better country? I've been hoping we might 
become a bigger country, but it seems we'll need different leadership 
before that can happen... smallness is not always beautiful... 
Nonetheless, I'm willing to try to review your material and get something 
to you by the 17th as you require. Thanks for the offer, including the 
offer to pillage and plunder it for our own selfish purposes - now 
there's something we can relate to down here!


>Hello All,
>I'm writing to you because I have just finished the lengthy (and 
>sometimes frustrating!) process of writing a draft curriculum for a 
>college-level program on sustainable building design and 
>construction, tentatively and creatively called "Sustainable Building 
>Design and Construction." It is an intensive, 20-week, 
>certificate-level program to be offered at Sir Sandford Fleming 
>College here in Ontario. A few folks at the college have really stuck 
>their necks out and supported the development of this course, and now 
>we have to go face the bigwigs at the Ministry of Education who will 
>decide whether or not such a program should be offered and funded.
>A part of our submission to the Ministry includes letters of support 
>from "the industry." If any of you "industry types" (ie, anybody 
>who's ever made a buck at this stuff!) would be interested in reading 
>the draft curriculum outline and, if it seems worthy of support, 
>write a letter, I'd be glad to forward you the document for your 
>viewing pleasure. I'm putting it out to the GSBN because there's 
>nothing that impresses Canadians more than having people from bigger 
>and better countries endorse something that might just happen here in 
>our own colony.
>A good chunk of the document is language that the province requires 
>in all program submissions, so if you skip through the boring stuff 
>and check out the actual content, it's a pretty quick read.
>We're on a bit of tight deadline, as our meeting with the provincial 
>officials is next week. Letters would have to be received (via email 
>is fine, emailed PDFs on letterhead are even better) by May 17th at 
>the latest. I know that's short notice at a busy time of the year, 
>but if even a couple GSBNers had the time, it would sure be great to 
>have your support.
>Please respond directly to me at cmagwood@... if you'd like me 
>to send the document your way.
>Pillaging and plundering of the curriculum for your own purposes is 
>entirely okay with me.

David Eisenberg, Director

Development Center for Appropriate Technology
P.O. Box 27513, Tucson, AZ  85726-7513
(520) 624-6628 voice / (520) 798-3701 fax
<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.dcat.net";>http://www.dcat.net</a>

The Development Center for Appropriate Technology is a 501(c)(3) 
non-profit organization. Our primary support comes from charitable 
contributions from individuals and businesses, from our educational and 
training programs and consulting services, and to a lesser degree today 
from foundation grants. Please consider helping support our vital work. 
Our mission is to enhance the health of the planet and our communities by 
promoting a shift to sustainable construction and development practices 
through leadership, strategic relationships, and education. To learn 
about DCAT's work and how you can support it, please visit our website at 


Date: 12 May 2004 09:22:26 -0600
From: Derek Roff derek@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Finding Outlets

Hi, Jeff,

When I last worked on a standard construction crew, many years ago, 
the boss had some kind of hand-held electronic device, which could 
sense the presence of electrical wires behind wallboard.  He could 
trace a piece of romex wire run through the studs, and find where it 
turned from running horizontally to vertically, for example. The 
wires are supposed to be a couple of inches behind the face of the 
wallboard, so that should be similar to the plaster thickness in a 
plastered bale.   If I remember correctly, it required the wires to 
be live, in the sense of having power available through the wire.  It 
didn't require any load on the circuit.

I would think by now these devices would be more sophisticated and 
cheaper.  If you are using metal boxes for the electrical outlet 
boxes, then a simple metal detector should work well.  I use the 
Wizard brand metal detector for finding staples and nails in rough 
lumber, before running it through my planer.  It cost about $80, from 
Woodworker's Supply (1-800-645-9292).  It looks similar to the 
hand-held metal detectors used by airport security.  It can detect a 
fine wire staple at the depth of an inch in hardwood, so I think it 
could easily find a metal electrical outlet box.  But I bet the 
electrical supply houses have something similar, designed for your 


PS.  I just checked the Woodworker's Supply web site 
<<a  target="_blank" href="http://woodworker.com";>http://woodworker.com</a>>.  The equivalent to the detector that I have 
is the Lumber Wizard ?III Model 25506 Metal Detector For Woodworkers, 
catalog number 109-097, $76.99.  The specific web page with this and 
other metal detectors is 
<<a  target="_blank" href="http://woodworker.com/cgi-bin/FULLPRES.exe?PARTNUM=109-097";>http://woodworker.com/cgi-bin/FULLPRES.exe?PARTNUM=109-097</a>>

- --On Tuesday, May 11, 2004 6:48 PM -0600 Jeff Ruppert 
jeff@... wrote:

> So here is a more practical question.  Anyone have an efficient way
> of finding buried electrical outlets (post-plaster)?  I know this
> seems basic, but we lose one every other project or so.  Thought I
> would lighten things up!  Any tricks to share?
> Jeff Ruppert, P.E.
> Principal
> Odisea  LLC
> Structural/Civil Engineering, Straw Bale Consulting, Construction
> Services
> 2241 17th St.
> Boulder, CO  80302
> 303.443.4335 o
> 303.443.4355 f
> 303.881.2905 c
> jeff@...
> www.odiseanet.com

Derek Roff
Language Learning Center, MSC03-2100
Ortega Hall Rm 129, 1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
505/277-7368, fax 505/277-3885
Internet: derek@...


Date: 12 May 2004 09:26:45 -0600
From: billc_lists@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Finding Outlets

At 6:48 PM -0600 5/11/04, Jeff Ruppert wrote:
>So here is a more practical question.  Anyone have an efficient way of
>finding buried electrical outlets (post-plaster)?  I know this seems
>basic, but we lose one every other project or so.  Thought I would
>lighten things up!  Any tricks to share?

The telephone industry has locating equipment for this kind of thing 
- - it's really useful when you're working through a mass of tangled 
wires trying to find one pair, or for tracing where a particular pair 
goes.  You put a tone generator on the other end (with electrical, 
you'd have to turn the power off first) and then use a second device 
to locate.

The set costs about US$100

There's also a similar device that is used for determining which 
breaker a particular outlet is on.   Perhaps you can use them in the 
other direction too.

Of course, the other suggestions on how to keep from losing them in 
the first place should be the first line of defense.

- -- 
Bill Christensen
<a  target="_blank" href="http://sustainablesources.com/contact/";>http://sustainablesources.com/contact/</a>

Green Building Professionals Directory: <a  target="_blank" href="http://directory.sustainablesources.com";>http://directory.sustainablesources.com</a>
Sustainable Building Calendar: <a  target="_blank" href="http://SustainableSources.com/calendar/";>http://SustainableSources.com/calendar/</a>
Green Real Estate: <a  target="_blank" href="http://SustainableSources.com/realestate/";>http://SustainableSources.com/realestate/</a>
Straw Bale Registry: <a  target="_blank" href="http://sbregistry.sustainablesources.com/";>http://sbregistry.sustainablesources.com/</a>
Books/videos/software: <a  target="_blank" href="http://bookstore.sustainablesources.com/";>http://bookstore.sustainablesources.com/</a>


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