18 December 2014

New "Secret Santa" at Cornerstone

Today is our annual in office Holiday luncheon where we always order in some catering and our very own Vito Tamborrino cooks us up his famous "Vicious Vito" Italian Steak sandwiches! We sit at our conference table, next to our Christmas Tree and among the many gift baskets we have received, we share funny stories of the year gone by, and we open up our "Secret Santa" gifts. But not quite this year... Yes, God knows we'll still be stuffing ourselves and enjoying each others' company and good humor, but this year we, (Thank You Donna Peist for the wonderful idea), decided to take the money we would have normally spent on "gag" gifts for each other, and rather donate that amount to sponsoring and buying needed Christmas gifts for a local family in need. We've all been so Blessed this past year, so it just felt like the right thing to do at the right time. Who knows, we may have just started a NEW Cornerstone Tradition!

31 January 2014

The "BIG Game"

Cornerstone has been busy in preparation for the "Big Game" this weekend. Click below for some highlights of our work at MetLife Stadium.

You are no doubt aware that there will be a major sporting event this weekend in our home state of New Jersey. We are unable to tell you the name of the event because it is trademarked, but we will assume you have an idea of what we're referring to.

Here at Cornerstone, we have been working hard for the past three years in preparation for the big game. We are fortunate to have completed over 15 projects at MetLife Stadium for a variety of clients. Projects include work directly for the stadium as well as branding for some well know corporations.

In addition to the two projects featured here, our completed work includes; offices for the "big game" host committee, medical replay room, and ticket booth alterations. We have done several branding projects and signage installations for Chase Bank, Bud Light, Tostitos, and Toyota.

We are proud that this event is taking place in our home state and we feel privilege to have had the opportunity to work on these projects.

Please also take a quick read of the "BIG Game" special edition of our newsletter and we hope you enjoy watching the game on Sunday!

Submitted by: Robert M. Longo, AIA

03 July 2013


Breakaway walls are allowed both by the International Residential Code and by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) rules. However, there are certain identified "disconnects" between what is allowed by law and what may result in higher insurance premiums. The use of breakaway walls in a V zone is one of these disconnects.

In accordance with the NFIP Flood Insurance Manual, insurance companies may charge higher premiums for an "elevated building with obstruction." The Flood Insurance Manual contains the following guidelines. (Note: The italicized text below is from the Manual. The most recent (May 1, 2013) Manual may be accessed at FEMA Manual.)

1. Elevated Building Without Obstruction
The area below the lowest elevated floor is open, with no obstruction, to allow the flow of floodwaters. Insect screening is permissible. Wooden or plastic lattice, slates, or shutters are also permissible if at least 40 percent of their area is open. Lattice can be no thicker than 1/2 inch; slats or shutters can be no thicker than 1 inch. In addition, buildings are considered without obstruction if the area below the lowest elevated floor is enclosed by a combination of 1 solid breakaway wall or garage door, and the other sides of the enclosure are insect screening, or wooden or plastic lattice, slats, or shutters. Machinery or equipment below the lowest elevated floor must be at or above the BFE. Use the rates from Table 3E. For unnumbered Zone V, use the Submit-for-Rate procedures.

2. Elevated Building With Obstruction
Buildings are rated "With Obstruction" if any of the following conditions are met:
a. The area below the lowest elevated floor is enclosed fully by solid breakaway walls.
b. The area below the lowest elevated floor is enclosed by a combination of 2 or more solid breakaway walls, the remaining sides constructed of insect screening, or wooden or plastic lattice, slats, or shutters.
c. Machinery or equipment below the lowest elevated floor is also below the BFE. Use the rates from Table 3F provided that the enclosure is less than 300 square feet with solid breakaway walls, or any machinery or equipment is below the BFE. For unnumbered Zone V, use Submit-for-Rate procedures.

Homeowners are permitted to enclose areas below the BFE with breakaway walls. However, they should be informed that this will result in higher insurance premiums. Under the Flood Insurance Manual, enclosed space of 300 square feet or more will be counted as the building's lowest floor even if it is enclosed with breakaway walls and is restricted to use for building access, parking or storage in accordance with the rules. "Without obstruction" in accordance with the above guidelines results in the best rates. How much higher will the rate be with obstructions? Most of the flood insurance rates in the V zone are shown as "submit for rate" which means that the information is submitted to the insurance company and the company determines the policy premium.

Submitted by: Robert M. Longo, AIA  Ref: DCA

01 July 2013

Hope That New Flood Maps Will Help To Boost Design and Construction Business In New Jersey

Homeowners battered by Hurricane Sandy got some relief recently, when the federal government issued revised, scaled-back flood maps and elevation requirements. For architects and builders working on those homes, it means many long-stalled rebuilding projects may soon pick up.

The new maps shrink the so-called V zones in Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean and Atlantic counties — there areas where homes are most prone to flooding — moving many dwellings to the lower-risk A zones. That likely means simpler, cheaper rebuilding projects and lower insurance premiums, not to mention owners' increased willingness to move ahead after the months of uncertainty that followed the October storm.

Meanwhile, some local governments have addressed another issue in Sandy's aftermath. Towns like Point Pleasant and Manasquan have loosened zoning restrictions for residential heights, allowing homeowners to comply with the federal guidelines without conflict.

In the coming weeks, towns will work with FEMA to determine how to apply the guidelines to current building codes. Because the maps were only released very recently, town officials were still analyzing local data and could not specifically comment on how it may be applied. Changes could include elevating homes in a number of ways, breakaway walls that would fall away against the force of waves, deep pilings to better anchor a buildings being pushed by the force of rushing water and flood vents to allow water to pass through the foundation of shore front property.

Submitted by: Robert F. Barranger, AIA Ref: FEMA

09 June 2013

World's Tallest Building, 'Sky City', To Break Ground "Fast"

A Chinese construction company is setting out to build the world’s tallest building, in Changsha, China. And it says it can finish it in one-tenth of the time it took to build the current record holder. Broad Sustainable Construction, a company known for building high-rise buildings in record-breaking time, said it will break ground in June '13 on the project, which will stand at 838 meters, or 2,749 feet, when completed. The building is slated to make an incredibly speedy progress, finishing construction in seven months. Construction of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s current tallest building, took approximately six years to complete. The building will be called “Sky City” and will exceed the Burj Khalifa by roughly 10 meters (30 feet). While the Burj Khalifa is in a popular Middle East tourist destination, the biggest city in the United Arab Emirates and a worldwide aviation hub, the new Sky City will be erected in the middle of a field in Changsha, the capital of the province of Hunan -- a city of 7 million, to be sure, but located in the middle of China, with the closest international metropolis being Hong Kong, 600 km (400 miles) to the south.