September 2014 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Customers:

I’m excited to share that on February 2nd we will be operating our downtown store from 1000 E. 7th, just one block east of I-35 at San Marcos Street. I feel extremely lucky to have found a location just one mile from our existing 6th Street location that we will be able to call home for many years to come.  We will offer all the same great services and, yes, still be able to provide great customer parking.

Thanks for your continued support!

Luci Miller


“Woonerfs” Enlivening Downtowns









Do you know what a “woonerf” is? If you’re into alternative designs for downtown spaces, you’ll probably come across a woonerf sooner rather than later. Woonerfs are downtown areas with little demarcations between the spaces allotted for cars, pedestrians, and bikes. They are designed to allow a comfortable, safe mingling of all types of transport, with more emphasis on pedestrian and bike travel and less on auto travel.

Woonerfs are popular in the Netherlands, but they’re starting to appear in the United States. An example of one recently appeared in suburban Chicago. The town of Batavia, which is about 40 miles west of Chicago, turned one and a half blocks of its downtown into a woonerf to revitalize a stretch that was dying.

Batavia’s woonerf – the word means “living street” — has no curbs, no traffic stripes, and no crosswalks. Ironically, all of that freedom is designed to calm the traffic and free the space for pedestrians and bicyclists, and it seems to be working. According to a recent article about the experiment in the Chicago Tribune, merchants along the street are pleased with the extra pedestrian traffic they’re getting and the general vitality the woonerf brings to the stretch.

Batavia’s woonerf, which cost $2.8 million to build (including infrastructure improvements), connects that stretch of downtown with a nearby riverfront trail. The woonerf is totally off-limits to cars on Saturday mornings, when the space is turned into a farmers’ market. Other socializing touches include many benches for people to sit, space for restaurants to put out seating, and ornamental fencing.

Woonerfs became popular in the Netherlands in the 1970s, a now can be found throughout Europe and a few other places. The name varies – in Australia they’re called “shared zones” and in the UK they’re called “home zones,” for example.

Whatever they’re called, they are becoming more and more popular among city planners seeking ways to revitalize dying downtowns.


AEC Economy: Looking Up!









Signs of an improving construction economy have been slowly arriving all year, but in the past month several key indicators took big jumps.

First on the list is the AIA Billings Index. This venerable index stood at 55.8 in July, up from 53.5 in June. The July number was the highest the Billings Index has stood since 2007.

“Business conditions for the design and construction marketplace, and those industries associated with it, appear to be well-positioned for continued growth in the coming months,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The key to a more widespread boost in design activity continues to be the institutional sector which is starting to exhibit signs of life after languishing for the better part of the last five-plus years.” Read more here.

Another important indicator showing strength is the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which reached 55 in August, compared to 53 in July. This is the third monthly increase in a row, and the highest number since January.

“Each of the three components of the HMI registered consecutive gains for the past three months, which is a positive sign that builder confidence appears to be firming following an uneven spring,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Factors contributing to this rise include sustained job growth, historically low mortgage rates and affordable home prices, which are helping to unleash pent-up demand.” Read more here.

Another important sign came from the U.S. Census Bureau, which showed that construction spending in July was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $981 billion, up 1.8 percent from June and 8.2 percent over July 2013. One especially strong area was highway construction, which stood at an annual rate of $84.8 billion in July, up 6.9 percent from the June figure.

Finally, a new index, from the International Reprographic Association, measures the amount of reprographics work being done for the AEC industry. In the second quarter of 2014, the index stood at 71, which indicates strong growth. Read more here.

Taken together, these signs point to a strong and growing AEC economy.

Image Credit: Gideon Tsang


Digital Construction Sets









When you walk into a general contractor’s job site trailer today, you will likely see only one set of printed plans: the record documents.  That record set of plans is likely to also be kept in digital format.  Using construction plans in PDF format together with Bluebeam software now enables contractors to quickly mark-up details, make changes, and link valuable information directly to those changes.  When you add in advanced multi-touch monitors like the iPlanTable, construction teams are able to collaborate and communicate much more effectively – resulting in faster implementation of changes and shorter construction project schedules.  At substantial completion the, digital record documents enable an efficient and effective closeout for the general contractor, while at the same time providing a useful set of documents for the owner.

Click here to watch the iPlan Table Studio Series in action.

For more information regarding Bluebeam software, iPlanTables, or Construction Information Management and Closeout services, contact Webb Fox at 512.200.6549 or


Tips & Tricks: Reports Part II – Margins for Perfect Binding









In last month’s Tips & Tricks, we emphasized the need for proper margins in punch-bound books and binders. The determining factor for those margins is how far in the holes are punched into the document.

With tape and perfect binding, we have no holes punched into the book – but we still need to account for the bound edge. Unlike saddle stitched books or tape binding, perfect binding pages meet at a rigid spine that will not allow the pages to lay flat. This creates a vanishing point in the middle of the “v” where any images or text will not be seen.

For the outer, top, and bottom margins, we maintain our recommendation that you place items at least 0.25″ from the edge for design purposes.

For the crucial inner margin, you should assume that anything within 0.5″ from the bound edge will not be legible. This can vary depending on the thickness of your bound book, but should never be over that amount.

For images that display across two pages, a handy trick is to shift the opposing images away from one other by about 0.25″. This will create the illusion that the images are printed continuously across the two pages, even though there is actually considerable print loss in the binding area.

Lastly, never put the focus of an image along the spine. No matter how much you shift an image, a face or other critical imagery that is split by a binding will always look slightly off. Make sure you keep the focus of images outside the 0.5″ internal margin.

Photo credit:  Juhan Sonin


News You Can Use

Austin Construction Crew Finds Five Caves in Front of High School

59 Acres on Lake Travis Primed for Development

Texas Construction Rife with Tax Cheats

Scott Felder Homes Acquired by Dallas-area Firm

Austin Firm Selected to Design New Charles Schwab HQ

New Downtown Austin Tower Could be Second Tallest


Five Biggest Homebuilders in America

DR Horton (19,954 homes built in 2012)
Pulte (16,505)
Lennar (13,802)
NVR (9,483)
KB Home (6,282)


States With Most Employed Carpenters

California: 63,110
New York: 43,290
Pennsylvania: 33,660
Florida: 33,480
Texas: 32,500
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Five Best Landscape Architecture Programs

Undergraduate Programs

1. Louisiana State University

2. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

3. Pennsylvania State University

4. Kansas State University

5. Texas A&M University

Graduate Programs

1. Harvard University

2. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

3. Cornell University

3. Louisiana State University

5. University of Virginia

Source: ArchDaily


Fall Savings











Whether you are promoting your brand or your holiday specials, window graphics are a great way to communicate an idea.

Mention this coupon or click here for a printable PDF.

Call Ian at 512.381.5279 or to learn more!