EVstudio Store – Now with Hats

August 22, 2009

EVstudio Hat

EVstudio’s Apparel Store now includes baseball caps in a variety of styles and colors. Show your EVstudio style on your head.

An Interview With Jim Houlette, Director of Structural Engineering at EVstudio

July 4, 2009

Jim Houlette and Family


As a kid I loved to build with LEGOS or anything else I could find.  I would spend hours making planes, buildings, and whatever else a kid’s imagination could think of.  Now the LEGO pieces are bigger.  I consider myself to be very lucky to be an engineer and continue to design with building blocks.  At first, structural engineering wasn’t at the top of the list.  My heart was set on Aeronautical Engineering designing airplanes and spacecraft.  But before I started at Purdue, I realized there aren’t too many job openings for aeronautical engineers.  I’ve never regretted my choice.


It seems structural engineering goes unnoticed with little recognition.  I believe a good structural design should go unnoticed.  That demonstrates you were capable of allowing the architect‘s concepts work.  With that said, the best award is repeat clients and recommendations.  That’s proof you are doing a good job and keeping the client’s priorities in mind.  In addition, I have been very lucky to have designed homes for the Parade of Homes and to be a part of the celebration.


Boiler up!  OK, well I’m not a big fan of the “Boiler up” cheer, but it was started by football coach Joe Tiller’s wife and I have a lot of respect for the Tiller family.  Unfortunately, he is no longer coaching and they have moved back to Wyoming, hence, the “Boiler up” coming from “Cowboy up”.

I loved going to Purdue.  Yes, it’s in the middle of corn fields in Indiana, but a wonderful college town and a beautiful campus.  Purdue is one of the top ranked engineering schools in the world.  At the time I went there, I believe the Civil Engineering was ranked #2.  I’m very lucky to have been accepted and to have survived!  I still remember freshman orientation and the day all of the freshman engineers were required to attend a lecture and asked to dump their girlfriend that night, forget about any hobbies and learn to survive on only 4 hours of sleep every night.  Well, I maintained a long distance relationship all four years, took up a new hobby (partying) and decided sleep was more important than going crazy.


Unless you live in cave, I’ve done work for most of the home builders in Colorado. Some of the Homebuilders that have stood out over the years are Oakwood Homes, Infinity Home Collection, Lennar, KB Homes, Beazer Homes, Meritage Homes and Capital Pacific Homes.  The KB Home Martha Stuart Collection has probably received the most media.  I was also the structural engineer for the Parade of Homes at Daniels Gate and Stapleton for Infinity Home Collection and Woodley Architects.  That was a lot of fun being a part of the parties at the Parade of Homes.

Other than home builders, a couple projects I enjoyed was designing the post tension foundation for Big Horn Plastering located by the Broncos practice field, a three story hotel for the Yavapai Indian Tribe in Prescott, AZ and Lincoln Station at the Lincoln light rail station.  However, due to the economy it sounds like Lincoln station may never break ground.


I met my wife, Kate, on a blind date to the senior year homecoming dance.  I was scared to death that night, but I must have done something right.  Kate and I have been together ever since and happily married for over 9 years.  We have three wonderful children, Kyle 7, Sean 5 and Elizabeth 3 in August.  Elizabeth goes by Lizzie or “Baby Boss” if she is keeping the boys in line.  Most evenings are spent at soccer or baseball practice/games or playing in the backyard.  It’s a blast watching little kids get out there and play.  My wife and I volunteer to coach the boys’ soccer teams.  We loved doing it and look forward to next summer.


During the school year my wife and I volunteer for the PTO.  Kate, my wife, has been the vice president for two years and now entering into her second year as president of the board.  So that unofficially makes me the PTO whipping boy.  I’m kidding of course, and we have a lot of fun helping with the carnival, three dances, fund raisers and everything else that goes on.

My family and I also enjoy going up to the mountains.  The kids are still young and not too sure about camping.  They have got in their heads that bears are all over the place.  But we have lots of fun exploring new places.  Otherwise, we fill our remaining time with trips to the local swimming pools and bike rides along the Highline canal.

Structural Engineering Services Available Through EVstudio in Colorado

June 8, 2009

EVstudio offers a full range of structural engineering services to our clients.  This includes:

Wood and light gage steel framing
Spread footing, drilled piers and helical piers
Slab foundations including pre and post tensioned slabs
Shoring design
Log and timber frame structures
Site retaining walls, abutments and keystone walls
Block, brick and stone
Steel and concrete
Structural and geotechnical forensic engineering
Evaluation and repair drawings
Construction administration
Engineering reports and detailed documentation
Expert witness
Value engineering and efficient design

In addition we have architecture, planning and sustainability consulting in house. We also employ civil, mechanical and electrical engineers along with landscape architects and interior designers as needed.

Agreements, Proposals and Contracts Used by Architects, Engineers and Contractors

February 16, 2009

There are no shortage of different forms for agreements, proposals and contracts in the design and construction industry.

The base contracts of the design and construction industry are the contracts produced by the American Institute of Architects. These contracts have been in place for more than 120 years and they are the standard. They cover all of the relationships in the process not just those involving the Architect, a common example is the Owner/Contractor agreements.

The primary reasons for choosing an AIA contract is that the contracts are generally fair and balanced and they have been through legal proceedings enough that their definitions are well established. They aren’t very open for interpretation. The contract document software also has a feature that tracks changes so if you know the usual contract it is very easy to understand the changes. In addition the various agreements all tie together create a comprehensive set. What this means is that the obligations in the Owner/Architect agreement match up with the obligations in the Owner/Contractor agreement and the Architect/Consultant agreements.

The primary reasons that people choose to avoid AIA contracts tend to be complexity of the contract, scope that is very unique and attempts to produce contracts that are tilted towards one party.

At EVstudio we emply a variety of contracts. Where owners have their own contracts we will review them to verify that they are workable. When we propose on most smaller residential and commercial work we have a 4-5 page agreement that is much less intimidating than the 20+ pages in an AIA contract. We also enter into a number of different AIA contracts depending on scope and coordination with other agreements. We also suggest contract forms for owners to use with other parties. We’ve put together enough to guide you through your choices.