Brian Sieffert Archives

Concrete for Sustainable Design in Pittsburgh

As we develop the relationship with the sister workshop Concrete Zen, we open doors for new innovative design solutions. The Custom projects Take Pride Construction & Design LLC. managed in the last year have been those which have integrated the renovation, restoration or remodeling with Concrete Design. This approach has invited new ways to see concrete’s natural versatility. The workshop is 15 miles from Pittsburgh and the design’s are hand made. The result is a unique design, that is locally resourced. We welcome the opportunity for our clients to be inspired by their research and engage as a project contributor. With our workshop, we can provide prototypes from our client’s imagination. We limit the exhausting reasearch and expensive results of defining the custom intent. Our future renovations will have an integration of Concrete Design that can work within a budget for our clients and allow them to have a genuine unique experience. The options include floor finishes with custom staining and concrete overlays. Handmade Tiles can be made any size and shape for floors, back splashes or accents. We can make custom fitting Concrete Panels, heated for Bathroom shower stalls, benches and custom shower pans. Furniture can be made with choices and styles to compliment the colors within the house or an outdoor living space. Concrete Countertops and Concrete Sinks can be fabricated to the style and shape that suits the clients taste. Planters can be made to accent interior decor or exterior landscape planning. The list goes as far as one’s imagination. We are inspired by the innovation at Concrete Zen and others in the concrete Design Industry. Take Pride Construction and Design LLC. encourages experimental or forward thinking inspirations and look forward to collaborating to achieve the final result. Please review our gallery pictures.

GAGI pre-party at the Shadow Lounge

img_0683 GAGI stands for Geek Arts Green Innovators. It is a great feat to bring people together who have differing backgrounds and common interests. Christine McCray Bethea is the fearless organizer who is coordinating events for the GAGI festival on April 2nd. The fun filled evening includes a fashion show, green innovation, robotics and more…Please see for detailed information about the event. Brian, Nicole, and Elizabeth joined the fun Friday, March 19th at the AVA Lounge and the Shadow Lounge talking with participants of the up and coming festival. Everyone who I spoke with had very interesting activities to share. It was inspiring to hear that environmental consciousness is widespread nowadays!–Elizabeth E.

Windows and Solar Power

Solar Dye in Windows

Solar Dye in Windows

Popular Mechanics covers a ground breaking story: “Within a decade, windows… could generate electricity”! MIT researchers started a company: Covalent Solar developed the “Organic Solar Concentrator” that uses “dyes [to] direct photons to solar cells at the edges”. This method of collecting light “could increase the efficiency of existing solar panels by as much as 50%.”- EE

Please see:


Phil Martino of Concrete Zen featured in DWELL Magazine for Shadyside Project.

Phil Martino of Concrete Zen featured in DWELL Magazine for Shadyside Project.

Phil Martino (PCM Inc) has been a dealer/builder in NUCOR Pre-engineered buildings in the Pittsburgh Area for 15 years. NUCOR is one of the largest recyclers in North America.  A recent project in Shadyside Pittsburgh was featured in DWELL Magazine  We hope that our efforts that generate enthusiasm in Concrete Design and Pre-Engineered Buildings can help guide the Sustainable format the construction industry is working towards.

NUCOR’s Green initiative is listed on their site:

Strict Rules Passed Regarding Lead Paint Removal

As stated in the February 17, 2010 issue of the Tribune Review, The Environmental Protection Agency will require that “every contractor dealing with lead paint [must] be certified by the agency”. Also the method in which the paint is removed must be done according to these new rules. “U.S. Census figures show [that] across Allegheny County, 88% of the homes were built predating 1978 [which is] when lead paint was used.”-The article goes on to say. This will call for a higher painting estimate, as well as, more painting equipment purchases in order to get the job done according to the stricter rules. Take Pride started off in  Victorian Restoration. We produced work in New York City and was required to have an EPA Lead supervisor abatement certification. We needed this for any work done in the City built pre 1960 and 1960-1978 if there is reason to believe that there is lead in the building. Lead was used as a white pigment on residential buildings. ” White Lead” was later replaced by Titanium Dioxide.

Old Paint to be removed from Victorian Project

Old Paint to be removed from Victorian Project

The “Red Lead” was used for rust inhibiting on metal bridges and industrial uses. Lead can be dangerous to children and animals because the chips taste sweet. The children and animals can ingest and it can lead to an array of complications such as learning disabilities in children and death in animals.-EE/B

Phil Martino, a  Pittsburgh commercial builder, has been a NUCOR Dealer/Contractor for 15 years. NUCOR is the largest steel recycler in North America
Last year Nucor recycled a quantity of scrap steel in excess of 20 million tons. Nucor’s steel making processes have much lower emissions than integrated steel making operations. Nucor’s energy consumption per ton of steel produced is much lower than that of integrated mills(source- Nucor website) . Phil Martino (PCM Inc) is able to offer “turn-key” Construction operations from engineering to final Interior Design. PCM Inc. works with Concrete Zen to offer Decorative Concrete Solutions for flooring, counters, sinks, panels and wall treatments. 

For more information on construction packages please contact :

PCM Inc. - Nucor Building in Pittsburgh PA ready for the Concrete

PCM Inc. - Nucor Building in Pittsburgh PA ready for the Concrete

Residential remodeling in Pittsburgh, PA

LVL Beams and New Floor Framing support & stabilize shift in bearing from the removal of certain truss systems. The area above this living space was reinforced and decked for a new storage area. The ceilings in both areas are 7’10″ each after the 2″x10″ floor deck was raised above the ceiling framing below. This was a totally unusable space!  The truss system spanned over 16′ of ceiling. All of the 2″x4″ ‘s cut out were stored for re-use in our workshop. Natural Stone tile in the Bath & Mahogany Floors will be a smooth design after this renovation is complete.- Photo: Rich stands in the area that will be the new 3rd level Full Bathroom… -Nicole Santella

The creation of additional living space

Full Bath & Living space in Attic

Solar Power Technology is on the Rise

According to an article from, PPG Industries (based in Pittsburgh, PA) and Prism Solar Technologies (of New York) have partnered for a project to “test the performance of different types of glass… to determine an increase in energy yield.” The two entities will combine attributes of their respective glass surface coatings and then deduce whether or not there is an increase in “energy yield”.

A solar cell is a device that converts the energy of sunlight directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect.

A solar cell is a device that converts the energy of sunlight directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect.

There are incentives for renewable energy at the residential and commercial level. The “Maximum Incentive” for residents and commercial photovoltaic costs is 35% of installed costs.-DSIRE(Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.)Table 3.2 Annual Photovoltaic Domestic Shipments between 1998 and 2007- from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, shows that there were 15,069 photovoltaic units shipped in 1998. In 2007 there were 886,193 pv units shipped. This proves that solar power use is increasing; becoming more attractive to our pocket books; and is moving towards greater efficiency.-EE

Going “Green” Means Staying Local

Brian Polishing Wet Cast Counter with Integrated Drainboard and Cutting table Many cities are riding the green wave: “Beginning in March, San Franciscans will be able to seek financing from Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, which will make $150 million in bonds available, according to Renewable Funding, a private group that will put up the capital and administer the program at no cost to the city.”-USA Today

Here in Pittsburgh, we can witness an accelerated growth of becoming more environmentally friendly. “Pittsburgh will be the North American host city for World Environment Day in 2010″ according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).-

Being recognized locally for climbing out of the smoggy reputation is a facet of the entire picture. Another aspect of gaining points is the Green manufacturing of Green products. A product isn’t entirely Green unless it’s resources are obtained within close proximity to it’s final destination. We set up a Sister company with a local Commercial Builder (PCM Inc) called Concrete Zen. Our workshop offers Architects, Designers and Builders and opportunity to resource materials for their projects locally. Concrete Zen creates all forms of Decorative Concrete and Concrete Flooring Solutions.

GFRC-Rainscreens & Cladding=Smart Building

GFRC Cladding for Building Facade

GFRC Cladding for Building Facade

Responsible building is becoming more and more popular,and so are creative solutions to help buildings perform efficiently. Nick Bajzek, Products Editor with Reed Business Information,highlights the use of Rain Screens and their positive impact on building envelope construction. December 11, 2009 at GFRC performing as an envelope component not only allows buildings look interesting, but increases energy efficiency. GFRC rain screens can help channel water into a reservoir while also functioning as a thermal break to wind and heat. Take Pride Construction and Design works with a local GFRC Manufacturer Concrete Zen and Ball Consulting.