The Forge Pizza – Oakland, CA

Urban Daddy really, really likes The Forge Pizza that just opened at Jack London Square.

Built and designed by The Construction Zone, ltd., with many of the finishing touches and accessories by customatic.com.  I can definitely see why Yelp San Francisco is loving The Forge, even before they opened shop today.

Here are a few of the photos from the recent article.

The Forge – Wood-fired Pizza

Installing Architectural Steel

Installing Architectural Steel Skins

Sheets of steel can be installed as a skin. CZ has traditionally used screws to install steel sheets. Since 2008, CZ has been using 3M VHB [very high bonding] double sided tape.

Reasons to specify tape construction:

– expresses the materiality without visual interruption of screws

– 7 step installation process, must be done correctly for overhead installation

– permanent install, it is very difficult to remove panels without ruining them

– panels are better supported/tend to lay flat, no dimpling/”oil-canning” caused by screws

– tape is viscoelastic, allows steel to expand/contract without weakening the bond

– tape separates the steel from the substrate and reduces vibration/dampens sound transfer

– interior panels can be hung by continuous tape to create an airtight construction

Reasons to specify screw installation:

– expresses the construction method, nothing is hidden

– simple installation [layout screw holes, drill, install]

– requires less skilled crew to install

– less expensive installation

– screws can be adjusted/shimmed if there are any irregularities in the installation

– panels are easily removed if there is a reason to access the framing/wall interiors

Merlin Ellis, AIA Architect

The Construction Zone, ltd.


A Glass House Harmonizes with the Desert by Becky Harris (houzz.com)

This striking pavilion of glass and steel emerges from a desert landscape, making the most of its views and light while protecting its inhabitants from the blazing sun. Designed by Lake Flato Architects, the house uses large panels of glass to let in the views, provides inviting spaces for outdoor living and has a system of overhangs and shades that shield it from the sun. Lake Flato enlisted The Construction Zone to build this custom design for a golf- and desert-loving couple from Texas. Sit back and take a tour with Construction Zone founder Andy Byrnes, who oversaw the construction. Read More

Houzz at a Glance

Who lives here: A golf-loving couple

Location: Desert Mountain, Arizona (near Scottsdale)

Size: About 4,400 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms

Year built: 2009


Getting your home ready for fall/winter

While the rest of the United States is saddened that summer is ending, Arizonans look forward to cooler temperatures.  Time to dust off our bicycles, sweep the patio and ponder what to plant in the garden.

9 critical seasonal home maintenance tasks:

  1. change filters for HVAC unit.
  2. trim the vegetation and overgrowth  around the exterior of home.
  3. clean your gutters and drains
  4. inspect gas appliances / especially your pool heater and bbq
  5. adjust the watering schedule on your irrigation system
  6. test and replace batteries in Fire & Smoke Alarms.
  7. install window/door screens, repairing as needed.
  8. schedule seasonal pest control.
  9. inspect weather-stripping around doors and replace as needed

Williams Residence – Paradise Valley, AZ

Koliopoulos Residence – Phoenix, AZ

Stephan Residence – Great Falls, VA

Schulman Residence – Phoenix, AZ


Desert Oasis

Growing up in the Northeast, pools were almost always above ground and made of
cheap aluminum. These water vessels are also only accessible for 3 months
of the year and the landscaping design also takes backseat, a tragedy for
any backyard oasis.

After college and living in the Southwest, I’ve come to see that you can use your
pool year-round and it can be the focal point of your landscape design.

9 key features of a great pool design:

– an amazing backdrop/view.
– reflections
– infinity edge.
– watch a sunset/sunrise while submerged up to your neck.
evaporative cooling
– concrete construction, glass tile or polished stone finishes
– integration of a fire feature or shaded seating area.
– hot tub/ jacuzzi is integral to the design.
-landscape, architecture, and function combine to make a desert oasis


Out of town work

It’s hard enough to build custom residential projects in your own town, but what happens when you step outside of your comfort zone?  When the economy tanked, Phoenix was one of the hardest hit markets.  Our business significantly declined through both a lack of available jobs and intensely fierce competition for the jobs that were available.

How did we cope?  In addition to stream lining our AZ process, we developed an out of state general contracting business model that allowed us to go where the work is and it is still our template to this day.  We networked with architects and clients that we had previously built for and reached out to new ones that we wanted to build for throughout the U.S.  Since 2008 CZ’s out of state work has involved (2) completed two houses, (2) that are nearly complete, (1) that is about to break ground and (4) on the boards (including work with Lake Flato Architects and Olson Kundig Architects).

9 Aspects about working out of town and travel.

1.      While climates and regions vary immensely, all houses still sit on the ground and the number one goal is always to keep any water out of the house.

2.      Know your soils; this is one of the biggest variables.  Clay, silt, and sand all behave differently, both good and bad.

3.      While good subcontractors are hard to find, they exist everywhere.  I call it searching for the ‘diamond in the rough’.  Once you’ve found them, you know it.

4.      Bad subcontractors are easy to find, they exist everywhere.  Once you’ve found them, you know it.

5.      Listen to your local subcontractors (the diamond in the rough).  They possess important knowledge that will make the project better.

6.      Have a back-up plan.  If we can’t source a product or subcontractor in the region we are working in, we fabricate and bring crews from AZ.  Usually for the same or even a better price.

7.      The building permit processes are widely varied.  In Fairfax Country (VA), a single family residence required (9) different permits with over (25) inspections.  In North Sioux City, SD, a single family residence required (0) permits and no inspections.  We delivered the same quality of construction for both houses.

8.      Fairfax County (VA) was touted to have one of the most difficult review and inspections processes in the country.  During the first inspection for concrete foundations, the inspector didn’t review the plans, didn’t inspect the work, and didn’t even get out of his car.  He passed us on the drive by.  Get to know your inspector.

9.      Enjoy your travels, our country is a diverse, rich, beautiful landscape.  In the past four years we have visited 12 new states.  We have seen a full Midwest farming season from snow on the ground to harvest, the Missouri River flood to epic proportions, New Orleans, southern hospitality, our Nation’s Capital in the spring, central California wine country.

for more detailed information about building in your area :   info@czphx.com

CZ Modern Home – Fairfax County, Virginia

Rendering of side porch by Lake|Flato Architects


Photo of side porch by Lake|Flato Architects

Rendering of Kitchen/Family Room by Lake|Flato Architects

Go Back




CZ Glazing

In the world of ‘custom’ glazing, the term “that can’t be done” or “we don’t do it that way” is too often heard.  After years of hearing “no” from glazing subcontractors, The Construction Zone, Ltd. started its own glazing company ‘CZ glazing’.   With 100+ custom steel glazing projects under our belts, CZ glazing has engineered a method and process that results in completely custom steel window and door application, where the answer can always be “yes”.

 nine solutions for challenges in the custom glazing industry.

1.      Custom fabrication from standard steel sections vs pre-manufactured sections – CZ glazing builds up all window and door sections from standard pieces of flat bar, angle, or channel.  This results in an unlimited number of applications that will not be restricted by the limitations of a pre-manufactured section.
2.      The ability to engineer our sections allows for larger unobstructed glass panes with minimal millions.  We can design and install glazing units as large as the glass industry can manufacture.
3.      You name it, we will finish it: natural, galvanized, painted, and powder-coated.
4.      We field measure it, fabricate it, and install it –anywhere in the USA.  Let the finger pointing end, CZ glazing does it all.
5.      Our delivery method allows for the appropriate combination shop and field fabrication to fit the needs of your project budget and schedule.  Simple opening – we can fabricate off site and install complete units.  Complicated openings –  we can site fabricate to fit  each special opening.  Somewhere in between – we can hybridize our delivery method to suit the project needs.
6.      Prefer a mixed look? – CZ glazing and integrate custom or pre-manufactured wood / aluminum operable units.
7.      A uniquely modern architectural appeal sets CZ glazing apart from traditional sections and aesthetics that currently define the steel glazing industry.
8.      You want to be in control?  – Architects can custom design sections and details / fabricated to project specifications.
9.      Seamless integration with interior and exterior finishes creates an integrated overall solution.

For more detailed information about custom steel glazing:   info@czphx.com

Desert Courtyard at Desert Mountain Estates – Scottsdale, AZ

Linde Residence

3300 by Jones Studio, Inc.

Brown Residence by Lake|Flato Architects


Aerie 31 by The Construction Zone, ltd.

Customatic.com is now featuring MODFIRE!

Exciting news over here at Customatic.com! Today we began offering 
the MODFIRE outdoor fireplace! The ModFire is produced by a 
friend of Customatic.com here in Phoenix who creates awesome 
sculptural steel work.

One of the components to the Customatic story will be advancing the 
work of other talented and created individuals as they try to get 
their awesome ideas out there in the world.  We encourage and 
support a multitude of craftsmen and women whose talents are quickly 
becoming sought after commodities.

Charles Eames said once that “The details are not the details. They 
make the design.” We here at Customatic definitely feel that 
Brandon Williams over at MODFIRE has really taken this seriously.

Modfire has been featured within Dwell Magazine, Sunset Magazine, and
The New York Times Holiday Gift Guide 2011.

Customatic.com Launches – March 2012

The Construction Zone, Ltd. has decided to utilize our unique abilities and infrastructure to craft a new company that offers american made, hand-crafted products. www.customatic.com is focused on your modern home, personal accessories and specialty goods.

www.customatic.com is premiering in select markets Spring 2012.

Customatic.com is a new company that partners two architects/design/builders (Andy Byrnes & Matt Muller, and the team at The Construction Zone, ltd., www.czphx.com), a talented industrial designer (Simone Mussa), and a seasoned advertising executive Tim Weil (Barrington Media Group.)

The products are designed using everyday materials in an honest and highly crafted way. Much of our raw material is recycled from inventory left over from our custom modern projects. To start we have a modern chess set, made from precision machined steel pipe pieces and an end grain walnut and ash board. Other initial offerings include the chalk clock, aluminum powder coated hangers, and our classic CZ bathroom hardware. Future offerings will include the bottoms up wine bottle holder and a modern rugged fireplace tool set.

We plan to release two or three new products each month. We will need feedback from the marketplace and clients/ friends.  What modern home products would you like to see created or designed in the near future?  Thanks for your input!

the kings men – modern chess set


chalk clock


modern coat hangers


We are not expensive, we just happen to build a lot of expensive projects.

~  Andy Byrnes, The Construction Zone, ltd.

We charge the same or less for our fees and mark-up the same as each of our competitors.  All we do is add up the amount of stuff we have to buy and figure how long it takes to install.  Everything that we do is done to the best of our abilities.  If a client chooses a $3 tile or a $38 tile we install it with the same attention to detail.  One is just more expensive than the other. I am happy with lots of $3 tiles, are you?  It really is the choices made by the Owner and the Architect / Designer that affect the cost of the parts of the overall project where there are many choices to be made.

It is important to identify the things that you “have to have” to complete your project.  For example, foundation, pipes, air-conditioning, etc…  Once you have quantified those items it reveals what is left in your budget for the “want to haves”.  We work with clients to provide options that meet the budget for all of these details, finishes, fixtures, and appliances.  Again, choose a GE refrigerator or a Sub Zero, both will look great in your kitchen.  One is just more expensive, don’t blame the messenger.

The Construction Zone prepares a bid which is complete, thorough and all-inclusive.  It is often being compared to bid’s that are far more optimistic and naive.  I would rather NOT get your job then have to ask you for more money for the same scope of work, because we were not thorough in our preparations.  In most cases clients who have gone elsewhere have eventually let me know that our up front analysis and pricing, that at first seemed higher, actually ended up being the BETTER VALUE.   Wouldn’t you rather know the real cost and schedule for your job, and that the company you hire is going to be there for you in the future?  The two residential projects posted below are remodels that The Construction Zone recently completed in the Phoenix Metro area.

liu remodel / debartolo architects

rapp interior / jones studio inc.