Saturday, 10 December 2016

Hiring Contractors: best practices in real estate construction projects

You have made the big decision – you are going to build, modify, or renovate your investment property. No matter which type of property construction project you are undertaking, having the right contractor resources is key to the successes of your real estate development project.
Whether you are at the concept stage still deciding the nature of the project, or if you have detailed plans and are ready to execute, you should consider all of the service providers you will need to utilize as contractors who must deliver quality results for you. You may decide to hire one lead contractor (a general contractor) to handle all aspects of the project for you, or you may decide to engage with trades directly. Either way, following some simple best-practices in contractor hiring can help ensure you get the outcome you want for your construction project.
From architects and designers to the subtrades, the resources you hire are contractors for which the best practices in this article are applicable.  If you run into any contractors who believe they are exempt from the best-practices – for example, there are unfortunately many contractors out there that believe having a clear written agreement with their customers is not applicable to their work – then you should carefully consider whether they are the right fit for you.
These best practices will help keep your contractor relationships on track:
Find Qualified Candidates
Finding the right contractors to get proposals from is critical.  Without a good selection of contractors to get proposals from the rest of your efforts will be hindered.  Referrals are your best tool and your best sources are:
  • Personal Contacts – call up a friend who has completed a similar project
  • Industry Associations
  • Building Materials Stores
  • Other Contractors – get a referral from someone you have good experience with
Conduct an Objective Assessment
Once you have the proposals it's time to assess and decide.  Key factors include:
  • Meeting Requirements – all requirements met in the proposed service or solution
  • Value-Add – contractors should be able to show their expertise in their trade by proposing improvements or efficiencies for your project
  • References – always check references – it is a good idea to ask for information on the contractors last 5 projects worked on so you can choose a few to call upon
  • Good Fit – assess how each contractor generally fits with your style of doing things
Document Clear Project Requirements
The project scope should be documented and clear enough so that anyone who reads the requirements can understand what the project is to accomplish.  Items to be covered:
  • Services Scope – the work to be completed and the materials to be used
  • Building Permits – clarity on who is responsible for acquiring necessary building permits
  • Specifications – detailed requirements criteria especially for key items including performance, function, and appearance of the completed work
  • Timeline – when the work will be completed
  • Quality – how the quality of work will be assessed including adherence to standards/codes and passing municipal or 3rd party inspections.
  • Warranty – the period for which issues be resolved at no charge including parts and/or labour
Have a Written & Signed Agreement
A key principle in contractor management is to "get it in writing".  Ensure that you have a written and signed agreement with your contractor that covers the key items important to the project, including at a minimum:
  • Project Requirements (see above)
  • Price & Payment Terms
  • Liability & Insurance Responsibilities
  • Dispute Resolution Plan
  • Quality Controls
Successfully creating and managing contractor relationships is a critical factor in achieving positive outcomes in real estate contraction projects. By following the above practices you should be off to a great start in achieving your real estate development goals.
Visit to access an illustrated version of this article as well as related informative articles.

Carpenters industry: types of carpenters

Carpenters specialise in the working and constructing of wooden and similar materials on a range of projects, with their project suitability spanning across major construction projects to home renovations and everywhere in-between. Carpenters are highly requested from corporate construction projects such as office or public buildings to residential projects or small scale renovations, withthe construction projects alone asking carpenters to perform jobs ranging from the framework to the roofing to flooring. Naturally, aside from the construction industry carpenters also receive a large majority of jobs from residential projects. The sheer range of carpentry projects that are available has resulted in several branches of carpenters within the industry.

Styles of carpenters

The specialised field of carpenters, while broadly similar across the industry at the beginning of a carpenters career, has different avenues that carpenters can focus on throughout their career. What this means is that a carpenter will pursue kinds of jobs that asks for and develop the various skills needed for different levels of carpentry. Largely, there are five kinds of sorts of carpenters that centre on different categories of carpentry jobs although there are two that make up the greater part of the carpentry industry. That is Rough carpenters and Finish carpenters.

Rough Carpenters

Rough carpenters are those that operate on the various jobs linked with structural construction work, framing and even roofing. The jobs linked with this speciality of carpentry include:

Rough Carpenter Jobs

* Pre-construction work - sizing, scaffolding, bracing, and formworks preparation

* Making frames, partitions, floor construction, walls, insulation, roof trusses and construction

* Understanding construction blueprints, measurement of materials required and distances, dimensions of structure which are all crucial for major construction projects

* Managing the sizing and cutting of various wood materials, knowing the different requirements of the different types of wood

* Understanding construction of both wood and metal structures, which is fundamental is the construct of building of frameworks

* Understand the the carpentry damage that can affect different types of wood, including any decay or rot

* Fabricate parts through woodworking and metalworking machines, dig post holes, and construct support structures

When selecting deciding on which rough carpenter to sign up for a project, simply look to their experience in the kind of carpentry that you are after to determine if they are suitable. Furthermore, a prospective customer should request examples of any earlier jobs.

Finish Carpenter Jobs

Finish carpenters are those that work specifically with the finished product of a project. The amount of jobs that this can relate to is diverse including:

* Decking
* Roofing
* Interior trimming
* Siding
* Drywall detailing
* Remodelling
* Intricate woodwork projects

Finish carpenters are commonly more expensive to employ but they commonly have high experience and are decidedly skilled, which means that for a little extra they will provide a clean and artistic finish to a wooden project.

Finish carpenters require to have a sharp eye when creating the style, joints and overall look of a project or room which means the choice of who to hire can be crucial for a successful project or renovation central which means that the selection of who to hire for the job is essential for the overall look of the finished product. Begin by assessing their previous projects, price quotes and years of experience in order to warrant that you are hiring someone that is capable.

Other carpenters jobs include:

* Cabinet Makers - furniture and interior wooden cabinets
* Trim carpentry - window, ceiling trimmings or mouldings
* Ship carpentry - shipbuilding and nautical woodwork projects

Carpenters and the industry of carpentry are extensive and diverse with various branches and avenues that individual carpenters can take on, suiting the scope of carpentry projects that are demanded. Carpenters services are in major demand with the construction, maintenance and manufacturing industries all requiring the services of carpenters.

Jamie Uther researches many niches of general finance and investment, and is a writer online for Credit Cards.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Home Maintenance Tips - When To Use Scaffoldings

Most home maintenance tips of today fail to highlight the use of scaffoldings as they just usually delve on the upkeep of the common parts of the house. With this, we re just acquainted with typical cleaning and simple repair tools that are fit for such tasks.
Owning or renting a house comes with the fact that certain fixes must be made to its higher parts. These may include replacement of rotten cupboards, repainting of walls or ceilings and d installation of added fixtures among others.
With all such happenings, you might think that the service of ladders would suffice. While there is a grain of truth to such thinking, scaffold jacks may be the best tools to rent for these house repairs.
Scaffoldings are considered better than ladders for many reasons. For one, it allows users to build their own platform high above the ground. And the good thing about the platform is that it is usually wide enough to carry a worker and all the materials he needs at the same time. Additionally, the width of the platform can still be extended to allow more workers up the ground. This is also key in allowing a large area of the wall or ceiling to be reached with one set up.
Before we go on further with the rest of this home maintenance tips, let us first have an understanding of how scaffoldings look like. To begin with, it is a tubular erection that is temporarily created for the above-mentioned purposes. It includes base pads for ground support. Next in line are the vertical trusses, ladders and platforms. To avoid accidents, it includes diagonal supports, guardrails and toe boards.
Going back to its use, scaffoldings were first used in construction sites. In fact, bricklayers were the first people to use them when working at high locations. Through time, the use of this construction material is no longer exclusive to bricklayers. Even simple homeowners can use them today.
Here is one example of how scaffoldings are used in residences. Two-storey houses usually come with high ceilings and tall walls. To get the painting job done as quick as possible, scaffoldings may be used. Do you want to install, say light lamps? There is no need for you to use wiggly and narrow ladders. You can simply stand on the scaffolding platform and aim at the right spot where you want those light lamps attached. Even cleaning tasks can be aided by scaffoldings.
Because this construction device also works best for other kinds of environment, manufacturers have adjusted their production guidelines and materials as well. Now, you can see them almost everywhere - mining sites, power plants and public concerts among others.
Common home maintenance tips would advice you that ladder is a must. There is nothing wrong with that. However, scaffolding is what might function better for all tasks which must be performed up the ground. It can get you to hard-to-reach parts of your house with utmost convenience and safety.
Looking To Hire Scaffolding Expert? Visit
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More on Bricklaying for the DIY Enthusiast

Having gotten the basic concepts of DIY BRICKLAYING under your belt, you will be keen to start work on your first project. However, if you want to save time and money, there will be a few more things you will need to understand if your DIY BRICKLAYING project is to be truly successful.
It will be obvious that before you can start any project, you will need to work out the quantity of materials that will be required. It is important that you make an accurate assessment of the materials required for your project.
In the first instance, you will need to 'cost' the job. Whether you are undertaking a DIY BRICKLAYING project or employing someone else to lay the bricks, it is important to have an accurate idea of the costs that you are likely to incur. If you want the project to run smoothly, you will also need to order the materials in advance. (See my article on PLANNING A DIY PROJECT).
If you over estimate and order more materials than required, it is unlikely your merchant will take any surplus off your hands. If they do, it is likely to cost you a restocking fee. Then you have the issue of disposal or storage of the surplus materials. What do you do with a hundred spare bricks or blocks?
On the other hand, if you do not order enough materials, you will be subject to the whims of your merchant or supplier which could result in long, costly delays. This can be a major headache especially if your materials are not held in stock or were a special order. The advantages of bulk purchasing are also likely to be lost. The most problematic issue will be of color matching. Bricks from a different 'batch' form the kiln will vary in color. This can be really striking when the wall is completed and you stand back to look. It can totally ruin the visual effect of good workmanship and quality materials if supposedly 'matching' bricks do not match. It can all be very frustrating!
So, how much material do you need, and what materials do you need?
Clearly, you will know how tall and how long a wall is, but how many bricks will be needed is another thing. What about the mortar between the bricks - you will need to estimate this too?
As bricks are mainly made from clay, they are not a precise artefact. Sizes will vary slightly depending on the amount of moisture in the clay or the amount of time the brick has spent in the kiln.
For ease of calculation the nominal size of a brick is 215mm x 102.5mm x 65mm.
The mortar joint is nominally 10mm thick both horizontally and vertically. This makes the nominal size of a brick for calculation purposes 225mm x 102.5mm x 75mm (9" x 4" x 3").
The long face of the brick is called the 'stretcher' and the end of the brick is the 'header'.
In order to calculate the number of bricks required per meter, first find out the area of brickwork. Then decide on the 'bond' of the brickwork. The most common bond for standard brick walls is 'stretcher' bond. As a guide you should allow 60 bricks per square meter for the building of a single skin wall. This is known as a half brick wall. For a two skin cavity wall, you will need 120 bricks per square meter. Obvious isn't it?
If you intend constructing a one brick thick solid wall, again you should allow for 120 bricks per square meter.
None of these figures allow for wastage or breakage, so it is a good idea to add a few extra bricks to the order to make certain that you do not run short. Normally around 10% extra should be sufficient.
The next question you will need to answer is how much mortar will I need? Once again the 'rule of thumb' answer is 25kg of dry mortar mix to 25 bricks. For smaller DIY BRICKLAYING jobs, dry ready mixed mortar can be bought in 25kg bags.
This will not be economic for the larger project. It will be more economic to bulk buy sand and mortar. Most bricklayers will mix sand and cement in a ½ cubic metre cement mixer. Here we move into the realms of BRICKLAYING folklore. The rule of thumb is a '½ bag mix'. This is half a 25kg bag of cement to 30 'shovels' of sand. This approximates to a 1:5 mortar mix.
In fact, to lay say 1000 bricks (= 16.5 square meters) as a single skin wall, approximately .3 cubic metres of mortar will be needed. You can either use the 'rule of thumb' or calculate your quantities on the above basis.
For solid block work as a single skin wall, use 10 blocks per squared meter for your calculations. The blocks nominally measure 450mm x 215mm x 102.5mm. You will need 25Kg of dry mortar mix per 5 blocks.
Remember All calculations and quantities given here are approximate and the information supplied should be used for a guide only.
When working on a building site, a good bricklayer's labourer is highly regarded, as the perfect mortar mix is important for good bricklaying. It is important that the 'mix' is just the right consistency. For 2.5 KG of dry mortar mix about 2.5 litres of water will be required. Water should be added first in sufficient quality to allow it to be absorbed by the mix, then it should be added little by little until the mix has a consistency of butter. This should allow it to slip easily from the shovel but firm enough for the sides not to collapse when a hollow is made in the centre of the mix.
Do not allow mortar to hang around unused for too long. Mortar should generally be used within two hours of mixing, so only mix sufficient to be used within that time.
If the mortar does 'go off' - do not 'knock' the mix back. The best thing to do is dump the mortar and mix up a fresh batch.
You can find out more about DIY BRICKLAYING in our next article 'MORE ABOUT DIY BRICKLAYING II'
After many years working in the construction industry, Phil now teaches in the UK. He has written many articles for web sites like Householders Guide, and His wide knowledge of the Construction Industry and Housing Markets makes him a popular author on Buying Real Estate.
© Article by Philip Ray
Whilst this article endeavors to contain up to date and accurate information, the article can only be considered as a guide. The author would always recommend that you take local independent professional advice.
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Guide to Basic Bricklaying Techniques

In this article we will discuss some basic bricklaying techniques that will help you get an idea on how to tackle any bricklaying job you may want, as an avid handyman.
A few bricklaying tips to take into consideration for a nice, neat and sturdy finish would be Getting the mortar right, using a trowel, and laying the bricks.
Getting the mortar right:
  • The sand should have a bit of clay in its consistency for body in the mortar
  • The sand should not be fine.
  • Clean sand, without any foreign matter, helps the finished quality of your joints.
  • For light coloured mortar finish use a lighter coloured sand, and for a darker finish use orange brick sand.
  • To get the best consistency out of your mortar follow the instructions on the cement bag for best ratios. i.e how many shovels of sand per cement. (where possible use measuring equipment, like buckets).
  • Water in the mix is crucial, it mainly depends on the amount of moisture is already in your sand. The mortar needs to be wet enough so that it sticks to your trowel, and dry enough to keep its body.
  • Apply small quantity of lime is used to make the mortar pliable.
  • Before you use the trowel get familiar and comfortable with holding the tool properly
  • Positioning yourself when laying bricks is very important for, neat, clean and tidy work. A right handed bricklayer should have his left-side of body (brick-hand) to the wall face, and right-hand side (trowel hand) to materials. Reverse this position if you are left handed.
  • A right-handed bricklayer should position their feet with the right foot slightly forward of the left, feet slightly apart to assume a well balanced position. Reverse this for left-handed bricklayers.
  • Maintain such a position at all times that will prevent clothing from fouling the line -- approximately 100 to 150mm from the wall. Your head should be continually moved into such a position that will assist in hand- eye co-ordination.
  • The best way to apply the mortar to your trowel would be to scoop one full trowel and fold it one to two times, then scoop that up and apply to your brick wall repeating to cover about 3 bricks in distance. once applied using the tip of your trowel furrow your mortar bed.
Laying the brick:
The most important thing to consider whilst laying bricks is to take your time and not to rush.
  • Heap your mortar in the centre of your damp mortar board
  • Pick up enough mortar on your trowel
  • Spread brick bed with mortar for 2 - 4 bricks
  • Spread and furrow mortar bed, being sure to trim excess mortar off bed
  • Select your brick with your brick hand
  • Butter brick on each header face for your cross joints
  • Lay the brick on your brick line making sure to cut off excess mortar to keep the face work clear, and clean
C. Vergunst is a bricklayer based in Melbourne. His family operated company strives to do honest work that is of a very high quality. Finding a good, and honest bricklayer in Melbourne can often be a difficult task. C. Vergunst has a lot of knowledge in this field and want to share some basic bricklaying tips to those people that like to do the work themselves.
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Saturday, 3 December 2016

Hiring a Home Renovation Contractor

Home renovation not only increases the value of your home, but it also enhances the appeal of your home and makes it a more comfortable place to live. In order to complete the renovation work done perfectly, you need to hire the service of a reliable home renovation contractor. As there are numerous contractors available in the market, it is important to choose the one who can deliver a successful home renovation project. You can get references and recommendations from your friends or colleagues who have hired a contractor in the recent past. It is crucial to check whether the contractor you want to hire has a license and is insured. You can also check with the consumer affairs to see whether the consumers have filed any complaint against the contractor, before hiring him.
Before renovating your home, you need to discuss with your contractor about the scale and scope of renovation you want and how much amount you can afford to spend. The contractor will provide an estimate of the renovation cost, which will tell you whether it is worth to spend. It is crucial to confirm whether there would be any unexpected cost and the work would be completed on time. Reliable contractors can provide you services, according to your budget and taste. They let you customize their services to meet your specialized renovation needs. They are trained experts having vast knowledge of alternates that best suit your budget.
Major home renovation projects like adding an extra bedroom, changing your floor tiles, bathroom renovation or kitchen renovation are complex projects that can be difficult to accomplish without the help of a professional. Doing them by yourself may end up in exceeding your budget. This is the main reason for why you need to hire an experienced contractor to do the renovation project for you. The contractor who is an expert in this arena can remove all the stress in your renovation project. You just need to explain what you need and he will take care of the rest. Moreover, a trustworthy contractor can help you lower your home renovation costs.
An experienced home renovation contractor saves you additional cost, effort and time. He can also recommend some better designs and methods that you might not have thought of. He manages all aspects of your home renovation project, like hiring and supervising subcontractors, getting building permits and so on. Choosing a competent contractor can help you make your home the most valuable asset.
If you are looking for Home Renovation Contractors in the San Francisco area, you have come to the right place. Our team has a tremendous amount of experience with the industry's leading home improvement products. Contact our San Francisco Home Renovation Contractors today for a free quote.

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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Home Renovation Ideas for New Home Owners and Young Couples on a Budget

Many new home owners and young couples who are on a budget find it difficult to renovate their homes due to the belief that home renovations can only be accomplished if one has a lot of money. If you are currently living on a tight budget but you want to renovate your home, you should not fail to do so. The reason for this is that there are several affordable home renovation ideas that you can use to re-design your home. The following ideas can help you renovate your home without having to spend too much.
The first thing that you should do is to utilize traditional decorations such as paintings and candles. You can put sets of candles in your house, which will not only enhance the appeal of your house but they will also meet your lighting needs. Other than using candles, you can purchase cheap rugs and use them to compliment the overall theme of your house. This will make your house appear great without having to spend a lot of money. You can let the traditional decor remain in your house until you feel the need to have a change. Many types of traditional decor are great for do it yourself home renovations.
There are many house renovation ideas that you can use to improve the appearance of the sitting room and other areas of your home such as the kitchen and bathroom. If you are looking forward to renovating your bathroom, you can choose to purchase vinyl remnants and install them in your bathroom. Vinyl remnants are affordable and will give your bathroom an appealing and durable floor. Another thing that you can do is to replace the countertops of your bathroom to achieve a more updated look. Another home renovation idea is to use faux materials instead of real materials. For instance, you can use laminate instead of using expensive natural materials such as quartz and granite. Laminate is very cost effective and it will create a look that is similar to that of natural materials.
Even though you can complete some home renovations on your own, it is advisable to hire the services of a home renovation company especially if you do not have ideas or lack the appropriate equipment needed to renovate your house. One of the renovations that you can do on your own is painting your house to improve its appearance. With the appropriate paint, you can give your house the look you desire. For instance, you can paint your house with light-colored paint if you want it to appear larger. On the other hand, you can use bright colors if you want to make a particular statement. You can also renovate your kitchen by purchasing new doors and face panels and then replace the old ones with them instead of purchasing a whole lot of brand new appliances.
Exterior home renovations can also be affordable. There are several things you can do to improve your home's exterior without spending a lot. For instance, you can build a shed, which will improve the exterior appearance of your home and also act as a storage area for gardening equipment. If you are not sure of how to handle a certain home renovation task, it is advisable to hire the services of a home renovation company. This will allow you to get quality results and save time.
To better grasp the aesthetic and financial savings from home renovation ideas [] read further at [] for other facts and scenarios.

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Friday, 18 November 2016

How Post Tensioning Helps To Create Concrete Construction Miracles

Have you ever watched construction crews building a parking garage or skyscraper and wondered how they were able to raise and attach huge concrete panels like they were building blocks? You never see them actually pour concrete into a form to make the panels, so how do they do it? The secret is a construction system known as post tensioning and it has allowed for some serious miracles in urban construction since its inception.
What is Post Tensioning?
Put simply, it is a method for reinforcing and pre-stressing concrete forms, to make them stronger and more resistant to cracking and breaking under environmental conditions. Concrete, when created and formed, can be quite strong in its compressed form but it is still relatively weak in other areas. By bonding the concrete block during creation with stainless steel wires or rods, it increases its tensile strength, making the whole more durable to extreme changes.
The main advantage to creating concrete construction panels in this manner is that it reduces the maintenance needed to keep the structure as a whole fully operational. Whether the finished product is a slab foundation or a nuclear containment wall, it will have the flexibility it needs to resist temperature and environmental changes, less material will be needed to cover the same area, a lighter structure weight overall and a higher level of structural integrity with a marked increase in deflection and vibration control. This method has been a boon to those areas that are regularly plagued by earthquakes, and hurricanes.
How Is It Done?
Tensioning strands of stainless steel wire, usually grouped into bundles, are stretched along the length of an empty concrete form prior to pouring. As the concrete hardens, the strands are tightened, "stressing" them throughout the hardening concrete. The strands are anchored by adjustable chucks, which can be loosened or tightened during installation of the finished panel.
There are two methods commonly used today in creating a post tensioned slab of concrete: bonded and unbonded reinforcement. In the bonded method, a bonding grout is added to each channel through which the tensioning wires have been strung. This method adds to the stability of the whole, further reducing maintenance costs in construction. Architecture designs that require greater flexibility, like those used in earthquake zones, will use the unbonded method, because they require greater flexibility, rather than additional reinforcement.
The most prominent markets for concrete that has been created through post tensioning represent the majority of installations that can be found in the average city's infrastructure. Airports, stadiums, parking garages, nuclear plants and roadways all incorporate these intricately created and durable slabs into their design. In the private sector, constructions like hotels, universities, office buildings and condominiums have also taken advantage of this flexible alternative to traditional concrete installations.
Want to know more about post tensioning processes and what types of forms can be created for construction purposes? Prestress Supply Incorporated, one of the founding creators of this process, has the answers you seek. Call them today. Also check out our page on Post Tensioning.
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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

How to Avoid Major Material Cost Overruns When Planning Your Concrete Construction Project

Given our economy, saving money on construction projects is becoming everyone's concern. But, even more important that saving money, is correctly estimating the costs, so they don't go over. Cost overruns are a major concern with any construction project. With the price of construction materials like concrete and sand increasing, this is more important than ever.
Everybody is out to save money. But unfortunately, what ends up happening more often than not, is estimates are done incorrectly. This means that a project that seems inexpensive at first can end up exploding. And before you know it, costs overruns have doubled or even tripled the cost of your construction project.
This can be especially true in concrete construction. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is not considering everything that is required for a project. They may go out and consider the cost of a bag of concrete for example. And then figure out how many square feet that bag of concrete will cover. Multiply it by the number of square feet that needs to be finished, and think that is enough to make an estimate.
This type of reasoning is not enough however, and if this is how you have done your estimate, you are in for a big shock. There are too many factors that have not been thought about.
For example, have you thought about the condition of the surface you want to place the concrete on? Is this a new install, or is it a repair? If this is a repair, are you better off tearing out the old concrete and repairing it? Or should you try and patch? How long do you want your repair to last?
Prep work needed is also an important part of your calculation in cost. Not just from a labor standpoint, although that is important, but also from a materials point of view.
By all means, when you are starting your estimate, you need to figure out the square footage of the area you will be installing the concrete. You can also do a simple calculation to figure out how many bags of concrete you will need to purchase.
Next however, based on your answers to the questions above, you need to determine the quality of concrete you want to purchase. This needs to be decided after figuring out the purpose and usage patterns for the type of work you are doing. Different applications will require different quality products.
Along those same lines, you need to decide if ad-mixtures will need to be used. For example, you may need to add product to speed up, or slow down the drying process. Or, if you are installing in an area and at a time of year that freezing can occur, you might need to do an ad-mixture for that. Do you want to tint the concrete, or make any other changes that need to be done while the concrete is being mixed? All of those will add to your final cost.
After making those decisions, you might think you are done, but you are far from it. Next you need to think about what type of foundation and framing you are going to need to do. Will you need to buy lumber to build a frame? You may also need some bedding or foundation material.
Finally, you need to take into account how the concrete is getting to your site. Are you mixing your bags on site, or are you having it delivered? This might seem like more of a labor cost consideration, but the type of delivery system you are using will also factor into the cost of materials. It will also figure into disposal costs, because if you are purchasing individual bags, the empty bags will need to be disposed of. This could be significant on a large job.
As you are now aware, there are a number of different factors you need to consider when estimating the cost of materials for a construction job. There is a lot more than just calculating the number of cement bags that need to be purchased. These added costs, which are often not thought about, can become large. Especially with the rising costs of construction materials. Here in Panama, construction costs have gone up over 10% in the last 20 months.
For many people, it makes sense to contact a qualified contractor to come out to your home or business to give you an accurate estimate. The cost might seem higher at first, but a qualified construction professional will be able to give you an accurate quote. And may end up costing you much less in the process. Because of the purchasing power a contractor has available to him, the actual cost of material might end up being much lower than the final cost of materials if you had done the job yourself.
The next time you are putting together an estimate for a concrete project, and are looking at saving money on construction costs, remember to consider all of the factors involved. Do not base your expected costs savings on just the cost of cement. Your project will end up costing much more in the end.
Above all, if you are unsure of all the different factors you need to consider for your concrete construction project, you might be better off contacting a qualified construction professional. It might end up being your biggest opportunity to save on your overall construction costs.
Carlos Duncan is the founder of Constructora Cali S.A., a Panama Construction, property inspection and renovation company. They can be found online at:
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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

How to Mix Brick Laying Mortar

In brick laying, mortars are mixed for joining each individual unit in the wall. The general quality is to have a mix with good consistency. This allows the blocks to sit correctly within each course of the wall. The mortars consist of ordinary Portland cement, lime and sand. This materials should be of good quality to avoid staining the bricks during and after construction. This mortars allow for a durable wall with good weather properties after construction.
The brick mortar should not contain impurities in the sand. This are acids or organic materials in the sand. The sand should be tested with a glass of water. After allowing the water and sand to mix in the glass, the level of silt is checked. this should not exceed two millimeters. The water used should be clear of any salts dissolved. This cause the wall to white substances as the salts leave the water similar to efflorescence. All water used should be safe drinking water.
The mortar used in the brick laying should be used within forty five minuted of mixing. This should be mixed in the ratio of one part cement, one part lime and six parts sand. Lime may be added in the ratio of two parts lime to eight parts of sand. The mortar should be mixed mixed three times dry before adding water. It is important to only add water to the intended usable mortar. Excessive water is not advisable as it runs off with the cement or lime. When water drips on the sides of the bricks, stains are left when dry which are difficult to clean.
The lime proportion in the mortar should be kept low. This is because it causes slow setting of the mortar, considerable shrinkage and has very low strength. This however can be used for training artisans or in schools offering building lessons. It can be used for sample walls as they can be easily demolished. Mortars for external works should be thoroughly mixed to allow escape of moisture to prevent efflorescence or discoloration. The brick mortar mix can be used for general walling works with clay product.
Andrew Karundu Is A Building Economist Providing Home Based Solutions To Fixing, Repairing, Remodeling, Redesigning Your Homes Using Simple Tried And Tested Methods To Improve Your Lifestyles. This Site Should Provide Adequate Information On Most HOME IMPROVEMENT SOLUTIONS.
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Saturday, 12 November 2016

Building With Bricks - Joint Types

When building with bricks, there are many types of brick joint you can use, each with it's own specific purpose.
Flush joints
The mortar is cut flush to the outer face of the bricks with the trowel. Bricks that do not have a flat face will likely be hard to flush neatly.
Rolled joints
A round bar is used to press in the mortar. Some bricklayers use a short length of garden hose to do this kind of joint but this can result in a coarse finish to the mortar. A steel tool will give a very smooth finish.
Weather joints
This type of joint allows rain water to drip down the face of the bricks and slow water absorption.
Struck joint
This is constructed making use of the trowel and only horizontal joints are struck.
Heavy bagging
The wall is lightly sprayed with water and smudged with a hessian bag in which mortar is placed. This will leave 1 or 2mm of mortar on the face of the wall. With a thin application of mortar, swirls or other patterns can be achieved.
V joint
A special square-edged tool is used to rake out mortar leaving a V-shape.
Raked joint
Mortar is raked out with a tool to a maximum depth of 10mm.
Light bagging (smudging)
A sponge or hessian bag is rubbed over the face of the wall whilst the mortar is still wet.
Mortar that oozes out of the joints is tooled flat. Alternatively, the brickie finishes all joints flush and goes over the entire job at the end to tool mortar over the flush joints.
Ooze joint
Excess mortar that oozes out of the joints is left in place.
It's important that mortar joints are finished evenly throughout. Tooled joints effectively compress the mortar and make it extra weatherproof. Rolled joints are less likely to permit mortar to break than raked joints, thus making them appropriate for harsh coastal conditions where salt causes the mortar to break down. Adding colour to mortar can sometimes affect the bonding properties of the mortar.
Some joints, like parge, take a considerable time to do so the bricklayer must be told this in advance of pricing the job. The sort of brick (clay, cored, solid, lime silicate or concrete) as well as the size of the brick will also affect the rate the brickie charges.
A popular area of dispute between clients and builders is the variation in mortar joints of brickwork. The Australian Standards specify a maximum variation of plus or minus 3mm over a three metre length of bedding joint and a variation from 5 to 20mm for perpendicular joints. Ideally, all joints ought to be close to 10mm and a bricklayer would not be proud of workmanship which only just complied with the Australian Standards. If bricks are handmade, rumbled or clinker types then discrepancies in mortar widths will be less obvious but if the bricks are evenly sized and have sharp, square edges then the outcomes will be disappointing. If mortar widths are likely to be an issue then the bricklayer will notice this at the beginning of the job and need to advise the builder who will then have the brick manufacturer assess the size variation of the bricks.
As a result of the wide variation possible in brick colours, it is wise to visit the brickyard and make a particular batch selection. The batch you choose is going to be put to one side until your builder calls for their delivery to site. While at the brickyard check that the specific bricks you've selected have not had any problems. Some bricks with an excess of lime in the clay have been known to 'pop' or exfoliate when the globules of lime become wet and expand. When popping occurs it leaves white lime spots on the bricks. Ask the brick supplier for numerous addresses of homes that have utilized your preferred brick and visit them just before confirming your selection. Comparing various mortar colours is also useful as they can give a completely different appearance to a wall. Combining two or extra brick types for instance standard and double size bricks or colours can create fascinating features but this will need special care by the bricklayer to accomplish the desired effect. It's also worth checking if the brick supplier has specific window sill bricks and squint bricks that can be used on 45° corners. If matching squint bricks are not accessible then the bricklayer will need to cut solid bricks to suit. Sills may be made by laying the standard brick on its edge and sloping it out. However a sill is created, it is crucial that it slopes outwards so that rainwater can drain away.
Simon is a Brisbane builder. He works on Decks, Patios, Awnings, Carports and much more. Achieve your dream living space is his motto. Working closely with clients in Brisbane he can get a very good grasp of what clients want. Using specialist home design software he can make their dreams come alive onscreen. From conception to completion Simon can make your Brisbane building project easy, inexpensive and carefree.
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Top 5 Skills You Need to Become a Bricklayer

Bricklayers or brickies work hard - there's no doubt about it. If you're averse to hard yakka, then a career as a bricklayer is not for you. If you're interesting in starting a bricklaying apprenticeship, here are the top 5 skills you'll need:
Must be physically fit Bricklaying like all construction jobs (unless you're the foreman), is physically demanding. If you're unfit, you'll soon get found out on the job site. Bricklaying involves a lot of repetitive heavy lifting. Start getting into some cardio and strength training now to prepare your body.
Good hand and eye coordination. Building involves measuring, cutting and lining up brick work. You'll want to have good manual dexterity. It also goes without saying your eyesight must be good too.
Can't be afraid of heights. Working at heights, standing on ladders and scaffolding, carrying bricks and buckets of mortar requires good balance. Anyone who gets lightheaded climbing a step ladder is probably not well suited to becoming a bricklayer.
Work independently and as part of a team Starting out as an apprentice bricklayer, you'll be working as a brickies off-sider, basically mixing, lifting and doing the menial tasks as you learn. This means you need to be able to work in a team, with good communication skills. As you progress, you'll be given jobs to complete on your own.
Good mechanical and technical aptitude
Being able to read building designs or blueprints is essential. You must be able to follow technical instructions to ensure you abide by the engineering requirements in the plans. Likewise, having a mechanical mind will help when you're using and maintaining equipment.
If you think you have what it takes to become a bricklayer, why not give it a shot. Even if there are one or two things in that list you're not too sure about, don't forget you'll learn so much on the job as part of your bricklaying apprenticeship.
Sammy Turk has been writing articles on a number or subjects including bricklaying apprenticeships. Learn how to become a bricklayer [] today.
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Exterior Home Renovation Ideas to Increase the Curb Appeal of Your Home

The outside is as important as the inside of your home.
A well-maintained kitchen, a clean bathroom and a well-lit living room do not make a beautiful home. To create the right impression on your guests, the exterior of your home should be beautiful too. Also, a strong exterior surface is required to protect the home from pests, mold, mildew etc.
Even if you are selling your home in the near future, you must consider investing money in the exterior part of your home. It is because it will increase the curb appeal of your home as well as improve its selling potential. An exterior home renovation project is not a bad idea even when you want to live in the home for several years. It will enable you to become a proud owner of a beautiful real-estate property and make your home a conversation piece among your neighbors.
How to begin the Exterior Home Renovation Project?
Homeowners consider home renovation projects as DIY jobs. But, remember that a small mistake can result into a disaster. So, it is essential that you obtain expert help from an experienced home renovation contractor. Choose a reputable contractor who can create new design elements in the lawn area and enhance the curb appeal of your home.
Before you meet a contractor, create a list of things that you want to renovate. Also, search online for different exterior home renovation ideas. It is essential to meet a couple of contractors before finalizing your favorite one. Do not forget to discuss your expectations with him. It will ensure that you love the final results.
What Areas should you consider for your Exterior Home Renovation Project?
Are you confused about undertaking an exterior home renovation project? Do not worry. There are several things that you can repair and renovate in order to increase the curb appeal of your home. Here are a few ideas to help you begin with the renovation project:
· The Front Door
The front door is the main entrance of your home. It is the first thing that a person will notice when he visits you. A dull and damaged front door will give an ill look to your home. So, consider painting the door in a fresh color that provides a welcoming appeal to it. If the front door is broken, it is essential to repair or replace it. It is because it can create safety issues in the future.
· The Driveway
The driveway plays an important role in improving the look of your home. If the driveway is broken, it will not leave a positive impression on your visitors. Also, it can result in accidents. So, it is essential to repair the driveway. You can install new pavers and make it look beautiful. Alternatively, you can install a heated driveway to remove snow from its surface.
· The Walls
If the exterior walls of your home are dull and dirty, they can result in formation of mold, mildew, etc. It can cause severe health issues for your family members. So, ask the contractor to clean the walls, repair the cracks and paint them beautifully.
Do not underestimate the power of painting colors. Homeowners paint the interior of their homes with high-quality paints. But, they ignore the exterior part of their homes because they believe that no matter what quality of paint they use, weather will ruin it. Remember that using high-quality paints on the exterior walls will protect your home efficiently.
· The Lawn Area
A well-maintained lawn area can give a beautiful look to your home. Ask the home renovation contractor to provide you with ideas for the lawn area. Growing plants and flowers is not the only way of beautifying the area. You can install beautiful water features as well as eye-catching lighting fixtures to make it pretty.
Two Birds; One stone
Do not ignore the exterior of your home because if it is not strong, it will make your entire home weak and susceptible to structural problems as well as health issues.
Consider undertaking an exterior home renovation project because it will not only increase the curb appeal but also strengthen your home. As a homeowner, only you have the power to transform your home into a beautiful living space. So, spend time in beautifying as well as strengthening the exterior of your home.
An exterior home renovation project is an ideal way of increasing the curb appeal of your home. Get in touch with The Home Improvement Group and obtain unique as well as affordable renovation ideas to beautify your home. Toronto's favorite home renovation contractor will help you with effective condo renovations, painting renovations as well as safe electrical renovations.
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Friday, 11 November 2016

How To Lower the Cost Of Home Renovation

Home renovation is a fantastic opportunity for upgrading your home, improving the quality of life, and lowering the cooling and heating costs. However, the high costs of home renovation projects hold people back from undertaking one for their dream home. Although, the basic labor and material costs will remain the same, one can lower the renovation costs significantly by choosing less expensive lumber, fixtures, and other amenities.
Listed below are some of the basic tips which can help you lower the cost of your home renovation project.
Prepare a budget
Although it is the repetition of the same old word you hate, but the creation of a budget for your home renovation project is extremely important. You need to spend much more when working without a budget for home renovation. Budget creation must be the foremost step when going for home renovation. Analyze the estimated costs inclusive of the labor, permits, material, etc., clearly. Moreover, most of the renovation projects go over the budget. Hence, add an extra 15% to the estimated cost. After the addition the budget for your renovation project is ready.
The DIY sessions:
Carrying out some of the renovation tasks on your own can help you save a lot on the costs. However, you need to be aware of your skills and opt for the tasks accordingly. For example, if you have never engaged in the task of crack filling, you better leave this task to the professionals until you are willing to learn during this crucial time. Moreover, most of the people feel quite comfortable with the not-so-technical tasks such as painting. Therefore, carefully analyze your skills and thereafter opt for the task of your choice. However, in your attempt to save the money by doing the task yourself, never compromise with the quality and standard of work.
Invest in discounted shopping
Cutting down your home renovation costs doesn't mean you have to compromise with the quality of work. As you are preparing for renovating your home, make sure you keep a watch on the local store sales and flyers. Many times, companies come out with discounted prices for their over stocked products. However, buy only those products that you need and don't get swayed away by the heavy discounts. Moreover, you can also talk to your friends and relatives, who might have huge stocks of renovation products lying at their place. They might be willing to sell off their extra stuff at reduced prices. Some might even donate the items to you willingly free of cost.
Analyze the worth of investment made
Make sure you analyze that the investment made by you in your home renovation project is worth it. Will the renovation project render your home more valuable and help you reap huge benefits while selling your home off? Honestly, not all the renovations bring worthy returns in the long run. For example, by investing in bathroom renovation, you can get a payback varying between 75 and 100%. However, from flooring you can get a payback of only 50 to 75%.
On a whole, a home renovation project can be costly. However, if you pay attention to some of the basic tips, you will be able to reduce the renovation costs drastically. Till then, happy renovating!
Are you thinking of a total home renovation in Singapore []? Get in touch with D'Trenzo to achieve your dream space at a good price.
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Concrete Construction Projects Covered Within Contracting Companies

When looking for professionals that specialize in concrete services, you will find that a lot of these companies hire crews that have a thorough knowledge in quite a bit more than just concrete construction. To list just a few of these services would include such things as excavating, a wide range of concrete services, underground utility construction, and asphalt paving. By taking the time to do a little research before employing a specific company, it can ensure you receive competitive rates and projects that are completed under the highest of specifications and standards. Another element that business and homeowners should expect when consulting with a concrete contracting company is the assurance that all projects will be completed in a timely manner, with as little disruption as possible.
While there are many subcontractors, do-it-yourselfers, professional home builders, and general contractors in Baltimore that require new concrete construction, there are also several home and business owners that run into different types of needs that involve concrete repair services. While not all businesses specialize in this particular element, it is crucial you learn the specific specialties of a company before finalizing an agreement.
Insulated concrete forms construction and geothermal heating are often areas of expertise that are required during the construction of commercial and residential structures. In order for requirements such as these to be built to exact specifications, the company you contact must have expertise in reading plans that clients have submitted, regardless of the complexity of the project. This frequently involves various groundwork requirements that include easements, sidewalks, concrete foundations, approaches, flow lines, driveways, curbs and gutters, and others. Some of the projects that are even more complex can include such things as cross walks, and handicap ramps that are grade sensitive ADA compliant.
When commercial or residential construction jobs are underway, it is important that the concrete professionals that are considered have a high level of technical experience and expertise in the specialized area of concrete services your project requires. It is also essential that they carry a varied selection of choices in aggregates, concrete building supplies, mix designs, reinforcing products, and admixtures.
A vast majority of residential and commercial projects can involve quite a few different tasks that involve concrete construction. A list of these is as follows:
-Concrete Patios
-Roller Compacted Concrete
-Poured Foundations
-Retaining Walls
-Concrete Paving
-Concrete Steps
-Building Slabs
-Masonry and Block Walls
-Decorative Concrete
-Stamped Concrete
-Sidewalks and Curbs
-Concrete Barrier Walls
-Concrete Driveways
The finished product of any job that involves concrete construction is highly dependent on the range of experience and level of technical expertise that crews supply to the projects of schools, commercial property owners, and homeowners. Another factor that is just as important is in knowing the equipment that will be used for your concrete construction project will be of the latest technology and sophistication.
Cory Copperstone is a project manager for a Maryland residential contracting firm. They specialize in concrete Baltimore, excavating, hardscapes, paving and utilities. In my spare time I enjoy home repairs and researching more cost effective ways to save homeowners money.
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Brick Laying Basics

Brick laying is a talented trade that takes many years to conquer.
Bricks are laid in courses, on a bed of mortar, with a taut string line used as a guide to line and level. The horizontal joint is the "bed joint"; the vertical joints are "perpends". The ends of walls are built first, with the level and verticality of the bricks checked regularly as the corners / ends are raised.
The gauging is also checked, to be sure that four courses measures 300mm. The ends are usually "Racked Back", as illustrated opposite, which permits successive courses to be laid direct to the string line while not having to ceaselessly check the work with a spirit level. The bed mortar is laid out and formed to accept the bricks. The end of the brick to be laid is buttered with mortar and then forced against the preceding brick, squeezing the mortar to a width of 10mm. The brick is tapped down to level with the heel of the spade, any surplus mortar extruded from the bed or the perpend is scraped off with the spade, and then the method repeated with the subsequent brick. At the completion of each course, the guide line is moved up to the next course. Though stretcher bond has been employed for the majority of the wall illustrations on this website, there are more than thirty different brickwork bonds that may be used. 7 of the most well liked bonds are pictured on the Walls page. With solid or punctured bricks, the alignment of the brick isn't important, but with frogged bricks, the frog should be laid uppermost. This makes sure the loading of the wall is uniformly spread across its width, instead of being concentrated onto the perimeters, and that there aren't any voids in the brickwork that may be feeble spots.
Frogged or punctured brickwork ought to be covered over if left half finished for any period when rain is about, to stop the frogs or punctures filling with water which would make a real mess of the bed mortar when bricklaying resumes. Frogs are always laid upwards Mortar Coverage one m of mortar will lay approx 1800 bricks ( 1300-2100 dependent on frog and so on. ) or 1200 nr blocks 450x225x100mm. 1800 standard bricks = 30m and each cubic metre of mortar weighs around 2.1 Tonnes, thus each square metre of single skin brickwork needs roughly seventy Kg of mortar. One tonne of lime mortar will lay approx one thousand bricks ( 700-1200 ) or six hundred blocks 450x225x100 Pointing Styles Pointing makes sure the bed joints and perpends are correctly stuffed with mortar.
Pointing is generally undertaken an hour or so after the bricks have been laid, long enough for the mortar to stiffen although not so long that it is unusable.
The unpointed joints can be topped up with fresh mortar if they don't seem to be quite full, before tooling to the mandatory style. The most typical pointing styles are shown opposite. The Weatherstruck and Flush profiles are formed with the blade of a spade. The Bucket Handle profile is created with a semi-circular section jointing bar, and the Recess profile is created with a joint raker. Tooled joints, significantly the Weatherstruck and Bucket Handle, offer better resistance to shower penetration.
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What Makes a Good Building Contractor?

Building contractors are professionals who look after homes, buildings, bridges, roads and any other constructions site. A building contractor plays an important role in any sort of construction process. They have to manage every essential thing that is needed during the whole process of any project. Therefore, the job of a building contractor is very tough and challenging as well.
A good contractor has to be endowed with several good qualities. They should have a better management capability then the general people because they need to manage the whole project. This means that the contractor should be logical in their thinking and maintain a good estimating capability. They should be a type of individual who loves to face challenges and win them successfully- every project is like a challenge and after the project is started once, the contractor is the only person who should be responsible for everything.
Almost all of the contractors have their own workers and materials in order to go through any project. A clever building contractor can prepare and have necessary tools that might be needed and appoint skilled workers so that they can easily get the best possible outcome.
A contractor is a role that is needed to help build an owner's new custom hoe. It is not always easy to find out a good contractor. If a homeowner is going to build their home and looking for a good building contractor, they need to take their time to find a good contractor and consider these qualities to select the right contractor for the job. If the owner can find a good contractor with good qualities, then it is worth enquiring about their services for your project.
A good construction needs to be constructed properly for its longevity, appearance and effectiveness. Owners can search the Internet to find a good building contractor for their project and there are various listings on a number of websites that will have details about several building contractors. Some websites provide the work history of the contractors along with the feedback that are given by their previous clients. After comparing the qualities, charges, work history and feedback of some contractors, then the designer can select a good builder for their project. They can also find them physically in their neighborhood. A friend, relative or colleague can help an owner hire a good contractor especially if there are any of them who have taken the service of a contractor recently. It is important to find out a good building contractor so that they can help an owner manage and create their new home.
Legion Builders are a leading Home Builder and luxury home builders in the Houston, Texas area, helping homeowners in designing and building their dream home or renovation with the top quality materials at a reasonable price. For more information call now 281-914-3080 or visit our website
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The Seven Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Building Contractor or Home Renovation Specialist

The building contracting and home renovation industry has experienced a lot of bad press and publicity for a number of years, and sometimes rightly so. That is because unfortunately there are a high number of unethical and dangerous practitioners operating in this industry, preying on unsuspecting homeowners by giving shoddy services whilst making unreasonable demands for the works carried out.
Below are the seven most common mistakes most homeowners make when choosing a builder or Home Renovation contractor.
Mistake 1
Not Asking For References Regarding Previous Works Carried Out
It's very easy to simply take someone at their word regarding what they can do and without seeing some form of proof. Now in the long run, not doing this has proven to be rather costly and in some cases, be rather dangerous because of simply taking on face value, what the contractor says.
Here's a test you should carry out if you really want peace of mind and a successful outcome when it comes to getting the type of work you want done in your home - simply ask the contractor for the names of two previous customers whom you can contact or even better go round and see examples of his work.
When you are given those names and contact details, simply phone those customers up and ask them a few questions. You don't have to do this whilst the contractor is there with you, although, if you do and the contractor is more than willing for that to happen, you can make a worthy assumption that the contractor has nothing to hide and is more than likely a genuine quality tradesperson. It's when the contractor is not willing to give you any past customer details, that's the time you should be concerned, very concerned.
So, you can ask any or all of the questions below to any previous clients -
  1. What's been your overall experience of XYZ builder/contractor
  2. What didn't you like about them?
  3. Would you refer them to your family or friends based on the work they carried out for you?
  4. If possible, could I make a visit and see for myself the kinds of work they've done?
Mistake 2
Not Finding Out How Qualified the Contractors Are
If we underwent heart surgery or any other major operation at the local hospital, it's a given that the surgeon is perfectly qualified to carry out the procedure. We'd probably have no reason to distrust anything that's going on.
Creating specific home renovations and building and structural work is a skillful practice. It's a disciplined, professional craft. And, just like any regulated profession, there are certain qualifications and benchmarks that will help prospective customers to help decide whether or not a builder or contractor is qualified and professional.
It's easy to be swayed by a builder's advert or seeing their van or truck with their name and contact details on it and feel that because they are 'in the business' that they are automatically credible and professional.
Asking about their qualifications, and letting them speak how and when they achieved their qualifications, is vital if you're looking for a quality, professional contractor.
Mistake 3
Thinking a Low Quote Means Excellent Value for Money
One of the biggest mistakes when hiring a building contractor is to think that because you receive a low quote for the intended job, that you've bagged yourself a bargain. In fact, more often than not, a low quote most likely means any of the following:
  1. Low quality materials being used for the job

  2. Shortcuts and cutting corners in order to get the job done fast

  3. No real attention to detail Irregular communication patterns and very little interaction ie "we'll get on with it and let you know if we need anything"

  4. Use of unqualified staff and labourers

  5. Poor quality work leading to the job being re-contracted at a later date. (What this means is that the job ends up costing more than probably the best original proposals and quotes from other, better quality contractors!).
The thing is, you'll be able to spot a contractor you don't won't want to carry out the work for you because if you pay close attention to these 7 big mistakes in this Consumer Awareness Guide, you'll be able to spot a rogue builder or contractor, a mile off!
Mistake 4
Going Ahead Without an Agreement or Written Proposal
Another glaringly obvious mistake is to not get anything down in writing. It's easy to go ahead with the works you want done simply based on the words from a builder or contractor. The problem with that way of doing things is that it's very easy to forget who said what and what was to be done.
And what makes things really appealing is when you're offered a discount by 'paying cash', because in that way, the contractor is essentially saying that he doesn't want to be invoiced or have anything written down because he'll be charging you much less for the work.
The fact of the matter is once the work's done, you'll have a hard time getting hold of the contractor if there's something not quite right with the job. Because, as if by magic, you will have found that the builder has disappeared from the scene. And because there's no record of things, the homeowner will be left to
pick up the pieces - which inevitably means that more money, energy and time is spent looking for another contractor. The alternative is that the works are just left as they are, incomplete, unattended and leaving you, the homeowner with another powerful reason to distrust those in the building profession as a whole!
So the big advice is to get things written down. And if the contractor doesn't want to go down that route, then you know you've come across someone you'll want to pass on, quickly.
Mistake 5
Assuming The Job Will Be Completed on Time
One of the biggest headaches many homeowners face when hiring a builder or contractor is about having the job finish on time. It's a mistake to simply believe what the contractor verbally says when it comes to timelines and deadlines because most builders are notoriously known for breaking promises and commitments when it comes to finishing jobs.
A true professional will give you specific timelines he expects to complete the job. And the reason he can give such a reassurance - and with extreme confidence - is because he's thoroughly analysed the job that has to be done.
More importantly, he's developed a number of carefully constructed business methods and ways of doing business that makes the whole customer and contractor relationship, a wonderful one.
Mistake 6
Creating a 'Part Works' Arrangement
There are hundreds of DIY books, tip sheets, informational resources that are available showing people how to create their own patios, extensions, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. The fact of the matter is that even armed with the greatest will and intention in the world, there are only a handful of people in a thousand who can start, finish and follow through with particular DIY house projects.
The number of botched up, unfinished and incomplete jobs, is scary.
The big mistake here is negotiating with a builder to finish off the job you have started. Now although you may have invested time and money in getting the job half done (or to whatever state or condition it's currently in) the worst thing to do is get a cheap quotation for someone to finish off what you've started.
And, if you do find someone who agrees to 'patch up and make good what you've started' be prepared for the ugly things that follow because it's more than likely that the whole job will have to be started again with a new contractor - thus costing you even more money as well as hearing about the total dissatisfaction of it all from members of your household.
Not Asking for Written Guarantee
Mistake No 7 is not asking for any guarantee on the finished job. And it's easy to skip this part because when you're looking at a finished piece of work, one automatically assumes that everything will be fine and that there will be no need to call on the contractor or builder again.
Of course, we all know that it's only AFTER a job has been completed that we then see how good the work really is, because that's the time a written guarantee is essential.
When you ask a contractor "do you guarantee your work?" (which essentially means that - depending on the kind of job - that you the customer, will be covered against any kind of collapse, structural damage, botched up job!... and if after asking this question and the contractor says " yes" but does not give you anything in writing, then that maybe the red light signal to put a halt on things.
Professionals delivering excellent service and super quality work will have no hesitation in giving a written guarantee. And the real fact of the matter is that because it's your home, and because you'll be living there for some time to come, it just makes plain commonsense to get the best job you can afford from a builder or contractor you can trust.
And if it means paying more than the quick fix, fly by night contractors, (because all they are after is your money, without giving an equivalent value in return) then you'll find in the long run that it's always the best option and, it'll work out to be the cheapest option because there will be less expense needed later on in fixing and re-doing the job because of poor craftsmanship.
Now that you know the mistakes, how many could you be making? Be sure to seek qualified,experience and advice from your friendly builders in Stafford. For more info please go to before you waste your hard earned time and money.
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What Does a Building Contractor Do?

People who make bids for undertaking constructional projects, and hire other contractors for the execution of their contract when winning the bid, are known as building contractors. At times, a building contractor may participate in the actual process of construction. The primary job of a building contractor is to obtain contracts for the construction of commercial or residential buildings, and then hire other contractors, specializing in different fields of construction, for the completion of the project under their control. Often, they get started in this profession by executing small contracts on their own, and subsequently undertaking the execution of larger projects with the help of subcontractors.
To qualify as a building contractor, you have to appear for a test for getting a license. For getting a license in certain fields, one may need to study for taking the exam. You get books for the purpose, and you need to pay an examination fee. Moreover, there are restrictions on the number of attempts that a candidate may make for passing the exam.
Having passed the formal exam, the prospective contractor can start making bids to get contracts. There are a number of contractors making bids for the same project. So, the client is free to choose one who is suitably qualified for the particular job, and makes a very competitive price bid. Many clients would prefer only those contractors who have adequate insurance for their work, as well as for their workers, to ensure that any worker getting injured during the execution of the project gets compensated according to the law. Supervising the execution of the project is the primary responsibility of the principal contractor whose bid the client accepts.
There are contractors specializing in certain areas of construction. For instance, some specialize in roofing or flooring, while other may specialize in wiring and plumbing. The principal contractor generally hires a number of different contractors, as per their field of specialization. These contractors are known as subcontractors, and their work is supervised by the principal contractor, and not the client.
It needs a lot of effort and acumen to be a successful building contractor. Often, he has to supervise and coordinate the work of many people at the same time. In case any subcontractor or a worker does any job incorrectly, the client will hold the principal contractor responsible and liable for making the corrections. This can be very challenging, though manageable once the principal contractor builds up a relationship with dependable subcontractors having a good track record of working.
Though the amount quoted needs consideration, it should not be the only criterion when selecting any building contractor. Apart from offering to undertake the project at the lowest price, the contractor should offer to use quality materials, and complete the project in the minimum possible time. Before finalizing the choice on your building contractor, you should check his experience, background, and get various guarantees in black and white.
Are you looking for a trustworthy Bali building contractor? Do you need a quality villa builder in Bali? Come visit our website today, we can help you!
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Tuesday, 2 August 2016

A general guide to quantities and properties when mixing concrete

When ordering materials it would be better to order a little extra than too little as you could be left with a structural weakness where two different batches of concrete join.
Firstly, calculate the volume of the concrete you will need which may involve compiling a simple plan.  Using graph paper, choose a scale such as 1:10 (1 cm = 10 cm) or 1:20.  Use a pencil first, then ink after all the editing are done.
Then calculate the area and multiply this by the depth but be careful not to misplace a decimal point though.
A building contractor may use a half a dozen different mixes but a smaller residential project only two may be needed.
The first, or coarse mix, will be used for foundations, driveways and floors and may be referred to as a 1:2,5:4 mix, in other words, 1 part cement to 2.5 parts sand to 4 parts aggregate which should be of a course variety.
The second, or fine mix, is used for paving stones, footpaths and other thinner concrete sections.  This is made from a 1:2:3 mix of 1 part cement, 2 parts sand and 3 parts fine aggregate.

You can dispense all this by ordering ready-mix concrete especially if you do not need much concrete and additional costs of hiring equipment as labour could be a reality.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Why you should hire a general building contractor?

The best option to consider is to hire a general contractor when a construction project needs to be efficiently completed. Most role players, however, are still unaware of the benefits that a general contractor may provide.

Firstly, a general contractor is a professional who offers all the services you need to complete your project successfully. These may include general construction, plumbing, roofing, flooring etc. General contractors usually have a vast network of subcontractors at their disposal and will manage them quite effectively ensuring enough to know what type of subcontractor is going to be utilized.

General contractors have general liability insurance ensuring that you do not have to worry about being liable for any accident or damages happening on the site.

You will also be able to save considerable money and time as general contractors have established relationships with their own suppliers. These suppliers will also ensure that you acquire quality materials at a reasonable price.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

How unscrupulous contractors cut corners when pricing

Typically, an unscrupulous contractor may choose to leave out necessary items in the pricing. This may be a contravention of the Building Regulations policies and pricing for sub-standard workmanship. A clause to the RFQ should be added stating that all work must be done in accordance with the NBR to prevent them from claiming not to be aware of the regulations. They would also choose to quote on sub-standard products. It is subsequently the client’s duty to specify which brands to use or the desired level of quality. Some contractors also tend to leave entire items out of lump sum prices. Once the client itemized the work and set up a bill of quantities, it is harder for these contractors to leave sections of the work out without them knowing about it. Generally’ clients need to protect themselves against contractor who cut their prices, items, procedures and processes they are pricing for just to get contracts and who will eventually charge them later during the latter stages of the project.

Friday, 15 July 2016

How to prepare a detailed construction estimate

The preparation of a detailed estimate requires that the estimator break the project into cost centres or cost subelements.

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How to estimate construction costs

The key to a successful project and effective cost control is the development of a good estimate as the basis for bid submittal.





Saturday, 9 July 2016

What is the role of the contractor’s estimator?

The role of the contractor’s estimator is vital to the success of the organization as he or she is responsible for predicting the probable costs for construction in a way that is both clear and consistent. The estimator may have a feel for the prices in the market place but it is the responsibility of management to add an amount for general overheads, assess the risks and turn the estimate into a tender.
The estimator might be expected to carry out some quantity surveyor duties and procure materials and services depending on the size of the organization. For larger projects though the estimator may be part of a multi-disciplinary team led by a project manager. The estimating organization will comprise of a chief estimator, senior estimators and estimators at various stages of training.
Larger estimating departments usually have administrative and estimating assistants who can check calculations, photocopy extracts from the tender documents, prepare letters and enter data in a computer-assisted estimating system.
The estimating team has the estimator as its coordinator and is comprised of a contracts manager, buyer, planning engineer and quantity surveyor.
The quantity surveyor is consulted to examine amendments to conditions of contract, prepare a bill of quantities, assess commercial risks and identify possibly difficulties which have been experienced with previous contracts. Apparently, clients like to negotiate agreements with quantity surveyors where a good working relationship has been established and future projects are then based on pricing levels agreed from previous projects.
The planning engineer will then be asked to prepare a preliminary programme so that the proposed contract duration can be checked for possible savings. He or she can prepare method statements, temporary work designs, organizational charts and site layout drawings.
The buying office of supply chain manager will provide valuable information leading to the most economical sources for the supply of materials and plant. The buyer is essentially responsible for getting quotations from suppliers and sub-contractors but also prepares lists of suitable suppliers, maintains a library of product literature and advises on likely price trends and changes. His or her knowledge of local suppliers and current discounts is essential at the final review meeting when decisions need to be taken about the availability and future costs of materials and services.
The site manager will report on the technical and financial progress of their projects so that the estimator can learn from the company’s experience on site. The aim of this team is to gain an understanding of the technical, financial and contractual requirements of the scheme in order to produce a professional technical document with a realistic prediction of the cost of construction. The construction manager or director will use this net cost estimate to produce the lowest commercial bid at which the company or government institution is prepared to tender.