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
Article Source:

Article Source:

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.
Article Source:

Article Source:

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.
Article Source:

Article Source:

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.

Article Source:

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.

Article Source: