How to Have the Best Home Building Experience With Your Custom Builder

1. Know your builder – It is very important to get to know your builder. Treat your first meeting like an interview. Learn about them, their background, their business, and experience. You are going to be working with this person very closely for the next year, it is important to choose carefully and understand their role in the process.

  • Some good personality traits to look for in a builder: a good listener, a good communicator, honest, and field experience. Make sure you are actually talking to the builder not just the sales person!
  • Think service because ultimately this person is providing you a service. What are your expectations for service during this process? Ask questions that tell you how they provide good customer service.
  • Are they showing a genuine interest in you, your family, and your values? It’s NOT about them, it should be about you!
  • Is the builder being up front about how the process works? For instance, let’s say the good, the bad and the ugly! Are they realistic?

2. Be involved! – This is your home and you’re choosing to build, not buy an already completed home. Depending on how custom you want your home, there can be hundreds of choices that need to be made. Have a realistic expectation of the time that it will take to get it done. In addition, all partners should be involved in the process from beginning to end. This can be difficult as the process is long and everyone is busy. From finding a lot, to picking finishes, or approving the budget, everyone will be happier in the end if they stay in the loop from the beginning.

3. Know and understand your budget. – Make sure your builder goes over your budget in detail and that you understand what is included in each category or allowance. Ask for pictures of what is included and if you don’t like it, tell him. And then ask for a price for what you do like. Try to eliminate the surprises and have a realistic number from the beginning.

4. Have discipline. – The happiest customers are those that stay closest to their original budget. This might be the hardest one because it puts our emotional side against our logical/realistic side! Try to keep your emotions in check. We know that a $6,000 dining room chandler is perfect, and this is the last house you will ever build, but be realistic. How high is it on the priority list? Can it be upgraded down the road? How important is it really going to be in 10 years? We say have a lot of discipline or a big contingency!!

5. Communication – It is important to have open communication with your team. That includes you, your partner, your builder, your designer, and anyone else involved in the process. Learn early the best way to communicate with your builder and stick to it. Remember, many builders are running multiple jobs or spend most of their time in the field. Try to write down and save up your non-urgent, important items and communicate them all together. Realistically you should be talking to your builder 1-2 times per week throughout the process.

6. Always keep your eye on the ball. – Stephen Covey said “start with the end in mind,” and that is the “ability to envision in your mind what you cannot see with your eyes.” This does a great job of summing up the home building process. Remember what your goal is: to have a beautiful, unique, new home that you designed and helped build! It is a very rewarding process to see a home come together in a place, where just weeks before, was only earth and trees.

7. Enjoy the process and the outcome! – This may be the only time that you build a custom home. By following these tips hopefully this will be an enjoyable experience and one that creates memories that last a lifetime.

How to Estimate the Cost of Building a New Home

This will serve as a help guide by providing some tips and techniques for estimating the cost of building a new home. As an expert residential estimator there are many things to consider before you begin estimating.

Construction estimating can be difficult and it does require a high level of accuracy and detail. It also requires good math skills and a little geometry knowledge. It requires the ability to read and understand construction drawings and details and how they are applied. Basic construction knowledge helps and being familiar with the local building codes.

You may want to enroll in a construction estimating course at the local college or technical school. Another option is to purchase an estimating manual from your local bookstore or go to estimating.org which offers online courses and has a bookstore.

One of the rules that I have learned along the way is the old saying, “measure twice cut once.” Whenever I do a takeoff or an estimate I always follow this rule in order to help minimize mistakes.

What will you need to put an estimate together?

You will need a notepad, a calculator, an architectural scale, and an engineering scale. These are the basic tools you need to put an estimate together.

Architectural & Structural Drawings

Now you are ready to open the plans and begin to review them. The easiest thing to do is look them over and get a feel for the basic building concept. You should get familiar with the information that is contained on each sheet.

Most construction projects have a set of architectural drawings and a set of structural drawings. I will explain the difference between the two.

It is important that the plans are to scale and have all the required details and wall sections needed to properly estimate from.

What is typically included in a complete set of architectural plans? The drawings at a minimum need to contain the following sheets: a title/cover sheet, a site plan, a floor plan, a foundation plan, four elevations, a roof plan, an electrical plan, a sheet with a typical wall section, a sheet with the window and door schedules, and a sheet with the necessary building and architectural details.

The structural drawings are drawn by a structural engineer, not the architect, unless the architectural firm has an in-house engineer. Any interior shear wall or bearing wall is detailed on these drawings.

The engineer calculates all the uplift and bearing loads of the roof trusses on all the interior and exterior. After doing the calculations they determine which walls are shear or bearing or both and what is required to properly support those uplift and or bearing loads. The engineer will put a structural note on any wall that is bearing or shear. The note will indicate the sheet number and detail number illustrating how that wall needs to be built.

A load bearing wall for example could have a thickened concrete footer with two pieces of steel and the wall above it may need to be framed out of southern yellow pine versus spruce with special metal hardware. These should be highlighted on the plan so they will not be overlooked. Sometimes the hardware called out by the engineer is a special order and can take several weeks to get. So if you wait until the framing package needs to ordered and there are a two or three shear walls with special order hardware it could delay the construction.

You need to make enough copies of the architectural and structural plans for multiple subcontractors and suppliers bidding the job. To save you money, ask your architect and engineer to convert the drawing files to a PDF file. This will save you time as well and make it convenient because you can email them to as many subcontractors and vendors as you like.

Specifications

A list of product specifications must be provided so all the subcontractor and vendors are bidding apples to apples. This is a list detailing all the products and finishes you want in your new home. It does not make sense to send the plans out to bid without a set of specifications. Without this, the bids you receive will not be apples to apples. Then you will need to have them all rebid the project. It wastes a lot of time and creates a lot of unnecessary work for the subcontractors. Remember these guys do not need practice bidding and some of them may not submit a bid without a set of specifications included. Therefore, everything from paint colors to the floor finishes need to be selected. They need to be listed on the plan or on a separate document.

Doing the Takeoffs

It is too technical to put in a written guide how to quantify the concrete, masonry, lumber, and shingles just to name a few. For example let’s assume you need to quantify the masonry block on a single story block home. You have to know how the wall is assembled which includes the ability to visualize and understand construction methods. If the exterior walls have multiple heights, a regular block (8x8x16) needs to be added and a lintel block needs to be deducted in each location where the plate heights change. If some of the walls are on a 45 degree angle you need to be able to know whether to estimate an angle block or butterfly block. The door and window openings need a certain quantity of regular blocks deducted plus a half block every other course on each side of each opening. You could have too much of one size block and either not enough or some units not accounted for at all. These inaccuracies will throw off your budget and cost you time and money. This ability and knowledge can not come from a book but through hands on experience combined with years of estimating experience.

If you decide to quantify the materials yourself I suggest you refer to Walker’s Building Estimator’s Reference Book, frankrwalker.com which has instructions on how to estimate the quantities of concrete, masonry, lumber, drywall, etc. It is considered the bible for construction estimators and it is one of required books included in the study guide for most state contractor’s exam. Just keep in mind that these reference books do not have tips and tricks as well as real world experience as explained above.

You can employ the help of your subcontractors bidding the work or your suppliers. You may pay more for their product or service or you can hire us. Either way you are paying for someone to review the plans and quantify what is needed to build the project.

If you have your lumber yard quantify the material remember he is trying to win the job so he may provide a takeoff that is too tight. This does not benefit you if you have to keep reordering more lumber. The obvious answer to this is to have your framer put together the lumber list for you. Well that does not work either because he will over order so he does not run out of material and have to make additional trips to finish. They want to finish as fast as possible so it can get inspected and they can get paid. The bottom line is neither are working in your best interest.

I recommend you do not attempt to quantify the materials yourself. I have outlined valid reasons why. It is very technical and requires someone with years of estimating experience combined with hands on field experience.

Soliciting Bids

This part of preparing an estimate can be done by most anyone. I suggest you contact your local builder’s association to get subcontractor referrals or use Angie’s List, angieslist.com which prescreens contractors as well

You may have heard the term RFQ – Request for Quote. You want to solicit at least contractors. Most people will say three bids, so why do I recommend five bids? Let’s say you contact five contractors and all five contractors bid the project. You got to figure one will be the high bid and one will be the low bid. So those should be set to the side because chances are the low bid is probably missing something and the high bid is priced too high. The remaining three bids should be reviewed thoroughly to make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

When you contact all the subcontractors that you want to bid your project be sure to give them a bid due date. That way you do not have to chase them. Give them a reasonable amount of time to review the plans and specifications, typically a week or two.

Analyzing the Bids

First organize all your bids by trade, such as putting all your electrical bids together. A three ring binder with dividers and tabbed with each category is a good way to organize all the bids.

Once you receive the bids you need to read them carefully and review them against the plans and specifications. They should have the project information and the date. They need to be detailed and itemized. The cabinet bid should not say “cabinets”. Instead it should list and quantify all the cabinets by finish, style, size, and location, example 15 lnft of 42″ oak raised panel kitchen cabinets, 1/ea 60″ melamine master bath cabinet, 1/ea 36″ melamine hall bath cabinet, etc. If it does not include the countertops it should state that so there is no misrepresentation.

When a proposal needs to be revised, make sure it states the revision date or states “revised”. That way when you compile the bids and you need to refer back to them you will be looking at the latest one.

The proposals should also indicate workmanship and warranty. All this is important, especially if the contractor does not perform and mediation or worse litigation is required.

How to Negotiate the Best Price

Once you determine the three competitive bids the hard part is negotiating with the contractors. You have to assume that all the quotes will be inflated with the understanding you will negotiate less. Therefore, you need to get them down as low as you can to the real number. I always ask my subcontractors and vendors if the bid is negotiable. Remember it never hurts to ask, the worse they can say is no. And if they say yes, then I ask them what is the maximum they can cut their bid. They normally respond with, “how much do I need to cut it to get the job” and again I put it back on them by saying, “the maximum you can cut your price”. Never name a price first! You should already have a budget of what you can afford to spend on each item. You never know whether or not they would be willing to do it for less than that.

Once they lower their bids and you determine the low bidder you need to compare warranty, workmanship, and references. Price is important, but if they can not finish the job the price does not mean anything. You definitely need to check both project references and credit references. The bottom line is you want the best contractor for the least amount of money.

Preparing an Estimate

Once you have awarded the job to each subcontractor you will want to prepare an estimate. I recommend using Microsoft Excel to organize your estimate. It is the easiest and mostly widely used spreadsheet application, especially in construction.

It helps organize your estimate. You can use a separate worksheet for each trade within the Excel workbook. You can enter all the material lists and bid amounts you receive. You can track the job to make sure you are on budget. You can email your local suppliers your material lists so they can enter their unit prices and they can email it back to you.

One of the sheets needs to be the estimate summary which has the total cost for each phase or trade. It should include your preconstruction costs and direct construction costs.

It should have the estimate total at the bottom.

There are endless possibilities you can do with Excel and the level of detail is up to you.

We have for sale blank estimates that are in Excel. These are templates that we use which can help you calculate some of the material quantities and can also be used to prepare your estimate. They contain prebuilt formulas for calculating concrete, steel, masonry, and lumber. All you need to do is enter counts and lengths where indicated and the quantities are calculated for you. Contact us to send you a sample template.

Conclusion

I hope this has provided you will some good information on how to prepare an estimate if you are building a new home. We are available to answer any questions you may have. We can help you put together an estimate for any type of construction project, big or small, residential or commercial.

Tips for Using Recyclable Materials in Your Building Plans

The use of recycled materials in green homes and buildings proves to be one of the most common ways to show sustainability. Aside from economic benefits, seeing recycled or salvaged materials never fail to imbibe feel-good factor to ones mood. Here are some tips on how some recycled materials can be incorporated in your green home.

Recycled woods are as effective as finished wood but they are generally cheaper in terms of cost. Recycled woods aside from structural uses in walls and windows can seamlessly find uses in drawers, cabinets, and shelves.

Old newspapers should not only find its way into paper mache. In fact, they can be used as insulation. Carton egg trays an also serve this very same purpose. Hundreds of dollars can be saved from your pockets with this simple act.

Raid your kitchen of empty wine bottles and mason jars. If you think that they can be used only as pen holders and organizers of tiny tots, you’ll be surprised that they can actually be used to build a house. Search for various inspirations of the internet and see that there is actually a wine farm in Australia which used abu 13500 wine bottles to design water-heating facility. Similarly, there is a Canadian man who used 25000 wine bottles to design his house.

Dating back to the 1900s, empty wine bottles have found various uses in construction of homes. In the United States, you can find several homes which have walls with embedded bottles on them. The idea is like hitting two birds in one stone as it serves aesthetic and structural purposes.

Reimagine your bathroom by using sea-sourced materials. If you’re living near the shorelines, then it is a very wise idea to use natural materials you can find and pick from them. Shells and pebbles of various colors, shapes, and sizes can be perfect inclusions in the walls and floors of your bathroom. Isn’t this idea very refreshing to embrace? This one can also save you from the usual high costs of bathroom tiles in home depots.

Sustainable living is an idea which one may find very difficult to embrace and carry out. But with proper thinking and inspiration, it is actually an endeavor that can become an easy reality. Start exercising your environment-friendly minds. And always remember that your very own household bins can become first-hand sources of recycled materials you can actually use to realize a green home.

Green Building – Sustainable Materials For Home Construction

There are prominent issues in the contemporary society especially those that tackle the massive impact of things in the environment. In the real estate industry, preferring technologies and systems that cater to the preservation of the environment is becoming a trend. One of the concerns prevalent today is on the use of sustainable materials for home construction.

There are innumerable criteria you can actually consider when talking about sustainable materials and how such items are qualified under this category.

One of the main properties that sustainable and green buildings must be eligible with is its less environment impact. Since such real property entities account for many effects on the use of land, water and energy consumption as well as the alteration in the air and the atmosphere, buildings must primarily reduce its consumption of natural resources which are slowly depleting and eliminated without chances of renewal.

Sustainable materials are the ones that are recycled and reused in order to build or renovate homes and buildings. This way, you are not contributing to the exhaustion of the natural resources in order to answer the demands for new materials and items to use for construction and renovation of your property. There are numerous industries in the world of real estate that cater to the notion of recycling and refurbishing materials instead of producing new ones for constructing new properties or improving old ones.

In general, bear in mind that the process of building construction is definitely producing a lot of wastes. Hence, the materials that are recycled and reused must have the ability to reincorporate whatever scraps or wastes are made and remixed or reused it for other building construction purposes.

Another important criterion to consider is to look into the sustainability features of the material and to know if it is truly sustainable from the very moment it was harvested or gained as a raw material up to the time of its eventual disposal.

The material must have very minimal impact to the environment especially in terms of the waste, emission, energy consumption and its capacity to replenish itself in order not to deplete the resources taken from nature due to its production. The energy consumption especially in terms of the harvesting process of the material, its actual processing and the transportation required are all considerable qualities to tag a material that is truly not hazardous to nature.

There are different types of resources which are not recyclable however are still considered sustainable because these primarily have the capacity to highly replenish. Examples of such materials are straw, hay, bamboo, cork, adobe and clay among others. They are tagged with this kind of quality because they can quickly replenish and renew their quantity after they have been harvested. These materials also have low or very minimal rates on emission and are highly deemed for energy conservation.

Hence, if you want to build an eco-friendly and healthier property, you must consider using all natural materials which are sustainable and renewable in nature in every corner and foundation of your home.

Commercial Building Inspections – Tips for Finding a Reliable and Competent Building Inspector

If and when planning to purchase a commercial property, the question often arises, ‘How Can I Find a Reliable and Competent Building Inspector for Conducting a Commercial Building Inspection?’ While one could easily write an eBook on this subject matter, this article offers several tips to help you hire a reliable and competent inspector for the purpose of obtaining a thorough and diligent commercial building inspection. So without further ado, let me begin by telling you ‘What Not to Do’.

Never hire a commercial building inspector who was referred to you by the real estate agent or any other outside party who has a vested interest in and stands to gain from the sale of the property.

Although this statement goes without saying, it’s worth mentioning simply because many of those looking to purchase commercial real estate believe it is standard protocol to rely upon the realtor’s recommendation for hiring an inspector. In reality, this practice poses a conflict of interest that can have dire consequences for the party purchasing the property. Unfortunately, real estate agents who knowingly partake in this practice along with inspectors who continue to burn the candle from both ends know exactly what they’re doing and how to get away with it. While there may be a few exceptions to what I am telling you, I can assure you that the majority of inspectors who rely heavily upon referrals from real estate agents for their business are not going to rock the boat by disclosing any information to the client during the course of an inspection that may later serve to jeopardize their relationship with the broker or real estate company who referred them in the first place.

Never hire a Home Inspector to conduct a Commercial Property Inspection.

As for hiring a home inspector to conduct a commercial building inspection, suffice it to say that in most cases, conducting a commercial building inspection is altogether different from performing a home inspection for reasons too numerous to list in this article. However, the proliferation of home inspectors over the past twenty years (everyone wants to be one, especially in those States where home inspection licensing has become mandatory making it relatively easy for anyone to become licensed), hasn’t helped either as this has spawned an increasing number of home inspectors who are still unable to properly inspect a home, much less a commercial building, even if their life depended upon it. Moreover, given the number of significant and distinct differences between residential and commercial property, while experience in inspecting homes may well serve as a prerequisite, it is by no means a substitute for the vast amount of knowledge and experience required and yet to be learned by most home inspectors before they can even begin thinking about conducting a diligent and thorough building inspection.

Aside from ‘What Not to Do’, there are also other criteria you need to consider or at least be aware of in your quest to hire a reliable and competent commercial building inspector. namely:

Know the fundamental difference between a Commercial Building Inspection and a Property Condition Assessment (PCA).

Although this topic warrants a separate discussion, it’s important to note that the terms ‘PCA’ and ‘Commercial Building Inspection’ are often used interchangeably in the commercial sector. This in turn has resulted in a lot of confusion not only among real estate investors and others looking to purchase commercial property but real estate agents as well who more often than not simply do not know much less understand the difference. To make matters worse, the ASTM (American Society of Testing Materials) has also gotten in on the act by promulgating their ASTM Standards for Conducting a Baseline PCA. What this means is that since they happen to be a nationally recognized organization in the construction industry, in certain respects they’re similar to the AMA in the medical profession meaning anything and everything they write on a particular subject happens to bear a lot of weight. The problem arises in that the Standards for Conducting a Baseline PCA are often misunderstood by many in the profession and seldom if ever read by those buying and selling real estate.

To simplify things, all one really has to know is that the difference between a commercial building inspection and a Baseline PCA is like night and day since the later can be performed in a fraction of the time it takes to conduct a thorough and diligent commercial building inspection. The reasoning behind this is pure and simple in that a PCA is essentially a cursory walk-through of the property that relies heavily upon second hand information obtained through interviews and documentation (that may/may not be readily available let alone veritable) normally obtained through the owner and/or occupants of the property. Hence, my advice to anyone who is seriously considering having a PCA in deciding whether or not to purchase a commercial property is to forget it since in most cases a PCA is a total waste of time and money in providing information contained in a property condition report that isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

Try to obtain as much information as you can about the company and the inspector beforehand

This is another statement that goes without saying but I mention it because many people feel uncomfortable in asking questions of this nature especially when speaking with someone they don’t already know. However, if you reflect upon what I’ve just said for a moment, the fact you don’t know anything about the company or the inspector should be reason enough to ask all the questions you can to solicit answers without being embarrassed.

Be sure to ask the company or building inspector for references

Last but not least, do not be embarrassed to ask for bonafide references regarding recent clients for whom they have conducted similar commercial building inspections. If the company or inspector is reputable and if they have confidence in the service they provide, they normally will not have any reservations whatsoever in providing you with this information.

My next article will provide tips as to what questions you need to ask and what else you need to be aware of in looking to hire a reliable and competent commercial building inspector.

Log Home Books for Building a Log Cabin Home Original

Are you looking for a log home book? Having one or more of the best log home books handy can be an important part of creating and building a dream log cabin home original. It takes knowledge to design and build a log cabin home original. A quality log home design book can help make your home become a reality.

Your log home design book should provide you with information required to make your dream happen. Another criteria should be that the book should be a best-seller that is written by an industry professional. Here are two of the best books covering log home design and building:

Log Construction Manual: The Ultimate Guide to Building Handcrafted Log Homes by Robert Wood Chambers.

This log home book is an important guide for those who are going to build this type of structure. It covers the design and construction process to help you get organized. The author provides information on shopping for kits, finding your land, estimating how much construction will cost, obtaining financing, choosing a builder and overseeing construction. Numerous checklists and forms are provided for your personal use.

This book may be the best log home book ever. The illustrations are great and the text is objective and factual. The approach by the author is presented as the best way he found to do a particular job. If he finds someone doing it a better way in the future, he will begin doing it that way in the future.

The author explains how to build a log cabin home original. From planning for settling to the proper chainsaw stance when cutting a lateral groove in a log, he tells you how to do it correctly. If your goal is to learn the most practical information in one log home book, this is the book to select. It is the best written instruction guide for creating a log cabin home original that you will find.

The author is a writer who can explain complex tasks in everyday English. Even if you have little experience in log cabin home original building, you really do have a chance to be able to try the techniques on wood correctly after reading this book. No matter if you are hiring someone to build your log cabin home original, this is an informative construction book to have.

The other informative log home book is titled Log Homes Made Easy: Contracting and Building Your Own Log Home by Jim Cooper.

Cooper explains that these buildings are products of modern engineering and building methods and their rustic nature requires a combination of knowledge plus experience to build correctly. He knows what he is writing about as he has been both a log home builder and dealer. And yes, he lives in one that he built himself.

The author gives practical information on the steps for starting, organizing and comparing price quotes, using the internet, selecting an architect, planning the site, the well and septic systems, choosing and overseeing subcontractors, scheduling and controlling project costs. This guide to building a log cabin home original covers kits, financing and construction. The author also explains the myths and realities of living in these homes.

It does not matter whether you will be doing none of the work, some of it or all of it. The how-to approach provided by these building guides are the best you will find. You absolutely want a log home book that is useful and practical.

Learn as much as you can before taking the plunge. Having a comfortable, attractive and functional log cabin home original that reflects your own style means you will have a very special place to enjoy for many years to come.

Copyright 2007 InfoSearch Publishing

Tips on Hiring a Great Architect – Building Your Dream House

A dream house – probably the one on top of everyone’s properties wish list. When you finally reached the point where your budget permits you to build your dream house, be sure to take the right steps and make the right moves. Building your dream house is probably the most expensive venture you will do for yourself. Expensive indeed but the most rewarding when done correctly.

One of the most important person that can help you turn your dream into reality is an architect. A great project like your dream house also requires a great architect. An architect is the person that turns your imagination into plans and your vision into reality. Since an architect plays a very crucial role in building your dream house, how will you know if you have found the right one?

Finding an architect, let alone a great architect, is difficult if you are looking in the wrong places or when you don’t know what you are looking for. In building your house, you need an architect that understands not only what you need, but what you want as well. The internet is a very important resource that facilitates every task that we have to perform, specially “finding tasks”. If you are looking for a architect, try Googling “Tips on hiring a great architect” and you can find sites that may help you.

Many sites offer FREE step by step tips on how to find a architect, how to hire an architect, how to identify a great architect, things to look for in an accredited architect, interview questions to ask an architect and many more. So, what are you waiting for? Turn your dream into reality and find that great architect now.

Tips on How to Save Money During Building Construction

Building construction can be a tedious process which could go on for months or years depending on one’s budget. Construction of a building typically starts with planning and designs by the architect through the client’s requirements then it continues to financing the project until its built and ready for use. Most clients want to build a house that would reflect their personality but within an affordable budget and yet fit their personal aesthetic requirement, this could be a difficult task to achieve without taking measures to cut costs where necessary, this is why we have assembled a few tips to get you started.

Compare Proposals and Choose Wisely

Knowledge they say is power so therefore being informed before making any decision be it materials, styles and most especially the execution is very important to choose wisely. To properly do this you should get several proposals and quotas from different contractors and subcontractors which states their requirements for labour, supervision and materials with the price attached, this will enable you compare and contrast between them and choose wisely the one that fits into your budget and also get references to be sure that whomever you choose can deliver to the standard you require and to get a well-rounded picture of the person you are working with, this will help you avoid additional expenses to correct mistakes which might be incurred as a result of poor management by the contractor.

Improvise During Construction

There are several requirements and expectations that goes into a building among which include kitchen cabinets and wardrobes, these can cost you a lot if you are building them off-site then before installing them. However you can save a lot of money by building them on site yourself, with just minimal masonry and labour you could build a more sustainable kitchen cabinets and wardrobe then finish it with marble tiles or stones which looks amazing and would last longer than the wooden one made off-site.

Adapt Sustainable Execution

Sustainability is a term which saves you money in the long run, this is to say that sometimes its better to go spend money on quality material than save money on low quality materials that would require you spending subsequently on maintenance. To consider one must avoid anything that would incur unnecessary problems in the future since it not only reduces the quality of the building it also affects your investment.

The execution of stages like plumbing and electrical fittings could generate faults afterwards if not handled properly, for example we have noticed that conduit system of installation of plumbing fittings can be hard to maintain if need arises since breaking of the walls and patching it up destroys the aesthetic value of the building as well as the structural value. To avoid this however it is best to adapt the duct system during planning so that provision can be made for the plumbing within the building where the pipes could pass through then later can be covered with aluminum louvers, that way it is neat and sustainable.

Seek Advice on Materials

Building materials today are of different types and from different companies, the market is filled with substandard products due to the fact that many companies reproduce materials made by other companies for a cheaper price but for lesser quality, so it would benefit you to make proper enquiries for professional advice on materials from contractors so they can recommend quality materials for good prices. In some cases these contractors or subcontractors can get you a better deal on bulk items such as lumber, paint and fittings since they may have a close relationship with the dealers.

Reuse Materials

In building construction materials can be salvaged and reused however possible, often materials that could be reused are wasted during stages of construction. Materials like lumber which serve several purpose in construction like formwork, scaffoldings, bracing etc can still be reused, for example planks used as formwork for floor slab could also be refused for lintels and beams thereby saving you extra cost on purchasing extra wood. The important thing to note is to be careful while removing the formwork so as not to damage them too badly.

Provide Your Own Water

A typical building construction site needs constant water for almost every activity so if you provide your own source of water without having to buy you will save a lot, you can do this by either digging a temporal well or digging a borehole. This source of water can also benefit you if you decide to mould your own masonry blocks on site, eventually it could be retained for use after the project is completed.

Security for Materials

Theft and vandalism is a common thing in construction industry so it would be wise to seek to secure your materials beforehand, most people build a temporal storage room with either a container or built with roofing material. This will be used to store your materials till you finish the project, if however the storage is not serving its purpose perhaps you could hire a security personnel to guard the place.

Top 5 Tips Regarding Electrical Safety When Building a Haunted House

Electrical fires are very common and a threat to the safety of a haunted house. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, in the United States, 50,900 fires each year are attributed to electrical failure or malfunction, resulting in 490 deaths and 1,440 injuries. Arcing faults are a major cause of these fires. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that AFCIs could prevent more than 50 percent of the electrical fires that occur every year. About 3,300 residential fires originate in extension cords each year, killing 50 people and injuring about 270 others. Here are five things to consider regarding the electrical practice in a haunt.

5. Having a plan is very important. Electrical mistakes are easy to make and often become an issue when builders are in a hurry and/or don’t create an electrical plan ahead of time. This is especially true if multiple people are creating scenes within the haunt. It is possible for each person to create a scene and then look for the nearest plug to bring their scene to life. This can lead to power failures. A circuit chart demonstrating that the load on each circuit does not exceed the breaker amperage should also be completed.

4. Every outlet in the haunt should be tested with a simple three pronged tester that lights up to indicate that they are wired correctly and working properly. All of the building outlets should be securely mounted with proper covers. All of the 120v outlets should have the ability to accommodate three prongs. Grounded GFCI outlets must be used any scene that has moisture, such as dry ice or mist.

3. It’s best to use LED lights within all the special effects lighting in the haunt. LED lights don’t get hot and use about 3 watts to produce 60 watts of light. To prevent fires, be sure not to place cloth or untreated props near the lights.

2. All extension cords must be UL Certified, a minimum 12 gauge with two prongs and a ground. Cutting off the ground (3rd prong) from plugs, 2 pronged lamp cords, and/or 3 pronged to 2 pronged adapters is not allowed.

1. It is important to create a “power station” so that all of the power can be turned on and off from one location in order to control the lights and sounds. The house lights should also be accessible from that station to turn on lights in case of an emergency. The switch for this station should be rated to handle the load applied to that switch. Commercial power cords and commercial power strips that have their own power switch should be used to get electricity to run from the power station to the various scenes. Small, household extension cords are not recommended for haunted houses, even if they’re home haunts. The power station should also have a fire extinguisher, duct tape and a flashlight nearby as well as an emergency plan posted.

Tips for Building the Best Log Cabins

Building a log cabin may be your best idea yet. There are so many great things you can achieve with this. There are tricks and secrets that can help you come up with the very best construction for all your needs. Some of the things to consider include:

Keep logs dry

It is important to ensure that you use materials that are dry to a certain level. When the moisture content is lower, then settling is not an issue and you will not need the settling jacks. The design should also include roof overhangs that are long, good landscaping and decks need to be covered soon after construction. The overhangs need to be around 3 feet. Also, avoid sprinkler systems being too close to the completed cottage.

Design

This is another important thing to consider. The design allows you to get the most out of the home. It also aids in any future maintenance needs as well as energy efficiency. As much as this is important, you need one that you can afford. Consider this as you make a choice. You need a design that is prudent. The overhangs should be large. In addition, the very first course needs to be some feet from the ground. The grade should slope from the house.

Plan

Everything has to be planned well, so as to ensure all factors are considered. When you make all considerations early, maintaining the home will not be that hard. If the house is exposed to the sun too much, then it may need re-finish/re-stain more often. When exposed to a lot of moisture, then you will have to deal with wood decay sooner than later. It is, therefore, necessary to plan, so as to protect the home from the elements. Moisture and sun should be kept off, by all means if you want a house that will serve you for a long time.

Choose the right manufacturer

One of the things to consider is who will make the house for you. As you are choosing, do not think of the price alone. Each company has its own quality standards as well as completeness level. It helps to know exactly what you are bargaining for by getting a very detailed quote/estimate. You should then make a decision based on this.

The company should have the highest level of integrity and they should deliver on all the promises that they make. They should use materials that are of the highest quality and they should also be able to offer you advice based on their personal experiences as well as knowledge. The information provided should also be articulate enough for you to make the most sensible decision and achieve your dream home. Reputation is very important.

The site

It is important to select the best site for the construction. As stated earlier, protecting the cabin from the elements is important. Therefore, you need to select the ideal site for the construction. Determine the direction of the sun and wind.

Always go for a home that fits your lifestyle. Make it unique as possible. This is one of the best ways in which you can define yourself.