Tips to Find the Right Garage Builder

Building a new garage on your property requires several careful considerations. The foremost consideration must be to find the right builder for the purpose. Not working with a professional and competent garage builder can turn out to be a costly endeavor for homeowners.

Here are some tips to help you find the right garage builder.

Search for Local Builders

A basic online search can yield names of leading garage builders in your town or city. Try using searches such as ‘garages in Stafford’ ‘garage builders in Stafford’ if you live in or around the area. Check their websites to see the type of building services they offer and if a specific company seems like a good match for you.

Check the website for information about their experience, expertise, local area knowledge, and the rates for their services. Proper knowledge of the local zoning and building laws is essential for any extension to an existing property or to construct a new structure. Residents may not have the proper information about zoning laws. Experienced and knowledgeable garage builders can guide you through the process so that you can construct the new structure without any hassles.

Also see if there are any client testimonials on the website, which can give you some idea about the quality of their services. Do you like what their previous clients are saying about them? Do they have reviews that have been verified by the BBB or the Better Business Bureau?

Ask the Right Questions

Once you have identified one or more prospective garage builders you like, it is time to contact them to know more about their services. Asking the right questions can help you finalize a builder who is ideal for your specific requirements.

Some ideas about the questions –

– Do they build structures in the size that you need?

– Can they meet your budget?

– What kind of garage structures they specialize in or usually build?

– What kind of materials they use for building garages? Do they offer any warranties for the structures they build?

– Who does the work – their employees or sub-contractors?

It is better to not hesitate when you have a query about their work. Professional builders will be more than happy to answer questions from prospective clients. The right builder will also be proactive in helping you plan the right garage design if you are unsure about it.

To Sum Up

The right builder will help you solve the problem you want to address by the construction of the new garage. People use their garage spaces for more than storing their vehicles. It also at times acts as the place for storing tools, for completing small DIY building/home projects, and such.

You can arrive at the right decision about the builder through your research and by asking a series of questions pertaining to your unique requirements.

A Clean House is a Lucky House – 8 Tips For Creating a Clean – And Fortunate – Home

A clean house is more than just a luxury – it is a necessity. That’s right, a necessity. We need a clean house (office or desk) because of all it offers us: efficiency and relaxation. Efficiency, because a clean house means you can find what you need when you need it. It also means that you will spend less time worrying and frustrated over the mess in your house.

A clean house offers relaxation, because clean houses look better, smell better, and feel better – and that’s what makes you relax. A mess everywhere makes us tense. Even hidden messes worry us. What does it take to have a truly clean house? In a word, discipline. No one likes to hear that word anymore, but it’s true.

A clean house takes work, plain and simple. Ironically, the less a house is cleaned, the more work it takes. Yep, it’s true. If you don’t stay on top of your house, the house will be on top of you — with papers piling up and junk everywhere — not to mention dirt and grime.

Look around. Is your outer experience mirroring the inner experience? What is your house saying about you and your life? Now, how does your luck improve with a clean house? Think about all the “old” and “unsuccessful” energy that you have in your home.

If you’ve got dust bunnies the size of Great Danes, it’s time to get to work. Dirt and dust equal stagnant and stuck. Remember, a rut is just a grave that’s open at both ends. How to get out of your dirty rut? Good old fashioned elbow grease. Here’s a quick guide to cleaning your space to get you out of your dirty rut.

1. Go to the bathroom.

Why? Bathrooms that are dirty are germfests waiting to make you sick. Clean it up and you might just feel better or get through cold and flu season unscathed!

2. Take on the kitchen.

This is where you eat so it should be clean. Nothing attracts bugs faster than a filthy kitchen. Make it a goal to give your kitchen a two-hour once over. Spend two hours in there and really clean — the coils on the fridge, the oven, the floors, ceilings, windows – everything.

3. Head into the bedroom.

When you sleep, you are breathing in everything that’s in the room, i.e., pet dander, dust, mites from the bed, you name it. Make it a point to clean under the bed, vacuum the blinds and wash the curtains and bedspreads and blankets. Then vacuum, yes, vacuum, the mattress and flip. Ahhh….clean. It feels so nice.

4. Create a paper trail.

To the recycling center that is. Haven’t read that magazine? Then you’re not going to, so get rid of it. Conduct your own “paperectomy” and get rid of all that paper that’s just taking up space.

5. Concentrate in the corners.

This is where everything drifts to… the corner of the bedroom, the corners of the ceilings. Corners are a magnet for stacks of papers. On the ceiling, corners attract spider webs. Clear out every corner you have, including closet corners.

6. Go outside.

Rent a pressure washer and wash the house, sidewalks, patios, and driveways. Pressure washers are a house’s best friend. Think of it as an exfoliating scrub for your home. You will love your sparkling house.

7. Head to the top.

Clean off the tops of everything. This includes dressers, tables, counters, refrigerators — anything with a top. It also means dusting the tops of windows,door trim, and tops of baseboards. Dust just loves to hide on the tops of things.

8. Get steamed.

Once a year get your carpets and upholstery STEAM cleaned. Why steam? It’s hot and it’s water so it will clean REALLY well without hurting anything or leaving behind any kind of soapy residue. That’s right, soapy residue.

Many people get their carpets cleaned or use grocery-store carpet cleaner products only to find they need to do it again and again and again because the carpets get dirtier faster and faster and faster.

Hmmmm…. a conspiracy? No. Just soap that stays behind. And soap is sticky, right? Well, then, that’s where all the dirt is coming from: it’s getting stuck in all that soap that is left behind from those cleaners. And while you’re at it, throw away all your soap-based carpet cleaners.

Tips for Finding the Best New Home Construction Companies

When you are looking for construction companies to help you with your new home construction, you have many different options to choose from. You really owe it to yourself to take the time to check out all of the different companies and what they have to offer so that you can find the best builder possible. There are a lot of things to look for in your search, but here are some basic tips to help you find the best home builder for your needs.

– Always check out the reputation of the builder. There are so many different construction companies out there that you can work with and no two are created equally. You really need to get referrals, find out what previous clients thought, and learn about each company so that you know what they are capable of and how they can help you.

– Never choose a home builder based on price alone. While you do have to keep your budget in mind, choosing your builder just because of their price isn’t going to give you the best work. You have to check out their past work and their reputation to get the best professionals for the job.

– Check credentials. Home builders and construction companies are required to have licenses and permits and other types of training so that they can do what they do. Make sure that you hire someone who is properly trained and licensed to do the job.

– Look at the type of buildings that they construct versus the type of home that you have in mind. If a company specialises in contemporary homes, for example, and you want a traditional home, you might not have a good match. Most builders are flexible, but this is still something to keep in mind.

– Always ask for referrals when you can. Family, friends, neighbours, and anyone else that you run into will be a great help because they will be able to give firsthand recommendations of the best construction companies in your area or for your home building needs.

These are all important tips to keep in mind on your search for the best home builder. Since everyone has different needs, it will be up to you to add your specific needs into your decision and make the most of your search. Just keep these tips handy so that you get the right builder for the job the first time around.

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.

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.

Power Washing Tips for Home Siding and More

Routine care for any property, residential or commercial, is essential for the well-being of its structure, appeal, and value. Seasonal power washing is one highly effective and recommended method used by many property owners to extend the longevity of their home or building. If you have never washed your home’s siding, roofing, and foundations, it may be time to address these areas before they can begin to show signs of mold, mildew, fungus, pests, deterioration, and more.

Prime Spots to Pressure Wash

Various areas of a home or building should be pressure washed regularly in order to maintain its overall value, performance, and safety. Vinyl siding, roofing, gutters, and additional exterior components are all places that can benefit from periodic high pressure washes.

SIDING

Vinyl siding accumulates dirt at a higher pace compared to other siding materials like brick or stone. This means it is very evident when vinyl siding is dirty and unkempt. Residential properties commonly have vinyl siding, and if the surface of the vinyl is not routinely cleaned, the dirt will begin to show, and the house will appear older and more worn that it actually is. Not only does this look unappealing, it can create an unhealthy environment for residents, guests, pets, and more. This is especially detrimental to anyone attempting or preparing to sell their home.

Brick and stone collect dirt as well, but because of their rocky appearance, they hide dirt and debris a little better. This, however, doesn’t reduce the need for cleaning. Brick, stone, and concrete can atrophy over time from harsh weather, changing seasons, and sun exposure. To protect these areas of a building or home, you much routinely pressure wash them and look into protective applications as well.

ROOFS AND MORE

Rooftops, gutters, gables, windows, canopies, and awnings are also areas that can benefit from routine power washing. Gutters can become clogged with leaves, branches, and debris throughout the seasons, which can increase the chances of flooding, pest infestations, and roof leaks. Clearing them by hand can be tedious, so pressure washing is a great alternative for anyone who wants to get the job done efficiently.

When it comes to pressure washing a roof, roof shingles can be easily damaged, so it is a delicate job that requires some experience. If you do not have experience cleaning shingle roofs, it is best to consider hiring a professional. Fortunately, if you do end up damaging your roof shingles by pressure washing them, a professional roof repair company can easily replace missing or broken pieces within a quick timeframe and for a reasonable price.

DIY Power Washing

The proper tools that are required for a do-it-yourself power washing project are available at any local hardware or home improvement store. These devices can range in price depending on brand, model, and retailer, between $100 and $3000 or more. Equipment for pressure washing includes a hose, nozzle, gloves, plastic tarps, safety glasses, and power washing approved cleaning solutions. There needs to also be a power source nearby, such as an extension cord or outlet.

Using high pressure water for the first time can be difficult and dangerous. It can also be expensive if you do not already have the proper materials. Often times, it is less expensive to hire a professional rather than invest in all the proper tools and supplies, as well as the time. Power washing a home or building can be a DIY job if you are experienced with home renovations and familiar with the equipment required for the task.

However, if you have never attempted pressure cleaning before, it is highly advised to learn the necessary knowledge and skills so that you do not damage highly sensitive areas of your home, like the roof or siding. If your roofing, siding, or gutters are damaged by your attempts to power clean them, be sure to contact a professional roof repair contractor right away. It is important to address damages as soon as possible, before they can become worse and more costly to repair.

Discus Aquariums – Simple Tips to Build a Home For Your Discus Fish

Discus aquariums must be set up properly in advance of bringing your discus home. It is foolhardy to think that you will be able to buy the fish, and then setup the tank. In the long term, this is a failing and fish killing scenario. This article will explain what you can do today to prepare your aquarium for discus.

For filtration of discus aquariums, a cultured sponge filter will work well. If don’t want to wait for the filter to culture naturally, consider using one of the bacterial starter cultures. Either choice will work fine, the important thing is that there isn’t a lot of water flow, as calm water mimics the natural discus habitat.

Use a thin layer of fine gravel in the bottom of the tank. Bare bottom tanks also work fine, and are usually better for breeding.

I like to use driftwood, floating plants and clay flowerpots filled with gravel and other suitable plants. Remember that the water temperature in discus aquariums is 80 degrees F or more, so be sure to choose compatible plants. A fluorescent strip light with one warm and one cool white bulb will provide enough light for the plants.

For a quarantine or hospital tank, I do not use gravel or any plants. If this is your first adventure into discus aquariums, the initial tank should essentially be built as a quarantine tank. In this case, the tank should have nothing other than water, filter, heater, and light. The reason for such Spartan accommodations is that you need to be able to observe your discus closely at first. They may want to hide, but it’s better if you can see them clearly. Remember, you can always add the amenities later, after are sure your new fish are healthy. This quarantine period should last a minimum of 30 days. If you are adding new fish to an established discus aquarium, be sure to keep the new fish in a separate 10 gallon tank while you evaluate their health.

Discus aquariums need some advanced preparation in order to be successful. Most importantly, is ensure proper water quality and habitat. You also need to learn how to properly acclimate new discus to your aquarium. I encourage you to learn more about the specifics of setting up discus aquariums. Topics such as food, water chemistry, and choice of tank mates are all critical to your success. Good Luck!

Tips to Build a Great Relationship at Work and at Home

Years ago I learned a very powerful lesson from Stephen Covey. In his book entitled “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People”he explains the concept of principle based leadership.

In the last message I shared with you how to respond to the important and not the urgent. Now that you have more time and leading your life based on your priorities I want to give you the next tool that will make you the author of your relationships.

Today I am going to share with you an exercise that involves you being at your funeral right now, today. Imagine all your loved ones, spouses, kids, family members, friends, employees and business contacts standing up at the podium and reflecting on their relationship with you. I know this may be difficult and you may not like what you discover but there a reason so I encourage you to carefully examine what you think each person would say about your relationship with them as it is right now.

Would they say you were kind and loving, always therefor them or that they wish they had spent more time with you etc. Would your employees say that you were a great leader, fair and honest or would they say that you were always stressed out and unavailable?

Now, imagine you are standing at your funeral again and you get to choose what each person would say about you. Repeat the process by above but this time write out what you would like that person to say about you.For example; in the first part of this exercise you think your spouse would say that you were a very hard worker and gave a lot to your company but wished they had spent more time with you. You now get to rewrite the script. You could imagine them saying that you had always put your relationship with them first,they felt loved and knew because you always made time for them.

The script that you wrote is your agenda to create the relationships you desire. Because this is about your business and we are referring to leadership, take this opportunity to evaluate your relationships with your team. You can choose to be the leader you want to be with action and intent.

I wish I could make it as simple as putting this task in your day timer but to develop new attributes is an internal process, a shift in behaviors. What I can tell you is to make it a priority by scheduling the time in your agenda to research and commit to getting involved with leadership groups, taking classes and seek coaching.

I was very fortunate to have found this exercise when I was a salon owner and as a result of it I am able to say that I have remained in good standing with every person who had worked in my company. I’m not saying they all liked me but I do know they would all say I was honest, respectful,approachable and dedicated to helping them succeed. Even those I had to let go still felt comfortable coming into the salon for their services when they no longer were employed there. That is the gift of writing your own scripts as to how you choose to impact the relationships in your life.

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.

Tips on Choosing the Right and Best Home Designs

It will take a lot of time for you to choose the proper best home designs that are suitable for your needs and lifestyle. You have to recognize a couple of things that you have to consider when choosing a home design. It is crucial for you to pink home design which fits your taste. You also have to consider about your landscape.

Needs and Lifestyle

Family needs and lifestyles are two most important things when building a home. But you have to rely on the plans for your family in the future. For example, new couples will have a different home plan from a retired couple in terms of characteristics.

Before you choose the design that you want to in order to build a home, it is well recommended for you to thinks about your lifestyle and needs.

Privacy

A couple of homeowners want to have home plans which are more intimate in their personal living spaces and master bedroom, while some others want to have some privacy in their office space.

It is also important for you to think about privacy that you want from your neighbors and occupants. If you think this is crucial for you, you have to consider applying design with a U or L shape design. This house plans types will offer you more privacy when building a home.

Aesthetics and Furnishings

You have to consider the floor plan that you want to have for your new home because it will accommodate your furniture. Talking about the sizes of the room, you have to consider the seating places and the placement of your furniture because it will impact on the feel of your room. It is better for you to measure the furniture in order to decide the space that you want to use for your furniture.

Outdoor Space

Your home plan style will be affected by the natural and geographical landscaping features of your lot that you will have to pick.

Meanwhile, you have to consider whether you want to have enough lot space that you want to use for gardens, interesting landscaping, or pools or your lot space will offer a lawn spot for outdoor sports and games.

For those of you who already bought the building pot, you have to consider a couple of those reasons and plan your house design that you pick in order to find your requirements and needs.

Picking Building Lot

Flat building lots house plans are cheap and easy to build, even though you will find that they are not interesting as a sloping lot. You will be allowed by the sloping lot to plan for a daylight basement and tuck the garage under the home.

When planning to build a home, you also have to consider about a couple of cars that you want to use. You have to think about the space for the driveway or you also have to consider about the parking if many people come to your house. For those of you who have bought house plan, you do not have to choose a building lot that will generate that design.