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Commercial Construction Tips – Facts About Construction Projects

December 15, 2017

Construction

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Commercial construction is often an arbiter of changing economic conditions. Construction projects mean both an improving economy and a way to improve the economy of a given area. Read on to learn more interesting facts about it.

This type of construction helps public sector agencies as well as private firms. Big new schools in areas where people are moving give students a chance to learn in state of the art facilities. New office buildings bring jobs to the area, and the upward spiral continues. Not only do the buildings benefit the users, but the building process itself gives workers a solid job for several months, and the expenditures from the construction project go directly into the local economy.

The United States is second in the world in terms of this construction, regardless of where the company doing the building is headquartered. As much as 10% of all commercial construction takes place in the US, and New York is the city with the most commercial construction going on – $8.5 billion (that’s billion with a B) in 2013. A lot of the construction was for residential buildings. Following New York were Houston and Dallas. Those two cities spent $10 billion in 2013 on commercial projects.
One of the biggest trends in commercial construction is green building. Experts from the Environmental Protection Agency expect that by 2017 as much as 48% of new building will be done with green building materials. To put that in financial terms, it could mean as much as $145 billion dollars.

By 2018, 84% of residential construction companies plan to have at least some of their construction projects classified as green. To get an idea of just what kind of impact this has on the overall economy, consider that residential projects total as much as 5% of the current gross domestic product of the US. As more and more firms add green building to their plans, it might mean that as much as 18% of GDP will be based around green construction.

Big commercial office buildings are going green, too. LEED certification is becoming the main standard, and builders are up to 41% green as of 2012. Just how rapidly is this growing? Consider that only 2% of commercial construction, non-residential, projects were green in 2005. It’s no surprise that states like Hawaii and California are leading the way in LEED projects.

It’s not just the US that is interested in green construction, though. LEED certifications around the world are becoming more common. A study released earlier this year showed that as many as 69,000 LEED projects are going on globally in 150 different countries.

This construction is as important to the global economy as it has ever been, and the increases in such projects over the last few years signal a positive change after the worldwide recession of 2008-09 and the soft recovery that followed. With even more green projects being planned than ever before, commercial construction projects will also be kinder to the planet, meaning everyone will benefit for years to come.

Design and Build Contracts, Advantages and Disadvantages

December 15, 2017

Construction

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Anyone who has spent time working in the UK construction industry is likely to have strong opinions about Design and Build contracts. In the immediate future, it’s likely that activity within the sector is going to increase, and whilst the exact political flavour of the Conservative government has yet to be confirmed they have at least promised to invest heavily in house building. With that in mind, the following points highlight some of the thorny issues associated with design and build contracts.

UK House Building

200,000 appears to be the magic number; in March 2015, David Cameron promised to double the target of 100,000 homes aimed at first time buyers, and with his position now confirmed in No.10 Downing Street we wait with bated breath to see if this commitment will reach fruition. Across the UK, firms are experiencing a modest rise in construction projects and reporting a certain amount of confidence. Besides the always-nebulous claims of politicians a range of measures including a loosening of planning laws and assistance for first time buyers is buoying up the industry after last year’s lack of growth. For many developers, however the fact that an increased demand for labour and materials is likely to push up prices can make design and build contracts more attractive.

Design and Build Advantages

Design and Build [D&B] is a useful procurement route for developers in that it allows a certain amount of control over costs. In general, lump sum contracts result in a contractor agreeing to take on the responsibility for both the design and construction of a project for an agreed price. The contractor may have their own team of designers or may engage an outside firm. They will agree a design initially with the developer, but after the contract is signed the contractor will have full responsibility.

If the agreed-on design remains unchanged throughout the project, the developer can be reasonably sure that the overall cost of construction will remain unchanged. Of course, it’s possible that the developer will require some design changes during the project, but it should then be possible for the contractor to provide an illustration of exactly how any such changes will affect overall costs.

Another of the advantages of design and build contracts is the possibility of reduced construction time. If the contractor is entirely responsible for design a great deal of time can potentially be saved as the design and building elements will run concurrently. For developers the main benefit is that, once the contract is agreed the contractor takes on much of the financial risk inherent in a project; that’s increasingly attractive when prices of both labour and materials are looking likely to rise. When various political parties claim that an upswing in construction is just around the corner, it’s worth remembering that it’s not just the taxpayer who will be expected to contribute. The Conservative government will also need to rely on private investment.

Design and Build Disadvantages

Not everyone in the industry is a fan of design and build contracts and it’s therefore worth taking a look at their disadvantages. Those who dislike the system point out that if a builder is given a free hand to design a building based on a pre-agreed price, even if costs don’t rise during the project they will be likely to work to the lowest possible specifications [if the contract allows them to alter the specifications].

Secondly, there’s an inherent problem in that builders are not architects. An architect, as well as having years of training and a very specific set of skills not least aesthetic ones, will be up to date with both the legal and design requirements. There are also requirements that may not be written into law but will be at the cutting edge of what makes a building fit for purpose now, and years into the future. Giving a builder a set amount of money and most, if not all the responsibility for design is a recipe for a shoddy result, say some people.

Making generalisations about the merits of D&B versus traditional construction methods is dangerous. In the real world, both can and do result in some buildings that are successful and some that are a disaster. For developers, architects and contractors perhaps the most important point is to ensure that the contract whatever form it takes is fully understood by all sides, covers all legal requirements and has the flexibility built into it to allow a satisfactory result.

Construction Management

Recently there has been something of a trend towards construction management rather than design and build contracts. Here, an intermediary in the form of a construction manager is appointed and the developer takes more responsibility for the overall costs of a project. It’s possible, however that if private investors are effectively forced into taking more financial risk the supply of money for the promised housebuilding boom could begin to dry up.

Designing and Building a Dream Home – Things to Consider

December 15, 2017

Construction

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In general, custom homes are more expensive than using existing blueprints or buying a home that’s already built and upgrading it. There are many factors that go into each project, however, so one shouldn’t completely write off the possibility without doing a little research. Still, custom home builders’ blueprints are likely thousands of dollars more expensive in most cases.

Land Costs and More

Once the costs of the land are added in, one will really see the price skyrocket. Of course it depends on the place and realtor involved. Just like buying an existing home land price depends on how long it’s been on the market, the seller and any negotiations. Next there will be land surveys, building permits, and the costs of architects or custom home builders, interior design, building materials and more. These costs can quickly get out of hand if one doesn’t have a great budget and stick to it.

Due to the fact there will be hidden costs and surprises, it’s advised that those delving into custom home builders should set aside about 10 percent of the overall planned cost for emergencies.

Be Patient

These homes are a project that requires tolerance and patience beyond measure. It can take up to a year for the perfect, custom home to come to life. Don’t expect everything to work out as its planned on paper; things such as materials arriving late or damaged, utility hook ups having issues and the like should be taken into consideration. It doesn’t mean it will happen but to be ready for the worst and hope for the best is smart.

Making Decisions

Decisions will be plenty! What part of custom homes do the future owners do themselves, and which will be done by the home builders? Other questions include:

  • How many bedrooms and baths?
  • How many floors?
  • Paint colors
  • Flooring choices
  • Kitchen appliances, cabinets, countertops and even knob styles
  • Where will light switches be located?
  • Fans, HVAC, solar power or all three?

As anyone can see this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to decisions. Those building homes should be ready to answer these and more and be ready to handle the stress of decision-making through the entire process. The best custom homes builders will get to know the buyers and get a sense of their style and tastes to help them out. They’ll offer samples of everything from plumbing fixtures to lighting and guide them to the best choices.

Tips To Build A Custom Home

December 15, 2017

Construction

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Building a house from its foundation requires a fair amount of research and planning from the budget to the selection of materials and design features. Choosing a reliable, experienced and modern contractor can ease the process and produce quality results for all clients. Construction of small modest houses to larger grand condos can benefit with attention to detail and a professional guide.

Decorative features you wish to include in the newly constructed property should not be built on-site. Providing contractors with clear instruction and dimensions for rooms and garden can assist in manufacturing cupboards and features at the respective workshop that will cost less than having it created on the property. The number of hours worked on site will contribute to the total bill and must be assessed before providing the go ahead for the contract.

The new home should incorporate form and function to ensure that residents and potential future buyers are satisfied with the layout. Design must prove aesthetic and modern, but provide practicality for current living needs and future requirements. Unique structures and plans may meet with trends and prove appealing, but may not be suitable for others should the house be placed on the market for future resale.

Create a budget and plan for emergencies and unexpected fixtures along the way. Constructing a customized home is not a simple task, but a major and time consuming undertaking that requires additional planning for breakage, insufficient materials, and building delays. It is not advised to remain within a fixed cost that could prove detrimental to finances should a surprise circumstance occur.

Assess the value of modern features that are incorporated as part of the building plan and total expense. It is exciting to add modern appeal with building extras, but these features may not contribute to the investment over the long term. Include construction that will deliver the most appealing results and assist in improving the resale value of the property.

Install high quality flooring with functional design elements including underfloor heating and ease of maintenance. There are many different materials available for custom floors including tiles, hardwood and concrete each offering its own set of benefits and potential limitations. Flooring must contribute to resale value while providing affordable and aesthetic to best serve the practical function and theme of the house.

The success in tailored home design lies in the details of the floor plan created by competent builders offering sound advice and guidance. The transformation of an idea into real construction requires the knowledge and expertise of a certified contractor to support and streamline the development. Research into the plan and the cost for property size are important factors to ensure realistic outcomes.

Custom home design undertaken by licensed and reputable builders offers flexible solutions for the modern property owner. Quality contractors incorporate the latest 3D technology in the development of detailed floor plans including consultation, cost assessments and the submission of council documents. Trusting construction to an expert in the industry can produce modern yet functional results that meet within a specified budget.

Common Construction Issues and How to Avoid Them

December 15, 2017

Construction

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Becoming a new home owner is an exciting time, especially when you’re in charge of its construction. However, before you can reap the rewards of homeownership, you first have to get through the construction phase. This can take months and sometimes an entire year to complete, depending on the particulars of your home design and the size. You also have to do whatever you can minimize hiccups throughout the construction, which can be difficult for a beginner to do.

If this is your first time building a home, then here are some tips to help prevent common problems witnessed during new home construction.

Subcontractors Using Old Blueprints

You’re the future homeowner, so you’re entitled to change your mind, but it shouldn’t be frequent and has to be done within a reasonable time frame. When this does happen, it’s important to ensure that all of the subcontractors are using the most up-to-date set of blueprints. Your contractor is obviously the one responsible for this, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask just to make sure.

Custom Orders Are Out of Whack

The materials you order for the interior and exterior of your home can sometimes be incorrect or incomplete. This can slow down the progress of your construction, since you have to wait for certain items to get shipped. Most manufacturers will give you the option of either accepting the improper custom order in exchange for a discount, or returning it to have your correct order sent. Either way, make sure you know who’s responsible for the shipping costs.

It’s also possible that your contractor is the reason for the mix up. Double check to ensure your contractor has the correct list of items, so this can be avoided.

Unforeseen Additional Costs

It can happen, no matter how carefully you try to plan your new home construction. Things like termite damage, dry rot, bad soil and other problems can arise. This is why a full inspection is recommended before any construction begins. Also, your contract and estimate should take into account possible run-ins with unforeseen costs. If they were truly unforeseen and not an oversight due to improper inspection, then your contractor is entitled to additional pay. You can avoid breaking the bank by setting aside additional funds just in case something happens.

The above tips can be used whether you’re planning a new home construction, remodeling of an outdoor structure such as exterior of a home or building. Work closely with your contractor to ensure everything is clarified and on point throughout the project.

Five Key Elements for a Quality Asphalt Driveway

December 15, 2017

Construction

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When it comes to asphalt driveways, whether for commercial or residential properties, there are five key elements that make or break their dependability and longevity. Specifically for commercial properties, a good asphalt installation job is vital for several reasons. Not only does it make the investment worthwhile, it safeguards drivers and pedestrians that enter commercial premises because potholes and other road hazards are not present. And aesthetically speaking, good asphalt driveway installation is important so that a commercial business looks professional and prioritized. Continue reading to learn what these five key elements are, and who to trust for quality asphalt concrete paving and installation services.

A Suitable Foundation

The first aspect to consider is the ground foundation. For proper driveway paving, there must be a solid subgrade and a strong aggregate base. Often times, problems occur during paving projects like these because the subgrade is not stabilized correctly. For example, if the ground is full of soft wet clay, a contractor must remove this clay or cover it with a durable stone base that will reinforce the ground surface. Failure to do any of the above methods can result in driveway buckling, cracking, crumbling, and ever-increasing deterioration.

Good Drainage

Water is the number one threat to asphalt and concrete pavement. So when it comes to asphalt driveways, proper drainage is absolutely crucial. Water must drain away from the edges of pavement, rather than collect or amass on top of it. If there is no slope to the pavement, water will not properly runoff the sides and away from the driveway. Water will seep into the pores or open crevices of asphalt and freeze, thaw, and expand the pavement overtime. This is what causes potholes, crumbling, and cracks.

Proper Supplies

If the wrong pavement mix is used to pave an asphalt driveway, problems are bound to ensure. Asphalt driveways are vulnerable to weathering and oxidation, so the right type of hot asphalt mix is vital. Although opinions differ among pavement companies and contractors as to which type of mix is best for such projects, driveway mixes should contain less air voids than highway mixes, but more binder. It should result in a finer aggregate finish to look smoother and darker.

Routine Maintenance

Once a driveway is paved and completed, the work is not done. Routine maintenance all year round is critical for all pavements to last. This includes a daily sweeping of debris, regular power washing, seal-coating, crack repair, and more. Consult a professional pavement contractor for advice on proper asphalt maintenance practices. Companies can even outsource these services.

Ethical Workmanship

It is highly important to hire a licensed, bonded, and insured pavement company for proper construction practices and ethical workmanship. Commercial companies that outsource such services want their providers to be liable for any defects or issue during the installation process. In addition, proper workmanship guarantees a proper job. Trained and experience paving contractors can provide this kind of work for commercial companies and more.

Resourceful Marketing Ideas for Construction Companies

December 15, 2017

Construction

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Especially in architectural and construction industries the marketing strategies are way behind than most other industries and trades. They mostly rely on public tenders and repeat or referral businesses. Though people related to construction industries consider that the best marketing tool is still the word of mouth, but why can’t we explore more innovative ideas to get the company’s name or the brand name highlighted.

But all the new techniques you opt to try would depend on the budget you have for that purpose. It’s quite obvious that lesser budget would restrict you to have all the marketing weapons. But no matter what the financial plan is, there are a lot of many marketing strategies to choose from, in order to get fast business growth and recognition. Here are a few humble and effective ideas to get started with.

Online Content Marketing

Content marketing is the strategy of attracting and retaining customers by consistent creation and distribution of relevant, notable and valuable contents. Many small companies are benefitted by using online content marketing policy. Your expertise in the business can help you earn extra visibility and produce more work by just passing on beneficial hints and information to the people through the internet. Clients and customers would be more confident about your skill set and experience and would prefer to get their work done by you.

Referrals from existing clients

All big and small construction companies rely on client referrals as a useful means of generating leads and getting new contracts. Good and happy clients are always co-operative and have no issues in recommending your name to other probable customers. So it’s a good idea to encourage them to get more and more referrals by creating different reward programs, like for each new customer sent, offer them a discount percentage on the next work they sign with you.

Cordiality Packages

Cordiality or hospitality packages could be planned for your existing or old clients by organizing some day or evening entertainment or party. You may include even the guests of former clients to a cocktail or a dinner party in a decent hotel. This would surely inspire them to sign up for more new work and bring new clients which in turn would justify your initial investment.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing is one of the most popular ways of promotion in present days. But unfortunately the architectural and construction industry is laying far behind in terms of social media marketing. This could be helpful for you to start it today as you won’t have to face any hard competition or major problems even with the least amount of research and preparation. You all can easily set up some social media accounts by your own and start promoting your respective construction companies.

Framing photograph

Photographic records are always very worthy and useful for later reference and memories. So it’s a brilliant idea to click pictures with your client after successful completion of a project and frame them as records or post a copy on your company website for new potential customers to see them. You can even hand over such a photo frame to the client as a gift of honour with your company’s contact details printed on it. This act would definitely make them and others admire your work and contact you for their future requirements.

Marketing is not a very tough job but it definitely requires a lot of patience. If in case you fail in the first place, just keep trying until you find the best and appropriate technique that works for your business.

Benefits of Consulting a Construction Recruitment Agency

December 15, 2017

Construction

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The construction industry is considered as one of the most budding sectors in any economy. As, the construction sector contributes to the infrastructural development, which in turn contributes to the overall growth of an economy. Thus, people galore are now trying their luck in this respective sector, but not all of them are lucky enough to make it that big. Though the sector is wide and the opportunities are limitless, the competition is very high. In order to get an entry into the construction industry, you need to consult the right resource. This nowhere means that you need a favor or something; it simply means that you need to consult one of the reputed construction recruitment agencies.

It is not just the job seekers that can benefit from the construction recruitment firms; they are equally beneficial for employers. Confused? Allow this content to shed some light on the benefits of construction recruitment agencies for both aspiring professionals as well as employers.

Benefits for job seekers

Connect with the right circle

There is a plethora of recruitment agencies, but the one that deal in your niche can be counted on fingers. The point to ponder here is that the one specific to your domain connects you with the right people. It will not send you suggestions for any other domain; rather, will stick to your interest only. As, all it will be talking about is construction jobs.

They are for free

There is an idiom that says, ‘there’s no such thing as free lunch‘, but the respective recruitment agencies do offer you a free lunch. They allow you to post your resume and contact recruiter directly, and much more with no hidden cost at all. Generally they generate their commission from other companies who hire them for sending candidates.

Keeps you updates about the latest construction jobs

Which company is having how many vacancies and all such related news and updates are delivered at your end without any hassle. These updates help you in selecting a firm as per your skill set and requirements.

Benefits for employers

Completely refined list for your organization

As the agency deals in a particular domain only, you get resumes only of those who have the talent and aspiration to get a construction job.

Saves your efforts

The construction recruitment agencies bring your efforts to half, as they themselves take the preliminary round of interview of the candidates. They forward you a candidature only when they think it’s apt as per your requirements.

This was just a glimpse of the benefits that a construction recruitment company can offer both to the candidates and employers. There are a lot more advantages that are best experienced when you consult a professional agency in person.

3 Tips for Buying Commercial Real Estate Short Sales

December 15, 2017

Construction

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Commercial short sales, which work in much the same way as foreclosures, used to be a fairly unattractive prospect. While you could pick up a property fairly cheap, you would often then have to find somebody to help you fix it up and turn it into a commercial premises that could actually be used, which pushed the cost up.

However, the current property market has created a climate whereby banks and lenders are much more willing to work with potential buyers in an effort to get non-performing loans off their books and back in the hands of people who will be able to start paying them again. As such, with the proper research you should be able to pick up the property at less than the asking price at a short sale, assuming you follow these tips.

Know The Property

Don’t go into a short sale with no idea about what the property you’re interested in is all about. In many cases the bank won’t want to tell you exactly how much a property is worth, so look into its history and work with a professional who is able to identify the positives and negatives before giving you a figure for what they think it should be sold for.

Keep this figure in mind when trying to purchase the property and use the results of your research as a bargaining tool. You will find that lenders are much more willing to sell quickly if you make a reasonable offer that takes the issues the property has into account, plus you don’t place yourself at risk of offering too much in the first instance.

Have The Budget

It is important to remember that the lender that is trying to sell the commercial property has already been burnt at least once before by a previous owner, so they will be looking for somebody who is able to demonstrate that they can back up what they say. As such, you should have more than enough money in your account to show that you will be able to handle initial costs and the loan repayments for a substantial period of time.

Print off bank statements and make sure that the right people see them. Furthermore, try to offer the largest initial sum that you can. This will help you stand out against other buyers who are interested in the property, in addition to increasing the confidence levels that a lender has in you.

Patience Is Key

Don’t get frustrated if your initial efforts end up fruitless. Some lenders may be a little stubborn and won’t be willing to let properties for a price that you deem fair, instead preferring to see if they can find a better offer. Don’t be suckered into making that better offer yourself.

Instead, simply wait and see what happens and always keep your budget in mind. In many cases you will find that nobody else has offered to purchase the property, which makes it much easier to negotiate prices once you show your interest the second time around.

Top 5 Facts About Commercial Contractors

December 15, 2017

Construction

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Keeping pace with the globalization and modernization, the demand of commercial contractors is increasing day by day. A vast of majority of people are highly interested in hiring commercial contractors for the successful implementation of their projects. They want to get it done under the supervision of expert and experienced commercial contractors to give their constructions more strength and power to combat against various weather attacks like storm, rain, snowfall, hailstorm, and earthquake. The tendency of getting general contractors is increasing gradually. Under their supervision, you are sure to get the most modern construction that can stand you out from the crowd. They can create a different identity for you by providing you with cutting-edge solutions at the most competitive prices.

There are five important facts to explain well why people look for commercial contractors:

Sound Domain Knowledge

Their involvement in every construction-related matter has helped them acquire sound knowledge to make a project highly successful. They have a very good analytical power to analyze all necessary things and guide you righteously.

Very Good Management Skill

They gain a very good management skill in the course of time. It develops within them automatically with their active involvement, participation and execution of various commercial projects. Therefore, they become highly skilled in strategic planning. They can calculate your project cost perfectly and give you some basic guidelines and suggestions for making your project successful. They prepare a layout of the project with every necessary activity required at its various stages like planning, organizing, staffing, leading, controlling and executing.

Highly Skilled and Experienced in This Domain

As they are doing the same job and performing same activities repetitively for their various clients over the years, commercial contractors become highly skilled and experienced in this domain. Consequently, it becomes their area of specialization. This is why it is quite natural that the best decisions will come from them. This is one of the important reasons for motivating people to hire reputable commercial contractors.

Strong League with Realtors, Vendors and Suppliers

A long dealing with realtors, vendors and suppliers for meeting their clients’ need helps commercial contractors make a very good rapport with them. This helps any particular client receive some added benefits. The client can get a deduction by using the references of his commercial contractor.

Scientific Knowledge

There are some highly educated builders for offering a suggestion on structure and architecture of a building. They can give you a plan that is scientifically correct. A proper implementation of this plan will help the building combat well with various weather attacks. A well-planned structure ensures the durability of a house.