Five Common Construction Mistakes to Avoid

While on one of my many trips to South Texas, I’ve had the honor of meeting some great business owners while on my visit. By joining these networking gathering functions you get to meet a lot of interesting people, and I remember meeting this one man named Mr. Sims, and he owned Southwest Appliance Repair San Antonio, and he began to explain his philosophy about how construction mistakes may seem minor at first but they end up necessitating costly property and appliance repair in San Antonio. On the other hand, avoiding common construction mistakes will lead to high quality, energy efficient and comfortable living spaces. Here are the major construction mistakes that you should avoid in your construction project.

 

Ductwork

If ductwork is run via an unconditioned space, it increases energy wastage. However, running ductwork via a conditioned space reduces the cooling and heating cost by up to 35%. It also reduces ductwork length since the locations of supply register become more flexible. Therefore, make sure that your ductwork is wrapped in conditioned spaces that have R-4 insulation.

Floor plan design

Some floor plans are designed without considering site orientation. This is a mistake because it hinders the property owner from benefiting from the natural conditions of the area. For instance, if a home is oriented in a way that enables it to take advantage of natural lighting during the day, it saves the homeowner money that would go into lighting and heating expenses. Therefore, make sure that your home is oriented in a way that enables it to benefit from natural lighting and solar heating during the day.


Building wrap

Many people put their building wrap up quickly without considering careful or tape installation. This is a serious mistake that can lead to mold and mildew growth, drafty floors and walls, as well as rotting window jams. To avoid this, follow the instructions of the manufacturer. Make sure that seams overlap at least six inches in shingle fashion to shed water. Additionally, use code-approved sheathing tape to make the bond weather tight.

 

HVAC

Many property owners and contractors use rule-of-thumb calculation to size their HVAC. This is wrong. Instead, use manual calculations that consider other construction processes or methods. Make sure that the system size is determined or calculated professionally.

 

Insulation

Many property owners and contractors make a mistake of installing the minimal insulation possible and as fast as possible. This is not right. Instead, follow the recommendations of the Department of Energy to determine the most appropriate insulation levels for your property. Additionally, follow the provided insulation guidelines to ensure that your property conserves more energy.  

To enhance the integrity of your property and make it a more comfortable living space, avoid these common construction mistakes. Ideally, talk to your contractor about them first and find out how they plan to avoid them.

Tips on How to Choose the Right Contractor to Build Your New Home

Here are tips to help you make an informed choice:

Start the Search for a Contractor Early

Don’t choose a contractor to build your home hurriedly. Instead, take time to consider different home builders. There are many contractors that purport to be the best in the home building industry. It’s important that you take time to learn about them first. Visit their websites to know what they claim to offer. Also look for reviews that other people have written after working with different contractors.

Ask Questions

If you know people that have hired contractors to build their homes, ask about their experiences with them. Find out if they were satisfied by the quality of the provided services. Also ask them if they can recommend the same contractors. It’s also important that you call different contractors and ask about their services. For instance, how many homes have a contractor built? How long will they take to build your home? How much will your home cost to build? Ask such questions to determine the capabilities of the contractor before you hire them.

Confirm Tentative Conclusions

A contractor can answer your questions in ways that create a positive impression. However, ask the contractor to provide actual examples to illustrate truth in the answers. Basically, tentative conclusions are important and they should guide you in making a hiring decision. Make sure that the contractor that you hire answers your questions satisfactorily.

Basically, choosing the right contractor is very important because the contractor will influence the results of your construction project. Follow these tips to choose the right contractor to build your new home with ease.

Useful Tips for Sustainable Construction

When building a new structure, you want it to be more energy efficient. You also want to play your role in reducing carbon emissions. Starting with raw materials production to actual building processes, the construction industry consumes a lot of energy. If you are not careful, your construction project can also have negative effects on the environment. That’s why you need tips for sustainable construction.

Although building controls and legislation guide contractors, they only cover must-haves. These may not be enough for environmentalists or contractors that are conscious about environment preservation. Here are useful tips to help you embark on a sustainable construction project.

Reduce Waste

Waste that you dispose of at the landfill is new to the environment. It’s therefore important that you reduce the waste that goes to the landfill. Estimate material quantities accurately. If you get waste from construction materials, look for the best ways to recycle it. You can even return the waste to the manufacturer or supplier.

Use Local Materials

If possible, use local materials to reduce carbon footprint at your site. That’s because you won’t have to transport materials long distances. Using local materials will also help you save the money that you would spend on transport. What’s more, some local materials are cheaper than imported materials.

Use Renewable Alternatives

Biomass boilers, solar panels and heap pumps are among the environmental friendly alternatives that you should consider. It’s also crucial that you conduct some research to find more sustainable alternatives.

Install Motion Sensors

These are very important in commercial buildings. They switch on automatically on noticing an activity in a living space. They also turn off when they notice that a space is empty. This means that you won’t waste energy in your space by leaving lights on when a room is empty.

Be Creative with Your Landscape

When landscaping outdoors especially when you want to let or sell your property, think about your choice carefully. Choose the most ideal plants for your climate and ground to avoid options that may require watering. Areas with lawn in commercial settings may not be necessary and if you have them you will incur extra costs and energy in their maintenance. Also opt for recycled alternatives for paths, walkways, and planters. You can also install innovative water collection features like water butts. What’s more, install energy efficient lights in your landscape.

Follow these tips to embark on sustainable construction to save energy and money in the long run.

A Guide for Home Construction

Architecture concept with drawing compass on blueprints.

A new home construction project is simply thrilling. Building a new home is among the most exciting opportunities that you can have in life. However, it’s also among the major investments that you will ever make in your life. As such, it’s important to ensure that you are making the right moves. Essentially, you should make the right decisions along the way.

Build or Buy a Home?

Many people are not sure whether to buy or build a home. But, the truth is that it all depends on several factors. Basically, not two properties, families or houses are the same. Different people have different wants and needs. There are also different time frames for addressing these issues as well as the location of the available land. So, consider these factors carefully when deciding whether to buy or build a home.

Finances

How much money do you have for the home construction project? Is it enough for the entire project or do you need a home construction loan? A home construction loan can finance the building of a home. However, you should consider factors like the associated interest on the loan and your ability to repay it. Nevertheless, if you can repay a construction loan and you don’t have the money required for the entire home construction project, go for it.

Hire the Right Contractor

It’s important that you hire the best contractor available. That’s because the contractor that you hire will influence the final look of your home. Here is a checklist to help you hire the right contractor:

  • Use online resources to find a contractor
  • Get quotes from different contractors and compare them
  • Check the records of different contractors
  • Confirm the licenses of the contractor
  • Get a written contract from your chosen contractor

Complete the Paperwork

Once you have chosen a contractor, get a plan for your dream home. With the help of the contractor, take care of the building approvals and permits. Sign a written contract with your contractor. Be extra keen to ensure that you are getting exactly what you want by reading the contract carefully.

Ensure that Home Construction Procedures are followed

Building a home is a process with several construction stages. Make sure that the contractor follows them.

These stages are as follows:

  • Laying the home’s foundation
  • Putting up frames
  • Giving the building its shape
  • Installation of internal fixtures
  • Giving the building finishing touches

Inspection

Once the contractor is done building your new home, hire an independent inspector to check it out. This will enable you to make sure that there are no loose ends. Ensure that everything in the inspection checklist has been ticked.

And that’s all!  Now you are ready to move into your new home!

Tips on How to Manage a Construction Project Successfully

Tips on How to Manage a Construction Project Successfully

Managing a construction project may seem easy at first. You might think that construction follows the traditional 5 phases of managing any project. However, construction project’s management is diverse. It incorporates extensive construction industry’s knowledge. The industry is complicated and unique. What’s more, you have to keep in touch with the suppliers, contractors and the architect while sticking to the budget and schedule. You must also utilize effective tools and implement the right strategies to keep work streamlined. Nevertheless, you can handle all these and make the construction project successful.

Maintain smooth and clear communication

Smooth and clear communication ensures that information is synchronized. This ensures that every involved stakeholder is updated on schedules, budgets, and changes. Therefore, use a collaborative work management tool to ensure that involved stakeholders are updated on a real-time basis.

Plan continuously

Plan your construction project before you start actual construction. However, you can revise and develop the plan throughout the project. Each design, procurement, and pre-construction state of any construction project requires careful and extensive planning. Nevertheless, always remember that even a slight adjustment can affect the overall timeline and plan positively.

Be observant and ask questions

Involve yourself in the construction project. Work figuratively and alongside others. Always remember that your project will be more successful if you pay attention and ensure an integrated approach. Therefore, familiarize with the building site as well as the duties of the involved professionals. Also remember that the construction industry keeps evolving. Therefore, know the latest equipment, advancements, and practices in the industry as well as how they can benefit your current project.

Monitor budgets carefully

Monitor your construction budget carefully. From the bidding process to closeout, make sure that you monitor all costs carefully. Ideally, establish an accounting department to manage your invoices. Additionally, work with accountants to make sure that indirect and direct costs are accounted for.

Use an automated reporting system

You may not have enough time to respond to all messages from the professionals on the ground. So, implement an automated reporting system. This will enable you to distribute and receive status reports on varied aspects of the project. Automated reporting will enable you to get accurate reports and focus on important aspects of the project with ease.

If you are planning to start a construction project, follow these tips to ensure its successful management.

Common Construction Contract Problems

Before you hire a contractor, you need to enter an agreement. This agreement is a contract that cushions you against the losses that you may incur if the contractor fails to do what is expected of them. Nevertheless, there are common construction contract problems that you should be wary of.

These include:

Lack of proper understanding

One of the major problems of construction contracts is lack of proper understanding. Many parties in a contract do not understand what they are expected to do. In some cases, one or two parties in a contract do not know the terms of their contract as well as their obligations. Therefore, they end up with issues when one party fails to do what is expected of them.

False feeling of security

On entering a standard contract, many people get a false feeling that they are secure. They assume that they will receive fair treatment from the other party. But this is not what happens all the time. In fact, every contract is slanted in a way that favors a single party. Usually, a contract favors the person that creates it. As such, it is important to have a construction contract drafted by an experienced, reputable construction attorney.

Modifications

Perhaps, this is one of the major problems of construction contracts. A person that is not familiar with contracts for construction projects can decide to modify a contract. This becomes a serious problem because a single modification can affect other clauses in a contract. In some cases, people try to modify construction contracts to substitute a specific language with vague or general language that takes away the power of a contract or gives it more powers.

Generally, these are the most common construction contract problems that you should watch out for when signing an agreement with a contractor. If you need help to understand the contract, talk to a reputable attorney before you append your signature on it.

Top Issues that Face the Construction Industry

Although players in the construction industry remain optimistic, there are issues that face the construction industry making operations challenging.

They include the following:

Modern technology adoption

The construction industry has been transformed by technology. Any contractor that cannot keep up with the latest technology is kicked out of business. This is a challenge for some contractors and workers that can’t use innovative technologies to handle projects of their clients effectively. Technologies that modern contractors must adapt include integrated collaboration, mobile project management, and use of cloud-based software. Contractors must implement new technologies strategically to avoid upsetting veteran employees that operate in traditional ways. They should also implement these technologies steadily to reap their full benefits with minimal challenges.

Shortage of qualified workers  

Many contractors are facing challenges when it comes to finding qualified professionals or workers. That’s because the construction industry is growing and there are no qualified workers to fill the increasing positions. Thus, misalignment between the number of professional workers that are currently available and the available jobs continues to be an issue. Nevertheless, contractors are trying to address this issue by investing in employees’ training, increasing workers payments and benefits.

Environmental sustainability

Combating the adverse effect of the construction industry on the environment remains an issue. That’s because the industry produces up to 40% of carbon emissions globally. Therefore, the industry needs to make changes in operations to avoid a negative public attitude. These changes require a completely different approach to project management and focusing on reducing water consumption and carbon emissions.

Generational differences

More millennials are entering the construction job force. These are very different in terms of skills and work ethics from the older generations. Differences in opinions may therefore cause conflicts in the workforce.

Complexity of construction projects

Modern designs are making construction projects complex and demanding. These pose a challenge to the already scarce workforce. Therefore, contractors are becoming more selective when choosing construction projects.

As a contractor, you should know issues that face the construction industry and prepare to overcome them. That’s the only way you will remain competitive and survive in this industry.

Common Construction Defects to Watch Out For

Some of the most common construction defects occur when contractors or developers try to save money. However, professional contractors and developers know the importance of building good houses. After all, their reputation is largely dependent on the integrity of the properties that they build. As such, they never put their reputation at risk by building defective properties.

Here are the most common caveats for new constructions:

Exhaust or ventilation problems

This issue is very common in both individual apartments and public buildings. In most cases, a proper ventilation system does not exist. In others, the system exists but it does not function properly. In high-rise properties, this defect causes a stack effect. That’s where the buildings are sealed from the exterior and whenever heating systems are used, hot air rises via the hallways to create negative pressure. This pulls odors from different apartments especially on the lower floors.

Window leaks

Window leak problems are caused by faulty installations. To avoid this problem, it’s important to have windows installed by professionals. Modern windows have details that make their installation complex. Additionally, windows should be maintained regularly, at least once per year, to prevent leaks and drafts development. After construction, windows should be vacuumed thoroughly to remove debris that may have settled in them.

Façade leaks

Many construction defects involve complex curtain systems with sleek looks and many component pieces. With improper installation or if some of their parts are defective, there will be a serious problem due to water infiltration. In some cases, this issue is not easy to identify and fix. It’s therefore important to ensure that the installation or repair job is done by an experienced professional.

Wooden floor problems

Natural wood tends to contract and expand over time. Wooden flooring should be acclimated to the site of a building before installation. If you install a wooden floor when damp, small gaps will develop. Therefore, make sure that your wooden flooring is installed by an expert that knows how the job should be done to avoid this defect.

Fire-stopping problems

Majority of the new constructions have localized problems due to insufficient fire-stopping seals around conduits, ducts, and pipes that go via the fireproof walls and floors. Watch out for this defect before you start to reside in your new home.

To avoid the negative effects these and other common construction defects, make sure that your property is built by experienced, reputable professionals. Also have your property inspected thoroughly before you move in.

Don’t forget to give a helping hand for our fellow victims in Texas and Florida due to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma by visiting the National Association of Home Builders website at https://www.nahb.org/

Common myths about the construction industry

Today’s construction industry is well trained, very competent and well regulated. However, as with most professional fields, there are various myths and misconceptions when it comes to construction as well. Those myths have hurt the industry forcing some talented individuals to look for work elsewhere for the feeling that they may not be fit for the available jobs. These myths need to be addressed to keep the industry healthy. Here are the five common myths about the construction sector and workers.

Myth 1: Anyone can get a job in the construction industry

It is rare to find a construction worker without a qualified trade under their belt. Most construction jobs require skills and talents which don’t just come naturally. Construction industries mostly send, host or pay for their employees to receive continual training. The employees go to learn how to use the latest development tools, methods, and technology in the market as well as the OSHA safety standards. Those in the upper positions, it is necessary to have technical training and at least a degree. The implication of this is that people without skills and experience can have a problem working in the construction industry.

Myth 2: Working in construction is dangerous

It is true that working in the construction industry can be hazardous, but the emphasis on current safety standards and regulations has made construction industry a better place. According to statics, the number of fatal injuries in this industry has been decreasing since 2006. Most construction companies invest a lot in risk assessment and the establishment of control measures. The industry also has high personal protective equipment that helps in keeping the workers safe.

Myth 3: Construction is only for people who can’t get other jobs

It is a big myth that is also insulting. The fact is that most construction professionals are doing what they want to do because they chose it as a career. Construction workers employed in industries work for regular working hours from Monday to Friday, and holidays off. They also get compensation for overtime. Moreover, they get the gratification of building something with their hands.

Myth 4: Construction is a simple field comprised of people slinging tools

A building process begins long before a construction worker arrives on the work site with the tools. The current construction industry is broad and comprises many aspects of the society including planners, economists, engineers and communicators. Construction industry requires the ability to “think outside the box” and solve problems that arise which is not common in other professions.

Myth 5: Construction is a dead-end job, and there is no way to become successful

Construction workers can grow and be successful in the construction industry. Construction is a multibillion-dollar industry which is only expanding and not showing signs of slowing down soon. The industry has many workers who earn very lucrative dollars for their effort in the industry. The employees also have the privilege of learning more and gaining skills to move up in the hierarchy and earn a decent living.