featured8 - Home Improvement – These are the 3 main cons of DIY
Construction DIY Improvement

Home Improvement – These are the 3 main cons of DIY

There is no dispute that opting for DIY when it comes to your home improvement projects has tremendous benefits. It’s however worth noting that if you do it wrong, it can end up being disastrous for you. In this article, we are going to highlight the 3 main cons of DIY when it comes to home improvement projects especially if they involve a lot of construction work.

1 It’s likely to be more expensive in the long run

The belief or rather assumption that engaging in DIY for your home improvement projects is a very good cost cutting  measure will only hold true if things go well, and in most occasions, they seldom do. The main reason professional contractors don’t come cheap is because they invested time, money and sweat in building their skills therefore they will charge you a premium for it. Assuming that you can simply go online, look at a tutorial and become a master in construction is a fallacy especially if you have no background in construction. What this means in summary is that you may opt for DIY but end up making a mess of the work and this will force you to bring in a professional to repair your errors and do the job how it was meant to be done in the first place, and this will ultimately cost you more.

2 It’s a very time consuming venture

Considering the fact that you have very little or no experience in the task you are about to engage in, you will need to set aside time to learn the skill itself as well as about the tools and material you will need for the job. This, plus the time it will take you to do the job itself factoring in all the errors before you finally get it right will take you triple or even quadruple the time it would have taken a professional to get it done. Therefore DIY is only practical if your project is not time sensitive.

3 The work will be of low standards

The reality is that as long as you haven’t had sufficient experience which has to be gained over time, the quality of work you are likely to produce will be nowhere close to the quality of work a professional will produce. In fact, you should be content with work that is of low standards during the period you are still a DIY novice. Before you make the decision on whether to engage in a DIY project, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons first. A word of advice would be for you to first start with smaller construction projects around your home as you slowly hone your skills before you take up larger home improvement projects.
featured7 - Home Improvement – These are the 4 main benefits of DIY
Construction DIY Improvement

Home Improvement – These are the 4 main benefits of DIY

It’s no secret that home improvement projects can at times get expensive especially if you factor in the costs of bringing a professional contractor on board. This is when most people realize the value of DIY. Being able to do the improvement work yourself especially if it doesn’t require any major construction work can be very beneficial to you. In this article, we are going to highlight the 4main benefits of DIY when you are engaged in your home improvement project.

1 It will tremendously bring down your costs

The costs of getting a professional contractor can be very high considering that they will bring in other sub-contractors and most of their costs will be factored in the bill they finally give you. In addition, different contractors have preferences on the material they use and most will often go for the high end material which will cost you more. However, if you decide to opt to DIY, you will tremendously cut down of these high labor costs and you also have the freedom to research on cheaper material that still provides the same utility value as the expensive material.

2 You will end up acquiring new skills

The beauty about the internet is that through it you can access many tutorials on how to DIY. Therefore the more you practice and the more you engage in such projects at home, you get better and better at it and this essentially means that you have acquired new skills which no doubt will come in handy at some point down the road.

3 You can acquire income generating skills

As we mentioned in our earlier point, the more you engage in DIY projects the more you become good at it and perfect your skills. You may end up being so good at it that you can use your newly acquired skills to earn an income by either working on other people’s home improvement projects or training them on how to do it.

4 You can get a good opportunity to network

Often when you are doing DIY projects during your home improvement, you will often have to handle everything from going to the hardware store to purchase the material and equipment, to visiting online forums as you seek to get more knowledge and ideas on how to execute your project. Such tasks will increase the number of people you interact with and this will help grow your network of both friends and professional acquaintances. With such benefits, why would you need a professional contractor? The main area to be cautious on however, will be whether the amount of improvement work you are about to engage in requires a permit from your local authority. [caption id="attachment_399" align="alignnone" width="900"]
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featured6 - 4 tips on how to resolve conflicts with your contractor
Construction Contractor Improvement

4 tips on how to resolve conflicts with your contractor

In any construction site conflicts will be inevitable. There could be conflicts between you and your contractor or between the contractor and his/her team. It’s therefore a good idea for you to prep on conflict resolution to ensure that when such issues emerge they don’t end up disrupting the work and the timelines therefore causing a delay in the project delivery. In this article we will share with you 4 tips on how to resolve conflicts with your contractor.

Tip 1: Ensure the issue is clearly defined

The very first part of resolving a conflict is being able to clearly define what the issue is. In many occasions, conflicts will usually escalate due to miscommunication between the parties involved in the conflict as they don’t take time to clearly understand what the issue is. It’s therefore very important to for the conflicting parties to lay down the facts so that the matter can be addressed.

Tip 2: Let a neutral party mediate

The only way conflicting parties can be willing to openly resolve their issues, is if the person mediating is neutral and there is no indication that they are likely to take sides. That why it’s very important to bring in a person who is perceived to be neutral by both parties to play the role of mediator. It’s only such a person who will be able to create a conducive environment for the resolution of the conflict because both parties will be willing to open up to them.

Tip 3: Only focus on the facts

During conflict resolution, you must ensure that people’s opinions are kept out of the discussion and it’s only the facts about the conflict that are discussed. This is because in many cases, conflicts tend to escalate because the conflicting parties put more focus on airing out their opinions as opposed to focusing on the facts.

Tip 4: Listen listen listen

During conflict resolution, the best way to ensure a win-win solution is by ensuring that the parties involved in the conflict feel as though they are being listened to. If they get the feeling that the mediator or the other party is not listening then they are likely to shut down and this is a sure guarantee that the conflict will not be resolved. The beauty about listening is that the parties may even discover that there’s no real reason why they should have been in conflict in the first place. If you put the above tips into your own context anytime you find yourself in a conflict situation with your contractor, you will realize that any emerging issues will always get sorted out very quickly.
pexels photo 280222 - Things to Consider Before Starting Home Improvements

Things to Consider Before Starting Home Improvements

When looking to spruce up the home, it stands to reason that we want to get started sooner rather than later. However, starting a project without preparing beforehand could mean that we face a series of dead ends when it comes to advancing a project. Different considerations will need to be made depending on the size of the project but considering the following factors will ensure that your home improvements are carried out in the right way. Will Home Improvement Hinder the Value? While certain elements of home improvement can be straightforward, we also need to ensure that we’re ensuring that bigger projects aren’t going to reduce the value of the property. An example of this can be the planning of an extension. It would be easy to assume that this would be a good way of raising the value of the property, but in some instances, it could be detrimental. This is especially true if the result simply looks bolted on. If you’re hiring the service of a professional, then it would be advisable to ensure that the work carried out will fit in the aesthetics of the property. A professional will only be too happy to offer some pointers if you’re unsure of what kind of aesthetic to choose. ` Know Your Budget Small renovations can soon lead into bigger things, which is fine if you have the budget in place. However, not having control of your budget could mean that you end up spending more than what’s available, and there a series of projects that remain unfinished as a result. Knowing how much you have to spend before beginning ay renovations ensures that you’re able to make informed decision as you go, rather than leaving it to chance. It also allows you an opportunity to get a better idea of what each aspect of home improvement will cost. Will You Require Permits? If you’re looking to carry out the home improvements yourself, then you will be required to check what permits are required. However, if you’re employing the services of a professional, then its often the case the permits will be taken care off. However, you shouldn’t simply assume this, and double check just to be on the safe side. It’s better to check beforehand than have to deal with the ramifications afterwards. How Will You Deal with Waste? Dealing with waste is important when it comes to home renovations, as is how its disposed of. Not adhering to the rules in either instance could result in a fine in the worst-case scenario. As such, it is of the utmost importance that you only use a professional service in relation to waste disposal. Regardless of whether you use a skip hire company in Falkirk and Stirling, or use a refuse collection service in London, you need to ensure the service you use has right credentials in place. Will There Be in Contracts in Place? Many can shrug off the importance of contracts, feeling that an oral contract is good enough. However, contracts give both parties a clear indication of what’s expected, and what work will be carried out for the fee paid. This is especially true if there are several contractors carrying out different tasks. Ensuring you have contracts in place ensures that you’re fully aware of where your money is going, and what to expect and the end of it all. Should you find that there are things that haven’t been completed as per the contract, you then have something to fall back on should you have to start legal proceedings. Make Sure There is Adequate Access for Contractors It may seem like an obvious thing to consider, but it’s easy to forget about the finer details when you are concentrating on the bigger ones. However, failing to ensure there is adequate access to the property could mean that the project comes to a grinding halt. If you’re unsure of whether this is adequate access, then it may be worth touching base with potential contractors first and advising them of your current situation. A professional will be experienced in what works best and will be able to advise as to whether your current layout poses a problem or not. Keep Neighbours Informed Getting planning permission when it's needed is essential, but even when its granted, we should be courteous and inform neighbours of any planned works. This ensures that you’re not met with a barrage of complaints. It also ensures that contractors are subjected to their frustrations, which could mean they have to keep halting work. It’s better to deal with any objections beforehand, rather than assume that the neighbours will be fine with work being carried out. Will Home Improvements Affect Your Everyday Life? Although we may have made allowances in relation to neighbours, costs and choosing the right contractors, but what about our own affairs. IN some instances, home improvements could have an impact on your everyday life, and there may be times when you must seek out other accommodation in the short-term. Factoring this beforehand means that you’re able to make plans for accommodation elsewhere should the work being carried out have an impact on your everyday life. Overall Many of us will have a plethora of ideas when it comes to home improvement, but it’s important that we approach projects in the right way. Taking the time to work out a budget and find out the finer details will save a lot of time later on and will ensure that there are no interruptions to the project being carried out.
workers construction site hardhats 38293 - Finding a good Building Firm

Finding a good Building Firm

Your home is your sanctuary, an area where you relax and rejuvenate after a busy day. Where building your home is concerned, it is vital to find the best local construction firm to hire for the project because it is a crucial investment. You should get a firm that understands your requirements and makes your vision come true. So, look for a suitable building firm carefully. The tips below will help you find the ideal building firm.

Know Your Requirements

What type and kind of home do you desire to build? How big is it and what style? What budget do you have in mind? Being aware of your needs is vital. The reason is that some building firms construct a wide variety of homes while others are specialists in a specific kind of house. What type of home do you intend to build? Are you a move up, first-time buyer, constructing your custom designed home or building a multimillion-dollar house? It is vital to select a builder who will cater to your requirements.

Experience is Essential

It is essential to know the firm’s experience, especially the team. Each building firm once constructed their first house. Although you might encounter a new firm, do not ignore them. Get to know whether the team is experienced in the construction field. Getting skilled professionals is vital.

Insurance and Licenses

Confirming whether permits are needed is vital for structures to be built in the county you reside in. The reason is that not each county has their own rules concerning building and planning permissions. But, if your county has them, it is vital to get a building firm that presents the appropriate licensing for constructing. Also, ask for verification about whether the firm has proper insurance in case of any loss or accident. The insurance should cover the building firm, you as a client and the building team. Warranties Your home is a significant investment, and it is necessary to get a firm that gives a warranty. Search for a company which offers a long-term warranty which can be transferred to a different owner also and includes a warranty for the third party. It means that in case the business closes, it is guaranteed that your problem is going to be solved. Besides, get a building firm whose service is fast and courteous. For example CDM-UK a construction firm based in Scotland, always offers clients a long term warranty before work commences. Lastly, request the building firm for referrals of previous clients. It will be an excellent resource for data to discover more about the contractor and whether the clients were happy. Ask the buyer whether the building firm is recommendable. You can consult your family and friends and also seek the opinion of a building inspector who will be aware of which contractors for home renovation meet code requirements.

Conduct interviews on Phone

Make a list of prospective building firms and call to make inquiries such as:
  • Do they work on projects of the size you want?
  • Can they offer financial references from banks or providers?
  • Will they be willing to offer you a list of past clients?
  • Are they working on other projects at the same period? If so, how many?
  • How long will the firm take to complete the project?
Answering these questions will enable you to know the firm’s reliability, availability and the level of attention they will provide your project and how smoothly they will work.  
construction 652292 1280 1210x642 - Choosing the Right Builder for Your Project

Choosing the Right Builder for Your Project

Regardless of whether we’re looking for a house extension, or have a more challenging project on the horizon, the meeting of deadlines and assurance of quality means we need to make sure that we’re choosing the right builder for our needs. We’ve probably all heard the horror stories associated with hiring the services of an incapable builder, and the stress it can cause when an inexperienced contractor has promised you one thing, only for you to be met with another. Fortunately, the majority of builders operate in a moral and ethical way, but this doesn’t mean we should choose the first builder that comes along. A little research ensures that you’re not going to be let down when it comes to your building project. Experience is Vital It stands to reason that the longer a company has been operating, the more experience it will have, and this is especially true for the construction industry. They are many facets associated with the world of construction, and while there may be some contractors who are experienced in one field, they may not be as experienced in another. This means that the costs associated with ay building work can pile up, as we’re having to use more than one professional for the work that needs to be undertaken. Using a construction company that has experience will ensure that you’re not only being given access to true professionals, but you will often find that the quotes are more cost-effective, as the work is being carried out by one company as opposed to several. Communication is Key When dancing which construction company is the best fit for you, you will often be able to determine a lot of by the initial contact. Is the company answering your questions? Have they had experience with type of work before? Are they able to complete the work in the allocated time? Although not every construction company will be able to meet your deadlines in every instance, a professional company will ensure that you’re made aware of this, and when you can realistically expect the job to be completed. If a construction company can’t give you the answers you need, then it be ay worthwhile looking elsewhere. Don’t Assume the Cheapest Quote is The Best It’s understandable that we don’t want to spend a small fortune when it comes to building work, but we need to be careful we’re not swayed by the price alone. Although some companies may offer a cheaper price than a more experienced company, you may find that there are some limitations with the service you use. For example, it could mean that inferior products are being used, which means you could end up paying for repairs in the future, or even having to hire the services of another professional to rectify the issue. Check for Reviews and Testimonials A company that has completed successful projects in the past should have little issue in providing you with reviews and testimonials. How these are presented can depend on the company. For example, some may have their testimonials on their website, whereas others may have reviews on Google My Business or Yelp. If a construction company seems a little coy about providing you with past testimonial, it’s advisable to search elsewhere for a professional. Check the Company Is Insured Nobody likes to think about the things that could go wrong when using the services of a construction company, but you need to ensure that you’re checking the credentials of the company you’re planning to use. Although many construction companies can offer customers a reliable service, there can be instances where something could go wrong. If the construction company is insured, then there’s little to worry about. However, if you’ve chosen a contractor who isn’t insured, then anything that goes wrong could be left for you to deal with, and often your own home insurance will not be able to cover such an occurrence. As you can imagine, this can be very costly, as not only will you need to pay to have any damages rectified, but also for the initial work to be carried out again. Ensure a Contract is In Place for Substantial Work There will be times when the work of a builder must go over budget, but a professional will keep you in the loop at all times and let you know what options are available. If you’re looking to have a lot of work carried out, then it can be useful to build up a contract with the construction company so both parties are fully aware of any obligations and costs. If a company is pushing you to hand over money with no clear quotation insight, then you need to refuse until clarity and confirmation have been offered. A professional construction company will have little issue in coming up with a contract that outlines the work that needs to be carried out as well as the cost agreed. Ensure Payment Dates are Agreed Following on from the creation of the contract, there may be phases during the work where payments need to be made. Agreeing with what phase of completed work payment should be made ensures that there are no misunderstandings later on. Although a construction company must understand a customer needs to ensure the capital is available, customers also need to understand that a majority of the money will be spent on materials, so regular payments may be vital for the project to move forward.    
featured5 - Construction - 5 Things you must consider before bringing in a professional
Construction Contractor Improvement

Construction – 5 Things you must consider before bringing in a professional

When you are planning to engage in any construction project that is geared towards home or office space improvement, there are a number of factors you must first consider before bringing in a professional. This is meant to ensure that as you bring in a contractor to run the project, you have covered all your bases and you have a clear picture of the deliverables you expect from them. In this article, we will look at the 5 things you must consider before bringing in a professional to handle your construction projects.

1 You have to do the math

What we mean by doing the math is that before you engage in any construction work aimed at making improvements to your home or office space, it must make financial sense. You don’t want to be making financial investments that will not give you any returns.

2 Set a scope for the work

One of the challenges many people face when they engage in construction work meant to make improvement on a space is that once they start, stopping becomes a problem because they keep noticing things that can be improved. It’s therefore important for you to be able to have some personal discipline by setting a scope for the job and sticking to it.

3 Have a realistic budget in place

Whether you are working on improvement of your home or office space, it’s very important for your budget to be realistic. It won’t make sense spending money on construction work, when the cost of this construction is higher than the value of the property. It’s your budget that will help guide you on whether you will be able to recoup your investment.

4 Ensure that you have an end goal

Anytime you are engaging in an improvement project whether it’s for your home or office space, you must always know what your end goal is. This is because any financial investments you make must have a return therefore any end goal you have must demonstrate how you will recoup your finances from such a project.

5 Be ready for the disruption to your life

If you bring in a contractor to do some construction work in your home or office, you must realize that for the duration of the project, you will not be able to make use of certain spaces in your office or home. This can be a very frustrating period therefore you must be prepared for such disruptions to your life. Once you have thought really hard and done the math and it makes sense, then you can go ahead and bring in a contractor.
featured4 - These are the top traits of a good contractor
Construction Contractor Improvement

These are the top traits of a good contractor

Before you engage any professional contractor for your home or office space improvement project it’s very crucial for you to do your due diligence because not all contractors are the same. It will therefore be in your best interest to be able to identify the kind of contractor who has a proven track record of quality work as this type of person will guarantee you success in your own project. In this article we are going to share with you the 4 top traits of a good professional contractor.

1 The contractor must have a good reputation

Generally speaking, a contractor’s reputation will be determined by the collective reviews of his/her past and present clients. This therefore means that any professional contractor you come across who has a good reputation is a reflection of the quality of their work. The same can be said for a contractor with a bad reputation as this is an indication that they will not give you a good job.

2 The contractor must have sufficient experience

Professionals will usually get better and better the more they get to practice their trade and this is especially true for contractors. This therefore means that a contractor with plenty of experience is more likely to produce for you a good job when compared with one with minimal experience because the former has gotten an opportunity to practice and hone their skills. It’s therefore a good idea for you to prioritize experience and ensure that it’s experience doing good work.

3 The contractor should be a very good listener

It’s common for contractors to have their own ideas and biases when it comes to how they do their work and in some cases, these biases may creep in as they are doing your work because they were not paying full attention as you were giving them instructions. As you are interviewing professional contractors, it’s always a good idea to ensure that they are good listeners as this will ensure that there’s minimal breakdown in communication between you and him/her during the course of doing your project.

4 The contractor should have integrity

It’s very important to work with a professional contractor who has the utmost respect for his/her profession and also respect for you as their client. This therefore requires the contractor to have a lot of integrity as it’s this quality that will ensure that they respect their end of the contract, they charge you fairly, and are always willing to own up to their mistakes and correct them. The best way to ensure that you end up with a contractor with these traits is focusing on your due diligence and most of this will entail getting reviews from their past and present clients.
featured3 - The 4 main benefits of working with a professional contractor
Construction Contractor Improvement

The 4 main benefits of working with a professional contractor

Before you engage in any major improvement project that will require construction work to be done whether it involves your home or office space, it’s very important that you consider getting a professional contractor to be in charge of the project. If you are wondering why, in this article we are going to share with you the 4 main benefits of working with a professional contractor.

1 Professional contractors will always have the necessary licenses

It’s important to know that most of the home improvement activities that you engage in especially those that involve a little bit of construction work require a license. Whereas this will mostly be dependent on the jurisdiction you’re in, licenses are usually necessary because such work has to be done by licensed professionals because of the potential hazards that come with the job. This means that working with a professional contractor ensures that you don’t find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

2 Professional contractors will always have insurance

As a rule in most jurisdictions, any laborer working on a construction site must have an insurance cover and is also entitled to workman’s benefits. Because your home or office space essentially is a construction site during the time improvement work is being done on it means it’s a legal requirement for the workers on your site to have insurance. The benefit of working with a professional contractor is that they will have this covered and every employee under them will be their responsibility therefore taking any liability from you.

3 Professional contractors are specialists

When you intend on doing any major improvement work on your home or office space, the main reason it’s in your best interest to hire a professional contractor is because they are specialists in the field and this means they have all the necessary knowledge and expertise to get the job done and ensure it’s a very high quality job.

4 Professional contractors will get the job done quicker

When working with a professional contractor, depending on the agreement you have with them on the timelines for the project, in most cases they will get the job done much quicker because they have a team they are working with in addition to their familiarity with such kinds of jobs. As long as the scope of the work and the timelines have been agreed, your project will be completed much faster. As a caution, not every contractor is the same therefore it’s always important for you to do the necessary due diligence in order for you to settle on a seasoned contractor with a proven track record of producing quality work.
featured2 - How to maximize on your small home Improvement budget
Construction Home Improvement

How to maximize on your small home Improvement budget

Home owners will often be put off from engaging in home improvement projects because it most of the time is a very expensive and cumbersome task. What if we told you that it doesn’t have to be so? You can actually be able to comfortably engage in your home improvement project with a very minimal budget. In this article, we will share with you 3 simple ideas on how to maximize on your small home improvement budget.

1 Start by first knowing what needs fixing

Before you engage in any home improvement activity in your home be it a large scale construction job or just some subtle improvements, you must be able to determine whether the task at hand is for utility or aesthetic value. As a rule of thumb, aesthetics must never come before utility. Therefore, you have to first thoroughly inspect your home so that you can ascertain what needs fixing. If you can focus on these, first, you are likely to stay on budget.

2 It doesn’t hurt to consult a professional

There are many creative ways you can get a professional to advise you on what needs improving in your home without having to spend much. For instance, with just about $100, it’s possible to get a realtor to give your home a quick look and later give you some ideas on things you can do to improve your home within the budget you have in place.

3 Invest in a good paint job

As far as home improvement is concerned, nothing gives a home a new and fresh appeal like a fresh coat of paint. As long as you don’t have major underlying repairs that are needed, home improvement can be as simple as a good paint job and you are good to go. All in all, when it comes to your home, the best way to keep your improvement costs down is always doing repairs the moment there’s a need and not waiting for the situation to get worse. It’s much cheaper to repair a 3 inch crack than it is to repair a 3 meter crack. [caption id="attachment_382" align="aligncenter" width="590"]
Image source: infographicsarchive.com
featured1 - 3 simple tips on how to increase the value of your home
Construction Home Improvement

3 simple tips on how to increase the value of your home

If your long term plan as a home owner is to eventually sell your property then, it’s a high time you started thinking of home improvement ideas that will help increase the value of your home. These ideas will often go beyond construction and may even involve just some subtle changes in your home’s exterior environment. In this article we are going to share with you 3 simple tips on how to increase the value of your home.

1 Make the house more efficient

Today, home owners are looking for homes that will cut their cost of maintenance therefore part of the improvement you can do is the construction of amenities that help make the home more efficient and less costly to maintain. Some of these amenities can be solar heaters, underground water storage tanks, water filtration systems, and biogas systems amongst others. This will help in the reduction of utility bills thus increase the value of your home.

2 Adopt low maintenance landscaping

Any home owner who has a lawn will fully understand how expensive it is to maintain one. The time, money and energy required to keep it looking beautiful can be a lot. It’s therefore a good idea to adopt a low maintenance landscaping and this can include replacing your lawn with a flower garden that has plants that are originally from the region. These will require very low maintenance thereby bringing down costs and essentially raising the value of your home.

3 Do some tree planting on your compound

Trees not only increase curb appeal but will also have added benefits such as ensuring you have a good environment in your home and also some much needed shade. This essentially will bring some tranquility to your home and this is something home owners will be willing to pay extra for because it’s very rare to find. These are very doable things and the beauty is the long term payout will be way higher than the investment cost.