Tips for New Residential Construction

The process to entitle lots can take more than five years and is expensive. The cost of parcel maps for five lots or less is $100,000. Tract maps for more than five lots can cost more than $500,000. The number of lots and the potential size are determined by biology, health-department regulations, slope, and the zoning and general plan. Included in the cost are engineering, processing, and regulatory fees and various reports and studies.

Reports and studies include conditions of approval costs, storm-water treatment, anthropology and archeology, soils, biology, noise, and traffic. When a map is approved and recorded, there are additional fees that include, but are not limited to the following:

• Potential greenhouse gas studies

• Retention and drainage basins

• On- and off-site mitigation land

• School fees

• Parks and recreation fees

• Physical secondary access

• Fire fees

• Annual bonding fees.

Politics comes into play when obtaining the required approvals from county boards, city councils, and planning commissions. The level of public opposition or support affects hearings completion. They can be completed in as little as four months, or take years and cost over a million dollars. Property owners have three courses of action to take into consideration.

1. Entitlement and sale of the property ‘as is’ – This option brings the lowest price, but costs the least and requires the shortest time for property disposal. Under rare circumstances, the land is worth more when it is unentitled.

2. Enter into a long-term agreement – The agreement is made with a home builder who incurs the expenses of processing a tract map. This option is the most utilized. The process could take up to five years. The buyer is required to release nonrefundable deposits periodically to the seller after approving their contingencies. Escrow closing typically occurs after tentative or final map approval.

3. The owner incurs the entitlement costs – Much of the process is like option two. The difference is the owner has full control of the mapping process and bears all expenses.

The ramifications of each choice should be weighed carefully before making a decision. Owners, who have chosen not to seek advice, have made the decision to process a map and found out later the number of lots was not financially feasible. A competent engineer can determine the optimal number of lots that can be obtained and approved. Smart growth design principals call for buildings with a variety of materials, texture, and color and individuality; well-defined open space; a building and street relationship; mixed uses; and high-density development. Contractors, who specialize in residential subdivisions, can give realistic cost estimations.

The process of entitling residential property to higher densities is costly, complex, and cumbersome. Many factors must be taken into consideration. The leading concerns that communities have about increased density are the quality of life and increased costs.

There is a need for new affordable housing to reduce recent overpayment and overcrowding. There is also a need for high-density housing that supports economic recovery, accommodates new workers and their loved ones, and economizes the costs of infrastructure. It is quite a balancing act. Open spaces need to be conserved and the distance between new jobs and new homes reduced.

Tips for Managing Construction Cleanup and Debris

Construction sites generate a lot of debris and waste, most of which is hazardous to human health. Some of this waste is generated directly as a result of construction activities while others are created indirectly. The non-hazardous waste materials on construction sites can range from bricks, rubble, wood, concrete, insulation and wiring waste, nails and rebar, etc. The hazardous waste often consists of lead, asbestos, plasterboard, etc. While construction site clean-up can be done meticulously, materials such as plasterboard release toxic gases, such as hydrogen sulfide, when they are broken down in landfills.

The non-hazardous construction site debris also poses a problem for construction site clean-up because of the lack of space for their disposal. Landfills are filling up at a very fast rate and many are closing down because of reaching their full capacity. It is important to manage and control wastage in order to make construction site clean-up easier for all concerned. There are many ways in which you can do this, which include recycling and reusing.

Recycling construction site debris can help reduce landfill waste. Some of the waste that can be recycled are aluminium, wood, concrete, corrugated cardboard, asphalt, and specific metals. Cleaning up in a recycling project takes place at the job site by segregating the waste according to specific categories such as concrete, metal, or wood, and sending them to the recycling site. Sometimes, recycling can be done on the site of the construction itself. There are instances where all the wastes with recycling potential is collected from the site and segregated later at the recycling facility.

An important way to clean up construction site debris is by reusing them, especially materials left over from a demolition project, such as door frames, doors, window frames, fixtures, etc. Before clean-up itself, these materials must be identified so as not to be disposed of by mistake.

There are different protocols for cleaning up different types of debris on a construction site. To start with, debris can be categorized into some broad areas, which are solid wastes, hazardous wastes, petroleum products, pesticides and fertilizers, detergents, etc. It is important that all employees are aware of best practices for waste management on site and adhere to these.

Areas and containers used for storage must be inspected for any leaks, spills, or other malfunctions. Workers must be properly trained in handling and disposal and must be aware of how to protect themselves when doing so.

When cleaning up different types of waste, it is important to know what to do and what not to do. For example, when cleaning up solid wastes, it must not be dumped where it can drain away to a water body or where there will be runoff from areas at a higher altitude. Hazardous materials are best disposed of with the label on them intact, and following manufacturer’s instructions. The same applies for petroleum and pesticides and fertilizers. Detergents should not be dumped into the system for storm drainage but to a sanitary sewer. Keeping these points in mind can help to successfully manage construction site cleanup optimally.

Interior Post Construction Cleanup Tips

There is nothing worse than bringing contractors in to do a construction project only to find that once they have finished the job, they have left their mess behind. Construction site cleanup is part of the construction industry and it can be a messy job, but someone has to do it. You can make your life easier by cleaning as you go for starters, and that should help reduce the burden of the final cleanup to a degree. While it’s impossible to cover every aspect of a proper construction cleaning project, a good place to start would be to remove trash and debris on a daily basis, particularly wood and paint particles which can pose as dangerous fire hazards.

There are plenty of construction companies that might make use of a separate contractor to do the cleanup for them since it can save a lot of time and money by bringing in specialists (dependent on the size of the job). It is always wise to do a walk-through prior to the start of cleanup for the supervisor to find out exactly what the construction manager’s expectations are with regard to cleanup. This will also help to prevent a poor final product (when the project is completed).

So, what does construction site cleanup really entail? In general, any scuffs, hand and finger smudges, dust and dirt need to be wiped down off the walls and the same goes for trim, baseboards, windows, door frames and handrails. The ceilings will also need a good dust and the removal of any cobwebs that have sprung up. Doors need to be cleaned down- which may include the front, back, sides and the top, and don’t forget about the hinges. Any masonry will need to be vacuumed and cleaned as instructed. All of the carpeting throughout the project will need to be vacuumed as well. Wood, tile or marble should be buffed, waxed and sealed. You will need to clean the tracks, frames and glass on windows. Be sure to clean any of the light fixtures and ceiling fans dust tends to accumulate. Wall & ceiling vents, and floor vents will also be need to vacuumed, and in the case of floor vents they will need to be removed so that you can vacuum as deep as the attachments will allow. Electrical outlets and switches need cleaned since may they gather dust and hand smudges. That is just the basic cleaning inside, it doesn’t encompass the specific cleaning required in a bathroom, kitchen or the entry way. Not to mention any mirrors and cabinets throughout the house, as well as removing any of the manufacturer’s stickers that are not required.

On the topic of manufacturers, you should not forget the importance of which cleaning chemicals should and shouldn’t be used. Only cleaning products recommended by the manufacturer should be used, as the wrong chemical can cause irreparable damage and will set your project back as you have to replace any damaged items, especially things of delicate stonework like marble, granite and quartz. It is very likely that you will be unable to do all of the cleanup yourself, depending on the type of project its likely you will need to call in the professionals to finish off your flooring as it will require sealing and waxing. Now that the inside is taken care of you can begin focusing on cleaning up the outside.

Commercial Construction Tips – Facts About Construction Projects

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.

5 Handy Commercial Construction Tips

You might have been put in charge of a commercial construction project recently, and though you appreciate your boss’s stamp of approval on the work you are capable of doing, you might not know all of the components that go into the project. Here are some handy tips to keep in mind as the project progresses.

1. Start by hiring a good general contractor and then put together a practical budget for your project. This budget will need to be presented to the project owner, aka your boss or maybe even someone higher up than that, for approval. Be sure it is comprehensive. Your boss will want to know just how feasible the project is when he or she presents it to the board for approval. That budget will also be what the finance team will use to obtain financing for the project. If the budget indicates that the project location needs to be moved or that something needs to be scaled back, now is the time to make those changes.

2. Your boss or the board of directors might have one vision of what they want to see, but it might not actually be practicable. The project owner should be a part of the planning process so he or she is comfortable with the changes that are made. Also, while you are in the planning process, be sure you bring in all of the stakeholders including those who will be using the building when it’s all complete.

3. Once you have the plan in place, it’s time to set up the schedule. If your project owner wants a specific date to open the building included, that should be the place to start and then work the schedule back from that date. Be sure to build in a buffer along the way to compensate for any delays that might happen. Actually, make that will happen. The unexpected is always to be expected. With a schedule in place, your general contractor can keep you appraised of the progress, and also let you know about any delays that were encountered.

4. Don’t be afraid to work within your own limitations. It’s OK to admit what you don’t know, and when it comes to construction, relying on your experts to guide you is not only okay, but a good idea. Your contractor will also know what will be needed in terms of how to best keep you up to date on the project’s progress.

5. Communicate, communicate, communicate. There is no such thing as too much communication. Your contractor will need to provide you with regular updates, and you will need to ask key questions to make sure you and your contractor are staying on task. Open communication reduces problems and generally catches them at a point where they are more easily solved. New apps available particularly for Apple products are great communication resources. From the bid process with SmartBidNet to portable CAD apps that let you do quick drawings on site and send them to anyone by e-mail, apps can help everyone stay on target.

These five tips are some of the main ones that will help you be successful. You can also check out some of our other posts for more information about commercial construction. Happy building!