Make sure to keep yourself covered, if you do employ these money saving tips as suggested in the video above. And by covered I mean, employ yourself and independent building inspector to carry out a certified building inspection report, so that when the time comes to sell you property, your buyer will have the peace of mind knowing that even though you employed some cost saving methods to construct your home, you didn’t cut corners when it came to doing things properly.
The way a building inspector can help you to save money in the long run, is to inspect any work done by contractors or owner builders, who to the untrained eye may have done things incorrectly in order to save themselves some money on materials or processes.
If you are in the Melbourne area, then New Building Inspectors, are your first choice for a qualified builder to provide you with an independent building inspections report.
And once the house is complete you are going to want to celebrate. After all that blood sweat and tears, the new house is now ready to be enjoyed and what better way to do that than to entertain your friends and family.
After the hard work that everyone has contributed to the project it is only fitting that they get to join in on the celebrations too. You can invite the builders, bricklayers, landscapers, interior decorators – in fact invite anyone who has put in their best effort to make your new home the best it could be. You never know when you are going to want to have them come back and do some more work or fix up any mistakes that may eventuate after the warrranty period may be over. If you have returned kind with kind, you will be in a better negotiation spot to get them back to do the work for little or no cost to you.
Make sure you take all the hard work out of the event and hire a quality catering company to handle the food preparation and service of the guests. You know you don’t save much money by trying to do this yourself and it just adds to the enjoyment level when someone else is responsible for the cooking and looking after the mess once the party is over. Companies that can handle corporate events and cocktail parties, such as Chilterns Catering are the people you need to call first.
So whatever you decide to do, just make sure that everyone has a good time at your house warming party.
In keeping with most districts of healthcare, the marketplace has seen a boom in the construction of Behavioral Healthcare facilities. Contributing to this increase is the paradigm shift in the way society views mental illness. Society is placing a heavier value on the need to treat people with serious addictions such as alcohol, prescription and elicit drugs. A large percentage of people suffering from behavioral disorders are afflicted with both mental and addictive behaviors, and most will re-enter communities and either become contributors or violators.
These very specialized facilities do not typically yield the attention from today’s top healthcare designers and their quantity accounts for a small fraction of healthcare construction. However, Behavioral Healthcare projects are increasing in number and are being designed by some very prominent architectural firms such as Cannon Design and Architecture Plus. Many are creating state-of-the-art, award-winning contemporary facilities that defy what most of us believe Behavioral Healthcare design to be.
Changing the Way We Design Behavioral Healthcare Facilities
As with all good planners and designers, A+D (along with facility experts) are reviewing the direct needs of patient and staff while reflecting on how new medicine and modern design can foster patient healing rates, reduce environmental stress, and increase safety. This is changing the face of treatment and outcome by giving the practitioner more time to treat because they require less time and resources to “manage” disruptive patient populations.
The face of Behavioral Healthcare is quickly changing. No longer are these facilities designed to warehouse patients indefinitely. And society’s expectations have changed. Patients are often treated with the belief that they can return to their community and be a contributor to society. According to the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS), depending on the severity of illness, the average length of stay in a Behavioral Healthcare facility is only 9.6 days.
What has changed?
Jaques Laurence Black, AIA, president and principal of New York City-based daSILVA Architects, states that there are two primary reasons for the shortened admission period:
1. Introduction of modern psychotropic drugs that greatly speed recovery
2. Pressures from insurance companies to get patients out of expensive modes of care
To meet these challenges, healthcare professionals are finding it very difficult to effectively treat patients within the walls of antiquated, rapidly deteriorating mental facilities. A great percentage of these facilities were built between 1908 and 1928 and were designed for psychiatric needs that were principled in the belief to “store” not to “rehabilitate.”
Also impacting the need for Behavioral Healthcare construction is the reluctance of acute-care facilities to provide mental health level services for psychiatric or addiction patients. They recognize that patient groups suffering from behavioral disorders have unique health needs, all of which need to be handled and treated only by very experienced healthcare professionals. This patient population also requires a heightened level of security. Self-harm and injuring staff and other patients are major concerns.
The Report of the Surgeon General: “Epidemiology of Mental Illness” also reports that within a given year about 20% of Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder and 5.4% suffer from a serious mental illness (SMI ) – defined as bipolar, panic, obsessive-compulsive, personality, and depression disorders and schizophrenia. It is also believed 6% of Americans suffer from addiction disorders, a statistic that is separate from individuals who suffer from both mental and addiction disorders. Within a given year it is believed that over one-quarter of America’s population warrants levels of mental clinical care. Even if these statistics were cut in half, it cannot be denied as a serious societal issue.
With a growing population, effectively designing in accordance with such measures is at the heart of public health.
Understanding the Complexity of Behavioral Healthcare Design
Therefore, like Corrections, leading planners and designers specializing in Behavioral Healthcare are delving deeper to better understand the complexity of issues and to be the activist to design facilities that promote treatment and healing – and a safer community.
The following is a list of key design variables that are being studied and implemented:
1. Right Sizing
2. Humanizing Materials and Color
3. Staff-Focused Amenities and Happiness
4. Security and Safety
5. Therapeutic Design Tenants
Today’s Behavioral Healthcare facilities are often one-story single buildings within a campus size. Often debated by Clients due to costs, this design preference is driven by the demand for natural light, window views to nature for all patient areas, and outdoor open-air gardens “wrapped” within. All of this provides soothing qualities to the patient, reduces their anxieties, counteracts disruptive conduct and helps to reduce staff stress.
“When you look at the program mix in these buildings, there’s a high demand for perimeter because there are a lot of rooms that need natural light. Offices, classrooms, dining areas, community rooms, and patient rooms all demand natural light, so you end up with a tremendous amount of exterior wall, and it forces the building to have a very large footprint.” – James Kent Muirhead, AIA, associate principal at Cannon Design in Baltimore
These design principles are also believed to improve staff work conditions. Unlike a multi-story complex, at any moment staff can walk outdoors and access nature, free from visual barriers, and within a building that more accurately reflects building types that both patients and staff would encounter in their communities.
In addition to right-sizing for the overall building footprint, is right-sizing for internal patient and staff support area. Similar to the move we have seen in Corrections to de-centralize support spaces, Behavioral Healthcare is moving to decentralized nursing/patient units called “neighborhoods.” With mental health facilities there is a large concern with distances and space adjacencies in relation to the patient room and patient support areas such as treatment and social spaces. Frank Pitts, AIA, FACHA, OAA president of Architecture Plus, Troy, NY, advocates neighborhoods that average 24-30 beds arranged in sub-clusters, called “houses”, of 8-10 beds. Thus, each neighborhood consists of three houses. Often these layouts will include a common area where patients congregate and socialize, with a separate quiet room so patients can elect to avoid active, crowded areas. In addition Pitts states, “There’s a move away from central dining facilities. So, while facilities will still have a central kitchen, it’s a whole lot easier moving food than it is patients.” However, it is important for the facility to mimic normal outside daily life routines, so patients are encouraged to frequently leave their neighborhoods to attend treatment sessions, and outdoor courtyards.
Humanizing Materials & Color
In all facilities that play a role in rehabilitation, design strives to create spaces that humanize, calm, and relax. Behavioral Healthcare patients need to feel that they are in familiar surroundings; therefore, the architectural vocabulary should feel comfortable and normal. Since these facilities are about rehabilitation (when possible) and encouraging patients to merge back into society, the facility should feel like an extension of the community. Their spaces should reflect the nature and architecture of the surrounding region and thus so, no two facilities should look too much alike.
“Our approach to designing these facilities is to view the facility as an extension of the community where patients will end up when they’re released. Interior finishes also depend on geography because you want to replicate the environment patients are used to. You want to de-stigmatize the facility as much as possible.” – Tim Rommel, AIA, ACHA, OAA, principal with Cannon Design in Buffalo, NY.
Therefore, materials and colors within these spaces want to feel familiar to one’s region and everyday life. To soothe the psyche and rehabilitate, they want to feel soft and comfortable, yet visually stimulating. An interior that is overly neutral or hard in appearance is not appropriate. Materials should reduce noise, and colors should lift the spirit. This can help to create an environment in which the patient can learn, socialize, and be productive while easing anxieties, delivering dignity, and modifying behavior. As stated previously, behavioral studies advise the use of softer interior materials-like carpeting, wood doors and tile. Doing so translates directly to both patient and staff well-being, particularly staff safety, and makes for a nicer place to work. In addition, staff have more resources to “treat” instead of manage heated situations. When staff experiences are eased and satisfied, morale is boosted and life-saving rules and policies are more likely to be enforced.
Staff-Focused Amenities & Happiness
While reducing staff stress and fatigue through a healing supportive environment seems like an obvious goal, there are relatively few studies that have dealt with this issue in any detail. More attention has been given to patient outcomes. However, many leading hospitals that have adopted therapeutic tenants into their newly built environments have seen vast improvement through their “business matrixes” and financial reporting.
In one example, the Mayo Clinic, a national leader in implementing healing design in its facilities, has reported a reduction of nursing turnover from a national annual average of 20% to an annual 3%-4%. In another example, when Bronson Methodist Hospital incorporated evidence-based design into its new 343-bed hospital, they cited their 19%-20% nurse turnover rate dramatically dropped to 5%.
Now, both the Mayo Clinic and Bronson Methodist Hospital have had to initiate a waiting list for nursing staff seeking positions. This converts to better-trained and qualified staff, and a reduced error rate. Therefore, more health facilities are investing in staff support areas such as lounges, changing rooms, and temporary sleep rooms. Within these staff spaces and in the hospital throughout, facilities are also recognizing the need for upgrade materials, better day lighting, and an interesting use of color: One soon realizes that the need of patients and staff are interwoven, each impacting positively or negatively the other.
Security & Safety
Without debate, self harm and harm to staff is one of the biggest concerns mental health facilities manage. Often the biggest safety and security concern is the damage patients can do to themselves. “There are three rules I had drummed in me,” says Mark Hanchar; Director of Preconstruction Services for Gilbane Building Company, Providence, R.I. “First, there can’t be any way for people to hang themselves. Second, there can be no way for them to create weapons. Third, you must eliminate things that can be thrown.” Hanchar says that the typical facility is, “a hospital with medium-security prison construction.” This means shatter proof glass, solid surface countertops (laminate can be peeled apart), stainless steel toilets and sinks (porcelain can shatter), push pull door latches and furniture that cannot be pulled apart and used as a weapon. These are just to name a few.
Additionally, removing barriers between patients and nursing staff is a safety consideration. Frank Pitts, AIA, FACHA, OAA president of Architecture Plus, says what may be counter-intuitive for safety precautions, “Glass walls around nursing stations just aggravate the patients.” Removing glass or lowering it at nursing stations so patients can feel a more human connection to nurses often calms patients. There is also discussion of removing nursing stations altogether; decentralizing and placing these care needs directly into the clinical neighborhoods and community spaces. Pitt says, “The view is that [nursing staff] need to be out there treating their patients.”
Therapeutic Design Tenants
As medicine is increasingly moving towards “evidence-based” medicine, where clinical choices are informed by research, healthcare design is increasingly guided by research linking the physical environment directly to patient and staff outcomes. Research teams from Texas A&M and Georgia Tech sifted through thousands of scientific articles and identified more than 600 – most from top peer-reviewed journals – to quantify how hospital design can play a direct role in clinical outcomes.
The research teams uncovered a large body of evidence that demonstrates design features such as increased day-lighting, access to nature, reduced noise and increased patient control helped reduce stress, improve sleep, and increase staff effectiveness – all of which promote healing rates and save facilities cost. Therefore, improving physical settings can be a critical tool in making hospitals more safe, more healing, and better places to work.
Today’s therapeutic spaces have been defined to excel in 3 categories:
1. Provide clinical excellence in the treatment of the body
2. Meet the psycho-social needs of patients, families, and staff
3. Produce measurable positive patient outcomes and staff effectiveness
Considering the cost of treating mental illness, which is exceedingly high, and wanting facilities to have effective outcomes, a further practice of incorporating therapeutic design is increasing. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIM H) approximated in 2008 that serious mental illnesses (SMI ), costs the nation $193 billion annually in lost wages. The indirect costs are impossible to estimate.
The estimated direct cost to clinically treat is approximately $70 billion annually and another $12 billion spent towards substance abuse disorders. In addition to the increased need of care and the boom in Behavioral Healthcare construction, it becomes an obligation to make certain that we as facility managers, architects, designers and manufacturers therapeutically plan and design these facilities.
Notably, in 2004, “The Role of the Physical Environment in the Hospital for the 21st Century: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity,” published by Roger Ulrich P.H.D., of Texas A&M University, was released. In a culmination of evidence-based research, research teams found five design principles that contributed significantly to achieving therapeutic design goals.
The report indicates five key factors that are essential for the psychological well-being of patients, families and staff, including:
1. Access to Nature
2. Provide Positive Distractions
3. Provide Social Support Spaces
4. Give a Sense of Control
5. Reduce or eliminate environmental stress
Access to Nature
Studies indicate that nature might have the most powerful impact to help patient outcomes and staff effectiveness. Nature can be literal or figurative – natural light, water walls, views to nature, large prints of botanicals and geography, materials that indicate nature and most importantly, stimulating color that evokes nature. Several studies strongly support that access to nature such as day-lighting and appropriate colorations can improve health outcomes such as depression, agitation, sleep, circadian rest-activity rhythms, as well as length of stay in demented patients and persons with seasonal affective disorders (SAD).
These and related studies continue to affirm the powerful impact of natural elements on patient recovery and stress reduction. Thus, it is clear that interior designs which integrate natural elements can create a more relaxing, therapeutic environment that benefits both patients and staff.
These are a small set of environmental features that provide the patient and family a positive diversion from “the difficult” and, in doing so, also negate an institutional feel. These can be views to nature, water walls, artwork, super imposed graphics, sculpture, music – and ideally all of these want to be focused on nature and, when applicable, an interesting use of color. Therapeutic environments that provide such patient-centered features can empower patients and families, but also increase their confidence in the facility and staff. This helps with open lines of communication between patient and caregiver.
Social Support Spaces
These are spaces designed partially for the patient but mainly for the comfort and socialization of family members and friends of the patient; therefore, family lounges, resource libraries, chapels, sleep rooms and consult rooms all play a role. When family and friends play a key role in a patient’s healing, these spaces encourage families to play an active role in the rehabilitation process.
Sense of Control
In times when patients and family feel out of control, it is very healing for the facility design and staff to provide it back when appropriate. Although, this cannot always be done suitably in mental healthcare facilities. However, when applicable, these design features include optional lighting choices, architectural way-finding, resource libraries, enhanced food menus, private patient rooms and
optional areas to reside in. A few well-appointed studies in psychiatric wards and nursing homes have found that optional choices of moveable seating in dining areas enhanced social interaction and improved eating disorders. When patients feel partially in control of their healing program and that the building features are focused to them, an increased confidence of the quality of care enters and tensions lower.
As with all therapeutic design, this allows the caregiver to use their resources healing in lieu of “managing” patient populations.
Reduce or Eliminate Environmental Stress
Noise level measurements show that hospital wards can be excessively noisy places resulting in negative effects on patient outcomes. The continuous background noise produced by medical equipment and staff voices often exceeds the level of a busy restaurant. Peak noise periods (shift changes, equipment alarms, paging systems, telephones, bedrails, trolleys, and certain medical equipment like portable xray machines are comparable to walking next to a busy highway when a motorcycle or large truck passes.
Several studies have focused on infants in NIC Us, finding that higher noise levels, for example, decrease oxygen saturation (increasing need for oxygen support therapy), elevate blood pressure, increase heart and respiration rate, and worsen sleep. Research on adults and children show that noise is a major cause of awakening and sleep loss.
Architectural design can assist in overcoming these types of obstacle. Whether you are designing a luxury home or care facility, there are certain design aspects that need to be considered. Overall comfort and a sense of peace, are able to be enhanced by a well designed environment. Considering Melbourne designed homes and prestige premises, one could draw the conclusion that choosing the right home builder is going to make all the difference.
In addition to worsening sleep, there is strong evidence that noise increases stress in adult patients, for example, heightening blood pressure and heart rate. Environmental surfaces in hospitals are usually hard and sound-reflecting, not sound-absorbing causing noise to travel down corridors and into patient rooms. Sounds tend to echo, overlap and linger longer.
Interventions that reduce noise have been found to improve sleep and reduce patient stress. Of these, the environmental or design interventions such as changing to sound-absorbing ceiling tiles, are more successful than organizational interventions like establishing “quiet hours.” White noise or noise reducing electronic devices can also help quieten a noisy environment.
Conclusion and Additional Information
The information contained in this excerpted report is intended as a guide for architects, specifiers, designers, facility planners, medical directors, procurers, psychologists and social workers which have a stake in providing improved facilities for behavioral healthcare patients. It is a portion of a report entitled “The Contributions of Color” authored by Tara Hill, of Little Fish Think Tank. Ms. Hill was commissioned by Norix Group Inc., in 2010 to research the role color plays in the safe operation of correctional facilities and behavioral health centers. More in-depth information specifically about the psychological influence of color and behavioral healthcare facility design can be found by reading the full report.
About the Author
Tara Hill is a full-scope, state registered interior designer, and the founder and principle of Little Fish Think Tank. Before founding Little Fish, Ms. Hill was an Associate + Senior Designer at HOK, and the Director of Interiors at Stanley, Beaman & Sears. She has implemented award-winning, innovative design solutions for commercial and institutional interiors.
Ms. Hill also has significant experience regarding the science and theory of color, both as a design tool and a promoter of healing. She has conducted extensive research in evidence-based design regarding color and its profound impact on the human spirit.
Prior to her work with Norix, Ms. Hill developed the Healing Colors Collection for Corian® solid surfaces, by Dupont®, for the healthcare environment. http://www.golittlefish.net
About Norix Group Inc.
For over 25 years, Norix has offered the most complete line of correctional furniture, for use throughout correctional facilities. With their extensive experience in providing secure furniture for prisons and jails, Norix is a trusted resource for every corrections application.
Norix also offers a vast array of furniture for several industries including behavioral healthcare, commercial, higher education, public safety, GSA and shelters. All furniture is designed for safety, security and extreme durability. Norix intensive-use furniture is extraordinary by design, surpassing industry standards for strength, safety and long-term performance.
I’ve been an electrician in Los Angeles since 1979, over 30 years. In that time, I’ve seen the work of more than a few rip-off electricians. Customers tell me that they hired some company — let’s call them “Joe’s Rip-Off Electric” — and, I find that the customer was way overcharged. Sometimes the work wasn’t even needed. I’ve also seen the work of electricians who don’t know what they’re doing yet. Sometimes I’ve been hired to clean up a job by someone we’ll call “Justin Amateur Electric.” Every problem you have our emergency electrician Brisbane do comes with a minimum six month guarantee, so you can put your faith in the quality of our electrical work.
How to avoid such electricians? If your job is an installation of new electrical components, the key is to ask for a free estimate over the phone. This doesn’t apply to repairing something that used to work — in this case, the electrician needs to see the job to tell you a price. He’ll need to troubleshoot with his tools and track down the culprit. But for installation of a new light fixture, a new electrical panel, or even an entire house rewire, a knowledgeable electrician should usually be able to give you a ballpark estimate without even seeing your job.
Why is a Free Estimate so important? Joe Rip-Off Electric won’t want to give you an estimate over the phone. Joe has a different plan. He wants to send an electrician to your home or business to look at the job. He’ll charge you for looking over the job, figuring it all out, and then will give you an estimate. He’ll charge for the estimate, but he’ll explain that he’ll deduct it from the final bill.
One variation on this plan is that Joe will tell you that he gives free estimates but that he must do it on-site. You’ll need to pay him for his travel time or pay some other fee. In any such approach, you’ll be paying to get the estimate.
Here’s Joe’s thinking. Once you’ve run up a bill for the estimate, you’ll want to recoup the cost by agreeing to have Joe do the job. Only problem is that now you’re stuck with Joe. Joe knows this and knows that you haven’t had a chance to get competitive bids. He has a free hand to overcharge you.
If you ask Justin Amateur Electric for a free estimate over the phone, Justin will also explain that he needs to see the job first. But he doesn’t have the same reason as Joe. Justin doesn’t know enough about electric to give you an estimate. He’s afraid that he’ll overestimate, or more likely, underestimate and lose money doing your job. If you hire him, you’re taking a chance with the quality and safety of the work. And the job may drag on while Justin learns the trade at your expense.
Get three estimates. You can avoid both Joe Rip-Off Electric and Justin Amateur by getting a free estimate over the phone. When you ask for an estimate, describe the work that you want accurately. Get estimates from at least three electricians. Don’t necessarily go with the lowest estimate. You want an electrical system that works, that passes inspection if a permit is needed, and that’s safe. So, while you’re getting the estimate, pay attention to clues about quality and competence.
If an electrician doesn’t give a free over-the-phone estimate, does it necessarily mean he’s dishonest or incompetent? No. Some honest and experienced electricians have developed a policy over the years of not giving free estimates. This is because giving a free estimate, either over-the-phone or on-site, takes time. An electrician can feel taken advantage of when giving free estimates. He’s occasionally gotten calls from people who have already chosen another electrician but are just calling around to find a low estimate so that they can bargain down the price of the electrician they’ve already selected.
While I’m aware of this type of customer, I believe that most times giving a free estimate over the phone is both helpful to the customer and a good business practice. I do take care as to when I’ll send out an electrician to look at a job and give a firm bid. We’ll send out an electrician if I trust the customer to go ahead with the job on a bid that’s equal to or lower than our original phone estimate.
Surprisingly, sometimes our firm bid is lower than the original phone estimate. This can happen if the electrician goes to the job and realizes by looking things over that there’s a more efficient way to get the job done.
Get a firm bid in writing. After you get free estimates on installing a new electrical component, the next step is to have an electrician come to your job site. On a new installation, before doing any work, they should usually be able to give you a firm bid in writing and sign it. If you agree to a written bid, you shouldn’t have to pay more for the job regardless of what the electrician finds when he actually does the job.
Repair jobs require a visit to the job site. With repair jobs, you won’t be able to rely on the “Free Estimate” technique for finding an electrician. You’ll need to rely on checking out the electrician’s website and customer references and paying attention to your comfort level with the honesty and competence of the company.
If you need something fixed that used to work, most often the electrician will need to do go to your job and charge by the half hour or hour for taking out his tools and troubleshooting. However, within a half hour to an hour, he should know the extent of the problem. At that point, if he hasn’t already fixed the problem, the electrician should give you a firm bid in writing before doing more work.
Often, by the time the electrician has figured out the problem (within a half hour to an hour or so) — let’s say it’s a loose wire — it will take another minute or so to fix it. In fact, he may not be certain that the loose wire was the entire problem until he tightens the wire, the circuit now works, and the job is done.
Publishing Rights: You may republish this article in your web site, newsletter, or e-book, on the conditions that you agree to leave the article completely intact, including the author’s name, and that you credit the article to the links in the Resource Box and keep these links active.
Kim Hopkins has been a Los Angeles electrician since 1979. His company, The Electric Connection at http://www.TheElectricConnection.com, is one of the foremost electrical contracting companies in the L.A. area. Kim has done trainings on electrical safety for home inspectors throughout Los Angeles. For a $25 off coupon on your first electrical job as well as other coupons, go to http://www.theelectricconnection.com/coupon.php.
Selecting the right electrical contractor isn’t as easy as picking someone out of the Yellow Pages. The ramifications of hiring the wrong contractor can be financially disastrous and even dangerous. We provide 24 hour electrician Brisbane to fix urgent problems with electrical systems or emergency electrical breakdowns.
First and foremost, it’s imperative to know if the contractor you’re considering hiring, is licensed, bonded, and has adequate general liability and workers compensation insurance.
Then, you need to determine if they are experienced in the type of work you need performed, and if they are generally considered good, honest and reputable.
The best place to start answering some of these questions is at the Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors and / or the Division of Consumer Affairs (basically the Authority having Jurisdiction), and of course, the Better Business Bureau.
Now let’s pretend for a moment that you have an electrical job you need done.
Not an emergency — perhaps it’s just fixing a light that stopped working.
What would you do?
Would you call a few contractors and get multiple bids? You can, but I wouldn’t necessarily suggest it.
Most people think that they should get multiple bids for every job. This isn’t the case, and in actuality, putting to bid every little job may in fact backfire.
Good contractors are few and far in between, and asking for multiple bids for a small job will only alienate them the next time around. Try looking at this from their point of view. Their time is worth probably about $100/ hr, and yet, he or she makes the time to come to your residence and provide you with a free estimate for whatever work you may need.
Typically, a good contractor will try to provide you with an “extra-competitive” bid, especially the first time around, just to make you a customer.
But how can you tell if the first contractor walking into your house is The good contractor? Some simple rules may apply here, but remember there also are exceptions to every rule.
o A good contractor will typically look the part. In other words, if he or she looks messy and disorganized, then it’s probably indicative of the type of work he or she does. Someone who takes pride in their work usually takes pride in their appearance. Some contractors may argue this point, but remember we’re talking generalities here and not the exceptions. He or she should have some type of company identification (even a shirt with a logo would do).
o A good contractor will have company cards with their company name and / or their name, telephone and license # on it.
o A good contractor will respond to your calls quickly and provide you with a free estimate (for most jobs) the same day or within a reasonable amount of time, and will take the time to explain what they will do and how they will do it.
o A good contractor will never offer to do the job without taking out permits and may even walk away from a job if the homeowner insists on not taking them. Remember, permits are additional insurance for the homeowner guaranteeing (through inspection) that the job was performed safely and correctly.
o A good contractor will never cut corners and do something unsafe in order to accommodate your budget. They will, instead, offer suggestions on how to modify your plans to meet both their code and safety requirements, and your budget. If these two cannot meet, then they will wish you good luck and walk away from the job.
o A good contractor will be happy to provide you with copies of their insurance certificates and references when asked. Try not asking for them unless it’s a decent size job.
Suppose a homeowner would like to make a minor alteration or addition to their electrical system. If the electrical system is old, then that part of the system may need to be brought up to current code standards before they can add to it or modify it.
In order to circumvent this regulation, the homeowner may insist that the job be done without permits and possibly even hire someone unlicensed to do the work.
What he or she doesn’t realize is that if their house burns down, they will very likely NOT be covered. Your homeowner’s policy probably states (very clearly) that anyone doing work on the residence has to be properly licensed and all building, plumbing and electrical codes must be followed, and work performed with permits wherever required.
If you hired someone whom you thought was licensed, but ultimately wasn’t, it still may NOT be covered because you didn’t take out permits for the work, and as far as the insurance company is concerned, it was done illegally.
If and when you decide to put a job out to bid, make sure that the work is properly specified (in minute detail) so that all the contractors are bidding on exactly the same things. Otherwise, there’s no way of telling who’s bidding apples and who is bidding oranges. Not properly specifying a job is probably the most common mistake homeowners make.
Why? Let’s assume you need to have 10 receptacles, 4 lights and 2 dimmers installed in a room.
Without specifying the exact types such as (Standard, Decora, other), amperage (15/20), location and method of use (this is used by good contractors to determine how many receptacles to put on a single circuit), types of lights, bulbs (R30, R40, halogens, etc.) and trims (for Hi Hats) standard, eyeballs, etc., wattage of bulbs (determines type and rating of dimmers used), there is no way of telling who is bidding what. And these are just some of the variables used for a fairly simple job!
o A good contractor always uses first-class, contractor-grade materials and never uses anything else, regardless of budget. They will usually price and give you the higher grade items automatically. This is where they get in trouble when bidding with other contractors. Someone else may be using approved but inferior materials, which would enable them to come in considerably lower than the good contractor. They probably know that you’ll have problems with the items installed sooner rather than later, but don’t care because it falls beyond their warrantee period (if they even have one).
o A good contractor will take into consideration how the receptacles are being used (such as computers, entertainment equipment, vacuum cleaner, etc.) and automatically factor in (price) dedicated lines for these items, even though current codes may allow all of the receptacles to be wired on a single circuit.
Other contractors won’t, and will therefore be able to do the job cheaper. Of course, when you start tripping breakers because the new receptacles are overloading the circuit, there won’t be anything to do about it, because it didn’t violate any codes at the time, and more importantly, you didn’t specify it.
But how could you specify it? You’re not in the electrical field, and you assumed the contractor would know better and factor this in.
Well, you’re right. The good contractor already factored it in, but you gave the job to the other one.
Are you starting to get the picture about the dangers of multiple bids? Very often, you don’t end up with the good contractor.
That’s a pretty typical bidding scenario, and it’s obvious why people are intimidated dealing with contractors. Make the wrong move and it can spell big trouble.
Anyway, if you do bid the work, try to have it properly specified perhaps by an architect or engineer. A good rule of thumb would be, if you get multiple bids, always pick from the middle up, and never, ever pick the lowest bid.
When you’ve finally selected a contractor, ask them for a copy of their insurance policies, and make sure everything (including start and end dates on larger jobs) is in writing.
Very often smaller contractors work out of their own house or garage, and many do not carry workers compensation insurance. This may or may not be a factor. If they have a helper with them or send someone else to your house to do the work, it becomes a huge factor.
Without this insurance policy, you (the homeowner) are 100 % liable for any accidents their workers may incur. Additionally, many contractors have only enough general liability insurance to satisfy state regulations, but nowhere near enough to pay for your house if it burns down.
Finally, a last note of caution; as with everything else in life, “you get what you pay for “.
In other words, don’t let price alone be the determining factor when hiring an electrical contractor. Remember, if a plumber messes up, you’ll have a flood, if an electrical contractor messes up you’ll have a fire or perhaps even worse.
This article was written by John Frezados and published on www.electrician-electricalcontractor.com [http://www.electrician-electricalcontractor.com] , which is a website dedicated to providing industry, trade and employment information for electricians and electrical contractors. The article was part of a series of articles at www.electrician-electricalcontractor.com/electricalcontractor.html [http://www.electrician-electricalcontractor.com/electricalcontractor.html] , written for Electrical Contractors, to help improve their methods of operation and profitability. John Frezados is a Mechanical Engineer, a Licensed Master Electrician and Certified Electrical Instructor, and has over 20 years experience in the Electrical / General Contracting fields. He currently spends his time writing, teaching and consulting in the Electro-Mechanical Contracting and Engineering fields. He has authored numerous books and courses, such as “The Electrical Contractor’s Blueprint for Success” and “Custom Estimation Systems for Electrical Contractors” and teaches certified continuing education courses (listed at www.ccesllc.com ) for Electrical Contractors.
The primary purpose of fixing concrete cracks is to help keep moisture from working its way into the cracks. A secondary benefit of fixing concrete cracks is improving the appearance of your driveway. Considering that many homes have front-facing driveways, it is a good way to help improve your home’s curb appeal. Before you begin the repair, scope out the general area and try to get a feel for what caused the crack. Concrete cracks can be caused by growing tree roots, impact damage, weight overloading, etc. The most common cause of concrete cracks is standing water, which, over time, works its way into the concrete and expands and contracts according to the temperature. Concrete is one of our most important building products but the cost for concrete driveway somehow manageable. We use it for house slabs, driveways, paving and much more.
Before you begin fixing the actual crack, think long and hard about how you can eliminate the cause of the problem. Preventing further damage is vital to the overall success of your repair job. The methods used to fix concrete cracks depend on the size of the actual crack.
Regardless of size, the first step should include cleaning the crack to create clean surfaces that are ready to bond with the repair materials.
Begin by breaking off any loose pieces of concrete with a screwdriver or chisel (be cautious you don’t needlessly enlarge the crack).
Once you’ve cleaned the crack’s edges, use a firm wired brush to remove any remaining debris.
Next, remove as much loose debris from within the crack as possible. This is best done with an air compressor but if you don’t have one available, you can use a shop vac or even canned air, which is commonly used to clean computer keyboards. The idea here is to clean out all of the dust and debris from within the crack.
Now that the crack has been prepared for repair, follow the steps below according to the size of the crack. Follow the specific directions that are printed on the packaging of whatever product you end up using to make your repair.
Fixing Small, Hairline Concrete Cracks
Textured caulk, concrete sealer or pourable grout designed for repairing concrete are good ways to fix small concrete cracks.
If you’re using concrete sealer or pourable grout, begin by lightly wetting the crack — a spray bottle filled with water will work well (textured caulk is best applied to a dry crack).
With all products, completely fill the crack and use a pointing trowel to push the grout or sealer into the crack.
If you’re using textured caulk, provide some overfill to account for shrinkage as the caulk dries.
If you’re wearing thick rubber gloves, you can use your thumb to ensure that you’re completely filling the crack.
In all cases, refer to specific product manufacturer guidelines for application instructions.
In the past, when a concrete patio or driveway started to show serious signs of aging, using a jackhammer or bringing in a bulldozer were the only repair options. Today there are more practical alternatives. If you’re thinking about installing a driveway, it’s important to consider a couple of different things like cost of new driveway Perth.
Polymer-based cement resurfacers are formulated to transform cracked, spalled, weatherworn concrete to like-new condition. The top dressing we used, Ardex All-Purpose Concrete Resurfacer, is made of portland cement and high-performance polymers. It’s mixed with water and applied with a steel trowel, squeegee or push broom to a thickness of only 1/16 inch. One 20-lb. bag costs about $25 and covers 50 to 60 square feet. (The average concrete driveway is about 500 square feet.)
Besides patios and driveways, Ardex can be used to resurface concrete stairs, sidewalks, garage floors, and most vertical surfaces. For our project, we resurfaced a 9 X 27-foot driveway and 3 X 18-foot walkway using six bags of Ardex. It took two people five hours to complete the job. The work isn’t particularly difficult, but the pace is frenetic. Once the water is mixed in, you’ve got less than 30 minutes to apply the concrete dressing.
For optimum results, work on a day with low humidity, no rain and an air temperature ranging between 70° and 75°F. The surface temperature of the existing concrete must be at least 50°F.
Fill the Cracks
Patch all cracks, crevices, and holes in the old concrete surface. For hairline cracks up to 1/8 inch wide, mix four parts of Ardex Concrete Dressing to one part water. Force the thick paste into the cracks with a putty knife. For larger cracks up to 1/2 inch wide, use concrete-repair caulk. Squeeze the caulk into the cracks with a caulking gun, and smooth it with a putty knife.
Large concrete slabs are typically divided into sections by expansion joints, which help control cracking. The ½- to ½-inch-wide joints are usually filled with asphalt-saturated felt, a wood 1×4 or plastic channel. These joints must remain exposed to allow the slab to expand and contract; don’t cover them with the cement top dressing. Mask each expansion joint with a strip of duct tape.
Use a 650-rpm, ½-inch drill motor and a heavy-duty mixing paddle to mix the concrete dressing to a smooth consistency. Pour 2½ quarts of water into a clean 5-gallon bucket. Add a 20-pound bag of the dressing and mix continuously for two minutes. Lift out the paddle and stand it in a bucket of clean water.
Spread the Dressing
Pour the dressing onto the slab and immediately spread it out. Meanwhile, have a helper mix the next batch. For small areas, like walkways and stairs, spread the dressing with a flat steel trowel. Press down hard to force the dressing into every crevice.
Texture the Surface
Carefully draw a medium-bristle push broom across the wet areas to create a textured, slip-resistant surface. If you notice any bare spots, add more concrete dressing with a trowel, and brush the area again.
Spreading on Large Areas
For larger areas, such as patios or driveways, spread the dressing with a long-handle squeegee. Press down hard to fill all surface imperfections. Follow up with the push broom.
Pull up the duct tape from the expansion joints immediately after sweeping the surface. The surface can be walked on after about two hours, but don’t drive your car on it for at least six hours. After 24 hours, protect the new surface with a clear, waterborne masonry sealer.
Understand what the job entails. Electricians work in a variety of settings, including homes, businesses, schools, hospitals – any type of facility that needs electricity to function. Electricians may find themselves working in extremes of heat and cold, indoors and out any time of year. Electricians may also perform electrical work on trains, airplanes, ships and vehicles. A quick response times from 24 hr emergency electrician Brisbane to ensure your safety will always be our priority. Electricians’ work includes the following:
Reading blueprints, or technical diagrams of a work site’s electrical wiring.
Connecting wires, circuit breakers, and outlets, and replacing or adding wires, circuit breakers, connections, and fuses.
Using specialized equipment, including oscilloscopes, ammeters, ohmmeters and voltmeters, to perform their work.
Working as part of a team in coordination with the construction project manager, homeowner, or building manager of a work site.
Knowing and following building codes and regulations to ensure buildings are wired safely.
Have an aptitude for electrical work. Electricians are adept at diagnosing problems and using good judgement and the right techniques to solve them. Electricians have the following traits:
They are detail-oriented. Electricians know that glossing over details in a wiring project could at best result in non-functioning wiring, and at worst create a dangerous situation.
They have strong manual dexterity. Electricians work with small tools and parts that must be handled with care and precision. They often have to climb ladders or enter crawl spaces to perform their jobs.
They are flexible. Electricians are comfortable working at many different sites, under a variety of conditions. They are able to effectively communicate with managers and members of construction teams.
Talk to electricians. If you’re serious about becoming a licensed technician, contact electricians in your area and set up informational interviews.
Ask if you can shadow them or help out on a project to experience a day in the life of a technician.
Seek a master or licensed electrician willing to take you on as a longer-term helper. This will give you the opportunity to gain some knowledge and experience in the field.
Ask for recommendations on trade schools and certification programs in your area.
Fulfill the Educational Requirements
Obtain a high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED). Most electrician trade schools and apprenticeship programs require this level of education.
Attend a trade school or vocational school. The courses offered at trade and vocational schools provide important preparation for entering an electrician apprenticeship program.
You’ll learn about electrical theory, circuitry, mathematics, wiring, motor controls and other knowledge important to the trade.
Consider taking electrical engineering courses online as an alternative to taking them at a local college or university.
Some electrician programs include an apprenticeship program. You will have to complete an apprenticeship program in order to get certified, so a combined coursework/apprenticeship program might be a convenient option.
Enter an electrician apprentice program. Most states require at least two years, and in most cases up to four years, of apprenticeship with a master or licensed electrician before one can take the examination to become a licensed electrician. During an apprenticeship, one earns the title of journeyman electrician. Many apprenticeships combine hands-on experience with classroom instruction. Some organizations that sponsor or provide apprentice programs through local chapters include:
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
National Electrical Contractors Association
Independent Electrical Contractors Association
Associated Builders and Contractors
Study the National Electrical Code. In order to get licensed to work as an electrician in most states, you will have to demonstrate knowledge of the National Electrical Code, which lays out laws, regulations and other information about safe practices.
After you receive your license, most states will require continued study of the National Electrical Code. You may have to attend seminars or classes addressing updates to the Code.
Become a Master Electrician
Get a state license. Most states require that you get a state license in order to practice as an electrician. The license is granted after taking an exam to demonstrate knowledge of the National Electrical Code and local electrical and building codes. In order to take the exam,
Candidates must show proof of working as an electrician and having completed an apprenticeship program. State requirements typically call for four to seven years’ experience in the trade prior to taking this test.
You must complete an examination application and submit appropriate fees before taking the exam.
Find a job. Now that you have your state license, you are free to work as an electrical contractor in your state. Choose to work with a company of contractors or operate independently.
Job search websites have comprehensive job listings in the field of electrical work.
Go to job fairs to talk with companies hiring electricians.
Get certified. Choose from a variety of specialized certifications to enhance your career. Certifications vary by state and will help you pursue work as an electrical administrator, a telecommunications contractor, or a specialist in an area like instrumentation.
Conduct research to determine what certificates may be beneficial to your career as an electrician.
To obtain certification, you will have to demonstrate experience and proficiency in the area you choose by taking an examination.
The web is kind like a confusing maze.The following article will give you succeed. SEO services Sydney drive more sales by building your online presence and getting targeted traffic to transform your website into a powerful lead-generating channel for your business.
When publishing content, it is usually better to have multiple short articles on similar topics than to have one extremely long article. Long pages are weighed less than shorter ones weigh more.
Pay-per-click approaches can be great ways to practice affiliate marketing. This is the easiest service to provide to affiliates, so the pay is correspondingly modest, but the total pay can add up quickly.
Pick a domain name that is full of your desired keyword in it. You want to make your site easy to find when customers are trying to look for it in the web. Not everybody will come to your website from the advertisements, many will come from product searches.
You should be patient when performing SEO to increase page rank. You can not see any huge traffic overnight.It will actually take a while if your site is brand new sites. Just as with an offline business, it will take time to build your name.
Add a site map if you want to get more traffic. A site map can link your website easier to navigate.
Blogging on your presence in search engines. This in turn will increase your site.
This tag should be thirty words or less. Never go over 100 kilobytes on this sort of page.
Research information about keywords before you know what to write. Learn which particular keywords will be best for you build your website. Keyword research will allow you to understand what search terms people use to navigate in your categories.
Your site should always be easy on the eye for comprehension and simplicity to read.
Keep your site focused on a dozen keywords or phrases that really capture the essence of what your site is about. Use analytical tools to determine which keywords will bring you the most traffic.
Captions are important to the SEO tool. This means that if you have a lot of newspaper articles or photos linked up to your site, using captions that are filled with keywords can improve traffic and visibility.
The takeaway message from this paragraph is that Google looks for keywords in alt tags, so keywords included in these tags will improve page ranking.
The first sentences in your webpage should use words that are also usable HTML meta descriptor tag. There are search engines that use this kind of thing instead of tags to tell people what your page result. Bad content here can hurt your efforts.
A great tip about optimization is to include current events and topics that have relevance to your offerings.This is important because you can draw in a whole new group of people who may not be familiar with your topic. This also really makes your site to be more informative to your readers.
If you’re using a server that’s shared, make sure your web host isn’t on any spam blacklists. If not, it could negatively affect search engine exposure for your site.
Think as a consumer when you are coming up with tags to include. Find out what the common terms are that people use for your product or service.
The first paragraph should have your keyword written twice. After that, place your keyword as much as possible in the following 200 words, without it being obvious to the reader through the next two hundred or so words.
This will let users access your site from prior bookmarks. You might also redirect pages and these will bring users to the new site.
Search engine optimization is a type of marketing.This method requires you to use specific keywords in your site content in order to secure higher rankings on search engine rank. This will get people your site when they preform a search.
Using keywords in your structure and content will increase your ranking on most search engines other than Google or Yahoo!.
If your website is for a business, getting the owner or CEO active on the site it will help boost your traffic. People like hearing from the company.
There are tons of fly-by-night SEO and internet marketing businesses out there who charge high prices for bad work. Research former clients of these companies and read testimonials about what other people have to say about their services. You will be happy you did this.
You are going to need to have web analytics running as you begin your SEO program. This software can help you to identify which methods are effective and failure of your strategies.
Even if the content in your articles is based around the same topic, topics or pages are about the same general subject, the titles and names should each be unique and interesting. The most important words in the reader are the first one or two.
Be sure to take the time to use the above advice. Through patience and diligence, you will achieve goals you had hoped for.
Concrete is one of the best options to choose from when it comes to selecting a good driveway paving material for your home. This durable and incredibly versatile material is not just limited to creating buildings or houses, but can be harnessed to provide a smooth, pleasant driveway experience upon driving off or coming home. Gone are the days of living with a drab, boring walkway or driveway when choosing concrete, as there are a number of ways you can trade in the plain look for a textured one, something that not all driveway materials can offer! Nevermind the cost for concrete driveway as long as you are happy and contented of the outcome.
Having your driveway paved with concrete isn’t the cheapest option available, but this hardy material more than makes up for it with amazing benefits. The overall costs would still vary depending on factors such as the size of the driveway and decorative options. Why not take a look at the solid benefits and fantastic design options of a concrete driveway?
Benefits of a Concrete Driveway
1. Easy To Maintain
Concrete, when laid out on the ground, makes up for a big slab of driveway material for you or your guest’s cars to travel on. This inherent property makes it easier than other types of material to be cleaned and maintained all throughout the years. The lower upkeep and repair costs of concrete make it less of a headache in the long run.
2. Strong and Durable
A concrete driveway is famous for being easy to maintain, but it doesn’t stop there. It is very durable and its excellent strength keeps it from breaking up or chipping away from everyday use. No matter what vehicle you or your family members might have, you can be sure that a concrete driveway can handle a thousand pounds of weight day in, and day out. They can even keep their structural form intact longer in cases of natural disasters like flooding and earthquakes!
3. Aesthetic Appeal
Gray concrete can be transformed into more pleasant-looking materials that will fit and look great with any type of home. It is strong enough to withstand a transformation or stamping into many attractive patterns like cobblestones, natural stone effect, random interlocking and european fans. You can also color it to resemble a more expensive material such as pavers and different stones, while keeping within budget and ensuring a strong driveway for years to come.
Driveway paving with concrete can be personalized with stamped concrete, or otherwise known as textured to look like flagstones, bricks, wood or tiles, producing an authentic and expensive look and feel. You can also stain a driveway to stay in line with your home’s overall theme. Etching it can alter the appearance of concrete to produce a more detailed effect. Exposed aggregate is one of the oldest and still the best way to change your driveway’s look according to your needs. Homeowners who prefer a one-in-a-million driveway design can hire contractors to groove or saw their driveway into any imaginable pattern!
Whether you are needing a driveway that will last as long as your home, a driveway that matches the color and style of your beloved abode, or just want a driveway material that is versatile and easy to maintain, you can never go wrong with concrete. It has all of the best properties of all the other driveway paving materials, and much more.
Lifestone Paving is an innovative Perth company which has been transforming the landscaping of Perth homes since 1995. They are specialists in Driveway Paving which is strong, durable and attractive.
You can find out more about our product at this link: http://lifestone.com.au/driveway-paving.
A storyboard is a piece of paper with boxes drawn on it that show how every shot in a marketing video will be visually represented. Shots can be quite elaborate creations or simply rough sketches. The purpose is to outline each shot to see how to help the director, the camera person, and the editor put the video together. Take classes in drawing, painting or life drawing if that’s what you love to become a storyboard artist.
Sometimes, the storyboarding process is used to flesh out the concept into more tangible action shots before scripting. Sometimes storyboarding comes first, and sometimes scripting comes first.
The storyboarding process may be easier for you to complete if you think more visually than just words on a page. It isn’t the order in which you create the script or storyboard that’s important — it’s that both elements are fully complete and detailed so that you can create an effective schedule and budget for your video.
Although software programs can help you create storyboards online, for speed and ease of use, the pen is often mightier than the computer. If you insist on using an electronic means or you simply can’t draw, the Celtx scripting software has a storyboarding feature and a free iPad app.
Still, using software can be much more cumbersome and time-consuming than simply putting pen to paper and drawing some stick figures.
The storyboard helps you detail these actions:
Establish scenes and shots. Each box in the storyboard represents a shot in succession. The figure loosely represents the composition of the shot and shows the placement of items and actors.
Determine action and dialogue. Below every box is a smaller box in which rough dialogue or action can be stated. Arrows or other markings can be used in the main box to communicate the action.
Place graphics and voiceovers. A box is used to show slides in the video. Graphics can be shown in either the big box or the little box.
A storyboard is a working document — a helpful way to quickly see how the parts of a video are assembled. Don’t worry about making your storyboard a work of art. Just ensure that it accurately reflects what you want to shoot in the video in a way that other people can understand it.
A storyboard is best completed in pencil so that you can make necessary changes throughout the production process. A whiteboard can be handy for storyboarding in large groups and then simply taking a photo on your camera phone so that you can share it with colleagues. Either way, you’ll make changes along the way, so use a method that can be easily modified.
The back of the storyboard is a useful place to jot down the needs of your production team. The list gives your production manager the details needed to set up the budget and production schedule. Many of these items are already detailed in the script, but this list helps you easily identify every item and refer back to them during the production and editing phases.
You may want to fill in this information after you have completed the script or at least update it and ensure that it’s complete. The list should include cast, props, costume elements, music types, and sound effects.
How to Remodel a Small Bathroom Update your bathroom with a new wall-hung sink, hidden-tank toilet and glass block window. This story shows you how to make your small, cramped bathroom more convenient, elegant and easy to clean. These projects make the typical 6 x 8 ft. We’ll walk you through the steps for getting more natural light in your shower, replacing your dingy old bathtub with a spacious shower, and installing a toilet and sink that simplify cleaning. If you want to make sure your bathroom remodeling project is as green as possible I recommend the guys from bathroom renovations Eastern Suburbs.
So stop dealing with an outdated bathroom and get to work!
The remodeled bathroom has an updated look and is highly functional.
The bathroom was uninspired and cramped before the remodel.
Our bathroom design is the perfect solution for the old, heavily used, small bathroom that you can never quite get clean enough. We not only pulled a few rabbits out of the hat to produce features that make the room easy to clean but also used smoke and mirrors to make it appear much larger.
Installing a preassembled glass block window. You can have a window in your shower that will stand up to water. Replacing a bathtub with a spacious shower. A one-piece shower pan is a simple, leak-proof solution to the mistake-prone chore of traditional shower pan construction.
Installing a state-of-the-art residential wall-hung toilet and sink. Having fewer dirt-catching corners and edges simplifies floor cleaning. Making a small (6 x 8-ft.) bathroom feel larger.
Although this new bathroom is a bit smaller because of additional plumbing walls, it appears larger. Substituting a shower for the bathtub, adding a large mirror, and using a wall-hung sink and toilet all contribute to the spacious feeling. This big-picture stuff is striking, but it’s the step-by-step details that make it work. We cover the little kernels of information that will help your project go more smoothly and with fewer headaches.
A bathroom remodel is a big project. If you can only work weekends, your bathroom will be out of commission for two months or more. You’ll need all your expertise as an experienced do-it-yourselfer because you’ll have to tackle electrical, plumbing, tiling, drywalling, taping and even exterior siding. In this article, we’ll deal mostly with the nuts and bolts of ripping out existing plumbing and replacing it correctly with new, easily installed PVC piping.
Don’t think you need to do the whole job solo if you don’t feel qualified or able to perform all the tasks, especially the plumbing and electrical work. Pros will greatly speed up the project, which is particularly important if the bathroom under construction is the only one in the house.
You must get permits before tackling a bathroom remodel. Contact your building inspector to go over the scope of the project to find out exactly how much you’re permitted to do. When your permit is granted, you’ll receive a schedule list that’ll tell you when to call for inspections.
We didn’t pinch pennies when it came to remodeling this 6 x 8-ft. We chose top-shelf materials to make the room as striking as possible, but you can go with less expensive materials and still have a bathroom fit for a magazine cover.
Glass block window panel, 40 x 24 in., $160. Shower base, 34 in. x 5 ft., $375. We special-ordered this Swanstone base from a plumbing fixture supplier along with the wall-hung toilet and sink.
Fur out the existing window opening to 2 in. wider and 2-1/2 in. taller than the dimensions of the glass block panel.
Tack stop blocks on the inside of the opening to keep the frame flush to the framing. Assemble the frame, then plumb and square it and nail it into the opening with 8d casing nails, shimming as needed.
The special-order fixtures, fittings, shower pan, tile and glass block panel can take weeks to get in hand, so do the necessary legwork and ordering well in advance. Before gutting the bathroom, check to make sure that there are shutoffs for all the fixtures or a master shutoff for the entire bathroom. If not, buy ball valve shutoffs sized to fit your pipes. Then turn off the main water supply line where it comes into the house from outside, cut the pipes feeding the bathroom and install the new shutoffs right away (see Photo 7).
Disconnect the trap from the tub, remove any clips, fasteners or screws that hold the tub to the wall, and demolish the old cast iron tub with a sledgehammer. Remove the sink and toilet. Turn off the electricity at the main panel and remove light fixtures. Cap the wires with wire connectors.
Then rip out the wall finishes and surfaces clean down to the studs and pull out any insulation. If your ceiling is in good shape, use a utility knife to cut the drywall along the edges so the wall materials will separate cleanly from the ceiling.
To size the glass block, remove the trim from the existing window and measure the rough opening. Subtract 2 in. from the width and the height to allow for the frame, then determine the panel size by counting the number of rows and courses that easily fits into the opening.
Glass block comes in 8-in. You’ll need to choose between real mortar grout joints and clear silicone–joined blocks. We chose the silicone system because we liked the clean, uninterrupted look. Whichever way you go, buy the panel preassembled and banded together as one unit, ready to set into the opening.
Remember that it’s easy to make the opening smaller by using furring, but it can be an ugly task to make it bigger. When going with mortar-grouted panels, figure each block is 8 in. wide, then add 1/4 in. to both the total height and width. If you’re ordering silicone-joined blocks, figure each block at 7-3/4 in. and don’t add the extra 1/4 in.
Rip two 3-ft.-long spacer boards the thickness of your tile plus 3/4 in. so the window will protrude 1/4 in. past the finished tile surface. Tack them to the sides of the window opening.
Tap shims between the panel and the frame to hold it evenly spaced on all four sides while injecting the expanding foam. After the foam cures, cut away any excess and caulk the 1/4-in. Finish off the trim and siding to match the outside of the house.
Converting a bathtub with a conventional window above it to a shower is dicey business, but the result is striking. Order a premade glass block window to fit your existing opening (see ‘How to Order a Glass Block Window Panel’ in this article). Look under ‘Glass Block’ in the Yellow Pages or online to find a supplier.
The key to a weatherproof, attractive glass block window both inside and out is to encase it in a custom-built wooden frame (Fig. A) with inside dimensions that are 1/2 in. taller and wider than the panel itself. That will give you room to adjust and shim the panel exactly and then inject expanding foam between the frame and the panel to lock it into the opening (Photos 3 and 4).
To begin, rip the top and side jambs to the thickness of the wall framing plus the exterior wall sheathing. The cement board will lap over the jambs. The windowsill should also be flush with the interior framing, but hang over the outside sheathing about 1-1/2 in. and have a 5-degree slope toward the outside to help shed water. To keep water from running behind the siding as it drips off the edge, cut a shallow groove (or saw kerf) in the bottom lip (Fig.
Also, remember to flash behind the trim to keep the window watertight. Trim the window exterior to match the house, using caulk to seal between the trim and siding.
It’s important to set the panel so it protrudes 1/4 in. past the finished tile surface (Fig. That way, a bead of caulk can seal the joint between the tile and block to keep water out of the wall cavity.
Prime and paint the window jambs and sill before setting the glass block panel to save time-consuming painting details.
Turn off the main water supply to the house, and in a convenient location, cut the hot and cold water supply pipes for the bathroom. Also cut out and remove all the existing water lines and fittings in the bathroom. Finally, cut out and remove the vent section leading to the sink and the main stack 5 in. below the vent tee. Stuff rags into open drain lines to keep sewer gas out of the house.
Cut the main stack and all the other waste lines feeding the bathroom about 3 ft. Unhook any strapping and remove the entire plumbing tree.
Drain any water in the supply lines, cut the hot and cold lines feeding the bathroom, and solder in two ball-valve water shutoffs. Shut off the valves, and then turn the water back on to the rest of the house.
Tear out the existing piping (Photos 5 and 6). Then frame the 2×6 walls that will contain the new plumbing and the opposite end of the shower base (Photos 8, 9 and 14). It’s easiest to nail the bottom plate to the floor and the top plate to the ceiling, then fill in the studs one at a time by toenailing them in at the top and bottom. Stack the studs directly in front of the old ones wherever possible.
Space the studs in the center of the shower about 12 in. apart to leave room for the shower valve and showerhead. The studs behind the toilet should be spaced exactly 19-3/4 in. apart for securing this toilet chair carrier (Photos 8 and 15).
The wall behind the toilet can be almost any height. For a standard toilet height of 15 in., make the wall a minimum height of 43 in. If you’d like a higher toilet, make the wall that much higher. Or, make the wall go all the way to the ceiling. We built a short wall to conserve space and to create a shelf and a mirror alcove.
The wall at the opposite end of the shower can be any height as well. We made it the same height as the toilet/sink wall so we could line up the accent tile and make a convenient shower shelf.
Resist the temptation to reuse or reroute existing piping. If you have easy access, it’s much easier to rip out all the old supply, drain and vent lines and start with a clean slate (Photos 5 and 6).
Nail the bottom plate to the floor and the top plate to the ceiling. Then mark the positions of the shower base, toilet and sink. Lay out and toenail the wall studs into position (Fig. B) and the top plate for the low wall.
On the opposite end of the shower, frame a matching 35-in.
Tie all the short studs to the existing studs at the top and bottom with 6 x 11-in. Keep gussets on the outside of the chair carrier space so they won’t interfere with installation. Install backer boards as needed to support cement board or drywall.
Your bathroom could have galvanized, cast iron or plastic drain lines and vents. If you have plastic, you’re lucky, because they’re easier to cut and join than metal pipes. Cast iron lines need to be ‘snapped’ (cut) with a soil pipe cutter, which rents for $12 to $25 a day.
Old threaded galvanized pipes that object to being unscrewed can be cut out with a reciprocating saw or hacksaw. If you have metal pipes, it’s best to replace them with plastic ones where they tie into the main stack. A knowledgeable plumbing clerk at the home center can help you select the correct adapters for the conversion.
Rerouting drain line plumbing is a huge job on bathrooms that are built on slabs. If your bathroom is built on concrete with the main stack directly behind the toilet as ours was, stick with a conventional, floor-mounted toilet so you won’t have to chop out the floor and rework the plumbing under the concrete.
Position and connect the new shower vent (see Fig. B). Then position the sink and center the drain behind it, 19 in. up from the floor. Connect the drain to the main stack with a 3 x 1-1/2 in. tee.
Nail in 2×6 blocking to anchor the rear toilet mounting brackets. Fit the chair carrier in the opening to check the location of the drain hole and the position of the mounting block. The front surface of the framework should be flush with the face of the studs.
Dry-fit the PVC piping assembly for the wall-hung toilet, shower trap and sink. After you’re satisfied that the dimensions are correct, solvent-weld all the joints in the assembly and join it to the existing ABS main stack using a transition coupling.
Toenail 2×6 blocks in the center of the shower 36 in. above the floor for the shower valve and 6 ft. in. above the floor for the showerhead. Position the valve block so the plastic mud guard on the mixing valve will be flush with the finished wall surface. Attach the shower supply line and the hot and cold supply lines to the valve.
Clamp the valve body and shower supply line to the blocks with copper pipe straps. Run copper water supplies to the new locations for the sink and toilet.
Follow Fig. B, for the new drain/vent plan. The new shower drain is vented separately into the main stack (Photos 10, 12 and 13). Most bathrooms have the main stack positioned directly behind the toilet. The wall-mounted toilet shown here cannot be positioned directly behind the stack because there’s not room for the necessary elbows.
If your stack is more than 12 in. to the side of the existing toilet, you can keep the same location for the wall-hung toilet. But if it’s directly behind it, you’ll need to swap the sink and toilet locations like we did.
Black plastic (ABS) drain lines were very common in the past, but now the most readily available drain line material is white plastic PVC pipe. Wherever ABS and PVC are joined, use rubber transition couplings instead of all-purpose cement (Photos 10 and 12).
For your bathroom to operate well, it’s critical to install vent and drain lines of the proper size and slope. The vents for the sink and shower can be 1-1/2-in. Make sure that the drain lines drop 1/4 in. for every foot of travel toward the main stack.
Copper or CPVC (plastic) lines that supply the bathroom with hot and cold water can be 1/2 in. diameter in most regions. House main lines will often be 3/4 in. Make the conversion before the new shutoff valves (Photo 7) with a reducer tee.
The wall-hung toilet’s supply line must have a male adapter with a temporary galvanized cap. Check the instructions on the toilet to get the proper location. Routing water supply lines is different in every bathroom, so you’ll have to adapt runs to your situation. But run the plastic drain lines and vents before starting any supply work.
It’s much easier to route water supply lines around drain lines than to route drains and vents around supply lines. The same thinking applies to electrical work: Wait until the water supply work is finished before wiring.
Preassemble the shower valve by soldering copper nipples and the shower supply pipe to male adapters and screwing them into the shower valve before fastening the valve to the blocking. That way you won’t damage the valve with heat from the soldering torch. Mount the valve 36 in. above the floor. You can mount the showerhead at any height, but plumbers typically mount them 6 ft.
in. above the floor.
Solder a female elbow onto the showerhead supply pipe. After mounting the showerhead pipe, screw a 6-in. Wrap Teflon tape around the threads of all screwed-in connections to prevent leaks, which would go unnoticed inside the wall.
Place the shower base and mark the drain location on the subfloor. Remove the base and cut a 6-in. Tighten the shower drain to the shower base.
Adjust the chair carrier (toilet support framework) to the desired height and bolt it in place to the bottom plate, blocking and studs with the lag screws provided.
A one-piece shower pan is the key to a leakproof shower. We opted for an easily installed fiberglass shower pan. Forty-eight inch wide pans are common and will work well; 60-in. The shower pan has to fit into the space left by the removed bathtub.
Most bathtubs are 60 in. long, perfect for a 60-in.
If your room is wider than the shower base, fur in the walls as needed to butt against the ends of the shower base (see Photo 14). Our bathroom is 6 ft. We made that wall only 43 in. above the floor so we could use the top of the wall to hold shampoo and other shower supplies. The shower base usually comes with a special 2-in.
For a quieter, rock-solid shower base, mix a bag of mortar, spread it over the subfloor and wiggle the base into the mortar until the base webbing rests firmly on the subfloor.
The job of installing our wall-mounted fixtures was tougher than it had to be, thanks to poor and contradictory one-size-fits-all instructions, metric fittings and duplicate and missing mounting parts. Prevent hard-to-fix future problems by test-fitting the actual fixtures when roughing in framing, plumbing and blocking to make sure everything will work out. Then finish the walls. When test-fitting, simulate finished floor and wall surfaces to get the clearances right.
Photo 16: Install the cement board.
Insulate exterior walls and staple a 6-mil vapor barrier over the insulation.
Tape cement board joints with cement board fiberglass tape and thin-set tile mortar. Tape drywall joints with taping compound, sand them smooth and paint areas that won’t be tiled.
With the rough plumbing complete and the toilet chair carrier in position, finish the electrical and add blocks as needed to support the sink (Photo 15), towel bars, grab bars, etc. Then close up the walls. We recommend cement board for durable tile walls and floors, but other tile backers are available at tile shops.
Fasten cement board with special, coated cement-board screws spaced 6 in. on butt joints and every 8 in. in the middle of sheets. Spread thin-set mortar on floors under cement board with a 1/4-in. Staple up 6-mil plastic sheeting behind cement board on walls in wet areas. Use a curved linoleum knife to score and snap cement board to length and width.
It works better and lasts longer than a utility knife. For cutting notches and holes, use a jigsaw fitted with an abrasive blade. Predrill pilot holes for the jigsaw in “landlocked” openings with a masonry drill bit. Rest the shower cement board on top of the shower base flange (see Photos 14 and 18), not over it. Extend the tile over the flange, then caulk between the tile and the base.
Tile the walls first, then the floor. When tiling around the window, keep the tile about 1/8 in. away from the glass block. Tile the floor, starting by carefully snapping center lines to lay out border strips and field tile. Work from those lines to get evenly spaced tiles throughout the floor.
Grout the walls and floors but caulk the inside corners between floors and walls and where walls meet.
Seal around the window with a bead of silicone caulk.
Mount the supply and discharge lines to the toilet with the seals provided and slip the toilet bowl into position over the mounting studs. Snug up the nuts, being careful not to over-tighten and crack the porcelain.
Install the faucets and tailpiece in the sink before mounting. Mark the mounting holes on the wall and drill 5/16-in. Screw the hanger bolts through the tile into the wood using the cap screw to drive the bolt. Slip the sink over the screws and snug down the nut.
Connect the sink to the trap and drain line, and the supply lines to the roughed-in copper lines with compression valve shutoffs. Mark, drill and mount the trap cover to the wall with hanger bolts. We finished off the alcove above the sink and stool by filling it with a floor-to-ceiling mirror glued to the drywall with silicone cement. At $160, it’s an inexpensive, useful way to make a room feel more spacious.
Since the medicine chest was eliminated, we needed storage space for the stuff guests shouldn’t see. We bought a small cherry cabinet for those items. Soffit lights over the shower and mirror shed light on all bathroom tasks right where you need it. A glass block window, albeit one that distorts images, may not feel private enough. Consider a second shower curtain rod fitted with a short matching shower curtain for more shower privacy. The two-piece stone chair rail that runs at the top of the half walls and around the window is spendy, but it contributes more in appearance than its $25 per linear foot cost. If you don’t already have a ventilating fan, add one.
Buy specially designed caulk from your tile supplier to match the grout color in corners.
There’s a reason that commercial bathrooms have wall-mounted toilets. There’s no base to clean around. But commercial types are expensive and noisy, and they require special plumbing. American Standard offers a quiet, residential wall-hung unit.
The tank is concealed within a 2×6 wall that’s built in front of the existing plumbing wall. It does require some plumbing rerouting because the waste line runs through the wall instead of the basic floor-mounted toilet flange (see Photos 8 – 12). The toilet can be ordered with a wall-mounted access panel/flush button like ours or with the panel mounted on top of a half wall. A ‘chair carrier’ (Photo 11) comes with the toilet.
This steel framework contains the toilet and operating mechanisms and is designed to support the weight of the toilet.
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time.
If you’re building a custom home, it’s because you like to be different. You want to have the freedom to help shape and design your own living space, so that it matches your practical needs, your favourite activities, and your own personal sense of style perfectly. When it comes to custom homes, there are some trends to be found amidst all the expressions of individuality. Take a look and think about how you might incorporate some of these items when working with your own building a custom home Sydney. Wall of WindowsDepending on the size of the wall, a wall of windows can be ostentatious or modest.
An ostentatious wall is favoured by people wanting a show-stopping space in which to entertain guests. It will probably be at least two stories tall, in a cavernous space with a cathedral ceiling and a balcony created by the upstairs hall. Whereas in the past you would probably have wanted a separate room for each, which would need to be decorated accordingly, now the trend is to build a couple of simple, plain bonus rooms instead. These multipurpose rooms can be used for any purpose, and their main advantage is that they can change with the life of the house as your needs and interests evolve.
Bonus rooms also often double as small, simple guest rooms. Master Suite Sitting RoomAnother trend noted by custom builders in Adelaide is the master suite sitting room. This private sitting area provides a place for the lord and lady of the house to relax, far away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house.Fancy GaragesCustom home builders in Adelaide are also often asked to create special garages.
This might be a practical request, like adding an extra garage bay to hold a boat or an ATV, or a more whimsical request, like creating a unique roof angle or adding a living space above the garage with gabled windows and other fun architectural accents. Above-garage living spaces also tap into the rising trend of intergenerational living, because it allows a homeowner’s parents or grown children to have their own semi-detached apartment in the home.These are just a few of the special bonus features that people are adding to custom houses. Remember, the whole idea of custom is to get things just exactly how you want them, so don’t be afraid to raise your own unique ideas with your builder.
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