When Choosing a Building Contractor or Home Renovation Specialist, the Seven Mistakes to Avoid



The building contracting and home renovation industry has experienced a lot of bad press and publicity for a number of years, and sometimes rightly so. That is because unfortunately there are a high number of dangerous and unethical practitioners operating in this industry, preying on unsuspecting homeowners by giving shoddy services whilst making unreasonable demands for the works carried out.

Below are the seven most common mistakes most homeowners make when choosing a builder or Home Renovation contractor.

Mistake 1

Not Asking For References Regarding Previous Works Carried Out

It's very easy to simply take someone at their word regarding what they can do and without seeing some form of proof. Now in the long run, not doing this has proven to be rather costly and in some cases, be rather dangerous because of simply taking on face value, what the contractor says.

Here's a test you should carry out if you really want peace of mind and a successful outcome when it comes to getting the type of work you want done in your home - simply ask the contractor for the names of two previous customers whom you can contact or even better go round and see examples of his work.

Simply phone those customers up and ask them a few questions when you are given those names and contact details. You don't have to do this whilst the contractor is there with you, although, if you do and the contractor is more than willing for that to happen, you can make a worthy assumption that the contractor has nothing to hide and is more than likely a genuine quality tradesperson. It's when the contractor is not willing to give you any past customer details, that's the time you should be concerned, very concerned.

So, you can ask any or all of the questions below to any previous clients -

What's been your overall experience of XYZ builder/contractor
What didn't you like about them?
Would you refer them to your family or friends based on the work they carried out for you?
If possible, could I make a visit and see for myself the kinds of work they've done?
Mistake 2

Not Finding Out How Qualified the Contractors Are

It's a given that the surgeon is perfectly qualified to carry out the procedure if we underwent heart surgery or any other major operation at the local hospital. We 'd probably have no reason to distrust anything that's going on.

Creating specific home renovations and building and structural work is a skillful practice. It's a disciplined, professional craft. And, just like any regulated profession, there are certain qualifications and benchmarks that will help prospective customers to help decide whether or not a builder or contractor is qualified and professional.

It's easy to be swayed by a builder's advert or seeing their van or truck with their name and contact details on it and feel that because they are 'in the business' that they are professional and automatically credible.

Asking about their qualifications, and letting them speak how and when they achieved their qualifications, is vital if you're looking for a quality, professional contractor.

Mistake 3

Thinking a Low Quote Means Excellent Value for Money

One of the biggest mistakes when hiring a building contractor is to think that because you receive a low quote for the intended job, that you've bagged yourself a bargain. In fact, more often than not, a low quote most likely means any of the following:

Low quality materials being used for the job

Shortcuts and cutting corners in order to get the job done fast

No real attention to detail Irregular communication patterns and very little interaction ie "we'll get on with it and let you know if we need anything"

Use of unqualified staff and labourers

Poor quality work leading to the job being re-contracted at a later date. (What this means is that the job ends up costing more than probably the best original proposals and quotes from other, better quality contractors!).
The thing is, you'll be able to spot a contractor you don't won't want to carry out the work for you because if you pay close attention to these 7 big mistakes in this Consumer Awareness Guide, you'll be able to spot a rogue builder or contractor, a mile off!

Mistake 4

Going Ahead Without an Agreement or Written Proposal

Another glaringly obvious mistake is to not get anything down in writing. It's easy to go ahead with the works you want done simply based on the words from a builder or contractor. The problem with that way of doing things is that it's very easy to forget who said what and what was to be done.

And what makes things really appealing is when you're offered a discount by 'paying cash', because in that way, the contractor is essentially saying that he doesn't want to be invoiced or have anything more info written down because he'll be charging you much less for the work.

The fact of the matter is once the work's done, you'll have a hard time getting hold of the contractor if there's something not quite right with the job. Because, as if by magic, you will have found that the builder has disappeared from the scene. And because there's no record of things, the homeowner will be left to

pick up the pieces - which inevitably means that more energy, time and money is spent looking for another contractor. The alternative is that the works are just left as they are, incomplete, unattended and leaving you, the homeowner with another powerful reason to distrust those in the building profession as a whole!

The big advice is to get things written down. And if the contractor doesn't want to go down that route, then you know you've come across someone you'll want to pass on, quickly.

Mistake 5

Assuming The Job Will Be Completed on Time

One of the biggest headaches many homeowners face when hiring a builder or contractor is about having the job finish on time. It's a mistake to simply believe what the contractor verbally says when it comes to timelines and deadlines because most builders are notoriously known for breaking promises and commitments when it comes to finishing jobs.

A true professional will give you specific timelines he expects to complete the job. And the reason he can give such a reassurance - and with extreme confidence - is because he's thoroughly analysed the job that has to be done.

More importantly, he's developed a number of carefully constructed business methods and ways of doing business that makes the whole customer and contractor relationship, a wonderful one.

Mistake 6

Creating a 'Part Works' Arrangement

There are hundreds of DIY books, tip sheets, informational resources that are available showing people how to create their own patios, extensions, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. The fact of the matter is that even armed with the greatest will and intention in the world, there are only a handful of people in a thousand who can start, finish and follow through with particular DIY house projects.

The number of botched up, unfinished and incomplete jobs, is scary.

The big mistake here is negotiating with a builder to finish off the job you have started. Now although you may have invested time and money in getting the job half done (or to whatever state or condition it's currently in) the worst thing to do is get a cheap quotation for someone to finish off what you've started.

And, if you do find someone who agrees to 'patch up and make good what you've started' be prepared for the ugly things that follow because it's more than likely that the whole job will have to be started again with a new contractor - thus costing you even more money as well as hearing about the total dissatisfaction of it all from members of your household.

Mistake7

Not Asking for Written Guarantee

Mistake No 7 is not asking for any guarantee on the finished job. And it's easy to skip this part because when you're looking at a finished piece of work, one automatically assumes that everything will be fine and that there will be no need to call on the contractor or builder again.

Of course, we all know that it's only AFTER a job has been completed that we then see how good the work really is, because that's the time a written guarantee is essential.

When you ask a contractor "do you guarantee your work?" (which essentially means that - depending on the kind of job - that you the customer, will be covered against any kind of collapse, structural damage, botched up job! ... and if after asking the contractor and this question says" yes" but does not give you anything in writing, then that maybe the red light signal to put a halt on things.

Professionals delivering excellent service and super quality work will have no hesitation in giving a written guarantee. And the real fact of the matter is that because it's your home, and because you'll be living there for some time to come, it just makes plain commonsense to get the best job you can afford from a builder or contractor you can trust.

And if it means paying more than the quick fix, fly by night contractors, (because all they are after is your money, without giving an equivalent value in return) then you'll find in the long run that it's always the best option and, it'll work out to be the cheapest option because there will be less expense needed later on in re-doing the job and fixing because of poor craftsmanship.


You don't have to do this whilst the contractor is there with you, although, if you do and the contractor is more than willing for that to happen, you can make a worthy assumption that the contractor has nothing to hide and is more than likely a genuine quality tradesperson. And, just like any regulated profession, there are certain qualifications and benchmarks that will help prospective customers to help decide whether or not a builder or contractor is qualified and professional.

It's easy to go ahead with the works you want done simply based on the words from a builder or contractor. The fact of the matter is once the work's done, you'll have a hard time getting hold of the contractor if there's something not quite right with the job. ... and if after asking the contractor and this question says" yes" but does not give you anything in writing, then that maybe the red light signal to put a halt on things.

Tips For Finding Anti Aging Products For Sensitive Skin



Many people have sensitive skin, which becomes inflamed or irritated rather easy. You or someone you know might have had this experience many times with skin care and anti aging products

For instance, I have some male friends who used to suffer from "burning skin" and other skin irritations as a result of shaving everyday. It took a lot of experimentation with shaving razors and creams, but they finally found a way to shave without experiencing as much irritation to their skin as they once did.The same is true with some of my female friends, whether it be shaving or simply applying skin cream, they would experience.

A lot of people experience this with skin products, including anti aging products for sensitive skin, not knowing that the product contains dangerous chemicals than can cause adverse health effects, ranging from skin irritation to cancer.

Here is a list of these dangerous chemicals - don't buy any anti aging product containing them, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Acrylamide
Alcohols
DEA, MEA, or TEA
Fragrances
Mineral Oil
Nitrosamines
Padimate-O
Parabens
Phenol Carbolic Acid
Rancid Natural Emollients
Toluene
Triclosan
Again, none of the above should be in any skin care products you buy. If they are, simply don't buy them-- using them enough times can damage any individual's health.

A few of the ingredients above deserve special mention:

Fragrances - It's incredible how many people buy a skin product simply for its smell. As a result, there are few anti aging benefits for this product, especially for those with sensitive skin.

Mineral Oil - Although it coats skin to keep its moisture, mineral oil clogs the skin's pores, interferes with its ability to eliminate toxins, can cause photosensitivity, strips natural oils from the skin (causing chapping and dryness), and encourages premature aging. Stay away from mineral oil at all costs.

Conclusion

When choosing any skin care product, including anti aging products for sensitive skin, stay away from the ingredients above, and stick with healthy and safe all natural ingredients. You wouldn't necessarily eat it, each ingredient in your skin care product should be safe enough to eat, such as active manuka honey or avacado oil. This is a sure way to keep your skin healthy and not expose it to dangerous toxins.


Fragrances - It's incredible how many people buy a skin product simply for its smell. Rather, it indicates that an extra, unneeded chemical has been added to the skin lotion or cream to make it more appealing for the consumer. As a result, there are few anti aging benefits for this product, especially for those with sensitive skin.

When choosing any skin care product, including anti aging products for sensitive skin, stay away from the ingredients above, Handmade avocado soap and stick with safe and healthy all natural ingredients. You wouldn't necessarily eat it, each ingredient in your skin care product should be safe enough to eat, such as active manuka honey or avacado oil.

Energy Efficiency - Purchasing an Energy Efficient Room Air Conditioner



Have you been considering a room air conditioner instead of a central air conditioner but aren't sure what you should be looking for? Purchasing an air conditioner of any type should be researched before hand simply due to the amount of electricity your air conditioner could potentially use.

As a consumer you definitely want to find the best performing unit for you. You want to find a unit which is very energy efficient because not only will it save you money in the long run, it's better for the environment. Energy efficiency is about making the best or most efficient use of energy in order to achieve a given level of comfort and convenience.

What is a Room Air Conditioner?

A room air conditioner is an air conditioning system designed to cool a room or rooms instead of the entire house. In comparison to central air conditioners, room air conditioners are dramatically less expensive to operate - even though they are often less efficient.

While central air conditioners often need higher voltage connections a room air conditioner can often be plugged into any 15- or 20-amp, 115-volt household circuit. If you have a larger room air conditioner you may need a dedicated 115 volt-circuit. In only the most extreme cases will you ever need a dedicated 230-volt circuit.

Room air conditioners are often vented or window mounted so they can effectively expel hot air out. Be wary of any room air conditioner that does not offer proper ventilation.

How are Room Air Conditioners Rated?

Room air conditioners are rated not on in SEER but rather in EER or Energy Efficiency Ratio. The EER of a given room air conditioner is calculated by dividing the cooling capacity in British Thermal Units (BTU) per hour by the power input in watts.

While the national appliance standard requires that any room air conditioner built after 1990 to have an EER of 8.0 or greater, and the latest Energy Star standards require in some cases an EER of 10.7 or greater I support the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's (ACEEE) recommendations. The ACEEE recommends at least an EER of 11.6. Why? This will guarantee your unit is energy efficient throughout the year and when it is needed most - the hottest summer months.

Selecting a Room Air Conditioner

Once you've decided to purchase a room air conditioner make sure you look for the Energy Star label. If every room air conditioner sold in the U.S. were Energy Star qualified, we could prevent 1.2 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions to put that into perspective that is equivalent to the emissions from 100,000 cars. Energy Star room air conditioners use at least 10% less energy than conventional models.

In the room air conditioner game Energy Star isn't the only certification to be looking for. You should also look for Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers or AHAM Certified units. Why? AHAM Certified room air conditioners have their EER ratings verified by an independent laboratory.

Getting the Right Size

Room air conditioners like all air conditioning units are rated by the number of British Thermal Units (BTU) of heat they can remove per hour. Another common way of rating air conditioners is by the "ton," some example are 5,500 BTU per hour or 14,000 BTU per hour.

Getting the right size room air conditioner for your application is crucial. , if you get the wrong size you can easily waste large volumes of electricity.. The size of your air conditioner depends upon:

How large is your home and how many do you have?
How much shade do you have? Do you have shade on your home's windows, walls, and roof?
Are the ceilings and walls of your home insulated properly?
Do you have air leaks?
How much heat do you, the occupants, and appliances generate?
Remember the key to any air conditioners efficiency and performance depend on you properly matching the size of the AC unit to your specific application.

If you find this a bit confusing then you can always use the free AHAM tool. AHAM offers a handy online tool which can help you calculate your air conditioner (or evaporative cooler) needs.

http://www.cooloff.org/sub_cool.html
Installing your Room Air Conditioner
When you install a new room air conditioner you should try to locate the air conditioner in a window or wall area near the center of the room. It is also beneficial to install your air conditioner on the shadiest side of your house. Try not to let your installation increase air leakage - you can minimize this by fitting the either the room air conditioner or its ventilation snugly into its opening and sealing gaps with a foam weather stripping material.

Are Room Air Conditioners my only non-permeneant cooling option?

If you live in a drier climate, somewhere with a relatively humidity level below 50%, then you may be well matched for an "Evaporative Cooler" sometimes referred to as a "Swamp Cooler." An evaporative cooler cools by using a fan to force air through moistened pads. As the hot air passes through the pads, the pads absorb the heat and cool the air in some cases as much as 15-20 degrees.

Evaporative coolers are not for everyone. In the wrong climate, in the wrong conditions an evaporative cooler can create conditions of high humidity in the air which in turn can cause condensation and even corrosion.

In the right conditions and climate, evaporative coolers, can provide cost very effective cooling. When compared to air conditioners, evaporative coolers use an average of 75% less electricity. Evaporative coolers are very energy efficient.

If you think you are a good candidate for an evaporate cooler you can use the free AHAM tool referenced earlier to calculate the proper size for your specific application too.

In many parts of the world air conditioning can seem like a life saver, but it comes at a cost - first in dollars spent for electricity, and second in carbon dioxide pollution from the generation of electricity. According to the the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) we create an astounding 140 million tons of CO2 cooling our homes. You can easily save electricity by purchasing a correctly sized Energy Star rated room air conditioner. By saving electricity you are doing your part to fight global climate change.


Have you been considering a room air conditioner instead of a central air conditioner but aren't sure what you should be looking for? Purchasing an air conditioner of any type should be researched before hand simply due to the amount of electricity your air conditioner could potentially use. In comparison to central air conditioners, room air conditioners are dramatically less expensive to operate - even though they are often less efficient.

While central air conditioners often need higher voltage connections a room air conditioner can often be plugged into any 15- or 20-amp, 115-volt household circuit. When you install a new room air conditioner you should try to locate the air conditioner in a window or wall area near air conditioner repair columbia sc the center of the room.

Must Know Etiquette for Graduation Announcements Invitations Cards



Helpful Graduation Announcements and Graduating Invitations Etiquette for All School Grads

With today's multiple and varied educational options, graduation is a year round season and happening, which means everyone needs to prepared for graduating ceremonies, graduate parties with fancy and not so elegant dinners, and most of all, that all important gift giving. While academics accomplishments and achievements are an important element of celebrating any and all educational milestone, it is helpful if people of all ages are knowledgeable about the protocol of these gigantic milestones in their educational life.

Custom Graduation Announcements are for Announcing You're Graduating

When personalizing and sending your stylish announcements for graduates, good etiquette suggests that they should be mailed after the ceremony has been held. School grads, at all graduating milestones, should send graduating announcement cards to friends and family members who they would like to know about this significant educational accomplishment, even those who you might not have had recent close contact. As you are preparing this important list, it is advisable to approach the task with the attitude that this more of an inclusive list than an exclusive list of names. And, in this day and time, it might be awfully tempting to simply blast off a mass email, but this should be totally avoided. For occasions like this, you should be respectful to your relatives and send only custom printed and embellished graduate announcements, this significant education milestone certainly deserves more than a mere email.

Personalized Graduating Invitations - What to Include and Who to Send the Invites To

Lots of people see little differences, there are, in fact, significant differences between graduating announcements and graduation invitations, regardless of whether they are for kindergarten, high school, college, nursing, and any other level of graduating. For most graduate ceremonies, the graduates usually are offered a limited amount of tickets, so in many cases, not every friend or family member will be able to attend.

Remembering Your Etiquette for Graduation Invitations and Graduating Announcements

It is truly interesting to see the difference in people who apparently have been taught about these etiquette situations as compared to those who have very little knowledge about graduation ceremonies and celebrations. For these and other reasons, everyone should prepare their children by ensuring they understand and gain the confidence why it's important. With all the fanfare and celebrations surrounding graduations, from pre-k, high school, advanced degrees, and all levels in between, comes school graduating etiquette guidelines that they will want to be aware of and follow, thus ensuring everything goes smoothly and avoid having hurt feelings. Proper etiquette includes a wide range including, but not limited to, who should get invitations for graduation and school graduate announcements cards, appropriate gifts, party etiquette, and the all important, thank you note cards tips for surviving all graduations with class.

The skills and lessons learned while in the classrooms will help everyone on the job, but those people skills that you have and use are the ones that will afford you a definite advantage in the work environment. After all, good etiquette, whether socially or professional, makes everyone's life more complete and happier, since it includes behavior and interaction with others, and it is relationships and people who contribute to and drive our lives.


School summer party invitations grads, at all graduating milestones, should send graduating announcement cards to friends and family members who they would like to know about this significant educational accomplishment, even those who you might not have had recent close contact. Lots of people see little differences, there are, in fact, significant differences between graduating announcements and graduation invitations, regardless of whether they are for kindergarten, high school, college, nursing, and any other level of graduating. For most graduate ceremonies, the graduates usually are offered a limited amount of tickets, so in many cases, not every friend or family member will be able to attend. Proper etiquette includes a wide range including, but not limited to, who should get invitations for graduation and school graduate announcements cards, appropriate gifts, party etiquette, and the all important, thank you note cards tips for surviving all graduations with class.

Top Reasons to Choose a Tiny HomeTop Reasons to Choose a Tiny Home



Taxes have literally gone through the roof. To find the answer to this pressing question we must first look at what led our society down this devastating path in the first place. This requires looking back into how homes have been defined through the ages.

Throughout time, homes can be divided into two categories. For a long time the homes of everyman were built to meager standards. There was a kitchen area which many times was combined with a dining space.

In some cases, the parents' bunk would be downstairs and separated from the common area by a simple curtain. This means that there usually was no need for closets to store them in. A simple chest of drawers could hold what was needed.

Through the ages however the upper class has had a different notion of what a home should be. These homes have included all sorts of elaborate rooms such as music rooms, parlors, formal dining rooms, multiple guest rooms, and many more. Nowadays, when one looks at homes of the middle and even lower class families in America, it is easy to see the influence that the homes of the gentry have played. It has become common place for many homes to now have a great deal of excess space.

Take for example a family of four; two children and two parents. The parents spend a great deal of time in the living room which could be as big as twenty five by twenty feet or more. The kids might spend most of their time in their bedrooms. The dining room largely goes unused, as does the kitchen which is also huge. Heating, cooling, and even lighting this home is quite expensive. The property taxes are also high as well due to square footage. Why would this family choose to pay to live in such a costly home?

This is the question that many people are now starting to ask. By running a search on the Internet for "tiny homes" one can easily see the grassroots movement that is now picking up steam here in the US and abroad. Some single individuals have found it comfortable, and affordable, to live in a home of less than 200 square feet. Just imagine a home for one that costs under $5,000 USD. Does this sound too good to be true? Believe it or not there are many of these tiny houses starting to pop up all across the world. This begs the question; why should we choose to live in such small houses? There are five excellent reasons why it should be an option that everyone considers in this day and age.

1. Cut Those Spiraling Energy Costs - Average electric, gas, and water bills have been going up exponentially in the past several years. Some say it is due to the finite supply of resources powering many of the utilities. Others feel it is due to the greed of the corporations holding the reigns. No matter what the reason there is no arguing as to the pain in here the wallet that these bills represent. Now imagine being able to run your entire house on two simple solar panels. On days with little sun you might have to resort to wind for back up. This is quite possible with a small home. Tiny homes are very easy to heat, cool, light and more without having to give your sweat and blood to the utility companies.

The larger your home the more taxes you will likely pay. Now imagine how little tax you would have to pay for a home that could fit on a space the size of four parking spaces two in front of the other. That's right; your new tiny home could be easily squeezed in wherever you can find an ultra small lot.

Scoff In The Face Of Disaster - Just ask people who lose their homes in hurricanes or tornadoes, losing a full sized home in a disaster can be extremely devastating. Now compare a $10k tiny home with a $100k full sized home. Imagine as well the ability to hook your home up to a vehicle and move it to safety if need be.

Keep Yourself Clutter Free - Have you ever taken a look around a cluttered room and felt your heart race or began to feel a headache coming on? The truth is that in today's homes the extra space simply serves as a catchall. A tiny home would help to reduce the desire for such clutter by simply not offering up as much dead space.

5. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint - Perhaps one of the best reasons to choose a tiny house would be the benefit of reducing your overall carbon footprint. This takes place in several ways. A tiny home requires an enormously reduced amount of building materials. This in itself is a huge step. Next is the fact that you can easily convert it to use wind and/or solar energy for your electrical needs. By relying on solar powered lights, heating, and cooling, you will do your part in reducing the burden for oil, gas, and other such resources. This is another huge step in helping the planet. Whether you believe in the existence of global warming or not, there is no arguing that man has an effect on his environment. Why not take steps to make this impact less harmful than it could be?

These five reasons are not the only ones. There are many other reasons to choose a tiny home over a full-sized energy consuming model. There may come a day in which we all will be required to look into the feasibility of tiny home living. Why not get a jump on it now and get the perfect tiny home today?


Nowadays, when one looks at homes of the middle and even lower class families in America, it is easy to see the influence that the homes of the gentry have played. Scoff In The Face Of Disaster - Just ask people who lose their homes in hurricanes or tornadoes, losing a full sized home in a disaster can be extremely devastating. Now compare a $10k tiny home with a $100k full sized home. A tiny home would help to reduce the desire for such clutter by simply not offering up as much dead space. There are many other reasons to choose a tiny home over a full-sized energy consuming model.

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