Thursday, January 31, 2019

Four Beautiful Kitchen Interior Upgrades!

This post is contributed by Matt Lee.

One of the simplest methods for refreshing a home and increasing the property value is to upgrade the kitchen. The kitchen is a functional and comfortable gathering place which acts as the center of many homes. Each element must work cohesively in order to serve and function properly.
Sometimes the features of a kitchen no longer suit the style or needs of its occupants. Instead of a pricey, time-consuming kitchen remodel, consider some smaller kitchen upgrades. Simple changes such as swapping out old hardware or adding a new coat of paint can make a world of difference in the appearance and feel of a kitchen. 

Here are 4 stunning kitchen upgrades that will transform your cooking space. 

1. Revamp Your Cabinets

Cabinets form the face of the kitchen. The size, shape, color, and design of the cabinets can make or break the tone of the kitchen space. Fortunately, kitchen cabinets are also among the easiest transformations to undertake. 

For a subtle, understated change, the cabinets can be stained a natural color. Humble pine or maple cabinets can take on the appearance of pricier mahogany or cherry with a simple coat of stain and varnish. For a bolder statement, try a bright coat of paint. 

If you are not looking to make a serious change, consider a simple hardware swap to give the kitchen more up to date interior features. Consider swapping black handles for stainless steel or bronze to compliment dark colored cabinets for a more industrial look.

2. Quartz Countertops

Many older homes feature countertops made from lackluster materials, such as laminate or faux stone. Upgrading your countertops is no small task, but it can be a stunning change that will last for years. But what material should you choose?

Granite may be a popular choice, but quartz countertops are a more durable and lower maintenance option. Quartz is generally a light cream or beige color, which will stay on trend for years to come. But quartz can be easily customized to fit any style. If you are looking for a more sophisticated look with some design to it, consider quartz that looks like marble.  

3. Install Under Cabinet Lighting

Recessed lighting is a classy way to incorporate style and functionality. By installing under cabinet lighting, you can easily see and navigate the kitchen space while maintaining the warm feel of the kitchen. Under cabinet lights can eliminate the need for harsh overhead lights. Additionally, many under cabinet lighting systems can be installed easily on your own without having to call an electrician, making this upgrade a seamless transformation. 

4. Update Your Kitchen Faucets

The sink may not be one of the first places that comes to mind when upgrading the kitchen. However, with so many new advances in sink technology, there are thousands of styles, colors, and finishes to choose from. Faucets provide an opportunity to showcase your style and improve water efficiency at the same time, as many new faucets are designed with an eco-conscious purpose. 

Consider matching your faucet to the hardware on your cabinets for a seamless look. If you are considering upgrading the kitchen, a faucet upgrade can be an excellent place to begin.

Upgrading the kitchen is a rewarding undertaking. You can do as little or as much as you want and still transform the room. 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

How To Spruce Up Your Commercial Space In 2019: 3 Key Steps!

This post is provided by Lora Young.

Better late than never! A new year has begun and businesses are eager to make very significant changes. Indeed, investing in office renovation is always a great idea. After all, a business has to change the way it looks in order to stay relevant to its existing and potential customers. But you will have to admit, sprucing up an office space, or just about any commercial setup for that matter, is too much of an investment already. 

If you are an entrepreneur, expect even a partial remodel to be very costly. And I mean COSTLY! After all, you will have to know which parts of your commercial space deserve a much needed upgrade. Other than that, you will need to know whether you have a large enough maintenance budget to handle such projects.

Luckily, there are ways you can spruce up your commercial space this year without having to spend too much time and energy. Here are a few of them:

Consider upgrading your storage

Right off the bat, the main problem that most businesses face is clutter. Especially for many startups that have yet to set up an effective storage system, it is hard to find hard copies of documents if they are not properly stored or at least archived.

If you have this very same problem as last year, you might as well consider investing in filing cabinets and other storage systems that will help keep your files safe and secured. If you do not have a proper storage room for these files, you might as well utilize an existing room or partition a part of your office space to create a separate area for storage.

Replace old furniture

If you are still using the same furniture ever since you started operating your business, chances are it is becoming dilapidated. It becomes worse if there is an indication of termite damage, in which case you will have to consider replacing your old office furniture with brand new pieces.

Make sure to opt for hardwood furniture, especially when it comes to refurbishing the lobby. But if you are on a budget, you can always consider giving your old furniture a new lease on life by way of  a simple restoration project. This will at least add a few more years to the life of your furniture.

Get an experienced construction contractor

Planning something big for your commercial space? Maybe you are considering adding a new office building on the premises? At any rate, you will need to find a contractor that is capable of handling projects no matter how large.

For simple office space additions, you can find small construction companies. Such companies usually make use of construction equipment financing to acquire the right assets. Still, it is always important to look at a contractor’s track record. Obviously, finding any anomalies in a company’s history should indicate a no-go. To be safe, you should ask for recommendations from business partners or colleagues to vouch for a trusted company.

With these three steps in mind, you will be on your way to a good year for your business, with a brand new look to match!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

What's a punch list in construction?

This post is provided by Tom Carter.

How do you ensure finesse in a construction project? How do you know it is the right time to declare a project complete?

Well, it is through a punch list. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. Making an accurate punch list is extremely important to deliver a successful construction project. Mostly, this step is taken just close to the completion so as to review and double check the project before declaring it complete. Different individual/stakeholder has a different role to play in the process.

Here is a guide to help you in understanding the list.

So, what is a punch list exactly?

The term ‘Punch’ comes from the technique used in the old days to punch holes just next to an item before fixing the particular thing. But, what is a punch list in construction?

A punch list is basically a document composed when a construction project is nearing its end listing the work not complying with the contract specifications. The contractor must look into it and fix it before the project ends. It is an integral part of the construction process in the form of an official document.

For a long construction project which might take several months or years to complete (think skyscraper), there is a risk of missing some minor details such as individual electrical figures. A punch list thus serves as a means of ensuring nothing is left out. The general method of preparing a punch list is by creating a list of items checked off after a detailed review when a construction process is nearing its end. This answers question, “what is a punch list in construction?”

When is the punch list implemented?

Strictly speaking, punch lists are not mandatory, but these form a part of the traditional process and thus take place towards the end of a construction project. It is accomplished only when a project is considered to be nearly finished. However, it should not be taken as a major task, but a list of minor tweaks. The major points have already been addressed. When a construction project reaches this point, a punch list is usually prepared by the general contractor. It is his sole responsibility to take a walk through the entire construction.

While accomplishing the construction project, the client or owner can pinpoint to any issue they come across. The general contractor is present during the visits to clarify the changes from the initial specification and to note the issues that need fixing before the project is declared complete. It is a general practice for the designers and the architects to be a part of the walkthrough. This is to ascertain that the building constructed matches the original specification. The architect must also explain if there is anything that does not conform to the original specifications.

What are punch list items in construction?

The punch list items in construction include:

·         Appliances are functioning properly.
·         No hardware item is missing.
·         Cabinet doors and drawers open and close without any issues.
·         Hardware is working smoothly.
·         No leaks found.
·         Outlets and lights are functioning.
·         AC, Ventilation and heating systems work as they should.
·         Paint and texture problems. Uniformity.
·         Plumbing issues.
·         Cracks in the ceilings, at the corner of the skylights.
·         Working of smoke detectors.
·         Nail heads peeping out of the wood framing.
·         Wall tiles – cracked or fine.
·         Windows locking properly.
·         Hinges with all the screws.
·         Gaps between wall and door frame, base and flooring.
·         Carpet seams visible or not. Consistent direction. Frayed ends.

And so on…

These are just to give you an idea of the punch list items. These and more are part of the construction punch list procedure to be asked in the form of questions by the stakeholders.

The punch list includes the appropriate construction items and the correct installation for proper functioning. When considering construction punch list vs. construction items, it is only wise to say that the punch list is formed to check the functioning of the items used in the construction.   

Who makes construction punch list?

Albeit, there are a number of parties involved in the management and implementation of a construction punch list. There are two main phases involved: Making it and addressing it. All the stakeholders have a role to play in both the phases; however, some of them are more involved in the process than the others. Check the list of who makes construction punch list and his role in it. However, this can vary from project to project and the stakeholders involved.

Owner: His primary job is to inspect the work, and ask relevant questions about anything he finds difficult to understand. He should also point out to work left incomplete or if there is some irregularity in the work completed. The punch list is given to the general contractor who is accustomed to the additional responsibility of performing a walk through when some added requests pop up.

General Contractor: The role of the general contractor is vivid. He must look into the details, get in touch with the owner’s punch list and construct his own list for the subcontractor for the latter to address meticulously.

Subcontractor: It is the prime responsibility of the subcontractor to take up the list handed over to them. Furthermore, he must address the request and ascertain that each item is completed on time. He must be ready to explain each fix and if need be the reason it is not made as per the specifications.

Designer/Architect: The role of the designers and architects is to ensure what was designed and what was constructed.

Summing up

A punch list may vary from project to project. There is a multitude of items that can add up to the punch list. After a punch list has been prepared, it must be agreed by all the parties involved. A walk through is important before assigning the responsibilities. 

This article should provide you an insight into what is a punch list in construction, what items are included in the punch list, who makes a list and the correct manner to follow construction punch list procedure.