Moving and Levelling Land to Enhance Your Build Potential

Preparation is key to any project and there are a number of different surveys that can be conducted on your build project to save you both time and money. A topographical survey is a great place to start. Also known as a land survey, it gives an accurate representation of the surface of the ground whilst also highlighting all natural and manmade objects, including any existing structures, boundary details, grid levels, ground surfaces, tree positions and drainage.

Information for a topographical survey is gathered by using a total station, or electronic theodolite, which measures distances and angles between points on the ground. All information is gathered on site and can be adjusted to the individual project.

Topographic surveys can be split into different areas of interest. If you have a particularly large area of land that needs to be removed and then levelled, a volumetric survey may be more suitable to your project. This is still a type of topographical survey and is a quick and cost effective way of working out how much land and material needs be moved. In the past, this sort of information would have been worked out by hand by measuring an area and calculating the slope. Now, the information is gathered using the total station and is normally displayed in a 3D format.

The use of a volumetric survey will allow you to plan the costs and time spent on your build. The accurate drawings allow you to calculate the amount of ‘muck away’ that can then be redistributed around the site to level the ground. This will reduce your costs and it can also reduce the amount of material taken to landfill sites. Making sure the land is level on site will not only reduce your costs at the beginning of the project but it will also benefit your build in the long run as it can help reduce things such as flooding and sloping or movement in the building once its settled.

To further your knowledge on your build site, you could also invest in having a GPS (Global Positioning System) survey conducted. GPS surveys support topographical surveys, delivering continuous, real-time, centimetre-level accuracy. With the development of technology, GPS surveys have come a long way, enabling highly accurate and rapid data capture, giving you an instant result. A professional surveying company should be able to carry out all the surveys you require.

Making sure the land is level on site will benefit your build in the long run. It can help reduce the risk of flooding and sloping, or movement in the building once it has settled.

Home Improvement Tips to Help Sell Your Home to a Discerning Buyer

Everyone has one or two things they would like to improve about the place they live. When it comes to improvements, our homes should be at the top of the list, but they often get shuffled to the side, because improvements tend to be costly and time consuming. The reality is that a lot of improvements you can actually accomplish on your own using some home improvement tips that aren’t costly, but are noticeable.

Two areas of the house tend to get the short end of things when it comes to home improvement. They are the bathroom and our outside world. The bathroom is somewhat understandable. While we like to have it nice, the reality is that a face lift in the bathroom can be problematic. Redoing the entire bathroom is quite costly and often a messy proposition that takes weeks to reconcile.

Despite the inconvenience, doing up a bathroom is usually time and money well spent. It is one of the most used rooms in any house, and is a priority for most home buyers. The condition and presentation of a bathroom can add or subtract thousands of dollars in a property sale. A bathroom can also influence how long a property stays on the market, before being snapped up by a buyer.

That being said, what about the outside of your home? Is it looking a bit worse for wear? When is the last time you saw it as other people really see it? While it is true that you live on the inside, it is also true that what the outside of your home looks like, is the first thing people see. It is what gives your home curb appeal and makes people want to see more. Still when it comes to improving your home, one of the biggest things that people tend to overlook is the outside.

Did you know that adding a flower bed or a little bit of shrubbery can not only increase your chances of selling your home, but also cost you a nominal amount. It could amount to less than two to three hundred dollars for decent greenery that may increase the value of your home as much as a thousand dollars or more. Flowers and shrubs tend to give a home the appearance of being lovingly nurtured and people notice. An attractive garden will get you buyers when the swimming pool in your back yard might not.

Firewise landscaping is another method of adding to the value of your property and is one of the home improvement tips that you don’t see added to the lists very often. This is particularly the case in areas where wild-land fires can be a problem, such as New Mexico, Arizona, California, and in some eastern states. Firewise landscaping is making news. It represents the proper placement of landscaping items so that the fires will have less fuel and be less able to consume the home along with the property. Firewise landscaping sells houses.

Taking into account where you live when considering these home improvement tips. Take care of your own interests, as well as those who will buy the property after you means assuring the safety of your home. It is one of the best ways to get your home noticed in a positive way and to sell the property to someone else.

Home Improvement Tips to Increase the Value of Your Home

Facing the reality of fluctuating real estate market, there happens to be more home sellers than the buyers. This has changed the behavior of people looking to shop for a house as they have become choosy. So they have sensed that the seller badly wants to get on to his next home and he will do anything within reason to make the sale.

Many sellers have had to fall back on home improvement tips to ensure their house stands tall over the competition and it gets sold easily. Nevertheless, the key is in understanding which home improvement tips can intensify the value of your home for that grand sale.

Shared below are the most popular home improvement tips that will help raise the value of your home so it sells faster, for an improved price.

• If you want to make your home more sellable, then add a fitting glazing or windows with double-glazing inside existing windows. Wooden frames are a fitting choice in a home makeover. Avoid using plastic at all cost, as it may bring down the value of your home.

• Buyers tend to stay away from properties with slow and lethargic broadband. Therefore, you have to ensure your broadband is superfast by fitting a satellite broadband. All you have to do is fit a dish to your house so you can get a broadband that can go superfast to be able to stream music, data and TV without breaks.

• Simple home improvements like rendering unappealing bricks, changing concrete roof tops with slates with help from West Bethel roofing contractors, painting the front door afresh, keeping your fence clean, hanging baskets and flower pots, mowing your lawns and trimming the hedges, all increase your home value and create a welcoming impression for any would-be buyer.

• Expand your house by nicely fitting in one or two more bedrooms. If you’ve got a four bedroom house and only one bedroom, you could add another room including an en-suite to the master bedroom. Additional fittings like new taps, power shower and a heated towel rail add more value to your home improvement endeavors. You can employ a glass door shower screen to replace the not-so-loved shower curtain.

• You can bring the outdoor feeling into your home for extra value. You can do this by creating a treehouse for kids in your sunken garden or a fire pits for adults with bi-fold doors leading to the garden. This will give a feeling of an additional reception room in the home, which surely attracts intending buyers. You can make cheaper improvements by increasing the lighting and minimizing maintenance by cutting down trees that do not enhance the beauty of the garden. Always check if you are in a conversation area before chopping down any fruit trees.

• Acquire a wood burner for your home. Open fire places offer huge comfort but a remote controlled gas, wood, electric or multi-fuelled fire is much easier to maintain. A wood burner is better at fuel efficiency, so go with it. A good wood burner that lights up at all times gives the feeling that your house is always warm and lively.

• Get rid of old furniture and equally of the large items that take up large spaces in your house to give way to a much bigger area and more open appearances. Replace the old furniture with nice fitting new ones.

Other few home improvement tips to increase your home value include patching all holes and cracks, and then, retouching with a neutral color. Repainting the interior of the house works wonders too. Anything else you can do to outwardly shore up the appearance of your home will surely help to increase its value, rightly positioning it for a quick sale.

Some Real Home Improvement Tips to Increase Your Homes Value

You may not be aware of it but many home improvements really do not increase the value of the home as much as they end up costing you. If you are considering the sale of your home and want to increase its value there are some home improvement tips that you can do that will actually help increase the value.

For example, before showing your home to prospective buyers, de-clutter it; experts claim that this is considered as much as a 970% average return on your investment just by cleaning it. Store items that you do not need in boxes or containers in an attic or basement, or better yet, in a separate storage facility; if need be, have a garage sale prior to having an open house.

More home improvements tips that increase the value of your home include making the house brighter; by simply replacing burned out bulbs or bulbs with low wattage, to a higher wattage and keeping your curtains and blinds open during open house you can expect an approximate 855% average return. Another is to make sure that your yard is free from clutter and that your grass is a healthy green. If possible hire a landscaper or gardener to trim everything back; this will gain you an average return of about 420%.

Additional home improvement tips include what is called “staging”; purchase some live plants and flowers or other new decorations and placing them around your home. You may also want to get rid of old furniture and large items that take up a lot of room in order to give the area a bigger more open appearance and gives you an average return of 250%.

Updating your bathroom and kitchen, nets a return of about 165% and can be accomplished by painting cabinets with a neutral color, replace old and dated fixtures with newer ones. It is also advisable to redo the grout in your sinks, tubs, showers and counter-tops; as well as using fresh caulking where necessary.

A few other improvement tips that will increase the value of your home include painting the inside of your house (140% return). Patch all of the holes, cracks or chips and then touch up or repaint with a neutral color. Basically, anything that you can do to outwardly clean up the appearance of something will help to increase your homes value.

Factors to Decide While Choosing an Oil Tank Removal Company

Finding an oil tank in your backyard may cause stress. The removal comes with several challenges. It is something you preferably would not like to do on your own. The hazards associated with it are beyond imagination.

An oil tank removal company is the best option to contact for removal services. The company has skilled professionals who have knowledge about dealing with such situation. Hiring someone to perform this important task comes with challenges. It requires a proper research.

Verify the Certification

First, you should ensure whether the contractor has valid license or not? If he holds license then you should go for it. It clarifies that they are totally insured. If you still carry any dilemma, it is better to verify every important detail about the service provider.

Rely on Word of Mouth

Any good service provider will have a good reputation. Check the online reviews or find out the social media interaction. A word of mouth from your neighbors also gives you a clear idea of its services. If possible, try to connect with someone who has already availed their services. It will help you to understand their capabilities and service quality.

Seek the Assistance of Local Company

You should search a local company to deal with the problem of a leaking tank. A service provider in your locality will have accurate idea of soil and environment. It is very helpful while dealing with the struggle of removal. Contacting a local professional will also assist you to get the task done within the specified time.

Check the Capabilities

While finding a reliable company, you should figure out their capabilities. Removing an oil tank comes with several challenges like leakage, heat and soil damage. The professionals that you are going to hire must be well-aware of the issues related to a storage tank. Besides modern equipment, they should have the knowledge to handle this hazardous task which will ensure a safe environment.

Stay Updated with the Process

Once you have decided to hire a company for removal, you should learn about the process. It will help you to understand the required precautions for safe surroundings.

Since you will stay in the home and therefore, it should be free from the hazards that a leaking tank may cause. Removal helps you to avoid hazards in future. It is also essential for a safe environment.
Hire a company and get the removal done to enjoy peace of mind.

Essential Consideration On How To Keep The Water Of Natural Swimming Pools Clean

Many people say that it is so much better to swim in natural swimming pools than in artificial ones. And they also say that once they’ve grown used to natural pools, they find the whole experience of swimming in artificial pools so different and that they really prefer taking dips in natural swimming pools.

And who wouldn’t want to have and swim regularly in a natural pool? These pools do not require any artificial materials or chemicals to be cleaned or be maintained. They have a plant zone that acts as the filter. In addition, since it has an all-natural setup, you certainly have one of the most eco-friendly types of pool all around.

Though the plants act as the primary natural filtering and cleaning agents for your pool, there are some simple things you can do to help keep your natural pool clean. Below are some of them:

Regularly check and maintain the pool’s regeneration zone. This zone is the pool’s primary filtration system. This filter zone is filled with aquatic plants and rocks, which mimic the regeneration process in a natural ecosystem. Like with most rivers and waterfalls, water passing through a membrane or several layers of rocks and sand will keep it balanced (pH levels) and pure. The same concept is applied to natural pools. This zone not only adds beautifying and increases the aesthetic appeal of your pool but of course, keeps it clean. As such, it is important that you regularly check this zone and make sure the plants are healthy and thriving. And you can always add suitable plants in the zone as well.

Use or put natural rainwater in the pool. Collect or harvest rainwater and put or add it to the natural swimming pool. Cleaning the water actually starts with this process since a major part of the natural pool system, obviously, is the water you will be using. Since you choose to go eco-friendly, it is best to use rainwater for your pool because it is not treated with chlorine and other chemicals that the utility pipes have. However, make sure that the rainwater you will place in the pool is very clean and free from dirt.

Have an aeration and water circulation system installed. There are some natural swimming pools that do not have these features. A mechanical pump installed in the pool will help ensure that you have water circulating in it continuously. Stagnant water will lead to accumulation of algae and can be a habitat for insects and other harmful microorganisms.

If You Would Like To Venture Into a Housekeeping Business

Starting as an entrepreneur is a wonderful way to take full control of your life, enhance your income and raise your standard of living. A house cleaning business is probably an excellent example. If you are seeking to start a cleaning business, you should have the complete knowledge of all the aspects associated with this industry. Let’s discuss those aspects below:-

The cleaning industry has two major areas, i.e. residential area and commercial area. The residential area includes house cleaning services like carpet cleaning, window cleaning and many ore other services needed on a less-frequent basis. On the other hand, the commercial area is controlled by janitorial services, which particularly include a broader range of services than maid services.

A house cleaning business can be an advantageous and money-making endeavor for you. All you need is high quality cleaning supplies and some clients. It is one among the easiest service businesses to begin even with a small budget. You will only need a start-up investment for marketing, licensing and cleaning supplies.

But before starting this business, you should know that it’s an industry for perfectionists. Cleaning is all about making spaces look fit to be seen and tidy, so if you have that potential to make things spotless, only then you can gain name and fame in this business. You need to instill confidence in your customers, so exceptional customer relation skills are vital. It does not hint that the maximum work is done when customers are not at home. The point is they have to believe you completely if they are going to give away the keys to their space, thus the first impression counts.

Managing a cleaning business of any size, whether it is big or small, will need flawless administrative skills. If you want to make real profit/benefit, you will need to cope with thousands of clients, thus detailed appointment records must be kept. If you are a little uneasy about your own business proficiencies, then franchising might be the best option for you. The cleaning business is an admired option for franchisors and there are loads of opportunities out there. If your business really takes off, you may discover franchising too restraining for your taste. You will have to consider all the advantages and ill effects before settling on to run it alone completely or opting for a franchise.

So, consider the option, which suits you well, and get ready to enjoy those limitless benefits associated with the house cleaning business.

An Introduction to Fire Sprinkler System Maintenance

If your building is outfitted with a sprinkler system, you’re right to feel a bit safer. You can rest easy knowing that, should a fire break out, your system will immediately react to keep everyone safe by containing the outbreak until the fire department arrives. However, this will only happen if you’ve been practicing sound fire sprinkler system maintenance. Systems that aren’t properly maintained may not work as they’re supposed to and that could end up costing you the ultimate price. So let’s take a look at what goes into fire sprinkler system maintenance and then take action to ensure you’re doing what’s necessary.

How Sprinklers Work

First, however, let’s take a quick look at how your fire sprinklers actually work. In the movies, at the first hint of fire, every sprinkler on the building’s floor goes off, covering the entire area in water.

That’s not how it actually works though. Each sprinkler head is designed to only go off when the area around it is hot enough to melt the fusible link blocking the flow of water. So a fire could actually only activate one or two heads, which then work to contain the flames until the authorities make it to the scene.

Why is this important? We’ll elaborate shortly, but the takeaway is that each head needs its own maintenance. It’s not like they all run on a single activation system and if one isn’t working correctly, the others will just pick up the slack.

The Control Valve

Any discussion on fire sprinkler system maintenance needs to touch on the control valve. It’s an essential part of any fire sprinkler system, and also an easy one to inspect. Essentially, there’s a valve in your building that must remain open in order for the water supply to flow. If this valve is off, your sprinklers will get no water and be useless in the case of a fire. Unfortunately, closed valves are the leading cause of widespread fire damage.

The good news is that checking the valve is probably the easiest component of fire sprinkler system maintenance. Just take a look once a week to ensure it’s still locked in the open position.

Also, sometimes the valve needs to be shut off to conduct maintenance or handle repairs on your system. When this is the case, be sure water is only shut off to the one area where the work is being done and only for as long as completely necessary. There’s no reason to take unnecessary risks.

Inspecting Sprinklers

When you want to inspect the actual sprinklers, you need to turn off the valve, as we just mentioned. It’s a good idea to put a brightly colored tag or ribbon on the valve when you do this as a visual reminder to you or anyone else who passes by that the valve needs to be turned back on later.

Also, alert the local authorities that you’re conducting fire sprinkler system maintenance. Your alarm company should know too in case you need to set yours off for a drill or as part of repairs. It’s also not a bad idea to tell your insurance company. Sometimes this is mandatory if it means keeping yourself covered by conducting regular fire sprinkler system maintenance.

Like we already said, keep your inspection to only as many sprinklers as necessary and allow the rest to operate as normal. You also want to make sure that you keep any ignition sources out of the area for the duration of the inspection.

In terms of how often you should conduct maintenance on your sprinklers, check NFPA 25: Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems. Depending on your municipality, you may need a certified contractor to handle your inspections and testing for you.

General Understanding

When it comes to your fire sprinkler system maintenance, no matter what rules you’re bound to by local powers and your insurance company, make sure your staff has a general understanding of the system. This should include:

•Where the valve is and what it looks like when it’s open and closed
•What a sprinkler looks like if anything’s wrong
•Ensuring sprinklers are never blocked

Maintaining your fire sprinklers doesn’t need to be demanding, but it does need to get done. The simple steps above could be enough to save lives someday.

Porcelain or Ceramic Tiles That Look Like Wood

Porcelain or ceramic tiles that look like wood are not a new trend. Tiles that look like wood have always been available but they have reached new levels of popularity in recent years because new technology has meant the overall finish now looks a lot more realistic than it used to.

This can be a fantastic solution for people who feel they don’t want to commit to purchasing a full wooden floor which can be difficult to maintain and may not always suit the environment. It is also often a cheaper alternative to wooden flooring which is fantastic if you want that natural look, but you’re on a budget.

Ceramic or porcelain tiles are also much more durable than wooden tiles so you don’t have the issue of chips or dents and you don’t have to awkwardly ask friends to remove high heels when they come over either.

Are all the benefits completely true?

There are some key positives that aren’t entirely relevant to wood look floor tiles so it’s always worth exploring all your options before you commit, thinking it’s your only choice.

The three main advantages of; better underfloor heating, cost effectiveness and easy maintenance, and the fact it’s easier to find the size of ‘plank’ you want, are largely debatable.

Ceramic or porcelain wood look tiles are fantastic for underfloor heating systems but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve the same result with a wooden floor, you just have to select the right type of natural wood. And it is true there is an extensive range of tile widths and lengths available to choose from, but the natural wooden floor market is growing and offering more selection than ever now.

In regards to the cost, it really does vary depending on what type of finish you want. While some tiles will be much cheaper than wooden floors, higher quality designs may well come in at a higher price than natural wood floor tiles.

The easy maintenance benefit is definitely true as there is a huge selection of surface specific cleaning equipment and products on the market which make it easier to maintain. However, there are also now a lot more products available to help you maintain wooden floors so, the difference between the two is marginal.

Is it for me?

Whether you want to invest in ceramic or porcelain tiles, or opt for a real wooden floor you’ll have a lot of considerations to make. The climate of your home will affect which floor is most suitable for you as well as how you use the room you want to put the flooring in. Ceramic tiles are fantastic in the summer months but some people hate having them in winter because they stay cold. Wooden floors feel warmer underfoot, but don’t deal with certain environments very well and also have the potential to swell or shrink, as well as potentially suffering from infestations.

The best thing you can do is decide what look you want and then prioritise your practical needs. You can then look at all your options before making a decision. There are lots of innovative and unusual designs of porcelain floor tiles that look like wood flooring so it’s worth doing your research. With so many companies creating beautiful tiles for this trend, you shouldn’t struggle to find something you love.

Home Improvement Tips to Save Energy

Whether you’re looking for ways to improve the way your home looks or to make it more energy efficient, it’s always best to find out how to do it right and get the most out of your time and money. These home improvement tips can show you how to start saving energy right away.

1. Use energy saving lamps instead of incandescent bulbs. Energy Star qualified light bulbs such as CFLs use 75% less energy than traditional bulbs.

2. Check your heating and cooling system, including the furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump). Be sure to seal your ducts. Leaky ducts make your heating and cooling systems less efficient and you’ll end up with higher utility bills. You can save up to 20% on energy with this home improvement tip.

3. Purchase and install a programmable thermostat. This will let you automatically adjust the temperature at your home when you are away.

4. Check the weather stripping around your windows, doors, garage, etc. Make sure your home is sealed and insulated to reduce heating and cooling costs.

5. If you’re in the market for replacement windows, install Energy Star labeled windows. Energy saving windows can dramatically lower your utility bills.

6. Is your refrigerator more than 10 years old? It’s time to get a new one. Refrigerators (and freezers) account for a substantial share of your electricity bill. An Energy Star qualified refrigerator
uses 50% less electricity than an old, conventional model.

7. When it’s time to replace your washing machine, replace it with an Energy Star compliant model. You will be able to use 50% less water and up to 70% less energy. Whenever possible, wash your clothes with cold water.

8. Here’s another home improvement tip that doesn’t cost much. Use curtains, blinds and drapes to help you save energy and money. In winter, open the blinds, drapes and curtains in the morning to let the sunlight in. Close them at night to help keep the warm air in.

9. Landscaping can improve your home’s looks while saving energy. Shrubs and trees in strategic locations can protect your home from frigid winter winds and block out the hot summer sun.

10. You won’t have to invest a lot of money for this home improvement tip but you’ll get a lot of savings in return. Purchase a hot water insulation kit from your local home improvement center and wrap it around your water heater. You’ll save on water heating costs.

11. Consider installing your own renewable energy system. A solar or wind energy system can help you reduce your utility bills.