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5 Reasons to Choose a Prefabricated House

A house of one’s own is what all desire. It brings in security to the family. Even in the worst of days, at least the shelter would remain. However, buying a brand new home is a costly and time-taking affair. If one’s needs are immediate and resources limited, one can always go for a prefabricated house. Such houses have certain advantages that are:

  • Less time for possession
  • Less costly
  • Less time to devote for furnishing
  • Tried and tested
  • Less emotional attachment, can be resold at will

Let’s elaborate on these few points here:

Less time for possession

In case of a prefabricated house, you get the possession immediately. The time for waiting is curbed largely. If you are in an immediate need for a house of your own, they give you the only option to go for.

Less costly

In case of the seller of an existing house, the cost will be definitely higher than the cost price. But, from the perspective of a buyer, such a house may come at a much lower cost than a new and fresh one of the same floor space. A new house will take its sweet little time to be built. Plus, the cost involved will be much higher than with one already built. Moreover, some extra time has to be put for furnishing the new house. In case of buying a house already existing, the money is less, the time is less and almost everything is furnished. One can make slight changes in the furnishings and fittings, but that may not take as long as settling down in an entirely new house.

Less time for furnishing up

In a prefabricated house, almost everything is there for you. You only have to repair them, if needed, and start using them. In some cases, you may make certain changes as per your taste and convenience, but that will not take much time, can be done as and when you have time to spare, and will not hinder your possessing the house in any way.

Tried and tested

A prefabricated house is already tried and tested for durability and longevity by its previous dwellers. In case of a new one, you have the full risk of being on the receiving end in case of any debacle owing to poor construction. In a used one, you have the feedback from the earliest dwellers about the pros and cons. Things that are to be improved may be worked upon as you take possession, and that may involve little money and time. In cases where you find the existing faults unacceptable, you may simply quit the deal and opt for something else! In case of a newly built house, you do not have this flexibility.

Less emotional attachment

Your own house is your biggest investment and also a dream come true. Hence, it is very close to your heart. Even in the poorest of financial conditions, you will think twice before selling it off. In case of a prefabricated house, you are not so deeply attached to it. Thus, you are always open to the option of selling it out and moving on to a newer and better one after a few years.

Do you have any suggestions to us regarding a used house? Do write to us and enrich our readers.

How to Save Money by Hiring an Architect

So you’re thinking of building a new property, you’re thinking “I’ve got experience, I can do this.” Or maybe you’re considering adding an extension to your current home, and you say to yourself “This isn’t a big job, I don’t need an architect.” You’re thinking you can save money by simply not hiring one.

I’m here to tell you that’s not the case. You are almost guaranteed to save money on building your project if you hire an architect – and that’s including his or her fees!

Read on to find out how…

The Costs

First and foremost, you’ll want to know how much you’re going to pay. Traditionally, an architect will charge a percentage – around 10 per cent if you want the full turnkey solution, or between 2 and 5 per cent if they’re only needed until the planning permission stage – of the total construction costs.

However, some architects charge an hourly rate; this usually falls within the £70-90 range. You can usually get the initial consultation for free though, so make sure to take advantage of this! You could even go to a few different firms and get a handful of “initial” consultations – use their advice to your benefit! Also, if you do hire an architect, this is a great way to decide which one is right for you.

If you’re employing the architect for the whole project, from start to finish, you can estimate a total construction cost by the area covered: for an extension you’ll be looking at an average of £1000 per square meter, whereas a new build would be slightly less at £900/m2. Obviously you have to add the cost of any new kitchen or bathroom fittings on top of this, but apart from that absolutely everything is covered, meaning you don’t have much else to do.

The Advantages

If you have neither the time nor the experience to deal with a complex job, get an architect to do it for you. An architect can do the design work, get planning permission sorted, meet with local planners and – most importantly – make sure your property is safe.

They can also advise you on any financial matters and fit the design around your budget, cutting a large chunk out of any possible expenses. In addition, they can make your property energy efficient, meaning you save money in the long run as well as the short. All this adds up to a property with a higher market value; you will get more money if and when you decide to sell.

By hiring from a trusted architecture firm – such as McCormick Architecture in Chester – you are guaranteed to receive the guidance of an experienced professional.

The Verdict

Basically, if you need plans drawing up at all, it is best to hire an architect. Unless, of course, you’re an architect yourself, but if you are – stop reading this article and get on with it!

If you decide you need the assistance of a trained professional, there are a few things you should do. Firstly, get the architect to establish the fees from the beginning, and get it in writing. This avoids any complications. Also, make sure to budget a bit more than you’re told – it’s always wise to have a contingency plan.

In the majority of cases, you’ll be better off hiring an architect to oversee your project. Ask friends and family to see if they have any recommendations as to who you should choose and this will increase your chances of getting an architect you get along with. Good luck!

The Old Brutalism: A Beton Brut Style That’s Hard To Forget

There are many people who would argue that after WWII, especially in North America, architecture took a depressing turn. One in which design became simplified, where beauty and any resemblance of elegance was replaced with a blocky, rough appearance, often allowing exposed structural materials to take center stage in style.

Most were little more than brutally omnipotent and oppressively styled structures. Buildings that could easily be associated with and fit into George Orwell’s novel 1984, where images of big brother would be strewn across their sides.

The term Brutalism was coined from the French word “beton brut” which means raw concrete. The Brutalist style, which brought about the modernist architectural movement, gained popularity from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Beton Brut Style

Brutal Style

Concrete is the calling card of the Brutalist Movement, though other materials have been known to be used; such as brick, glass, steel, and stone. Another common theme is the exposing of the buildings various functions. Where certain things may be normally hidden away, such as pipes and tanks, they are not only in full view, but generally take the focal point.

There is a certain ideology that is associated with Brutalism, and was commonly agreed upon by many architects who practiced its use. Architects attempted to display a feeling of social utopianism within their designs. Though they had collective intentions, critics argued that their design had the exact opposite affect. It was argued that rather than being integrating and protective, Brutalism created buildings that seemed oppressive, and compared to the surrounding architectural designs, out of place and alien. This all made the Brutal buildings seem unfriendly, and mostly unwanted by the public.

One problem that Brutalist architecture tried to solve was affordable housing. This, obviously is easily accomplished through the use of Brutalism. However, after the urban decay that set in after WWII both in the U.S and Britain, communities were reluctant to accept Brutalist designs. This was no doubt due to the collective ideology that spurred on its design and style.

Criticisms and Disapproval

As it can be well assumed, there are countless critics of both Brutalism and the ideology it promotes. There are those that feel the style is essentially nothing more than poured concrete, and is nearly impossible to modify once it is built. Many communities that live in Brutalist structures feel they are difficult to maintain, especially in wet and damp climates. They are also terribly depressing, dull and drab. Often being the targets of graffiti as they simply cry out for something to cover the blankness of the concrete.

There is special criticism over Brutalism being used in government-sponsored projects. When the government builds a structure that feel oppressive and unconquerable, that creates the wrong image about how the government is run, and how much power they truly have. This was especially true during the 50s and 60s. After WWII, people feared fascism as they saw the results of that from the Nazi Party. Then the Cold War came into full swing, and people feared Communism. Both of these ideologies are collective in nature, which did not help further the acceptance of Brutalism. It also brought great criticism upon architects who practiced this style, people claiming they were in the closet Nazis and Commies.

A Few Noted Successes

Now for all the bad things that can be said about the design and ideology of Brutalism, there are certainly a few exceptions to the rule. Where some very impressive, and even beautiful designs have been created using Brutalist style. The UCSD’s Geisel Library is perhaps the most well known example of Brutalist architecture. It is so famous that it has even been featured in numerous science fiction movies.

Habitat 67 is another interesting and well known Brutalist design. Located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, it was designed to integrate the variety and diversity of scattered private homes with the economies and density of a modern apartment building. Essentially, it was modular, interlocking apartment units.

The Philips Exeter Academy Library is perhaps the most unsuspecting of all the Brutalist designs. Its exterior is nothing special, and really has nothing special to offer. However on the inside, there is a marvelous site where almost the entire building, every floor is open spaced. It is currently the largest secondary school library in the United States. It houses 145,000 volumes on ine levels and has a shelf capacity of 250,000 volumes.

Hire the Right Company for Massive Construction

When the subject matter of the massive construction of houses arises, it is evident that the majority of people posses very little information regarding how to complete the project. They may be able to begin speaking on adequate terms concerning the project, but they rarely posses enough information to follow it through from its start to its finish.

There are aspects that some people are more familiar with than others, and one of these aspects is the range of huge equipment and high quality machinery is commonly used to help achieve each project fulfill its initial vision. People are more naturally drawn to information such as this, but there is a lot of important information that isn’t striking or particularly interesting to a person.

The development and construction process is one that is vastly more intricate than one would first believe. A lot more occurs than what is seen first hand on a construction site. There are well planned meetings and a number of difficult calculations to take into account. There really is an ocean of details to be in control of within a centimeter’s accuracy in order for the project to work. The bigger the construction, the more planning and time it takes to help it stand tall.

House

This might seem surprising when first learned, but a massive construction has mainly three types of materials that are regularly used in its construction. The three materials in question are:

  1. concrete
  2. stone
  3. brick

The only variables with regard to these materials, and the variables are often determined by the size of the building that is being constructed, are the quality of the materials that are used.

Brick is the chosen material in the types of constructions in which a two floor house is built. Please note though, that brick should not be used for a house taller than two floors. Brick is simply not strong enough to support a building taller than this. The reason that brick is the chosen material with regard to this type of construction is because it is relatively low maintenance while at the same time being a durable material. Brick is the material that is used on the exterior of a construction. For a building which requires more than two floors, such as a hotel, for example, brick may still be used on its outside, but behind the brick will be a wall of stronger material. This stronger material will be something like stone, and the brick, in this example, will be mostly a decorative touch.

Stone and concrete materials are used in most massive construction works. The materials are strong enough for supporting a large number of floors in a wide range of different construction. The first floor of a building should generally be the strongest floor, because it is required to support the floors above it. And people with an interest in massive construction will be aware as to how many floors the base sometimes has to support. Stone and concrete materials are strong and durable thus making them the best option in construction. To make the building strong enough to hold all of the necessary weight, the constructors uses steel in the construction for further strengthening of the building.

The article will now turn its head towards anyone who is seriously looking to build something themselves. It is entirely essential to be familiar with the place from which one will buy their construction materials from. One needs to be sure of the quality of the materials, and, if possible, should attempt to speak to a number of people regarding the quality of the materials. If one could be sure of the materials they are using then they will feel more confident to complete the process of construction from its plan to its completion. A chef would not be expected to make a great meal from inferior products, and, in the same respect, the work of a builder largely relies on the quality of his materials. A worker may not blame his tools, as the cliché tells, but it is okay for a worker to blame his materials.

The preparation that a person must do before any building takes place is determined by the materials they have chosen to work with. For those who have chosen bricks, it is very important to have a reliable and trustworthy supplier. Having a reliable supplier of bricks ensures a smooth construction, but a supplier who fails to deliver, even on a chance basis, will make the building activity become very tiresome. Any delay with regard to the construction will delay every other activity that is possible. The entire construction process will come to a standstill. The prolonged period of construction will increase the cost of the entire process, while, at the same time, creating a number of inconveniences for the employees, the owners, and the suppliers of the equipment and machinery that is being used in the construction site.

To make sure of a smooth and pain free construction, it is important to have ready materials in store to cater for a time when the supplier may be late. A little bit of planning ahead such as this will make up for any little mishaps that might enter the building process. One of the reasons that massive construction requires such systematic planning is because of the high amount of cost that is involved in the process. In a construction such as this – referring to a large scale construction – one mistake will result in massive losses. This is because it affects such a large surface area. Allow me to reiterate the fact that it is very important to ensure that the building material chosen is of the highest quality that is possible to purchase. The construction project is set to stand for many years to come, and quality materials ensure that the building is able to withstand all the extreme weather conditions that it will be subjected to for a longer time than is imaginable. Just as when a person throws they are advised to imagine a point beyond which they can actually throw, a building should be constructed to outlast a time that is imaginable.

7 Ways to Avoid Getting Ripped Off While Searching For a Reputable Contractor

If you own your own home, then odds are very good that, at some point, you are going to need to find a contractor for one reason or another. Maybe you will want to add onto your home, or maybe you will need something repaired? Maybe you will want to expand your garage? Maybe you will finally decide to build yourself a workshop out back, like you have always dreamed of doing one day?

Regardless of what you plan to do, the fact remains that you are going to need to find a reputable contractor (or two, or three) to help you. Some projects will simply require the services of a specific, single type of contractor, such as a plumber or an electrician… while other projects might require you to find several different professionals for the wide range of tasks that will need to be performed.

At any rate, finding contractors is not always an easy or a pleasant business, but these 7 tips should help you to avoid the most common (and frustrating) pitfalls in the search for the help of a qualified professional.

Reputable Contractor

Tip #1- Make Sure That They Operate a Legitimate Business

Some contractors are part of a larger and obviously legitimate business… but then again, there are always those ‘independent’ contractors who you never really know about! Make sure that you check out the legality and the legitimacy of their business before choosing to hire them. One of the simplest ways of doing this is just to ask to see their business license.

Tip #2- Make Sure That They Are Aware of Any Special Permits Needed

It is always wise to research what local permits you will need for your project, and doing this can also help you to find out just how much your contractor knows. Before hiring the alleged professional, make sure that they can tell you what permits are actually required. If they can’t tell you right off hand, then they are probably not as experienced in this line of work as they should be!

Tip #3- Make Sure That They Have the Necessary Experience

Whether you are installing residential fencing in Milwaukee or adding on to your house, it is important that your contractor knows exactly what is required to get the job done. Investigate their knowledge base by asking questions pertaining to the work. It will most likely become rather obvious if they do not know what they are doing.

Tip #4- Check References

Always ask for references when reviewing contractors, and make it a point to follow up on them. If possible, make an effort to visually inspect work that this contractor has done for others. Also find out if previous customers received quality customer service while the project was underway.

Tip #5- Investigate the Estimate

When you receive an estimate for a particular project, take a really good look at it. Is it easy to understand? If you have any questions, make sure that you ask the contractor about them… never assume that the answer is obvious, as that can get you into a lot of trouble very quickly! Here is a short checklist of things to look for in your estimate:

  • Does this price include materials and labor?
  • Will you or the contractor be required to provide materials?
  • Does the estimate seem to include all aspects of the work you wanted done?
  • Ask the contractor about the likelihood of the price increasing or decreasing as the project unfolds.
  • Is the estimate easy to understand, or is it confusing? If it is confusing, get the contractor to go through it with you until you understand it.
  • Is this estimate up to date and specific? Does the price reflected represent the price that you will actually pay for the work?

Tip #6- Search the Internet for Reviews Before Hiring a Contractor

There are many online review sites that you can use to find out what other customers thought about a particular contractor. Angieslist.com is definitely one of the best out there, mostly because it is completely consumer driven. Businesses are not allowed to submit reviews about their own work, as all claims are tried and tested by Angieslist.com before they are actually posted on the website. Angieslist.com will also step in to negotiate with a contractor for you if end up having problems… a gesture that can be very helpful if you are dealing with a frustrating contractor who does not seem to have your project’s best interests in mind!

Tip #7- Ask Family and Friends

One of the best ways to find a good, reputable contractor is through friends and family. Ask those around you who they have hired and would trust for a particular type of job. If they were happy with their results, than odds are good that you will have a similar experience!

Finding a reputable contractor can be a tough task, but if you stick to your ideas and research all of the applicants carefully, you will no doubt end up with a professional who cares about both you and your job… and that is exactly what you want!

Should You Project Manage Your Own Construction Project?

If you are planning to renovate your home or even build a new building from scratch, you may be keen to project manage it yourself. However, there is a lot to think about before you make this big decision. Here is a quick guide to the advantages and disadvantages of managing your own construction project.

Advantages of Project Managing Your Own Project

The main reason why people like the idea of project managing is because of the potential to save money. After all, it makes sense that if you do not have to hire a professional project manager you will be making a large saving, and you may be able to put this extra money towards aspects of the project.

If you know that you are the sort of person who likes to stay in control, making yourself project manager allows you to have complete control over all of the key decisions and the progress of your project. This may make you feel more comfortable and avoid the stress caused by knowing that your project is in someone else’s hands.

On top of that, project managing can be a real challenge and a lot of fun. If you are good at organising, seeing your project come together through your own hard work can be very rewarding, especially if the project is very personal to you.

Construction Project

Disadvantages of Project Managing Your Own Project

Despite these potential advantages, it is important to consider the possible disadvantages as well. The main one is that it can be easy to underestimate the sheer amount of work involved in even a relatively minor project.

Staying in control of inspections, supervising the labor, contractors and suppliers, quality control, communicating with the builder and architect, making sure there are no holdups, ensuring that Health and Safety regulations are respected, and everything else that is involved can all become very stressful and time consuming.

Even the little details like arranging skip hire are things that you have to consider. A project manager may already know which company to use and where to get the best price through experience and industry contacts, but you will have to start from scratch.

This may have a negative impact on other areas of your life such as your job or your family life, and if you have other commitments it can become quite disruptive.

In addition to that, there is also more chance that something might go wrong. A professional will have done this many times before, and they will also be 100% focused on the job, whereas you may have other things to think about in your life. Your own project is not the best time to learn on the job and make mistakes, some of which could prove to be very costly.

Should You Go It Alone?

Be realistic when you are considering whether to project manage your own construction project. If you think you will enjoy the challenge, make sure you know what is really involved. It is a very challenging job, so just make sure you do your research and know what you are letting yourself in for before you decide to manage your project yourself.

3 Tips for Cutting Building Expenses on your New Home

Building your own home is tremendously exciting. Instead of having to buy an existing home and adapt it to your needs, you can start from the ground up and create the home of your dreams. The process, however, will be difficult, and there will likely be setbacks along the way.

In addition, it can be difficult to predict the total cost of your project. While it is always important to ensure that you can cover any additional fees incurred, it may be wise to take steps to cut costs as much as possible.

Here are three tips for cutting costs when building your home.

Cutting Building Expenses

1. DIY

Some tasks, such as wiring and plumbing, will require expert assistance. Those who are handy, however, may be able to do some of the hard work themselves. In particular, interior work can often be done by those with little experience, and painting, laying flooring and installing accessories will not require expert workers.

In addition, doing work yourself helps give you an additional sense of ownership of your home. Before proceeding, it is important to ensure that the work you do will not need to be redone later; when in doubt, ask experts for some advice and guidance. Having a friend or family member who has done similar tasks before can help tremendously.

2. Buy Used

When most people build their own homes, they purchase all new equipment. However, there may be ways to save considerably on your home. Used cabinets, for example, can be restored and painted. In many cases, they can look even better than new cabinets.

Hardwood flooring can often be purchased used, which can lead to significant discounts. When it comes to furnishing your home, buying used furniture may be a great way to offset any extra fees incurred during the construction phase.

3. Shop Around

One of the best ways to find the lowest prices possible is to ask for multiple bids. Constructing a new home is expensive, and contractors and construction companies will want to earn a contract from you. Take advantage of this and try to start a bidding war if it is possible.

In many cases, it is possible to lower the amount you pay substantially by engendering competition. Of course, it is also important to ensure that those you hire are up to the task. Always ask for examples of previous work before hiring a contractor or construction company.

Owning your own home is tremendously exciting, but building a home can be an intimidating task. Unfortunately, setbacks are sometimes unavoidable, and many people encounter a considerable amount of stress along the way.

The benefits of owning your own home, however, can outweigh the disadvantages, and a bit of perseverance can go a long way. By asking for help and taking time to ensure that you are proceeding correctly, you can build the home of your dreams.

5 Tips to Building Your Home Faster

Whether you’re doing it on your own or having a team of workers at your disposal, building your very own house is definitely an exciting venture. The prospect of having your own home free from monthly rental fees and strict strata rules is enough to make anyone ecstatic.

And the excitement only increases day after day as the house gains its structure and looks more and more like what you’ve always pictured in your mind. But like every worthy undertaking, building a house takes time, and if there are plenty of people and resources involved it may take longer to finish than anticipated.

Building your house doesn’t have to take as long as it should though, as long as you apply a few time-saving steps. Some of these steps may not be entirely applicable for everyone and for all situations, but they will certainly help hasten your home’s construction process.

Tips to Building Your Home Faster

1. Have a fixed construction schedule

As with any major project, a schedule must be created and followed, and this is so for several reasons. Scheduling organises construction activities, so you and your construction team will know exactly what happens next, and to check if all the activities are necessary and in order.

Scheduling also matches the equipment, materials and workers with the tasks where these are necessary, so delays caused by materials or equipment not arriving on time can be avoided.

2. Use materials that need lesser processes

This may not be possible or negotiable for most. But if you’re open to other options when it comes to the material being used for your house, and your surrounding environment and climate conditions are quite forgiving to various types of materials, then why not opt for materials that require lesser time and effort?

Some materials save you more time than others, having been pre-treated in some way to skip certain time-consuming construction processes. Others require a lot more effort and time. For instance, working with concrete is very labour intensive and time consuming, as it requires mixing, applying, setting, finishing and curing.

3. Use locally sourced materials

Door frames imported from France and tiles imported from Italy may give your home a luxurious feel, but they probably won’t get your house finished sooner. To save time, it’s best to just use locally sourced materials. They’re easy to access and transport and they’re sure to arrive faster than any imported material.

And if you should need more material, getting more locally is easier and more convenient than flying all the way to France or Italy. You also support your local economy this way.

4. Plan properly and completely

Plans help avoid delays and unexpected problems, so as much as possible be very detailed and comprehensive when you plan for your house. Proper planning will ensure that no stops will happen during construction due to lacking materials or equipment; last minute additions and changes to the design; and even uncooperative weather conditions.

5. Get a kit home

If time is of the essence and constructing your own house just takes up too much time, why not opt for modular homes instead? Modular homes or kit homes are ready-made homes that can be delivered straight to your lot and lived in as soon as you want. They are also known as relocatable homes/ transportable homes since they can easily be moved and relocated.

Kit homes can be customised according to your needs and can be done in as short as 10 weeks. They’re built faster since they are built within factories away from common construction distractions like vandals and bad weather conditions. They also cost much less than a typical house and are environmentally-friendly since they require little energy to assemble.

So if you just can’t wait until your new house is built, remember that you don’t have to – as long as you take note of these five tips.