Tips for Managing Construction Cleanup and Debris

Construction sites generate a lot of debris and waste, most of which is hazardous to human health. Some of this waste is generated directly as a result of construction activities while others are created indirectly. The non-hazardous waste materials on construction sites can range from bricks, rubble, wood, concrete, insulation and wiring waste, nails and rebar, etc. The hazardous waste often consists of lead, asbestos, plasterboard, etc. While construction site clean-up can be done meticulously, materials such as plasterboard release toxic gases, such as hydrogen sulfide, when they are broken down in landfills.

The non-hazardous construction site debris also poses a problem for construction site clean-up because of the lack of space for their disposal. Landfills are filling up at a very fast rate and many are closing down because of reaching their full capacity. It is important to manage and control wastage in order to make construction site clean-up easier for all concerned. There are many ways in which you can do this, which include recycling and reusing.

Recycling construction site debris can help reduce landfill waste. Some of the waste that can be recycled are aluminium, wood, concrete, corrugated cardboard, asphalt, and specific metals. Cleaning up in a recycling project takes place at the job site by segregating the waste according to specific categories such as concrete, metal, or wood, and sending them to the recycling site. Sometimes, recycling can be done on the site of the construction itself. There are instances where all the wastes with recycling potential is collected from the site and segregated later at the recycling facility.

An important way to clean up construction site debris is by reusing them, especially materials left over from a demolition project, such as door frames, doors, window frames, fixtures, etc. Before clean-up itself, these materials must be identified so as not to be disposed of by mistake.

There are different protocols for cleaning up different types of debris on a construction site. To start with, debris can be categorized into some broad areas, which are solid wastes, hazardous wastes, petroleum products, pesticides and fertilizers, detergents, etc. It is important that all employees are aware of best practices for waste management on site and adhere to these.

Areas and containers used for storage must be inspected for any leaks, spills, or other malfunctions. Workers must be properly trained in handling and disposal and must be aware of how to protect themselves when doing so.

When cleaning up different types of waste, it is important to know what to do and what not to do. For example, when cleaning up solid wastes, it must not be dumped where it can drain away to a water body or where there will be runoff from areas at a higher altitude. Hazardous materials are best disposed of with the label on them intact, and following manufacturer’s instructions. The same applies for petroleum and pesticides and fertilizers. Detergents should not be dumped into the system for storm drainage but to a sanitary sewer. Keeping these points in mind can help to successfully manage construction site cleanup optimally.

Interior Post Construction Cleanup Tips

There is nothing worse than bringing contractors in to do a construction project only to find that once they have finished the job, they have left their mess behind. Construction site cleanup is part of the construction industry and it can be a messy job, but someone has to do it. You can make your life easier by cleaning as you go for starters, and that should help reduce the burden of the final cleanup to a degree. While it’s impossible to cover every aspect of a proper construction cleaning project, a good place to start would be to remove trash and debris on a daily basis, particularly wood and paint particles which can pose as dangerous fire hazards.

There are plenty of construction companies that might make use of a separate contractor to do the cleanup for them since it can save a lot of time and money by bringing in specialists (dependent on the size of the job). It is always wise to do a walk-through prior to the start of cleanup for the supervisor to find out exactly what the construction manager’s expectations are with regard to cleanup. This will also help to prevent a poor final product (when the project is completed).

So, what does construction site cleanup really entail? In general, any scuffs, hand and finger smudges, dust and dirt need to be wiped down off the walls and the same goes for trim, baseboards, windows, door frames and handrails. The ceilings will also need a good dust and the removal of any cobwebs that have sprung up. Doors need to be cleaned down- which may include the front, back, sides and the top, and don’t forget about the hinges. Any masonry will need to be vacuumed and cleaned as instructed. All of the carpeting throughout the project will need to be vacuumed as well. Wood, tile or marble should be buffed, waxed and sealed. You will need to clean the tracks, frames and glass on windows. Be sure to clean any of the light fixtures and ceiling fans dust tends to accumulate. Wall & ceiling vents, and floor vents will also be need to vacuumed, and in the case of floor vents they will need to be removed so that you can vacuum as deep as the attachments will allow. Electrical outlets and switches need cleaned since may they gather dust and hand smudges. That is just the basic cleaning inside, it doesn’t encompass the specific cleaning required in a bathroom, kitchen or the entry way. Not to mention any mirrors and cabinets throughout the house, as well as removing any of the manufacturer’s stickers that are not required.

On the topic of manufacturers, you should not forget the importance of which cleaning chemicals should and shouldn’t be used. Only cleaning products recommended by the manufacturer should be used, as the wrong chemical can cause irreparable damage and will set your project back as you have to replace any damaged items, especially things of delicate stonework like marble, granite and quartz. It is very likely that you will be unable to do all of the cleanup yourself, depending on the type of project its likely you will need to call in the professionals to finish off your flooring as it will require sealing and waxing. Now that the inside is taken care of you can begin focusing on cleaning up the outside.

Commercial Construction Tips – How to Stay on Schedule

If you are the owner or manager of a commercial construction company you well know it is crucial to stay on schedule when completing a project. When you fall behind on a project you tend to rush everybody who is working on it. As a result the workers and the bosses feel pressured. That is the point on a particular job where people become careless. For the sake of faster time they cut corners. This is when accidents happen; with sometimes tragic consequences. What can you do to avoid having this happen? What is your best course of action? We will look at that a little more closely right here and now.

One thing you can do might sound trivial but is a viable part of your plan of action. That is to prepare a checklist of things you must do to complete your current job. This checklist should cover the whole time-span of your job and spell out all of the steps you and your workers will be taking. We are certain we don’t need to remind you of this; but the checklist should definitely include all safety measures regarding your project. After you are finished documenting your checklist; go over the entire thing with your full staff. Do this for every project; as these steps may well change from one job to another. Make sure everyone is onboard with the list and understands what work will need to be done and also answer any questions in as much detail as possible.

The next thing you can do is to actually create a schedule for each job. Again; this is something that is likely to differ with each one. Therefore be certain to prepare a new schedule for every project. In this schedule you can detail every step to complete over the course of the current project. Give your team an estimated deadline for every step. We suggest a time-frame; as opposed to a one-day deadline. This will ensure you don’t have the rushing scenario we outlined earlier in this article. When you are developing this schedule; be reasonable with your estimated completion time for each step. Do not create a negative work environment where all of your workers are rushing around like chickens with their heads cut off. Doing this only leads to the unsafe work methods we talked about before. This schedule is another thing you will want to discuss with your staff prior to beginning each job.

Another excellent procedure you can take here is to go over the details of your checklist and schedule with the client who is paying for this project. Be certain he is also onboard with everything you plan to do. Lay everything out on the line for him and thoroughly explain why it is critical that your company stick to these plans. Let him know about the possible safety risks if you do not follow the proper procedures at all times. In doing this; you and your staff will feel comfortable with the time-frame to complete the project, then nobody’s safety will be compromised. Everyone will be happy about this.

Commercial Construction Tips – Is the Project Feasible?

Getting a construction project off the ground can be very tricky, as there is a lot that needs to be considered before you even lay the first brick. Making sure that the project is actually feasible in the first place is extremely important, and it should be the first thing that you do when you decide to start work.

So just how can you determine whether the project is actually feasible? Here are just a few tips to get you started.

Speak to an Accountant

Budget is always going to be one of the most important aspects of any construction project, as running out of money at a critical juncture could prove to be a fatal blow for what you have in mind.

When you have an idea of what you want to build and you have some plans drawn up you should talk to a qualified accountant who can help you set out a budget and determine what needs to be spent and where. It is at this point that you will be able to determine if the work is financially viable and if you can deliver it within your budget.

Speak to a Solicitor

There are numerous legalities that are involved in practically any type of building work, so it is important to make sure that you have all of them squared away before you begin working on the project.

Speak to a solicitor who specialises in property development and find out what permissions you need to get and which red tape you need to cut to get the project off the ground. Failure to do so could lead to you doing something illegal, which is grounds for having the entire project shut down.

Speak to an Architect

While you may be able to create your original plans without too much hassle, to really know what is going to have to be put into the project you are going to have to speak to an architect and get their expert opinion.

They will be able to tell you if what you have in mind is even physically possible and will also be able to suggest changes to the original plans to account for any issues that they see.

This is a massively important step, as you need somebody who is qualified in the field to not only sign off on the project and ensure it is feasible, but also to help you in the overall design.

Speak to Your Crew

The final step in determining if your project is feasible is talking to your building crew. You need to know that everybody that you have working for you is able to do the jobs that you need them to do.

If they can’t, you will need to have enough money in the budget to hire somebody who can. Having the right crew is tantamount to the project’s success, so skipping this step or simply assuming that everything you have planned is a risky move at best and tantamount to construction suicide at worst.

Commercial Construction Tips – Completing the Project on Schedule

Construction projects are tricky when it comes to placing a timescale on things. After all, there are a lot of things that could cause issues during the course of the project, which in turn leads to delays. Sometimes these issues are unavoidable but there are a number that can be eliminated from the equation with proper planning. Follow these tips and you will have a much better chance of getting your construction project completed on schedule.

Know the Lie of the Land

Issues with the land you are using as part of the construction project can cause issues if they are not caught early and adjusted for. Have an architect and a surveyor come in to examine the plausibility of the project itself and also to ensure that the land you are using for the construction is stable and fit for use with the intended project.

Consider Lead Times

In the construction world the lead time essentially refers to anything that can cause a delay, such as the time between hiring materials and them arriving on the site or the delay between requesting a design and actually receiving it. Wherever possible try to ensure that you have everything that you need before beginning the project. In cases where this is not possible you will need to keep a close eye on the project and anticipate any issues before they arise. If you note that construction materials are running low, order early to ensure the lead time doesn’t affect the project in a negative fashion. This may have an effect in the client’s cash flow so it is important to keep them informed every step of the way.

Create a Task List

Every construction project is made up of smaller tasks, many of which need to be completed before another one can begin. It is important to create a task list and ensure that every task related to the job is catered for. Always assign the best people for the job to each task and where possible try to have a spare hand available at all times to assist with a task that is in danger of falling behind. If you can plan the tasks to completion before the proposed construction date then you will also have room for manoeuvre should a task fall behind, so try to make the task list as efficient as possible.

Hire the Right People

Bringing the wrong people in for the job can have a massive effect on the way the job ends up going. This doesn’t just mean the people on the construction team itself but also contractors and others who will assist with the project. You need speed and efficiency to get the job done right so make sure you vet any candidates for available positions and keep an eye out for any weak links in the chain. One person causing an issue with a task will lead to further issues down the line so try t nip issues in the bud to keep things running as smoothly as possible.

Tips for New Residential Construction

The process to entitle lots can take more than five years and is expensive. The cost of parcel maps for five lots or less is $100,000. Tract maps for more than five lots can cost more than $500,000. The number of lots and the potential size are determined by biology, health-department regulations, slope, and the zoning and general plan. Included in the cost are engineering, processing, and regulatory fees and various reports and studies.

Reports and studies include conditions of approval costs, storm-water treatment, anthropology and archeology, soils, biology, noise, and traffic. When a map is approved and recorded, there are additional fees that include, but are not limited to the following:

• Potential greenhouse gas studies

• Retention and drainage basins

• On- and off-site mitigation land

• School fees

• Parks and recreation fees

• Physical secondary access

• Fire fees

• Annual bonding fees.

Politics comes into play when obtaining the required approvals from county boards, city councils, and planning commissions. The level of public opposition or support affects hearings completion. They can be completed in as little as four months, or take years and cost over a million dollars. Property owners have three courses of action to take into consideration.

1. Entitlement and sale of the property ‘as is’ – This option brings the lowest price, but costs the least and requires the shortest time for property disposal. Under rare circumstances, the land is worth more when it is unentitled.

2. Enter into a long-term agreement – The agreement is made with a home builder who incurs the expenses of processing a tract map. This option is the most utilized. The process could take up to five years. The buyer is required to release nonrefundable deposits periodically to the seller after approving their contingencies. Escrow closing typically occurs after tentative or final map approval.

3. The owner incurs the entitlement costs – Much of the process is like option two. The difference is the owner has full control of the mapping process and bears all expenses.

The ramifications of each choice should be weighed carefully before making a decision. Owners, who have chosen not to seek advice, have made the decision to process a map and found out later the number of lots was not financially feasible. A competent engineer can determine the optimal number of lots that can be obtained and approved. Smart growth design principals call for buildings with a variety of materials, texture, and color and individuality; well-defined open space; a building and street relationship; mixed uses; and high-density development. Contractors, who specialize in residential subdivisions, can give realistic cost estimations.

The process of entitling residential property to higher densities is costly, complex, and cumbersome. Many factors must be taken into consideration. The leading concerns that communities have about increased density are the quality of life and increased costs.

There is a need for new affordable housing to reduce recent overpayment and overcrowding. There is also a need for high-density housing that supports economic recovery, accommodates new workers and their loved ones, and economizes the costs of infrastructure. It is quite a balancing act. Open spaces need to be conserved and the distance between new jobs and new homes reduced.

Commercial Construction Tips – How to Know If Your Contractor Is Doing a Good Job

Big construction project or little one. An historic renovation in the heart of old downtown or a new retail center. No matter what kind of construction project you are undertaking, you want to feel assured that you have chosen the right contractor for the job. But how do you know that your contractor is doing a good job?

The success or failure of a contractor is often closely linked with you – how effectively you complete your hiring due diligence, how clearly you state your expectations, and how well you and your contractor communicate with each other during all construction phases.

Preparation and Selection

Before you begin your search for a contractor, you should clearly outline the responsibilities for which you will hold your contractor accountable. Those accountabilities should be included in the contract between you/your company and the contractor.

Next, you need to do your due diligence.

• Ask friends and colleagues who have worked with construction projects similar to yours for contractor recommendations. Ask these questions:

o How did the contractor handle the budget and materials?

o Was the project done on or ahead of time? If it was off schedule, why?

o Was the work done according to agreed-upon terms?

o Would your source work with that contractor again?

If their referral did well on each of those points, he or she may be a good contractor on your project as well

• Check ALL references!

Get it in writing

All good business relationships should begin with, “get it in writing!”

• Each contractor candidate should provide a written bid. Red flag: nothing in writing.

• You and your contractor should have a signed contract. Include details on the budget, scope of work, materials, the schedule, and the contractor’s specific responsibilities. Red flag: the contractor who won’t sign a contract.

• Your contractor should take notes during each walkthrough and meeting. Red flag: “I’ll remember… “

On the job

These are some important on-the-job clues that your contractor is doing a good job:

• Communication: you and your contractor communicate frequently and clearly according to your agreed-upon methods (text, fax, email, phone). Red flags: doesn’t return calls, is difficult to reach, provides limited responses to questions, communicates poorly with work crew.

• Subcontractors: contractor hires quality subcontractors with verifiable references. Red flags: conflicts on the job, petty thefts, on-the-job substance abuse, wasted time, etc.

• Safety: contractor diligently observes safety practices and insists that all workers comply with safety rules. Red flags: avoidable injuries, safety issues.

• On the job site: contractor is working at the job site for the majority of the time. The construction crew is busy during all working hours of the week. Red flags: contractor is infrequently on site, workers have too much idle time.

• Security: appropriate security measures are observed at all times. Red flags: equipment and materials not secured or missing, the site is poorly secured during non-working hours, unauthorized people are on site.

Schedule and budget

Ideally, every construction project is completed on budget and on schedule. Realistically, there may be some schedule interruptions and unexpected costs.

Ask yourself some final questions:

• Is my contractor providing me with accurate, up-to-date information on all aspects of the job and construction progress?

• Is he/she managing resources, budget, crew, and materials effectively and appropriately?

• Are crew members working fairly harmoniously with each other?

• Are my objectives for this project being met?

When you can answer yes to these questions, it is most likely that your contractor is, indeed, doing an excellent job for you. Congratulations on your choice, and your new project!

5 Handy Commercial Construction Tips

You might have been put in charge of a commercial construction project recently, and though you appreciate your boss’s stamp of approval on the work you are capable of doing, you might not know all of the components that go into the project. Here are some handy tips to keep in mind as the project progresses.

1. Start by hiring a good general contractor and then put together a practical budget for your project. This budget will need to be presented to the project owner, aka your boss or maybe even someone higher up than that, for approval. Be sure it is comprehensive. Your boss will want to know just how feasible the project is when he or she presents it to the board for approval. That budget will also be what the finance team will use to obtain financing for the project. If the budget indicates that the project location needs to be moved or that something needs to be scaled back, now is the time to make those changes.

2. Your boss or the board of directors might have one vision of what they want to see, but it might not actually be practicable. The project owner should be a part of the planning process so he or she is comfortable with the changes that are made. Also, while you are in the planning process, be sure you bring in all of the stakeholders including those who will be using the building when it’s all complete.

3. Once you have the plan in place, it’s time to set up the schedule. If your project owner wants a specific date to open the building included, that should be the place to start and then work the schedule back from that date. Be sure to build in a buffer along the way to compensate for any delays that might happen. Actually, make that will happen. The unexpected is always to be expected. With a schedule in place, your general contractor can keep you appraised of the progress, and also let you know about any delays that were encountered.

4. Don’t be afraid to work within your own limitations. It’s OK to admit what you don’t know, and when it comes to construction, relying on your experts to guide you is not only okay, but a good idea. Your contractor will also know what will be needed in terms of how to best keep you up to date on the project’s progress.

5. Communicate, communicate, communicate. There is no such thing as too much communication. Your contractor will need to provide you with regular updates, and you will need to ask key questions to make sure you and your contractor are staying on task. Open communication reduces problems and generally catches them at a point where they are more easily solved. New apps available particularly for Apple products are great communication resources. From the bid process with SmartBidNet to portable CAD apps that let you do quick drawings on site and send them to anyone by e-mail, apps can help everyone stay on target.

These five tips are some of the main ones that will help you be successful. You can also check out some of our other posts for more information about commercial construction. Happy building!

Commercial Construction Tips – Facts About Construction Projects

Commercial construction is often an arbiter of changing economic conditions. Construction projects mean both an improving economy and a way to improve the economy of a given area. Read on to learn more interesting facts about it.

This type of construction helps public sector agencies as well as private firms. Big new schools in areas where people are moving give students a chance to learn in state of the art facilities. New office buildings bring jobs to the area, and the upward spiral continues. Not only do the buildings benefit the users, but the building process itself gives workers a solid job for several months, and the expenditures from the construction project go directly into the local economy.

The United States is second in the world in terms of this construction, regardless of where the company doing the building is headquartered. As much as 10% of all commercial construction takes place in the US, and New York is the city with the most commercial construction going on – $8.5 billion (that’s billion with a B) in 2013. A lot of the construction was for residential buildings. Following New York were Houston and Dallas. Those two cities spent $10 billion in 2013 on commercial projects.

One of the biggest trends in commercial construction is green building. Experts from the Environmental Protection Agency expect that by 2017 as much as 48% of new building will be done with green building materials. To put that in financial terms, it could mean as much as $145 billion dollars.

By 2018, 84% of residential construction companies plan to have at least some of their construction projects classified as green. To get an idea of just what kind of impact this has on the overall economy, consider that residential projects total as much as 5% of the current gross domestic product of the US. As more and more firms add green building to their plans, it might mean that as much as 18% of GDP will be based around green construction.

Big commercial office buildings are going green, too. LEED certification is becoming the main standard, and builders are up to 41% green as of 2012. Just how rapidly is this growing? Consider that only 2% of commercial construction, non-residential, projects were green in 2005. It’s no surprise that states like Hawaii and California are leading the way in LEED projects.

It’s not just the US that is interested in green construction, though. LEED certifications around the world are becoming more common. A study released earlier this year showed that as many as 69,000 LEED projects are going on globally in 150 different countries.

This construction is as important to the global economy as it has ever been, and the increases in such projects over the last few years signal a positive change after the worldwide recession of 2008-09 and the soft recovery that followed. With even more green projects being planned than ever before, commercial construction projects will also be kinder to the planet, meaning everyone will benefit for years to come.

10 Great Commercial Construction Tips

Commercial construction can be a big undertaking, both literally and figuratively. You might think you have it all under control, but do you really? Here are ten tips that will help make your next commercial construction project a success.

1. The lowest bid is not always your best choice. It’s a counter-intuitive thought compared to everything we have been taught. But even in these times of wanting to be sure to keep the bottom line in check, it’s important to find the best price for the project. Sometimes the low bid is that way because the contractor has no idea what the job entails, and other times they will come in low, get a payment or two, and then abandon the job.

2. Go online and do your research. Check references, run the contractor’s board numbers, and study the backgrounds of your contractors so you can know before you sign on the dotted line just what you are getting. The internet can also be a source of information about current trends in commercial construction.

3. Find a contractor who specializes in what you want done. Sometimes the biggest isn’t always the best. A smaller contractor who is more adept at smaller jobs might be just the right thing your job needs. If you are revamping a store, consider finding contractors who specialize in retail space renovations.

4. Start with the general contractor and build from there. By bringing the general contractor into the job first, you are able to use their knowledge on the job from the beginning and have them help guide the project.

5. Go ahead and add on that maintenance agreement. Once the job is done, you want to ensure that your project will last for years to come. A good maintenance contract that checks over the equipment is a great idea to clean and maintain things like your furnace or drain pipes. A quick cleaning now is much cheaper than an expensive repair later.

6. Does the goal of the project further your company’s image and brand? If it doesn’t, it might not be the right project for you. This is a big capital expense, and you want it to pay off with a solid return on investment for you.

7. Your project should make sense. Do you have custodial closet doors that open inwardly? Did the customer service booth end up with only a small front-facing window? Double check the design proposal before you go out to bid to ensure that the concept diagrams and blueprints make sense and lead to positive workflow.

8. Along with number 7 goes ensuring that the areas like the office supplies and the copier are easy to get to and are going to keep things efficient in the office or administrative area.

9. Decorate in such a way that the colors and furniture enhance your brand and your company’s image. Your customers should feel like they are welcome in your new place, so be sure your contractor includes an interior decorator in the plans.

10. Be sure your contractors are all on board with the project and are capable of meeting the deadlines. This point is probably the most important one of all. Any delays are costly both financially and in terms of getting your business going again in the new location.

Hopefully these tips will help get you going in the right direction for your next project. Happy building!