How to Choose Your General Contractor

If you are planning to remodel your home or starting a home construction project, you will need an expert in the construction industry. That expert is a general contractor.

General contractor may have the experience to handle the entire project. Other general contractors specialize in certain areas only such as kitchens or bathrooms. For large projects you may find it better to hire a general contractor who will hire other general contractors to sub-contract according to their specialization. Finding the right general contractor for your project may take some time. You will need to meet with a few to see if your general contractor shares your values for the project.

Once you have found that fit, it’s time to check out a few things.

Experience

Find out how long the contractor been in business in this area. He should have a business physical address, not just a PO Box. He should be able to show you pictures of some of his projects and provide references.

Credentials

The contractor should be licensed for your municipality and with your State. Liability insurance must be in place to provide coverage for your property should there be any accidental damage during the construction project. Workman’s Compensation insurance or Labor and Industries insurance is necessary to cover any injured workers. The contractor should also be bonded. All of these documents should be readily available to allow you to verify them.

The same information will be required for any subcontractor needed to the job. These should be provided to you as the need arises.

References

Your contractor should be able to provide references that you can call. Find out if the previous project was completed timely and within budget limits. Ask how the reference feels about the end result. Ask if there were any problems on the job. If so, were they quick to come back and fix the problem? These are potential problem you might expect. It’s best to know how the contractor has handled them in the past.

Detail Estimate and Quote

It is normal for a contractor to provide a detailed written estimate of the project and quote. This should also include any down payment or progress payments for larger jobs.

The lowest bidder is not always the one you want. Review all details of all bids submitted. If there are big differences in the approach, talk to the contractor about it and determine if his reasoning is sound.

From each bid, you should know the time frame for the project, type of materials to be used, how many workers will be in the crew, details of each subcontractor’s job, payment arrangements, and what warranty is being provided by the general contractor, subcontractor and the manufacturer of the materials.

Once you have reviewed all the bids and found the one that best meets your projects requirements, you are ready to sign the contract and set a start date.

Earning Pdu Credits – Information For Independent Contractor Pmp

Depending on how they earn the professional development units, pdu, required to renew their credential, they can continue to bear high costs. By utilizing more of the available credit earning options, costs can be lowered.

Many project pdu managers earn the 60 renewal credits in each 3 year cycle by attending courses. These tend to be relatively expensive. Typical tuition fees for project management courses are at least $250 per day. Often, tuition is $500 per day or higher which represents a per credit cost of between $30 and $70. Along with the useful knowledge, credential holders gain 8 credits for an 8 hour course. Of course, an independent consultant would lose the billable hours, worth perhaps $800, while they attend the course. Seminars and workshops also provide renewal credits but have costs similar to course tuition fees. Again, the independent contractor loses billable hours.

Luckily there are other, less costly ways to earn credential renewal credits. Reading project management materials in journals or on the Internet earns 1 credit for each hour of activity. This is a great way to research topics and get significant credits. Up to 15 credits can be claimed in each 3 year renewal cycle. The costs can be low or free and the time is well used, usually not resulting in a loss of billable hours.Working as a project manager also counts for up to 5 renewal credits per year. Independent contractors will have to document their actual project time to claim these credits. This should not be difficult since it is likely a professional obligation already.Attending the local PMI? chapter meetings is an excellent way to earn renewal credits and strengthen local business connections. The credits earned in this category will cost perhaps $14 each. Considering the possible future value of the business connections, this is often money well spent.

Other inexpensive renewal credits are available. Volunteering to serve on a pdu board or providing project management services to a non-profit organization are recognized activities. Unfortunately, these often require a substantial investment of time. Independent contractors would likely use their free time in order to avoid a loss of billable hours. There would be possible business contacts to gain but the time commitment would need to be closely examined.Independent contractors would be well advised to consider certain writing activities for their renewal credits. Perhaps an existing blog post or a project review document would be useful as a good starting point for an article. Up to 15 renewal credits can be claimed for each project management article published in a journal. Combining various materials can help when working on an article.

Until recently, there were few publishing pdu opportunities as many journals had very restrictive submission policies. Luckily this situation is now improved. Project management journals now exist that welcome article submissions. Independent contractors will find that writing articles for these publications offer some of the best value for renewal credits, both in dollars and time.

Chennai Real Estate- Victim Of Market Slump

Real estate in Chennai is on the verge of a crashing market, believes industry experts. Chennai property prices have seen an escalation of almost 200 per cent in the last few years. But with the global slump in the real estate industry Chennai real estate has also slowed down.

Number of Chennai real estate developers has been able sold only a few of their properties in the last quarter. R Mohanty, real estate agent from Chennai states, “The residential real estate prices in Chennai have grown by leaps and bounds making it difficult for buyers to purchase a home in the city. The increased loan rates have now made it worse. Though the prices are witnessing correction people are awaiting the market to further stabilize.”

Research reveals that there has been a 90 per cent drop in demand for residential projects since the start of the year.

Notably, Old Mahabalipuram Road, the hottest real estate destination in Chennai is also loosing pace. Cursing the fading effect of the place on lack of infrastructure facilities, Chennai real estate agents say there have been only a few transactions in the area for quite sometime.

The commercial sector is also witnessing a downfall. The Central Business District in Chennai has seen a 15 per cent drop, media reports.

IT companies largely drive the demand for Chennai properties but due to the current market recession many companies have postponed their expansion plans. As a result supply of office space in the city has exceeded demand. Huge chunks of office space are lying unoccupied. Subsequently, Chennai real estate builders are now waiting to launch their projects.

Besides global recession, inflation, the rising home loan rates and increasing input costs have also resulted in slump in property transactions in Chennai. Realtors in Chennai are struggling to sell properties. Though price correction is taking place in Chennai Real Estate sector but realty experts predict that the market will bounce back.

Contractor Insurance Overview

Contractor insurance is an essential element of running a contracting business and comprehensive insurance cover can mitigate the impact of events such as thefts, an investigation by HMRC or even the threat of legal action and compensation arising from client accusations of negligence.

Umbrella company contractors are normally covered by their umbrella company employers policy, but limited company contractors must make their own arrangements to ensure they have adequate cover in place to satisfy business and client requirements.

Insurance types to consider

There are three main categories of insurance that contractors should consider:

Office
Professional indemnity
Tax investigation.

A comprehensive office policy would normally include public liability and employee liability, legal requirements for trading limited companies, plus home office contents and portable equipment cover for business equipment, such as laptops and mobile devices.

Professional indemnity insurance, also known as PI, will provide the funds to cover legal advice if a client levels accusations of negligence against a contractor, and may also cover any payouts for compensation. Most clients, particularly those in the public sector, require that a contractor limited company has at least 1m in PI cover.

Tax investigation insurance covers the cost of accountants and other expert assistance in the event of an investigation by HMRC. A routine compliance visit by an inspector may only cost a few hundreds of pounds in an accountants time, but if the investigation develops into a full-blown IR35 case, the cost of an expert defense can run to tens of thousands of pounds, which could financially ruin a contractor who does not have insurance.

Choosing the right policies

Not every contractors insurance needs will be the same. Some contractors may have requirements unique to their sector, or could have business premises, such as an office or workshop, that require specialist cover.

A specialist small business insurance broker will usually assess a contractors insurance requirements as part of their service and then actively seek out the most appropriate policies for the contractors specific needs from the market.

Alternatively, it is possible to obtain a comprehensive package of insurances directly from an insurance company, but contractors should ensure the insurer understands the contractor marketplace and has a track record in providing contractor insurance products.

Contractor insurance costs

As most policies will be individually tailored to a specific contractors needs, each policy is priced accordingly. Buying insurance in a bundle direct from an insurer or via a broker is usually more cost effective than buying different policies direct from different suppliers.

As a rule of thumb, a comprehensive office policy costs a few hundred pounds, PI insurance from a few hundred to several thousands, depending on the amount of cover required and the type of services the contractor provides.

Tax investigation insurance comes as a benefit of PCG membership. If bought separately, it can cost a few hundred pounds a year, and compared to the potential cost of an investigation, it is generally a worthwhile investment.

Finding The Best Php Web Developer Online

In the stiff market competition today it is essential that you stay ahead of your competitors in every aspect. There are various ways of promoting your business online but the first and foremost step is creating a good website. The website is the face of your business. An eye-catchy and functional website will enhance your business tremendously. An exclusive website will help you to retain your customers for long and help you in promoting your business. Hiring an efficient PHP web developer will prove to be the best option. You will find numerous companies and professionals providing services to businesses at the best prices.

PHP (Pre Hypertext Processor) is a widely-used scripting language. As the businesses are shifting online, the PHP developers are much in demand. Business owners are aware of the fact that a professional website is vital to promote the business. Irrespective of the strategy you use, it is crucial that your website looks elegant and precisely communicates what your business is about. In addition, the website should be fully functional so that it can retain the interest of the user. This is where the service of a PHP web developer plays a pivotal role. PHP professionals are skilled and strive hard to create an eye-catching website that is user-friendly. You might have an outstanding website design but the right developer will breathe life in your website. Hence, it is vital to select the best web development company known for its services across the world. You will also find freelancers providing quality services at the best prices to clients.

Web development is a process carried out by skilled professionals who possess a thorough knowledge about the development and execution of the language. While choosing a PHP professional it is vital to make sure that the programmer possesses all the skills and knowledge about the PHP language. The PHP web developer is not only a skilled person but also invests his time and efforts to give desired results. PHP is certainly one of the most widely used programming languages that deliver the best results. A PHP-based website offers several benefits over the regular websites. The main reason behind its escalating popularity is the improved functionality and the user-friendly interface it offers to clients. The many benefits of using this language are leading to a growing demand for PHP web developers around the globe.

With the increasing demand for PHP web developers, you will find numerous companies claiming to provide clients with the best services. You need to carry out extensive research for finding a reliable one. A good research will ensure that you do not get conned. There are professionals who provide services at affordable prices as compared to large firms. Relying upon them won’t be regretted. Browse through the web and locate a reputed name offering services at the most affordable price to clients.

Landscaping With Garden Arbors

If you want to add a new design layer to your lawn or garden you may consider adding a garden arbor. Arbors offer a fairly easy and distinct way to enhance your landscaping designs. There are a variety of designs and styles available; the most important thing is to choose one that fits the look and style of your current landscape designs.

What Is A Garden Arbor?

If you are not already familiar with this type of structure you may wonder what exactly it is. To put it simply an arbor is an archway. Traditionally they were made from real branches and leaves, but modern garden arbors are typically made from wood, metal or vinyl.

To keep with the traditional theme many of them are bordered with latticework or designed in a way where vines and flowers can be grown along them. But those who enjoy a cleaner look often prefer not to grow plants or vines along them.

More Than An Archway

While they mostly function as an archway garden arbors can have additional features, some for functionality and some simply for appearance. Some are made with a bench or a swing which allows you to sit and relax outside while soaking up the beauty of your yard. Some have planter boxes allowing you to create a lush or colorful area around them. Others have a gate and are used as an entryway into a specific area of a lawn or garden.

Where To Use Them

They are often used a as decorative type of entryway. They can be used to create an entry to a specific area of the yard, a garden or on a walkway to welcome visitors. They can also provide an attractive location for a backyard wedding.

Choosing A Design

The design you choose will vary depending on how you plan to use it and depending on the style of your existing home and yard. The shape of the arc is one specific feature that differentiates one garden arbor from another. They are either round like a typical archway, flat or pointed. The material you choose will also affect the style and feel. As mentioned they are available in wood, metal or vinyl; all of which are made to withstand the outdoor elements.

Garden arbors can provide a charming gate into a specific area of your yard or simply an attractive focal point to accentuate a flower garden or walkway. Choosing a kit will provide a relatively easy way for you to incorporate this charming addition to your yard.

Flexpod Net App – Innovative and Dominant Reference Architecture

The converged infrastructure market finds the flexpod net app very innovative and dominant reference architecture. This data center platform from NetApp and Cisco has found appreciation from users worldwide. Many of these users choose to standardize it for mission-critical applications. This was introduced in the year 2010 and has left many impressed owing to its excellent features. The flex pod netapp scores the brownie points in terms of performance, scalability and availability. They can be found in different packages and are easy to deploy and manage. It won’t be out of context to say, they have created a buzz in the IT world worldwide. The availability of flexpodnetapp is the result of a business collaboration entered between Cisco and NetApp. Their joint efforts have been to enhance capabilities and add broader support to important applications. This is done to ensure the FlexPod is able to meet broadest possible range of IT requirements so that most business-critical applications can be run smoothly. They have been credited for supporting various types of data operating systems and virtualization of databases. Likewise, they have made efforts to address various infrastructure needs in the small and medium-sized entities. These enhancements have given the flexpodnetapp an edge in terms of higher-levels of integration. It has facilitated data centers to interconnect by offering them suitable equipment. This has, in a way, made it easy for entities to either scale up or scale out the performance. They have made storage virtualization simple which in turn has made business data management very easy. It also minimizes total cost of ownership dramatically. The technology used helps in logical demonstration of data as per requirements of virtual storage pools. In a sense, it allows you to focus on critical business applications rather than devote time on complexity of the hardware. The storage virtualization capacities come at various levels of storage hierarchy. This can be seen on all storage platforms. The network provisions are flexible and service providers can regulate flexpodnetapp depending on their needs for a specific period of time. This has given them the edge over other available options. Their biggest contribution has been its ability to provide service to more than 1000 servers. Of course, service providers interested to avail their services need to use Flex Pod in order to optimize their functioning. Flex Pod customers are proud to own one as it enables them to enjoy cloud management solutions. Its phenomenal success has prompted Cisco and NetApp to offer multiple data centre architectural designs. This has been accomplished with help of NetApp Cisco Flex pod project.

Simple Feng Shui Tips That Will Make Your Life Better

Feng shui, which translates as wind and water, is an ancient Chinese art of object placement and energy flow in the home. According to the theory, energy currents, known as chi, flow through your home. Unblocking the flow of chi and channeling it the right way, says the tradition, can improve just about everything in your world: your health, your relationships, even your bank balance! One things sure: a good feng shui arrangement will energize your space and you.

An important first step toward good feng shui is getting rid of clutter, which creates obstructions that dramatically slow the flow of chi-energy through your home. You can move things around all you want according to feng shui principles, but nothing will work if you have clutter obstructing the flow of chi.

Here are some tips to get you started:

In Your Kitchen

Your kitchen nurtures your family by providing nourishmentso its a very important place in feng shui.
–Expired foods create negative energiestoss them.
–Keep counter tops free of clutter, papers and mail in particular.

In Your Home Office

Sit facing your door so you dont get surprised from behind.
Sit with a solid wall behind youyoull feel secure and supported.
Put a round crystal on the southwest corner of your desk; it will promote good work relationships.
A small plant placed in the southeast corner of the room will help summon income and foster personal growth.
Above all, get rid of those piles of papers and filesthey are serious chi-stoppers

Using Aromatherapy

Spray lemon, eucalyptus, or rosemary in your space after an illness.
After an argument, spray lavender or geranium in the room.
To help you sleep, mix lavender with clean, fresh water in a spray bottle, and spray your bedroom with the mixture each night before you go to bed.

Feng shui is all about making some space in your life for new possibilities and opportunities. So to get started, clear your clutter and get organized!

Easy Source of Topics for Architecture Essay Writing Tasks

cademic architecture essay writing tasks would usually be performed by university students taking up undergraduate courses in architecture, architectural engineering, building services engineering, architectural technology, building design, other courses related to architecture and building design. The selection of engaging and good topics would be the first that the students would do if they were given the option of choosing their own topics for their architecture essays. If the students are having some difficulties in selecting particular topics for their architecture essays, an easy source where they could find good topics would be the general discussion of the discipline of architecture.

The general discussion of the discipline of architecture is arranged into several main headings with sub-headings under each main heading, and for the most part, each sub-heading would usually have smaller topics that are confined to a specific area of discussion. The student could either select a topic from the main heading or choose the specific areas of discussions that are under each sub-heading that would become the specific topic for his architecture essay.

Under the general discussion of architecture, the main headings and their respective sub-headings are: theory of architecture that includes historic written works on architecture and modern architectural concepts; history of architecture that includes ancient architecture, Asian architecture, Islamic architecture, Medieval architecture, Renaissance architecture, early modern and industrial age architectures, and contemporary architecture. In addition, some of the sub-headings are broken down into smaller areas from which he could select a specific topic.

A student performing regular or constant writing of architecture essays as part of his course requirements should take note that the essay structure of an architecture essay is similar to the basic structure of other academic essays, which consists of sections of the introduction, body and conclusion. Consequently, the student should follow the basic rules or steps in essay structuring that he studied and learned from the other essay writing tasks that he performed from his other academic subjects. The specific content in section of the essay on architecture would naturally be different compared to the specific content of other essays. But the style of writing the content for each section would be the same regardless of the specific subject area under the essay.

The university and college students who would research and write architecture essay should take note that some of the possible topics they would select for their architecture essays could also be applicable and relevant to use for their other academic essay writing tasks. For example, many of those students especially during their first year of studies could perform history essay writing tasks. Therefore, an example of history essays about the architecture related topics could include the architectural history, history of various architectural styles, architectural mythology, and the specific histories of the architectural styles of different civilisations.

Be a VIP at home. Use your best stuff every day

My grandmother bought me a set of 6 china cups and saucers for my 21st birthday. Now I’m 50 but those cups and saucers have been used almost daily. Sure, I lost two cups at some point but it doesn’t really matter. Those objects were given for me to love and enjoy them and I’ve had nearly thirty years worth of enjoyment out of them. Of course I could have kept them safe in bubble-wrap at the back of the cupboard but what would be the point of that? Most of us will happily use supermarket glassware and keep the cut-glass in the cupboard. Why? If you have precious items that you want to use but are worried about them being lost or destroyed consider the following: -Take a really great photograph of the object. If you lose the object you’ll have the photograph forever. -Make sure items are properly insured. -Display them somewhere safe (in a lit cabinet? In a jewellery box?). -Be sensible about their use – don’t give your best cut glasses to the children (although I used to … and my children never broke any). -Don’t put your favourite items in the dishwasher or the washing machine (wash by hand) … I’ll admit I stick most things in the dishwasher but that’s just me! However, once you have decided which precious items to keep, clean them carefully and look after them. -Make sure your antique jewellery has a safety chain fitted (a good jeweller will do this for you). Don’t wear that precious necklace until you get the clasp fixed etc (be sensible about it). Then, once you’ve taken precautions, use and enjoy the items that you love. Granddad would have wanted you to have worn his gold pocket watch occasionally or at least have it placed in a beautiful display box where you can enjoy it every day. For more ideas like this: -How to be a Clutter Clearing Angel: Easy ideas to Organise your Home’ (E-Book by Jacky Newcomb) Jacky is the author of the E-Book: -HOW TO BE A CLUTTER CLEARING ANGEL: Easy ideas to Organise your Home’. She is also a multi-award winning, Sunday Times Best-Selling Author and columnist for Take-a-Break’s Fate & Fortune magazine. She is regularly featured in the national press (Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Mirror etc) and Television including ITV’s This Morning and Channel 5 Live. www.JackyNewcomb.com