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Architectural Wonders in Florida

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Living in the Sunshine State, we are no strangers to being surrounded by beautiful things: white sand beaches, palm trees, lakes everywhere, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, ocean and bay views… You get the picture. This is why so many renowned architects have chosen our home to erect their creations.

  1. The Skyway Bridge: Kicking off our list is a construction in our very own Tampa Bay. What better way to remind drivers to forget the stresses of life and work and just relax, than by having ocean views from both sides of the car? The same way that driving down the Courtney Campbell Causeway can make you feel like you’re on vacation, the Skyway Bridge amps up the excitement by making you feel like you’re climbing your way to heaven.
  1. St. Augustine: If you travel to the old town of any European city (or if you go to San Juan, Puerto Rico), chances are high that you’d feel charmed by he cobblestone streets and historic buildings and fortresses. And we get to be lucky enough to have a similar environment in our very own State. From Victorian Inns to horse drawn carriages, when you visit St. Augustine’s historic district, you feel like you’ve traveled through time.
  1. Dalí Museum: Making our way back to our Bay Area, St. Petersburg waterfront real estate boasts the Dalí Museum. From its impressive glass dome, to the maze right next door to it, you almost feel like you’ve stepped into one of the famous surrealist artist’s paintings. And it’s not just the outside of the building. Walking inside and looking up at the giant spiral staircase underneath the glass dome is a bit reminiscent of being at the Louvre in Paris.
  1. Lewis House: Moving on to Tallahassee, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Lewis House aka the Spring House. From the outside, it looks like a ship moored on dry land. From the inside, you feel like you are in some sort of medieval room in the middle of a forest. And honestly, how fun does that sound?
  1. Ca’d’zan Mansion: Speaking of medieval, Sarasota is the proud home to Ca’d’zan Mansion, a structure that reflects a perfect cohesion between the riads of Morocco and the medieval castles of Europe.

The truth is that when it comes to architecture, we have nothing to envy of other places. With a creative design, an original vision, and a team of experts working together, you can take a construction idea and turn it into an extraordinary project. And when it comes to hiring a contractor who will make sure that your projects come out as stellar as you envision, Eclipse Building Corp. is ready to help you.

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How To Know Whether You’re Ready To Renovate Your Business

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Unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you probably like to be practical about how you spend your money. Maybe you opened your business 10 years ago, and since you’re profitable, you’re not caring much about upkeeping the façade. And this may be ok if you are renting or own space in a beautiful location.

But what if you originally chose that location because it was the only one you could afford when you first opened your doors? If you have the means for an upgrade now, you might want to consider remodeling your business. If you’re not sure if it’s the time to do so, consider the following:

Optics: In an age of instant gratification and social media, it’s common knowledge that image is everything. If you visit two different law firms to help you draft a business contract, and one of them looks like it should be featured in Architectural Digest, and the other one looks like the headquarters for a cockroach convention, which one would you hire?

Employee Morale: When you read about the coolest places to work at, Google, Facebook, and Mindvalley always top the list. And it’s not because they have ping pong tables or offer free lunches (although I’m sure that also has a lot to do with it). But people spend the vast majority of waking hours at the office. Look around. If your workers remind you of Joe from Joe vs. the Volcano, you have to be proactive. Study your layout and color scheme carefully. If it looks like a prison or like your grandma’s kitchen in 1962, it’s time for a facelift. Even Forbes agrees with it.

Increased Profits: At the end of the day, profits are the reason you’re in business. Even if you’ve been around for a while and have a handful of loyal customers, competition will continue to pop up at a steady pace. So you need to stay relevant. One of those ways is to renovate your storefront. The return on your investment might be worth it.

Whether you’re ready to get your renovation project started, or would just like to consult with construction experts about its viability and other related issues, at Eclipse Building Corp, we are ready to assist you. Give us a call. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

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How Building Codes in Florida Have Changed Due to Hurricanes

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In 1992, hurricane Andrew decimated Homestead in the southern end of our State. This year, hurricane Irma did the same thing to Key West, and hurricane María to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. A lot of people lost their homes and/or businesses, roads are missing pieces of blacktop, cement poles tilted over like dominoes, bridges collapsed.

It is during time like these that we come face to face with how crucial it is to have well studied building codes. When our infrastructure fails us, our citizens suffer the consequences; and due to our geographical location, we can’t afford to not pay attention.

How have codes changed in Florida?

Windows

            For starters, we have better windows now. They are designed to withstand stronger winds, and depending on the type you install on your property, some of them could protect you from winds of up to 140 mph. This is because they have several layers of material shielding your home.  If a tree falls and hits a window, the extra layers and tougher materials will prevent the window from shattering all over the inside of your property.

As bonus features, there is a significant noise reduction and screening from UV rays from the outside world. Just remember to verify whether your window frames are strong enough to hold up these heavier windows. The last thing you need is for the panes to hold up, while the entire window becomes a projectile inside your own home.

Roofing

Another structural element that has caused worry in the past are roofs. One way to increase security is by installing hurricane fasteners and connector straps. These new regulations require that homes are able to withstand three second gusts of 160 mph winds, and sustained speed of 124 mph.

Doors

            Just as with windows, hurricane proof doors consist of several layers of material, that are also impact and moisture resistant. And if they include glass, the same is laminated and made out of the same material as the impact and shatter proof windows.

Hardware

What’s the point of strong materials if what’s holding them up together couldn’t withstand strong winds? From screws, to wing nut fasteners, to wood fasteners, most hardware stores sell materials that will protect your property a lot better than traditional equipment.

All of these factors contribute to stronger structures. However, don’t get too complacent thinking this means your home is 100% safe. You should still prepare for storms by installing shutters over your windows. If you haven’t even started your construction project, make sure that the design takes into account hurricane protection. After all, those who built the Titanic also boasted that their newest ship was unsinkable.

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What Can You Do If You Go Over Budget When Renovating Your Business?

 

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Raise your hand if someone in your home watches HGTV. Whether it’s you or your spouse, it’s fun to sit and watch as couples all over the country decide on either which home to buy, or how to best renovate their property. Why? We all like new stuff. We get excited over new cars like a kid on Christmas morning. We treat our new smart phones as the best invention since sliced bread (side note: why is this phrase a thing? If sliced bread had never been invented, we all know how to use a knife on a loaf of bread. But I digress).

The epitomes of the American dream are to be a homeowner and entrepreneur. Both involve owning property. So, in a sense, getting to switch things around in a renovation project not only can be exciting, it’s also a sign of a promising future.

But you can’t just repaint the walls, add a few decorative items, and call it a day. Renovating a business requires careful planning. For example:

1. Don’t pass on the cost to customers: Let’s say you go over budget and realize the renovation costs are really hurting your bottom line. You’re going to have to get a grip and strategize about a viable recovery. If you’re providing an overall better experience (think a regular movie theater vs. Cine Bistro), then, by all means, increase prices. But if you’re planning on charging more for the same items just because your renovation costs got out of hand, you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot.

2. Get creative: Right after Hurricane Irma hit Tampa Bay, people were getting antsy with their cabin fever and tired of eating tuna and crackers. So what made everything better? Businesses who announced on social media that they were already open, and/or they were offering discounts; or that people could come over, charge their cell phones, and [insert any type of entertainment]. So an event that could’ve proven fatal for a new business (or a recently renovated one) provided additional business opportunities for creative business owners. You don’t have to wait for a hurricane to hit us (please, don’t). But if you just renovated your work space and it looks fantastic, still make a big hoopla about it on social media, and watch people flow in through your door.

3. Think outside the box: Let’s say you just renovated a pastry shop. Everything looks straight out of a magazine, and you’re looking forward to serving customers. Set up a booth at local farmers’ markets, and bring promotional materials. Tampa Bay alone has one in Hyde Park Village in South Tampa, one in downtown St. Petersburg, one in Safety Harbor, one in Dunedin… People who might’ve never heard of you before now have a reason to visit your business.

Renovating is exciting and the beginning of a new chapter in your business; but you have to go in knowing what you’re doing. The best way to ensure you’re making the best choices is to discuss your plans with knowledgeable experts. At Eclipse Building Corp., we can help you review feasibility studies, overview construction management, and even provide you with maintenance post project. Give us a call, and let’s talk about what you have in mind.

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Why Pursue a Career in Construction?

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What did you want to be when you grew up? Most of us had an ideal career choice in our minds when we were barely old enough to ride a bicycle. Whether the projected decision had to do with what our parents did for a living, or what we thought would be the most fun, it was good to dream of the future before adult responsibilities such as bills and supporting a family got in the way.

Fast forward to the current times. A whopping 70% of Americans hate their jobs. Are you one of them? Or are you about to finish school and unsure about your next step? If construction has never been on your radar, below is a list of the top reasons why it might be a beneficial option to pursue:

  1. There are available jobs: Millennials make about 40% of unemployment recipients. The problem isn’t that they don’t want to work. The problem is that in this economy, it’s difficult to find a job. Meanwhile, there are over 200,000 construction jobs that need to be filled. This means that unlike over saturated markets, such as the legal field and teaching, once you graduate, there will be available positions to be filled.
  1. There are plenty of roles: If you like manual labor and being in the middle of the action, you can be a construction worker. If you’re a nerd, you can go into construction engineering. If you’re into math and accounting, you could be a quantity surveyor. If you like knowing the big picture and coming up with the details to make it happen, you could be a project manager.
  1. There’s no time to get bored: We’ve all had those jobs where we constantly look at the clock and wonder if it’s even working. Or jobs where customers are calling all day to complain. Or jobs where you have to do the same exact thing for an 8 hour shift and you can feel your mind getting numb. Construction provides you with different projects that will keep you busy, away from that ringing phone with petty whiners, and with plenty of variety.
  1. What you do matters: Ask your friends whether they think what they do at work every day has a significant impact on others’ lives. Granted, a doctor will say yes. *Some* lawyers can honestly answer yes. Teachers get a big, resounding yes. And with construction, you get to join that club of people who do important stuff. The construction industry is essential. Thanks to it, we have places to live, work, and party.

When you’re happy with what you do, it shows; not only in your end product, but also in your quality of life. At Eclipse Building Corp., we love what we do, and have plenty of projects that reflect that. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the construction industry, we highly encourage it. If you’re not, but need a construction or renovation project, we are your people. Contact us, and let’s get things started.

How to Hurricane Proof Your Construction Project

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Living in Florida, we get to enjoy the type of weather and landscape most people dream of. We have white sand beaches and palm trees. We can see dolphins jumping around in the water as they play. We can go paddle boarding, boating, or just have a cocktail with an ocean view.

But with the #ILiveWhereYouVacation hashtag also comes the reality that we have a yearly hurricane season. And while the really big ones are few and far between, some of us have experienced three, four, or five during our lifetime.

When you construct or renovate a building, you do it with the expectation that the structure will last for several years, if not decades. In order have the most efficient plans, it’s good to look at construction hacks that will make your structure safer during a hurricane.

  1. Pay attention to the roof: There are certain shapes that fare better in strong winds. This is the case with hip roofs. A gable one is more common, because they give homes a more traditional look, and they are cheaper when building a home; but in a hurricane prone area, it’s best to invest more on your safety.
  1. Avoid overhangs: Yes, they provide shade, and depending on the look and feel you’re going for, it might add some southern charm to your structure. But they increase the risk of roof damage to your home or business. In fact, about 90% of homes that are damaged in a hurricane suffer damage to their roofs. So keep this in mind if you want to build or renovate a home or small business in Florida.
  1. Dome shaped structures: They make look funny, futuristic, or straight out of Star Wars, but they are also sturdy and practical. Constructed properly, they can withstand a category 5 hurricane and flying debris. Think about it: A lot of shelters for evacuated residents are domed shape. This is not a coincidence. Domes spread out the force of high winds, which is essential in preventing it from blowing away during a storm.
  1. Floors: If you’re using tiles, make sure they’re properly attached. We usually don’t question “Will these tiles withstand 165 mph winds?” but you probably should. The same way Californians should always worry about earthquake proofing their structures as much as possible, we should do the same with hurricanes.
  1. Windows: This one seems obvious, but look around and see how glaring it is that most homes and businesses don’t seem to have hurricane shutters installed. In Florida, this is almost like having a bathroom with no toilet. Get with the program and protect your property. Irma’s watching.

When in doubt about which types of materials or designs are best for your construction or renovation, Eclipse Building Corp. is here to answer your questions. Call us, and let’s talk.

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So What’s Going On With the St. Pete Pier?

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St. Petersburg, Florida: water views, gulf breeze, craft beers, farmers markets, so many museums, cafés, restaurants, and festivals. It’s a little piece of paradise among the many great places we have in Tampa Bay. But for the life of me, they’ve been talking about rebuilding that pier for ages now. When is it actually going to happen?

Guess what? The back and forth is still going on. Now the city council gets to vote on whether the renovations will receive an additional $14 million that had been originally allocated for a transportation project.

Considering they had already approved over 60 mil for the renovations, that’s a big chunk of change. It reinforces that a good ol’ facelift (aka renovation) can do wonders for a location.

What do we have to look forward to?

First of all, ladies and gents, they had a Pier Beer Summer Series earlier this month (August 2017, for those of you reading this in the future). You read that right. The place hasn’t even been renovated yet, and it’s already doing cooler stuff than your usual watering holes. Seven nights in a row, each featuring a local brewery.

The pier will also showcase artwork by renowned artists; and of course, it’s walking distance from award winning restaurants and the world famous Dalí Museum.

Why is all of this so important? Because this is what a renovation project can do for a city (or on a smaller scale, a business): it revitalizes it’s venue and attracts more visitors. It brings in more money, which at the end of the day, everyone who administers a city (or runs a business) wants to do. It’s the bottom line.

The Downtown Waterfront Signature Project (as it is formally called) will be completed by late 2018. And then you’ll have another reason to boast to your out of town friends and family members about the wonders of living in Tampa Bay.

You could also follow suit and consider renovating your own business. In an environment when everyone around you is constantly improving themselves, you don’t want to stay behind. Contact us at Eclipse Building Corp. and we’ll let you know about its feasibility and your available options. You’ll be glad you did.

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IoT in the Construction Industry

 

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Siri, call Joe the contractor. One of the most exciting things about technology is how much easier they can make our lives. If you’re busy working on a renovation project and need to consult with either client or contractor, you can do so with a voice command. If you want music to start playing so that you don’t get bored, you can tell Amazon’s Alexa, to get the party started. The thought of smart buildings regulating temperature based on our needs are enough to make us think that the future is now.

And it is; but it keeps getting better: According to the International Data Corporation, IoT will be pretty common in the workplace. And the construction industry is no exception. The following are several fun things that are making this field even better:

The possibility of operating machinery remotely:

If a site is too dangerous, the weather sucks, or you’re simply short staffed, operating machines remotely is a practical solution (plus, let’s be honest: the kid in all of us would enjoy doing it. It’s the grown-up version of playing with a remote controlled toy, except now we get paid to do it.

Stop losing tools and equipment:

Raise your hand if you’ve ever misplaced a work tool (or two, or three). With the IoT, it is now easy to track where each of these devices are located. And the most awing element of IoT tools is that not only do you know where they are at all times, they can also send you messages regarding whether a specific portion of the project can be improved, such as by tightening screws or any overlooked necessary repairs.

Keep your workers safe:
We’ve addressed this issue on previous blogs, because for Eclipse Building Corp, employee safety is always a priority. Wearable technology makes things a lot easier by gauging temperature, surveying land, reviewing hard to reach places, and even preventing health issues.

Be more efficient with your time:
You could send a worker to a site, or you can send a drone, and have your worker do something where he or she could use their time more efficiently.

As leaders in our industry, at Eclipse Building Corp., we make it a point to stay updated on the latest state-of-the-art technology in construction. This enables us to implement the features that would work best for each of our projects. If you have a renovation or construction project coming up, contact us to see how we can help you.

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How To Keep Construction Workers Safe

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One of the most exciting things in life is starting a new project: moving to a new city, starting a new job, getting married, traveling to a place we’ve never been to before… And of course, building or renovating a property.

Possibility’s in the air. It’s the start of something new and of good times and profits to come. But in addition to getting your permits, surveying the property, reviewing your business lease to see if you can get stuff done, and hiring contractors, there is one specific item on your To Do list that should always be a priority: Keeping your workers safe.

Now, depending on whom you’re speaking with, you’ll get different reasons. A humanitarian will talk about how sensible it is to ensure safety and about how employees have families who love them.

A jaded attorney will tell you all about workers’ compensation claims, personal injury and wrongful death suits, and all the fun stuff that comes along with getting sued.

Either way, just make sure your bases are covered. The following are basic things you can do so that your project will go along smoothly.

  1. Are the excavation sites safe? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established standards to ensure that contractors keep their job sites safe. This means paying attention to soil components, water content in the soil, and weather changes. It also provides guidelines for depth and width of excavations.
  1. Is your scaffolding properly installed? This one may seem like a no brainer, yet we still hear stories of construction workers falling to their death. This is why you need to, once again, follow OSHA’s directives on the subject. Are the footings leveled? Are they restrained against tipping over if they’re too tall? When was the last time that specific scaffold was inspected to make sure it’s still safe to use?
  1. Do you have personal fall protection systems? Nobody’s perfect; and even in the most secure job sites, an accident could still happen. So what’s your Plan B? Are lanyards and lifelines in place? Have you tested them to make sure they work properly?

I won’t even bother detailing the importance of protective gear, because if you don’t know about that by this point, you shouldn’t be involved in any construction project.

As a business owner, anything that happens on your property may expose you to legal liability; whether from customers, or from workers. So make sure to cover yourself by only doing business with responsible contractors. Eclipse Building Corp. is a leading example of doing things by the book. Contact us, and let us help you with your project.

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Should You Buy That Fixer-Upper?

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Raise your hand if you’ve ever dreamed of quitting your job and doing something that requires your attention for only part of the year, so that you can rest or travel the rest of the time? How many of you have had this fantasy existence of spending your days on a tropical beach, while business takes care of itself at home?

For some, flipping old businesses sound like a great idea. Invest now in purchasing the property, fix it, and play for a while, then do it all over again. But before you get too excited after watching a couple of HGTV episodes, there are certain factors you must keep in mind.

1. Make sure you have the money to do so.

Don’t go into debt trying out this trend, to see how it goes. Yes, in theory, you’re buying an ugly property, make it look good, then sell it for a profit. But in addition to the down payment for the building, you’ll spend a pretty penny on materials and repairs. Study well the numbers, to make sure that you’re not just breaking even, or worse, losing money.

2. The mortgage interest rate will be higher.

If you’re purchasing an investment property, be aware that the mortgage lender will require a higher interest rate than if you were buying a residential property, or even a second home. You’ll also be expected to come up with a higher down payment. The reason for these additional expenses is because since you won’t be living in the property, lenders will consider the loan to be a riskier one: If push comes to shove and your finances take a nose dive, would you choose to continue paying for your home, or for the investment property?

Don’t even think about lying to get a better rate. That’s called occupancy fraud, and if the lender finds out, they could demand immediate payment of the remaining mortgage balance. And that’s in a good day. It could also be considered bank fraud and the consequences could be criminal charges.

3. Have a good team.

For your project to be successful, you have to have the right mortgage broker, real estate agent, contractors, and probably even a good lawyer. Cover all your bases before making such a substantial investment.

Speaking of contractors, you want to make sure you get a feasibility study, a site survey, verification of permits, a detailed estimate… Get all your ducks in a row with the right company to prevent having to pay extra for someone else to fix a mediocre job.

4. Keep in mind the surrounding neighborhood.

If you purchase a property in the middle of Skid Row, it doesn’t matter how luxurious you make it out to be, no one’s going to pay a pretty penny to live in a high crime area.

The bottom line is that flipping properties can be a profitable business, if you know how to do it right. Contact Eclipse Building Corp. for your renovation. We can assess the entire project and let you know everything that needs to be completed, from point A to point Z.