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Construction Zone Safety Tips for Roadside Workers

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We’ve all seen them: We’re driving on our way to work, or taking kids to school, and somewhere on the side of the road there are several construction workers. They’re wearing hard hats and reflective vests; but considering that between 2003 and 2010, 962 workers were killed on roadside accidents, protective gear is obviously not enough.

With all the crazy people who text and drive or speed like they’re racing on The Fast and the Furious, what can be done to keep everyone safe?

It starts with the construction equipment:

While there are some accidents caused by negligent speed demons, most of the injuries and fatalities on roadside construction are caused by construction equipment. And the main reason for construction vehicles running over workers is a lack of adequate visibility. So yes, reflective vests definitely help, but you need to do more. Implement policies that require additional safety items, such as warning lights and audible warning devices. Make sure their reflective gear is labeled “ANSI” (for American National Standard of High Visibility), for Class, 1, 2, or 3 risk exposures.

Once you have the equipment…

Properly brief your workers:

The best equipment in the world is not going to help much if your staff doesn’t know you have it on site, or how to best utilize it. Meet with the entire team before starting on the project, and go over safety essentials. Also remind them to never reverse a vehicle if they have an obstructed rear view. And even if they roll their eyes at you, have regular meetings to remind them of your safety policies and procedures.

Keep weather in mind:

If it’s foggy, commuters may not see your workers. It’s better to push back the schedule for a day than to have to tell family members that one of their loved ones got injured or killed on site. Also, this is Florida. It gets obnoxiously hot during summer. Prioritize having water and salt tablets available. Heat stress is very real, and increases the chances of work related accidents.

Place traffic barriers and speed limit signage:

            At the end of the day, if a drunk person or any other sort of reckless driver wants to face criminal charges later on, that’s on them. But do your part by placing traffic barriers and reduced speed signs around your workers. Make it obvious for oncoming traffic that there’s work going on.

Always prioritize workers’ safety. After all, not only are they someone’s loved ones, but without them, we wouldn’t even have the cities or homes we live in. Construction workers make things happen. Keep ‘em safe.

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New Construction Projects in Theme Parks

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Living in close proximity to Central Florida, we’re no strangers to theme parks. Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, Dinosaur World, and Busch Gardens have put much of our state on tourists’ maps.

And while they are fun to visit and some even have an almost cult-ish following, it’s also interesting to see how these places came to exist in the first place. Yes, they require massive amounts of imagination and creativity. They also require experts in construction to make them a reality. And what are some of these new construction projects? Well, we’re glad you asked!

  1. 1. Star Wars: We’re starting with the best one, because leaving the best for last is nonsense. Since 1977, Star Wars has been the epicenter of everything that is cool. From geeks to the cool kids, this film series is common ground. Yoda even provides a source of inspiration for the spirituality minded. And thanks to Disney World, you can be a part of the resistance.
  2. Toy Story: Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios both have themed rides based on Buzz Lightyear, but starting in the summer of 2018, park guests will be able to fully immerse themselves in the Toy Story experience at Andy’s backyard in Hollywood Studios. You’ve got a friend in me; you’ve got a friend in me. Is the song stuck in your head yet? You’re welcome.
  3. Pandora: The Land of Pandora recently opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and you don’t even have to be a fan of the film to appreciate how cool the place is. From sky-high waterfalls to rock formations and a green landscape so extraordinary, you will feel like you have entered an alternate universe, and that at any given moment, you’ll see a banshee flying overhead.
  1. Super Nintendo: People who grew up in the 80s and 90s, it’s time to rejoice! Everyone’s favorite video game will now have its own theme park home at Universal Studios! The land will be interactive, showcasing once again how construction has evolved, prioritizing guests’ experience over practicality.

Don’t give us that excuse that theme parks are for children. You know you are looking forward to going and reliving your own childhood. Whether with kids or without them, these theme park worlds will be certain to provide us with a lot of fun times. And you can thank construction workers for that.

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What You Need to Know About Hard Hats

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How many of you had a hard hat as a kid? We’d see them on construction workers, mine workers, electricians, construction engineers, and real estate developers. Seeing someone wearing them is a sure sign that work is getting done. But are all hard hats created the same?

In short, no. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), classifies them according to occupation; but there are certain factors that they all should meet to guarantee the maximum amount of safety for workers. You can pay attention to their requirements, or blow your budget defending lawsuits. So choose wisely.

  1. Inspect them regularly: Don’t just buy a batch and think they will last forever. OSHA recommends replacing the suspension every 12 months, and the entire helmet every five years. But that’s not an absolute guideline. If you work under extreme weather conditions, or a particular hat has been exposed to chemical exposure, it’s sage advice to replace them sooner.
  1. How to wear them: The same way some people like to wear their baseball caps backwards or sideways, some of your workers may think they look cooler if they get creative with their hard hats (cue a collective eye roll). The good news is that, as long as the worker also reverses the suspension, a backwards hard hat should still protect them. The bad news is that you should be extra careful and ask the manufacturer for a certification that their specific hat can be worn that way.
  1. Can workers get an exemption from wearing them due to religious reasons? Believe it or not, despite the obvious compelling interest to protect all construction workers, OSHA allows an exemption to wear hard hats due to religious reasons. It may not make sense, but it’s true. Florida’s Workers’ Compensation statutes provide for a no-fault system, which protects both the employer and the employee. However, it would be to your benefit to consult with your attorney prior to moving forward with this practice.

At Eclipse Building Corp., we take employee safety seriously. Doing so ensures smooth sailing for your construction project. And at the end of the day, isn’t that at the top of your priority list?

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Anti-Flood Construction 101

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Living in Florida comes with many great perks: We have mild weather year-round, white sand beaches, beautiful views, and it’s a quick trip to the Caribbean. It also comes with having lakes and beaches everywhere, and a five months long hurricane season.

Previously, we discussed ways in which you can incorporate certain construction elements into your project, to make your structure more likely to withstand strong hurricane winds. But what about floods? Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to mitigate any future flood damage.

  1. Raised platforms: I know, I know. This one seems so obvious. But if it is, why aren’t more people doing it? Every summer, without fail, we read news about how South Tampa is so flooded, a kayak is a more efficient mode of transportation than a car. If you’re scouting for areas to build a property from scratch, as part of your due diligence, find out how often other properties in the neighborhood have flooded in the past. And if the plot of land you want is where The Little Mermaid was filmed, construct accordingly.
  1. Swales: When designing your landscape, it’s a good idea to incorporate swales into your building’s perimeter. The downhill trench will not only assist in preventing too much flood water from coming inside your building, but it also helps you drain too much accumulated rain from the lovely thunderstorms we get every summer.
  1. Tile flooring: Yes, hardwood floors like nice and fancy, and carpeting may give your office a more traditional feel, but if you’re in a high-risk flood zone, it’s going to be a big pain in the… bass to deal with the aftermath of soaked wood or fabric. The longer it takes you to recover from flood damage, the longer you’ll be out of business. And who wants to not make any money?
  1. Drainage in driveways: When constructing your driveway, make sure it slopes down, away from your entrance. Install French drains. For you non-construction people, this type of drain reroutes water away from your garden or backyard. That said, it only works if the amount of water is reasonable. If a tsunami is hitting our coasts, it won’t really matter. But you do what you can, right?

To ensure the most efficient construction project, you need to hire experts in the field. At Eclipse Building Corp., we are happy to answer any of your questions. Contact us and let’s talk about what you have in mind. We’ll help you make it a reality.

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Things To Keep In Mind When Starting a Construction Project

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There are a few things that are certain in life besides death and taxes: Traffic on I-4 on your way to Disney World. A couple of people crashing their cars on I-275 during rush hour EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING. (Seriously, y’all? Every day? Is there a prize for this?)

The same goes for construction projects: No matter how excited you are about getting a construction or renovation started, there will be more mundane and potentially frustrating factors you have to keep in mind. Among them are the following:

  1. Permitting. Oh, the joys of permits. How many of your friends from elementary school said: “When I grow up, I want to work at a city’s permitting office!” Exactly. No one said that because it’s tedious; but somebody’s got to do it. If you’re located in Tampa Bay, tampagov.net is a God sent. It’s part of the city’s Planning and Development Department, and it is where you go to apply for permits, schedule inspections, pay all applicable fees, and check up on the status of your application. Don’t get annoyed about having to do this. Thanks to this process, Florida can guarantee that all projects meet safety measures in building codes. The peace of mind that comes with this is priceless.
  1. Plan on going over budget: Listen, mistakes happen. Or you may change your mind about the original plans. You can either allow your blood pressure to rise, or you can simply rely on a contingency budget. How much should you have in it? This will depend on the type of project. Discuss all foreseeable risks with your general contractor, and the chances of them happening. The higher the risk, the higher this budget should be. For a clearer answer, you’ll want to work with a company with extensive experience in the construction industry (such as the coolest one in town, Eclipse Building Corp.).
  1. Schedule delays. I’m not saying these will be guaranteed to happen, but you should still give yourself a little bit of leeway when planning around your project. For example, here in Florida, we know there’s a hurricane season five months out of the year. One of those nifty little storms may put pause on your plans. Also, if midway through, you decide to modify the design, that’s going to create a domino effect with the schedule, and things will get pushed back. And sometimes, the crew isn’t that efficient (unless you hire Eclipse Building Corp. We really know how to do things well). So plan for the best, but have a modicum of flexibility with your schedule.

Sometimes, you just have to roll with the punches; and the best way to prepare is to know beforehand what some of those hiccups along the way may be. For a more comprehensive analysis of what could happen with your project, contact us and let’s discuss what you have in mind. We’d love to help you.

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What You Need to Know About Plumbing, Electric, and HVAC

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Raise your hand if you like having working toilets. We like them too. This is why, at Eclipse Building Corp., we understand the importance of having good dynamics between the teams working plumbing, electric, and HVAC during a construction or renovation project.

Electricity: First things first: Always prioritize the workers’ safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has plenty of information about conductor installation, voltage, current capacity, labeling equipment, and working clearances. Following these specifications is essential to prevent fires, explosions, and/or electrocution. Nobody wants to start a project with a tragedy. When hiring a contractor, make sure they are in compliance with all Department of Labor and OSHA specifications.

Plumbing: Potable water and elimination of human waste: The two most basic needs of any civilized society. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tanks should have an overflow capacity, and pressure vessels should have release valves. WHO also warns about additional plumbing precautions that are necessary in locations where food is processed, such as restaurants and warehouses.

HVAC: For you non-construction people, this means heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. You’re welcome. The safety and functionality requirements will vary according to climate and humidity levels. The last thing you need in a balmy environment like Florida is mold, so take precautions such as replacing your air filters every three months, and regularly inspecting ducts.

All of these elements have to work cohesively to ensure that your construction or renovation project runs smoothly. Therefore, it’s important to coordinate their installations together. This will allow them to foresee any potential issues and correct them as the project moves forward, instead of waiting for the… chocolate pudding to hit the fan once everything is completed.

At Eclipse Building Corp., we make sure that everything works the way it’s supposed to. Contact us and let’s discuss how we can make your vision a reality. We’ll be happy to help.

 

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How Do Bid Packages Work?

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Have you ever seen scenes of a bid on TV? Some funky person who was probably an outcast in high school (kudos to them for that!) speaks really fast while trying to get a bored audience to lift a little sign with a number. Whoever lifts a sign with the highest number, wins the bid and gets to purchase the item.

That is not how bidding works at all in the construction industry.

When do they come into play?

         Bids apply whenever a government agency needs to make a purchase or start construction, expansion, or renovation project. The agency will post a description of the project they intend to execute. Each state has a different website, so you’ll need to check on the site in the State you’re located.

Review the Bid Solicitation:

The government agency will include information about the project: What needs to get done, a timeline, their budget, and everything else that’s related to the project. Pay attention to every single detail, to prevent from getting overly excited and lowballing your bid.

How does the government choose their contractor?

         Every company submitting a bid, also provides a Capability Statement, which states their company history (certifications, past projects, accomplishments, biggest clients, awards, etc…) It’s pretty much a pitch: “We’re the best company to do this project, and this is why…”.

All of this is hilarious, considering that despite Whitefish Energy being a two-person company in the boonies in Montana, with no prior large scale project experience, they got a $300 million contract to restore the power grids in Puerto Rico after hurricane María. But who has ever heard about apparent shadiness in government dealings, right?

But I digress. Let’s get back to an explanation of how things are supposed to work: Pay attention to every detail on the bid solicitation and attached schedules. Pay extra attention to the deadline for submission. Make sure that any subcontractors you’d need to hire are within your budget. If you get the bid, congratulations! It’s time to get the party started. If you didn’t, look at who did, and find out why. Practice makes “perfect” (there is no such thing as perfect; but you can at least try to get as close to it as possible).

If you just read this for entertainment purposes or because the magazines at the grocery store line were a dud, thank you for visiting our website. If you actually need construction or renovation services, contact us. Eclipse Building Corp. is always happy to help!

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What Happens During a Constructability Review?

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How many of you played with Legos, Building Blocks, or Tonka when you were a kid? There is something inherently fascinating about building something from scratch, or taking down an outdated façade to replace it with something more inviting and modern.

But starting either a construction or renovation project is not as easy as deciding to do it and getting it done. It involves complex steps such as feasibility studies, constructability reviews, putting together bid packages, conducting due diligence and site surveys… The list is long; and unless you hire the right team to oversee it all, you’re going to end up with either a string of migraines or a series of lawsuits.

Why a constructability review?

At the risk of sounding redundant, this type of review provides your team with an overview of the project and the most efficient ways to get it done. It will also save you money in the long run. For example:

  1. This is when a review of all applicable building, safety, and environmental codes get taken into account to ensure compliance.
  1. Since it provides contractors with a comprehensive analysis of the project, it allows the team to create an outline of what needs to get done, and the chronological order and deadlines for getting it done. This means potential issues can be identified and resolved before having them cause interruptions that result in additional costs and delays.
  1. It keeps clients happy in the sense that they can get a timeline of when the project will be completed. They, in turn, get to schedule grand openings, or any other event to notify the public that they are open for business.

Getting an efficient constructability review requires more than just familiarity with construction terms. This is when practical experience is invaluable. There are only so many things a person can learn from a book. In addition to theory, Eclipse Building Corp. has years of experience that can be used to your advantage if you give us the chance to do so. Contact us and let’s talk about your project.

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What Are Due Diligence Surveys?

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How many times have you driven in downtown Tampa? How about New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, or Chicago? Those skylines have become a way to easily identify a particular city; those buildings becoming the pride of their residents. Think about it: The Empire State Building, the Transamerica Building, the Space Needle, the Skydeck.

We all know basic information about them, such as whether there’s a nice lounge at the top floor of any of them; whether one of them is owned by a powerful, well-known person; whether any of them has a historical significance or has been featured in movies. But unless you’ve worked within the industry, do you know what happens before one of those wonders is erected?

Due Diligence Surveys

The same way you wouldn’t buy a home without doing a title search, real estate investors need to make sure that not only is title free and clear, but that boundaries are what the seller says they are, that there aren’t any easements running through the land, that there isn’t an upcoming eminent domain issue, permitting issues, etc…

What happens if an issue comes up?

It depends. For example, with easements, you have to look at the type: Is it an easement by necessity allowing another landlocked property access for egress? Or is it a right granted by your potential seller to someone else to make their lives easier? Depending on the type of easement that was granted and its circumstances, you might be able to challenge it. If you cannot, you have to decide whether you can live with it, or move on with your search for a property to purchase. Same happens with a boundary dispute. You want to get that settled before you close on the sale. Otherwise, you’re buying a lawsuit.

Sounds like a headache? It can be, if you don’t have the right people working for you. At Eclipse Building Corp., we’ll do a comprehensive due diligence site survey, and explain in easy to understand terms if there are any issues and your options for resolving them before you commit to purchase. Contact us and let’s talk about your plans. Buying real property is a huge investment. Make sure it’s a good one.

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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.