house-1332470_640 (1)

How Building Codes in Florida Have Changed Due to Hurricanes

house-1332470_640 (1)
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.

bar-176289_1920

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

 

bar-176289_1920
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.

How to Hurricane Proof Your Construction Project

hurricane-74031_1280

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.

pier-734702_1280

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

pier-734702_1280

 

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.

excavation-works-2120022_640

IoT in the Construction Industry

 

excavation-works-2120022_640

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.

workers-659885_1280

How To Keep Construction Workers Safe

workers-659885_1280

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.

lost-places-2398580_640

Should You Buy That Fixer-Upper?

lost-places-2398580_1920

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.

lost-places-2136974_1280

Workers Shortage is Affecting Construction Industry

 lost-places-2136974_1280

A healthy construction industry has always been an indication of economic growth. When people have a stable income, they buy homes. When entrepreneurs open up their businesses, they renovate rental space or purchase their own real estate. When a city is doing well financially, they’ll build high-rises, stadiums, freeways… That’s the way it’s always been done.

However, times change, and with each new generation, there comes a new set of challenges; and the current environment is no exception. While technology has made our lives easier by giving us smart phones and Internet of Things to play music or give information upon command, there is one downside that has to be addressed: Fewer people are going into the construction business. Since 2015, there has been an increase of 81% of construction jobs that need to be filled.

Reasons for the shortage

As our very own Todd Whalen explained to U.S. News & World Report, the number of vocational schools has been reduced. Coupled with the fact that fewer high schools are offering similar elective options, this means that less and less young people will even get a chance to be exposed to construction as a viable career option; and those who do go into business won’t have the level of knowledge of current construction experts.

What this means for your construction or renovation project

The less people there are to compete for your business, the higher costs will be. There have already been delays in construction and renovation projects because there are simply not enough people to keep up with the demand.

Short term solution for a long term problem

If trends continue the way they have been for the past couple of years, at some point, there will be a recession in construction. If you have a project that needs immediate attention or are thinking about renovating, Eclipse Building Corp. can do the work for you. Contact us before the line goes around the block. Time is money. Get things done now.

construction-646913_640

How Wearable Technology is Transforming Construction

construction-646913_640
We’re all used to technology taking over every aspect of our lives: We can ask Siri for directions when we’re lost. We can tell Alexa to play our favorite music while we work. FitBit will tell us how many steps we take in a day, and even gives us a report on the quality of our sleep. And now it’s also revolutionizing the construction industry. Below are some of the products that are showing us that the future is now.

  1. Smart helmets: As if smart phones weren’t enough, now construction workers get to wear protective headgear that will provide them with intuitive instructions that will assist them to work in a more efficient, faster way. They’ll also get temperature data and information about what’s going on in the surrounding job site.
  1. Smart boots: Are you starting to see a trend here? Everything seems to be smart now. With SolePower smart boots, construction workers can be alerted of unsafe environmental conditions. Employees get to stay safe, and employers get to limit their legal exposure due to potential work related accidents.
  1. Smart glasses: So glasses have always had a reputation of adorning smart people’s faces. In addition to that fame, within our industry, they’ve been essential to protect workers’ eyes. Daqri has now designed a pair of smart glasses that distribute information from the office to the job site. So not only do they protect our eyes, they also assist in an almost instant relay of information.
  1. Smart vests: In addition to making their working conditions more enjoyable due to their efficiency, workers now get to have a trusty life saver on their shoulders: smart vests can measure their heart rate and body temperature and alert the user of any foreseeable health issues. This is not only smart, it’s an invaluable gadget that family members of construction workers will appreciate.

At Eclipse Building Corp., we pride ourselves not only on the excellence we provide in pre-construction services all the way to post-completion maintenance, but also on staying updated on technology that positively impacts the construction industry. Contact us and let’s talk about your construction or renovation project. You’ll be glad you did.

pexels-photo-261146

What is Modular Construction?

pexels-photo-261146
We live in an era of instant gratification. We want to buy something, we can pull out our phones and order online within minutes. New book? Movie? Your favorite band’s most recent album? Click, click, click, and done.

We can get fast food, an Uber ride within five minutes, even a date on Tinder and get married in a drive thru if you happen to be in Las Vegas. However, there are a few things we gladly wait for, in the interest of safety and practicality: If you’re traveling to a far away destination, you know it’s going to be a long flight. If you have a construction or remodeling project, it’s not going to happen overnight. So grab some snacks and have some patience.

But what if there were a way to get things done quicker within those industries as well? At least in construction, there’s modular building.

What is modular construction?

As its name implies, it is a building that is built off site, in units, that are then assembled and taken to its intended location. It is not a mobile home. In fact, when you look at a modular home, you can’t even tell the difference from a traditionally constructed one.

Why does it take less time?

Think about all the prep work that has to be done at a construction site before the construction team actually starts erecting a building. Now think of how much more efficiently time would be used if at the same time that the land is being surveyed and leveled, the actual structure were already being constructed somewhere else? Time is money, and those who use it wisely are ahead of the game.

Also, this is Florida. Think about how unbearably hot it gets during the summer; and how often we get thunderstorms. If you’re constructing outside, weather is going to cause additional delays. However, with modular construction, a lot of the work happens inside; eliminating the need to be at the environment’s mercy.

Is it safe?

It provides safer working conditions for the construction workers, since the chances of falls from great lengths is reduced, and the controlled setting takes away a lot of the risks associated with working under the elements. The materials used are the same you would expect in a traditional construction project: wood framing, steel framing, concrete, etc… Also, modular buildings have been able to withstand hurricanes without any increased security threats.

Whatever your construction or remodeling needs are, Eclipse Building Corp. can help you. Contact us and let’s talk about how we can best meet your needs.