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Construction Management Basics

 

meeting-2284501_640We’ve all seen reality shows like The Apprentice, where each team had a project manager who would draft a plan and delegate tasks according to each person’s abilities.

When it comes to construction, there’s an entire team of managers who oversee the process to make sure that you end up with exactly what you want. The following are some of the leaders who make magic happen in construction:

Project Manager: These people have a full plate. They make sure all the pieces of the construction puzzle are aligned correctly. From the design process to the final details once the project is completed, project managers make it all happen, on time and on budget.

Quantity Surveyor:
Anything you want done will cost you money. However, you want to make sure all funds spent are well invested and that you get to save money when it’s prudent to do so. The QS is the one who keeps everyone’s feet on the ground. He or she will study the project and estimate costs for construction, materials, labor, repairs, etc… to make sure you stay on budget.

Scheduler: It’s really exciting to start on a project you’ve been planning for months (maybe ever years); but in order to make your project profitable, it has to be finished on time. This is where the scheduler comes in. If you have an ambitious project, it’s going to take a while to get it done. It’s good to have a timeframe in which you can expect the project to be completed.

Contract Manager: So you presented your bid and it was approved. Now you need subcontractors to get all hands on deck. Who’s doing the plumbing? Who’s doing the electric? Landscaping? Who’s installing tiles and windows? The list is long, and the contract manager makes sure that everything is coordinated seamlessly.

Keeping all these roles in mind can be overwhelming, and if you don’t know much about the construction industry, trying to coordinate everything is a recipe for stressing out to oblivion. This is where Eclipse Building Corp. comes in. When you hire us, we take care of all the details, so you can finish each day knowing that everything’s running smoothly. Give us a call to discuss your project. You give us the info; we’ll give you peace of mind.

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Benefits of Installing Solar Energy Panels

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Raise your hand if you like paying your utilities bills. Granted, we all do it because we have to; but it’s hardly on anyone’s top ten list of most fun things to do. And you know what? You might not have to continue doing it forever.

Between 2008 and 2014, installation of solar panels in residential, commercial, and institutional buildings has increased by more than 50%. And it’s not just to save on energy.

In addition to reducing our carbon footprint, and not having to continue making monthly payments for electricity, property owners who install these panels also get tax credits from the IRS. You read that right. You get to pay less taxes.

So, what can you do to make sure you get the most bang for your buck?

Install them while building your home:

This is obviously not a possibility for everyone, since there are plenty of people who purchased their property years ago. But if you’re building from the ground up, the structure can be designed with the panels in mind. This will be invaluable when it comes to wiring and building materials.

Keep them clean

If birds like to fly over your home and treat it like a sewage treatment plant, they’re going to receive less sunlight. Hosing them down between 1 and 4 times a year should do the trick.

Make sure they can withstand weather changes:

We live in Florida. That means having a hurricane season every year. Make sure whomever installs the panels for you can guarantee that they can withstand the local weather. If panels in Colorado can endure hail, they can clearly be made with durable materials.

 Make money just by having them!

As an incentive for installation of panels, Florida offers rebates for people whose panels generate more energy than what is actually consumed in a 12-month period.

Yes, they tend to be on the pricier side, but when you consider all the benefits you reap from them, they are a sound investment. And isn’t that the main purpose for purchasing real estate?

Signging Contract

Reviewing the Terms of Your Business Lease

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Congratulations! You found what seems to be a perfect location for your business, and you feel like you’re finally on your way to get your entrepreneurial dreams started.

But before you invite all your friends to celebrate with a couple of beers, take some time to carefully review the terms of that business lease.

I’m not one to rain on anyone’s parade, but your business is such a huge investment of time, money, and effort, that you want to make sure it runs as smoothly as possible. Before you sign that line while still flying high on your excitement, consider the following:

  1. What are your business needs? Are you opening a bar and need a license to serve alcohol? You better check that location is allowed by local regulations to do so; and if it is, include on the contract that such condition is precedent to make the agreement valid. Whatever your specific business needs, make sure you’re covered, and always include it on the contract.
  1. What’s the term of the lease? Are you planning on having contractors show up on the first day to start working on your locale? So what’s the actual first day of the lease? You could sign it today, but it won’t take effect until a month from now. Know this before you schedule everything around it. You also want to know with 100% certainty when the term begins, since, in the event you choose not to renovate the lease, you can count the right amount of days (60 days notice from date of expiration only means something if you know when to start counting).
  2. Terminating the contract: What are your responsibilities besides paying rent? Do you have to take care of ordinary repairs, or is that up to the landlord? Read every term carefully to make sure it is not one sided, all for the benefit of the owner. That way, if there’s some sort of breach, it will be easier to point it out if it’s serious enough to warrant termination of the contract.

You should never sign a written agreement before fully understanding what you’re getting into. Don’t skim the lease. All of the terms are important. If you don’t believe me, take a day off and go hang out at a courthouse to see breach of contract cases. Lawyers charge hundreds of dollars per hour. Add up the time you think it would take to handle the issue and multiply it times a gazillion, ‘cause it will probably take more.

Don’t buy a lawsuit. Contact Eclipse Building Corp. for that lease review and feel confident about your decision to sign.

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The Role of Drones in Construction Sites

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When you think of drones, what comes to mind? They certainly look like toy model airplanes or helicopters that would make any kid happy (at least any kid who grew up before having an iPad permanently entrusted in his or her hands).

Today, they have facilitated expediency in many industries: From newscasters using them to show weather changes in slow motion, to wedding photographers taking aerial shots, to farmers overseeing their crops.

Turns out these nifty little gadgets are also useful in construction. In addition to looking cool flying over your site, they provide the following benefits:

  1. They save you money: Instead of having someone survey a site, gather data, and draw out maps, a drone can do all of that for you, at a fraction of the time, for a lot less money than it would cost to pay someone to do it.
  1. Monitor progress: There are few things that are more satisfying to a business owner or project manager than to see timely progress on a project. It’s also impressive to watch a construction project develop from the ground up; and a drone will let you do that at any speed you’d prefer.
  2. Keep clients updated: The same way your own company can track how much of the work has already been completed, you can use the same footage to send weekly (or whichever time frame you prefer) to your clients. Keeping them posted with video will be a lot more valuable than explaining it in boring esoteric construction jargon.
  1. Keep your workers safe: It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that having a bird’s eye view of a work site will allow you to see possible dangers that you might have otherwise missed up close. Keep your workers safe and happy, protect yourself from potential legal liability, and reduce worker’s compensation claims, all rolled into one!

The construction industry has always reflected a society’s progress, from the most rudimentary buildings at the turn of last century to the extraordinary, experience based designs we get to visit today. Drones are just one drop in the bucket of technological advances within the field. With every passing day, it keeps getting more impressive. Stay tuned.

Building at Night

How Intelligent Buildings Will Make Your Life Easier

Building at Night

How dependent have you become on your smart phone? Would you be able to drive anywhere without its GPS? Could you get through an entire day without texting, checking social media, being able to read emails as soon as you receive them, or taking pictures of your work, your finished product (whatever it is you were working on all day?)

What about Amazon Echo or Google Home? It has become extraordinarily easy to ask thin air what the weather is going to be like tomorrow, or to play our favorite music, as long as we preface it with Alexa, or Siri, or whichever smart electronic you have at home as your virtual assistant.

And now, you get to read about smart buildings. By 2021, the smart building industry will reach $24.73 billion in projected revenue; so it would be nice to get a piece of that pie as a construction company. As an end user, read below to see how you will benefit as well.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

Smart buildings are possible thanks to a hybrid between the construction industry, the IT (Information Technologies) industry, and the Internet of Things.

This type of construction provides you with a long list of benefits straight out of The Jetsons:

It keeps you comfortable: Smart buildings regulate air circulation, temperature, and lighting. You won’t even have to get up from your couch or desk if you’re too hot or cold. You won’t have to keep tabs on all lights that are on in unoccupied spaces. The building will do this for you.

It keeps you safe: Smart buildings are prime for integrating fire safety and heightened security. If a smoke detector goes off, or a lock is broken into, you will be alerted; as well as the appropriate emergency personnel.

It saves you money: Since your house or office would know when the building is occupied, once there are no people inside, IoT would adjust air conditioner, heating units, and lights accordingly. This type of monitoring is cost effective, as energy consumption will decrease when nobody’s home. It is also as beneficial to the environment as to your pocket. It’s a win-win situation. It’s also a trend that’s being adopted worldwide so it’s imperative to immerse ourselves in it in order to remain competitive.

We may be becoming spoiled by our smart gadgets, but we are also becoming more efficient. The future is now.

The Impact of 3-D Printing in Construction

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Remember when 3-D meant wearing funny looking plastic glasses to watch a movie and either (a) become immersed in that fantasy world, or (b) come out with a migraine and needing a nap?

Today, 3-D means so much more. Hospitals are using it to create organs for transplants, and the auto industry is using it to construct auto parts. The trend has also greatly impacted construction. Companies in China and the Netherlands have constructed homes within a 24-hour period, utilizing 3D printing. And we’re not talking about tiny houses or trailers here. These are real life, regular sized homes. What’s more, the houses were built on-site, with recycled materials, at a significant fraction of usual construction costs: $5,000.00. Yes, you read that right. You can build a house for five grand.

What does this mean for the construction industry?

Before panic sets in, let’s look at it objectively. Did films come to an end thanks to the ubiquitous use of the Internet? Blockbuster may have had to shut its doors; yet Netflix and Hulu have made a killing streaming movies on demand. What’s the difference between one company’s demise and the other two that are still thriving? Evolving with the times and adapting to technology.

With some 3D printing, the large-scale printers print the materials, but workers are still needed to put together the homes; while with others, the entire project can be done by the printer. There are a lot of benefits for both the end user and the builder: a significant reduction in construction costs, less harm done to the environment, and the ability of completing expansive projects in less time. In addition, this means that the recent workers shortage won’t have a long-term effect within the field; which is more than what could be said about those funny looking glasses.

How Rebuilding is a Lesson in Resilience

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Where were you on September 11, 2001? That’s a question all of us can answer, down to what we were wearing and what we were doing when that first plane hit the twin towers. It was indisputably, one of the darkest days in our country’s history.

After the shock, the heartbreak, the memorial services, the rescue efforts, and the rubble cleanups, New York City, center of the financial universe, was left with a gaping hole that seemed to represent the void we felt collectively as a nation. It was one of the few times every single person in the United States seemed to unite. All of a sudden, trivial things didn’t matter anymore. We were all in this together.

Fifteen years later, at the same site, stands One World Trade Center, 104 stories and 3 million square feet of steel and glass that remind us how, despite the towers and our morale being completely leveled, we got together and rebuilt the iconic location in downtown Manhattan.

A Lesson in Resilience

Rebuilding the World Trade Center meant so much more than erecting a skyscraper. It shone a light on the capacity of humanity to get back up when the unthinkable happens.

The same can be said of reconstructing Miami after Hurricane Andrew; or New Orleans after Katrina. Although there are industries that exist purely as a luxury or for entertainment value, the construction industry has taught us through the ages, that not only is the field essential for socioeconomic progress, but it also shows one of the greatest strengths of the human spirit: resilience.

Bouncing back from adversity doesn’t always have to occur at such a large scale. Sometimes a home or business floods, or experiences some sort of damage that requires reconstruction. Once we recover from the shock, or the anger, or the sadness, or any of the myriad of emotions we experience after a negative event, it’s time to act. Let Eclipse Buliding Corp. help.

Why You Should Renovate Your Business

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Does the inside of your business look like The Brady Bunch’s kitchen? If so, it’s high time you do something about it. If you want to attract guests and customers and remain competitive as new restaurants and cafés open up, you have to get with the program.

Have you been to First Watch in downtown Tampa lately? Just a month ago, they looked like they were straight out of a 1970s low-budget film. Today, it looks like a trendy restaurant for writers and hipsters. And it’s always full.

There are many benefits to redoing your business’ façade; among them:

  1. Attract new customers: If you wanna make more money (and who doesn’t?), you gotta invest money. Everyone knows that. Even when you’ve been running your business for a while, you have to keep reinventing yourself to stay relevant. Get more clients, get more people who want to work for you, and stop getting lumped with passé locales. Your business is not a fad. Evolve with the times to ensure longevity.
  1. Maximize your space: Be honest: Is your current layout the most optimal for your day-to-day business needs? Renovating your workspace can be geared towards using all of your square footage more efficiently: Make it easier for delivery trucks to unload merchandise, increase the flow of natural light, get more storage space or a floor plan that makes employee interaction easier.
  2. Stay competitive: Pick up a newspaper (or go online, I don’t care), and pay close attention: The entire Tampa Bay area is teeming with new restaurants and coffee shops to appease to all kinds of clientele. Wanna sit on a big couch and work on your laptop all day while eating croissants and chai tea lattes? Go to Oxford Exchange in South Tampa. Want a more cozy ambiance with a fireplace to boot? Try Green Springs Bistro in Safety Harbor. Even going to the mall shows you how the traditional low-budget looks of times past won’t longer cut it. International Plaza makes you feel like you can actually eat a gourmet pizza at their food court.

Convinced, but don’t know where to start? Not a problem. Eclipse Building Corp. can help you review your business lease to determine the viability of the project; assist you in obtaining all necessary approvals and permits; and get all the work done. We’ll even do a 10-month follow up and give you a two-year warranty on our work, which is longer than what competitors offer. Contact us and let’s get this started.

Sexual Harassment in the Construction Industry

 

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Remember that movie from the 80s, Flashdance? Back then, it was noteworthy that the main character was a welder because it’s not a career path traditionally pursued by women.

Thirty four years later (yes, it’s been that long. Grab a beer), women are still a rarity in trades industry. In fact, less than 3% of construction workers are female. In order to avoid potential legal liability, it’s essential to understand what constitutes sexual harassment.

The Difference Between Banter and Sexual Harassment

Depending on whom you ask, there will be a long list of different opinions about what are acceptable comments in the workplace. This blog is not about those.

It is one thing to make jokes among friends, but sexual harassment is a monster on its own. And it doesn’t just apply to women. Men have been victims of this type of behavior, if they’re not perceived to be masculine enough. To avoid crossing that line, it’s important to know the following:

Hostile Work Environment vs. Quid Pro Quo

There are two types of sexual harassment under which an employer can be sued: hostile work environment, and quid pro quo.

A hostile work environment exists when a person insists on hitting on someone, asking them on dates, touching them, making sexual comments, or any combination of the above when it is clear the advances are unwanted. It doesn’t take a genius to know when you’re flirting and when you’re just being a jerk. If a person is not interested, grow up and move on… unless you later want to sit on the witness stand and explain to the judge about your failed attempts at being charming.

Quid pro quo occurs when an employer offers an employee any kind of career related benefits, such as a promotion, a raise, or even just the ability to keep their job, in exchange for sexual favors. I don’t even have to explain why this is plainly wrong. Just don’t.

When you’re dealing with a gray area, it is better to be safe than sorry. Your joke might sound funny to you in your head, but you won’t be laughing if your company is served with a lawsuit. Your opinion won’t matter in a court of law, but your past behavior will.

At Eclipse Building Corp we take pride in making sure all our staff, both employees and independent contractors alike have a safe place to work, and anyone, regardless of gender has an opportunity to advance in their career.

We’re Not in the 1990s Anymore: A New Era in Construction

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Have any of you been to CineBistro in South Tampa yet? If you have, you know you’ll never go back to a regular movie theater. If you haven’t, know that you can enjoy full service dining (fancy cocktail and linen napkins included), as you watch the newest film release. And a waiter will bring it to you at your seat, too; so no awkward balancing of trays from your part is required. Don’t worry about this interrupting your movie. Everyone’s orders are brought to them before the previews even start.

This whole experience is part of how innovation has taken over our lives; and it has affected not only how we choose to be entertained, but how we purchase our goods and services as well. Long gone is the Sears catalog and say goodbye to big box retail. Innovation is the mainstream now and those that choose to embrace it will flourish.

This is because buying online has become the norm, thanks to giant retailers like eBay and Amazon, which have contributed to the shut-down of major department stores nationwide. From groceries to plane tickets, people click a few times from the comfort of their couch. There’s no real need to get our purchases as if were still 1999. And since huge commercial buildings are closing, why would younger people be encouraged to go into this industry?

What is a construction company to do? Build more places that allow for innovation like CineBistro’s. Gone are the days of sitting in a hard, stiff chair for two hours with a bag of greasy pop-corn [cue the black and white images from infomercials exaggerating how bad we had it back then]. People are focusing more on the shopping experience rather than buying.

In order to stay relevant (and to stay in business), commercial construction has to center on providing an extraordinary shopping experience for patrons. High-end components have become the common denominators at restaurants, movie theaters, and shopping malls in their quests to remain competitive. It’s what will keep shoppers coming back to a brick-and-mortar retail space, and construction companies need adjust accordingly.

Good thing Eclipse Building Corp has adjusted with the times. So if you’re thinking of revamping the interior of your commercial space for something more modern and innovative, you might want to check us out. Don’t say later that I didn’t warn you.