What You Need to Know About Hard Hats


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?


Anti-Flood Construction 101


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.


Things To Keep In Mind When Starting a Construction Project


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, 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.


How Do Bid Packages Work?


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!


What Are Due Diligence Surveys?

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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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?


            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.


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.


            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.


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.


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


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


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.


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



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.


IoT in the Construction Industry



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.