We are now Building some offices in a Los Angeles Medical Clinic

Filed Under: Jobs Log, Resources, Tips for our contractor-partners    by: admin

There are many lessons to learn in the building contracting business, even if you think that you have already learned all of them, there will always be a new one lurking around the corner.

This job is going well as planned, we are building some partition walls, installing hospital-style track for curtains, installing one door and one window. Seems simple and straight forward enough, so when we drew the work agreement and had the client sign it, we never thought that new doctors that happen to be as well decision-making partners would show up out of nowhere!

What seemed to be simple and approved on paper had to be put on hold with many layers of changes, proposed changes, what if’s and at that point I had to put my guys on hold to discuss the current state of affairs.

Pains me to be paying wages, workers compensation, and the cancellation of appointments that could have been very profitable to discuss changes made on the fight to a small contract….but it was clear that we had to stop everything and review their requests… So that is exactly what I did. I cancelled all my appointments and went back to the job site. Ask me why most of the building contractors turn down small work.

While 4 of my guys were snacking and talking in the parking lot, I was going over the changes that the client wanted implemented. He decided that a portion of the work I had already done was going to be done by somebody else instead! If I understood well, someone mumbled about his cousin would be doing the installation.

I pointed out that undoing work on a drop T bar ceiling was out of the question and he immediately came to his senses once I suggested to look at the document signed by, the first Doctor who represented himself as the decision maker.

The second decision-making doctor agreed to keep the ceiling tiles as is and agreed to allow us to continue and install the hardware they were ordering. Although we reached agreement, I still sensed that he was not totally happy, perhaps because some family member must have offered to do the work for less, so I offered to remove a $600 change order we made to make up for the money he would have saved by doing that work with “somebody else”. His mood instantly changed to the better and he accepted the offer, so we moved on with the project.

Beside making the client happy and minimizing losses by getting the workers back producing, I started to think about ways to stop this from ever happening again. The first lesson I learned since I started contracting is that we should get things on paper and well explained — in the most details as possible, then get a signature from the decision-maker.

How do you know when one decision-maker (while the work is being done) turns out not to be the only one? The answer is, you do not know even if you ask. I DID!

So, the lesson learned here is to have another paragraph on our work agreement stipulating that only the signer has the right to contract and make decisions regarding the work that is being accepted. This is going to be just another clause in a work agreement that I think is too long already — 6 pages!

Please tell me: When is the number of clauses in a contract all-inclusive enough?

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Types of Carpenters

Filed Under: Maintenance Tips, Resources, Uncategorized    by: admin

Many people don’t even realize that there are different types of carpenters. It’s not really something you think about that much until you’re in the market for one. However, when you do stop to think about it, it makes sense that carpentry, like many professions, has different facets to it. Just like some doctors practice general medicine, some carpenters practice general carpentry. And just like some doctors specialize in a particular part of the body, like the heart or the kidneys, some carpenters specialize in a particular type of woodworking, such as cabinet building or woodcarving.

So what type of carpenter do you need? Well, at a broad level, there are two categories of carpentry: rough carpentry and finish carpentry. And the kind of carpenter you need depends on the type of woodwork you need.

If you’re building a home or doing a remodel that involves erecting interior walls, exterior walls, beams, or roofs (basically, anything structural), then you’ll need a rough carpenter. A framer is a common example of rough carpenter.

If you’re remodeling a home or you’re in the later stages of building a new home, you’ll need the work of a finish carpenter. A finish carpenter will add the “finishing” touches to your home that require more care and precision, such as wooden cabinets, window and door trim, molding, baseboards, fireplace mantles, stair railings, deck handrails, etc. Finish carpenters also sometimes specialize in crafting custom furniture or musical instruments.

And because it’s hard to imagine a situation where you would need a rough carpenter and not need a finish carpenter later, these jobs are frequently done by the same person. A carpenter might start off doing rough carpentry, and then study (often alongside a more experienced carpenter), the fine art of finish carpentry. When you can find one carpenter, or a team of carpenters, who can serve all your home carpentry needs, then your home renovation project will run a lot smoother.

And finally, if you’re a filmmaker, you may need to employ a scenic carpenter to build the set for your next big hit. That is, unless you’re filming on a boat, in which case, you might just need a ship carpenter.

Toilets to Save Water

Filed Under: Maintenance Tips, Resources, Uncategorized    by: admin

Toilets are by far the main source of water use in the home, accounting for nearly 30 percent of an average home’s indoor water consumption. Older, inefficient toilets also happen to be a major source of wasted water in many homes. Replacing these toilets with a low-flow would save nearly 11 gallons per toilet in your home every day!

Recent advancements have allowed toilets to use 20 percent less water than the current federal standard, while still providing equal or superior performance.

Over the course of your lifetime, you will likely flush the toilet nearly 140,000 times. If you replace older, existing toilets with low-flush models, you can save 4,000 gallons per year with this simpler, greener choice.

And Price?

Low-flush toilets are available at a wide variety of price points and a broad range of styles. EPA estimates that a family of four that replaces its home’s older toilets with low-flush models will, on average, save more than $90 per year in reduced water utility bills, and $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilets.

Additionally, in many areas, utilities and Government offer rebates and vouchers that can lower the price of a low-flush toilet.

Whether remodeling a bathroom, starting construction of a new home, or simply replacing an old, leaky toilet that is wasting money and water, installing a low-flow toilet is a high-performance, water-efficient option worth considering. If every American home with older, inefficient toilets replaced them with newer low-flow toilets, we would save nearly 640 billion gallons of water per year, equal to more than two weeks of flow over Niagara Falls!

Why Is Saving Water Important?

Filed Under: Maintenance Tips, Resources, Uncategorized    by: admin

Why Is Saving Water Important?

Across the country, our growing population is putting stress on available water supplies. Between 1950 and 2000, the U.S. population nearly doubled while the public demand for water more than tripled! Americans now use an average of 100 gallons of water each day—enough to fill 1,600 drinking glasses! This increased demand has put additional stress on water supplies and distribution systems, threatening both human health and the environment.

There’s a reason that water has become a national priority. A recent government survey showed at least 36 states are anticipating local, regional, or statewide water shortages by 2013. But by using water more efficiently, we can help preserve water supplies for future generations, save money, and protect the environment.

The Ultimate Handyman is making it easier to identify water-efficient products and practices.

Check out our website to learn a little more about the daily impact your water use can have and how small actions can have a big impact.

I see shows at HDTV and DIY network, but projects never go as shown, Why?

Filed Under: DIY Videos, Resources    by: admin

During post-production, in most of the TV shows, all the hick-ups and difficulties are cut off, making the audience believe that remodels, construction and repairs are much cheaper and easier than actually is.

For the last 20 years our company has worked for reality TV, Movies, also assisting studios in making good on bad damages caused by actors and crew on location, and most importantly we have participated on transformation home improvement shows in order to make unskilled actors look like pros.

During construction and filming, we see how much goes into the activities they are portraying, but they fail to account for those costly unforeseen repairs and extra work on the disclosed images and final budget, giving the idea to the audience that everything goes smoothly more often then not, which is not reality.

Construction, specially in remodeling projects, often there are extra activities and associated costs that are only found during the unfolding project. TV shows are paid by the advertisements, product placements and service providers hoping to increase their sales. In a home improvement TV show, it is not advantageous for the advertisers to reveal difficulties, related extra costs and portraying all those inconveniences could also lead to a negative result on advertiser’s bottom lines.

That is why you can se a room remodel with a $500 budget go effortlessly beginning to end. No one mentions that geographical labor costs, employment obligations and governmental fees were left out for the sake of altering perception of the consumer, which in turn will increase sales for their advertisers.

Their thought: “Once the consumer bought the products, who cares if they can install it or not.” It is sad but truth, HDTV’s main goal is not to inform consumers, it is to increase sales to their sponsors.

If you are unskilled in construction trades or just a layman, always talk to a construction professional before embarking on a project that you saw on TV, it can turn into an unmanageable endeavor. No matter how simple the TV show may portray the activity, it could take a toll on your budget with no way back. Good contractors will talk to you for free and explain what could go wrong.

TV, when is it safe to believe in it?

Roney Monteir – Home Improvement Expert
with The Ultimate Handyman a Construction and Maintenance Company

Phone (323) 651• 0635
Roney@ultimate-handyman.com
Contractors License # 831700

www.Ultimate-Handyman.com

8350 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA. 90069

Should I trust any building inspector when I am buying a house?

Filed Under: Resources    by: admin

If my building inspector’s report only protects him, but doesn’t tell my rights if he misses something obvious, what should I do?

It is best if you look for a general contractor that could inspect your house and could also provide you with a written report about all major items in a building, including Foundation, Structural Frames, Roofing, Plumbing and Electrical among other major building elements.

Most of the inspection-only specialists use a cookie-cutter approach and a pre-written contract that excludes just about everything from omissions to crass errors, not allowing for any kind of indemnification even if the inspection is botched. That defies the purpose of a building report, which is to catch big ticket items before you get stuck with the problem.

Think of it this way, if the report has one million clauses protecting the inspector, and nothing delineating your rights if something obvious is later found to be amiss, how can you trust that report?

Roney Monteir – Building and Construction Expert

with The Ultimate Handyman a Construction and Maintenance Co.

8350 Melrose Ave

Los Angeles, CA 90069

projects@ultimate-handyman.com

(323) 651 0635

WWW.ultimate-handyman.com

Dry Rot Repair

Filed Under: Maintenance Tips, Resources    by: admin

Dealing With Wood Decay:dryrot repair carpentry-22

The first and most important thing to do once decay is discovered is to figure out where the water is coming from.

Check for the obvious – roof and plumbing leaks, and missing or punctured flashing. Look for stains and drip tracks. Are eaves wide enough to prevent water from cascading down sidewall’s? Are gutters poorly maintained or missing? Do finish grades slope towards or away from the foundation? Are foundation cracks admitting water? Is untreated wood in direct contact with concrete, masonry, or soil? Check to see if crawl spaces have soil covers, and if venting and/or insulation is present, adequate, and properly placed. The same goes for attics. Peeling and blistering paint often signal inadequate interior ventilation, or a missing vapor retarder. Water stains on framing and sheathing inside walls suggest condensation. Remember that to make the remedy permanent, you’ve got to cure the disease -water infiltration, not just treat the symptoms- mildew, mold, and decay.

Once the source of water has been eliminated, remove as much decayed wood as is practical and economical.

This is especially important with girders, columns, and other critical members whose load-carrying ability may have been compromised. There’s no known way of accurately determining the remaining strength of decayed wood left in place. Cut back rotted members to sound wood, keeping in mind that difficult-to-detect incipient decay can extend well beyond visibly rotted areas. When a partially decayed structural member can’t be replaced, reinforce it with a “sister” anchored to sound wood. Decayed wood absorbs and holds water more readily than sound wood, so let rotted areas of members not removed dry out before making repairs and closing in. Otherwise, you’re just adding fuel to the slow fire.

In damp crawl spaces or other places where water is likely to appear, replace decayed members with preservative treated wood. The major model building code agencies -BOCAI, ICBO, and SBCCI- require that treated wood be used for sills and sleepers on concrete or masonry in ground contact, for joists within 18 in. of the ground, for girders within 12 in. of the ground, and for columns embedded in the ground supporting permanent structures.

dry rot stairs step association monterrey-11

In-place treatment with borates

Dormant fungi can be reactivated when dry, infected wood is re wetted. Consider treating infected, but otherwise serviceable wood left in place with a water-borne borax-based preservative that will not only kill active fungi, but guard against future infection as well.
An effective homemade version of Bora-Care is “HERE”

Borates have low toxicity to humans and are even approved for interior use in food processing plants. They don’t affect wood’s strength, color, or finish ability, don’t corrode fasteners, and don’t outgas vapors. Widely used in treating new timbers for log homes, they’re the preservative of choice for remedial treatment of wood in service. Because of the decay hazard posed whenever wood bears on concrete or masonry, solid borate rods are often inserted into holes bored near contact areas. Should wood ever get wet, the rods dissolve and ward off infection. Infected wood can be treated with
Boric Acid an extremely effective cure for a multitude of problems including control of wood rot in homes and boats and it is natures insecticide for control of fleas, roaches, termites, ants, spiders and many other household pests.

Before any repairs or replacement of damaged wood is started,
I recommend a through treatment of damaged areas with Boric Acid to eliminate future problems and stop the spreading of the fungi.

Epoxy repair of decayed wood


Sometimes replacing rotted wood isn’t an option. In conserving historic buildings, for example, the goal is to preserve as much of the original “architectural fabric” as possible. Stabilizing deteriorated wood with epoxy is often the only choice. Epoxies consist of resin and hardener that are mixed just before use. Liquids for injection and spatula-applied pastes are available. After curing, epoxy-stabilized wood can be shaped with regular woodworking tools and painted. Epoxies are useful for consolidating rotted wood, restoring lost portions of molding’s and carvings, and for strengthening weakened structural members. In the last case, they’re used to bond concealed metal reinforcement inside holes or channels cut into hidden faces. Epoxies aren’t preservatives and won’t stop existing decay or prevent future infection. They can be tricky to use; follow the manufacturer’s mixing, application, and safety instructions to the letter.

Construction Mishaps and why you should hire professionals

Filed Under: Resources    by: Handyman

Here at the Ultimate Handyman, we pride ourselves on professionalism when it comes to construction projects. Here is a video on what happens when you use unskilled labor or unlicensed contractors to complete your construction, maintenance and home improvement projects.

So do yourself a favor, hire only professional and licensed contractors to do the work. If you have a construction, maintenance, or home improvement project and need to hire a professional, give us a call at 323-651-0635 or via email. You can also check us out on the web

Visit The Ultimate handyman

Filed Under: Resources    by: Handyman

For more information on our services and what we can do, check out The Ultimate Handyman’s  main website:

www.ultimate-handyman.com

A Construction and Maintenance Company

Los Angeles, California 90069

(323) 651-0635

projects@ultimatehandyman.com

The reasons for slow hot water

Filed Under: Resources    by: admin
Ever wonder why it takes so long sometimes for the hot water to finally start coming out?

thewaitisover337152823Piping layouts

Lets begin with the piping layout.  When a home is built there are no plumbing blue prints to follow, so the plumbers just connect up the piping however the individual doing the job feels like it.  Whatever is easiest often is the only criteria.  I’ve encountered tract homes that have identical floor plans yet the plumbing is connected up substantially different.

If your heater is 30 feet from the fixture as the crow flies you probably have at least 40 feet of pipe. The simplest plumbing layout would have a pipe connecting from your water heater outlet, running either down to the crawl space or up to the attic, or even under the slab if you have slab floors.

Now add the 30 feet of pipe to the fixture, and the pipe running either up to the fixture or down to the fixture.  So you now have at least 40 feet of pipe.  However, seldom is the pipe run diagonally, usually following along beams or through walls etc, making right angle turns here and there.  The pipe could be 50 feet or longer by the time it reaches your fixture.

Flow rates and fixtures

The amount of water flowing through the pipe and the pipe diameter determine the speed at which the water flows.  The flow rate of the water is most likely determined by the flow rate of the faucet or fixture.

At only 40 psi a ½” diameter copper pipe 100 feet long would have a flow rate of over 6 gallons per minute with a velocity through the pipe of over 10 feet per second.  At that rate your hot water would arrive at your sink in about 5 seconds! Large diameter pipes would have even higher flow rates.

Low flow faucets

The Federal Energy Policy Act of 1992 required all faucet and shower fixtures made the USA to have a flow rate of no more than 2.2 GPM at 60 PSI.  Since the pipe itself will allow a much greater flow rate, your water velocity in the pipe will be limited by the flow rate of the fixture.  The larger the pipe is, the lower the velocity will be with a fixed flow.

At 2.2 gallons per minute, the velocity of the water in ½” diameter copper pipe is about 3 feet per second.  If you are at a kitchen sink it will take about 16 seconds to get the hot water, assuming the flow rate of your fixture is 2.2 gallons per minute, if the cold pipe wasn’t sucking any heat out of the water.

Normally bathroom sink fixtures are restricted to 1 gallon per minute or less, and many shower heads are 1 gallon per minute.  At one gallon per minute the time to travel 50 feet would be 32 seconds.

Heat absorbing, cold hot water pipes

Now we come to the part where the cold pipes are pulling the heat out of the water.  There are some variables involved here, with the important ones being the ambient temperature of the piping material, what the pipe is made out of, and once again, the flow rate of the water.

Colder pipes absorb more heat

Colder pipes absorb more heat, heavier pipe material hold more heat and so pulls more heat from the water, and the slower the water travels, the more heat gets removed.  Insulating the hot water piping helps in that it keeps the pipes from getting as cold and reduces the ongoing heat loss from the pipes to the air, resulting in a higher temperature during usage.

The time it takes to get hot water at the fixture can easily double when the heat loss to the pipes is taken into account.

Tankless water heaters add to the problem

working_heater_big12

If you have a tankless water heater, then you are even worse off, since the whole water heater is like a long cold pipe.  In order to get full temperature hot water out of the outlet it has to pass all the way through the heater from the inlet to the outlet. Instead of starting with hot water your starting with cold water and a cold heater, which takes time to heat.  The owners of tankless water heaters need to add 10 or 15 seconds to the wait.

The fastest hot water delivery would be provided by using small diameter pipe, insulating the pipe, using plastic pipe instead of metal, and keeping the length of the pipe to a minimum.

Products designed to get your hot water faster while conserving water

The good news is that there are several products available that help you get your hot water faster without changing your plumbing system.  Not only do you get your hot water faster, you don’t run any water down the drain while you wait.

The warm water circulation method

There are basically two approaches to the problem.  One approach is to circulate warm water through the piping so that the pipe doesn’t suck heat out of the water while it’s on its way.  This provides a substantial improvement in delivery time.  These systems consist of a small pump that mounts under the sink furthest from the water heater, which is temperature controlled, turning off and on as needed to keep the water in the piping system at between 85 and 95 degrees F.

The water is circulated from the water heater through the hot water pipes to the pump, and then on into the cold water line and back to the water heater inlet.

The down side is that the cold water pipes no longer have cold water…it’s more like luke-warm, which some people don’t mind, and some don’t care for it. Another problem is that it uses a lot more energy since the water heater has to work harder to keep the water in the pipes at above ambient temperature.

The warm-water systems will not work with tankless water heaters.

The high-speed delivery method

No One likes to wait for hot water

No One likes to wait for hot water

The second approach is to again mount a small pump at the sink furthest from the water heater, but instead of keeping the pipes full of warm water the pump is only activated when hot water is wanted.  When activated these pumps pump the water rapidly to the fixture at higher flow rates than the fixtures could provide.  When the hot water reaches the pump, it shuts off.

Since the water is flowing at a higher than normal flow rate it arrives more quickly, and since it is traveling at a higher velocity, the pipe absorbs less heat from the water.  Again, no water gets run down the drain.  These systems are called “demand hot water systems” since they only operate on demand, i.e. when the user pushes a button that starts the pump.

Demand type hot water systems will work with tankless water heaters as long as they produce enough flow. Some pumps do and others don’t, so check with the manufacturer of the demand system to make sure it will work with your model of tankless heater.

Manufacturers of hot water systems

The warm-water pumping systems are manufactured by Laing, Grundfos, RedyTemp, and others.  The demand type systems are manufactured by Chilipepper Sales, Metlund, Taco, and others.  Suggested retail prices range from about $180 to about $800.

Installing one of these systems not only provides the convenience of fast hot water, but can also save thousands of gallons of water per year.  A typical family of four can save over 10,000 gallons of water a year.

Hot water demand systems are environmentally friendly!

Along with the water savings comes a reduction in green house gas emissions since energy is used to pump and treat the water in most residential water systems. And don’t forget about the reduction in sewage, the same energy reduction applies to it.

The Ultimate Handyman offers Plumbing, Plumbing repair, hot water heater, and hot water heating system installation services here in the Los Angeles area. Check us out on the web at www.ultimate-handyman.com

Questions?

email us at projects@ultimate-handyman.com

or call us at (323) 651-0635