The Dos And Don’ts For A Kitchen Renovation

At some point in our lives, we all want to renovate our kitchen. Kitchens are one of the most renovated rooms after purchasing a new house. Renovating a kitchen also adds a lot value onto the house. Many kitchens tend to be outdated and that’s only because the style of houses change so much.

 

A kitchen can either be a quick fix or a complete overhaul. If you’re looking to renovate your kitchen, you need to make sure you know what you should or shouldn’t do. I’ll start off with what you should do in a kitchen renovation – because to be honest, there is only one don’t.

Do’s For A Kitchen Renovation

Some advice for people that just want a little change and want to save a fat buck or two. Here are some ideas to completely change the look and feel of your kitchen without renovating is to:

Paint your Cabinets

If you’re trying to save money but you really want to change the look of your kitchen, this is one quick fix that could change up the whole room. From switching a lighter wood to a darker wood ro vice versa will completely change the aura of your kitchen for the better.

Update your Appliances

Updating your appliances do not count as a renovation and you technically don’t save a lot of money but it does up the value of the home and the quality of your food. Some ovens cook better than others, and some refrigerators refrigerate better than others.

 

Try investing in some energy-efficient appliances. Even though they might hurt the wallet now, imagine what you’ll be saving in the long run with all the use you’ll be getting out of it and all the energy it won’t be using.

Redo Cabinet Storage

Change the way you store your cutlery and dinnerware by purchasing a few knick knacks from any home organizing site. This won’t change the complete look from the outside but using the kitchen will definitely feel different.

Replace Cabinet Faces

This is a minor renovation – however not a complete overhaul of your kitchen. Tear out all your faceout cabinets but keep your shelving. This will give a fresh new look to your kitchen but you can keep the sweet layout that you’re used to.

Upgrade your Countertop

A fresh way to rejuvenate the look of your kitchen is to upgrade your countertop. An upgrade like this can change the way you use your kitchen. If you enjoy cooking in a rush and using your countertop as a holder of pots and pans, get a countertop that can withstand the heat of a sizzling plate.

Invest in an Island

Long gone are the days of galley kitchens. Everybody aspires their house to be an open plan space but with a clear separation of two spaces. What better way to separate the two spaces and add seating with an island countertop. It opens the room by giving a clear straight view of the area but separates it with its placement.

Keep your Renovation Simple

This is a full overhaul and this is when you’ll probably need to hire a contractor or if you’re doing it yourself, rent a dumpster. When you design your brand new spanking kitchen, make sure it’s simple and timeless. Maybe a nice stark white kitchen for a wow effect anytime you add a splash of colour or even a colourful fruit bowl.

Don’ts For A Kitchen Renovation

As mentioned earlier, there is only one don’t for a kitchen renovation and it’s finally going to be revealed. For some, it might come as a surprise, but hear me out.

Don’t Invest In A Deluxe Kitchen

I know, I know. This whole post is talking about renovating your kitchen and now I’m telling you not to do it. It’s a little confusing. What I mean is, don’t spend $60,000 dollars on a kitchen because if you plan on trying to sell it in the near future it’s going to be excruciating to sell.

 

Not a lot of people will spend money a deluxe kitchen. Although a modern and contemporary kitchen is highly sought for, it won’t be the prioritized selling point. It could be your vision and not the potential buyer and that’s why you should keep it simple and open for interpretation. Keep the potential buyer in mind before you start a fancy remodel.

 

Normally if you invest that much, the style of the newly renovated kitchen will most likely not suit the rest of the house. In terms of quality, size and style – it won’t suit the house nor will it fit the neighborhood.

 

There are a lot of alternatives that you can do before you settle on renovating a kitchen. The remodeling ideas listed in this article are good alternatives to spruce up and rejuvenate the look and feel of your kitchen.

 

Happy renovating and remodeling!

Chimney Inspections & Repairs BEFORE Remodels or Roof Repairs!

We often go into homes that have spent tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions of dollars on remodeling work surrounding old chimneys, only to discover issues upon inspection that have become difficult to repair. If deficiencies exist we have to inform the homeowner that their old chimney has issues that may pose a risk to their new remodel, roof, or addition. Repairing these deficiencies can be an invasive and sometimes messy process and great care must be taken to keep the house clean. Make your life, and the lives of your clients easier, by always having a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep perform a complete and thorough Level II inspection on any chimney system BEFORE reroofing, or ANY major remodel or repair.

 

Benefits of Preliminary Inspection / Repair

There are many benefits to having a professional chimney inspection completed prior to performing any major work. For example, a chimney inspection and noted repairs should be considered carefully in the overall budget and planning. If inspected preliminarily, it can be worked into the budget or design changes to the home, while after the fact it may simply add to the stress of the whole experience. If noted, large deficiencies may make it easier to remove an old chimney during renovation and replace it entirely with something more efficient that the customer really loves. Additionally, while some may not consider the chimney as important as the rest of the house, leaving it unchecked could lead to chimney fires which can compromise all of your recent work!

Real Cost Consideration

It’s important to consider what is being spent on remodeling or roofing projects and ask if it is worth risking a chimney issue that could destroy the whole house in minutes. Having the chimney inspected should give both contractors and homeowners peace of mind, and the additional safety consideration makes the contractors stand out above the rest. An inspection would also show that the contractors care about making sure the work is around for years to come, uncompromised by fires or worn out during additional repairs. This gives homeowners peace of mind, knowing their safety and complete satisfaction were considered in the remodeling process and at the top of your list. A homeowners peace of mind is priceless.

What are the problems surrounding chimneys?

Consulting with CSIA certified chimney sweeps and NFI certified specialists will ensure that a remodel surrounding a chimney structure does not end up risking the structure down the road due to some of the most common issues that are easily identified during an inspection. In most structure fires caused by chimneys and heating equipment the following factors are at the heart of the fire: 1) improper construction, 2) improper installation, 3) deterioration of the system over time, or 4) failure to maintain clearances to combustibles.

 

Improper clearance between heating equipment and combustibles can result in Pyrolysis, an often unmentioned cause of structure fires. Pyrolysis is a chemical process by which combustible materials which are too close to heating appliances, pipe systems, or masonry chimney structures are slowly baked at low temperatures until their ignition point has decreased enough that they can ignite. Once the ignition point has been sufficiently reduced, the combustibles can then ignite without spark from radiant heat only, as low as 200-degrees!

Issues like this can lead to potential legal trouble for all involved. If a contractor claims that the chimney doesn’t matter, a homeowner should question if other corners will be cut as well.

Make a commitment to your safety today!

While a certified and thorough CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep may not be able to guarantee you a clean bill of health, they should be able to promise that they will give you the facts about the system and ways to address any noted issues found during inspection. Make a commitment to your contractors and the homeowners safety today and experience the difference that hiring a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep can make!

A fire in the living room is no joke! Chimneys should be treated with care and be considered carefully prior to remodeling or spending large amounts of money or equity in home repairs. Call a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep in your area, like The Chimney Doctor, for peace of mind, and to get your project off on the right foot!

 

What should I do if I am injured on the job in Alabama?

What should I do if I am injured on the job in Alabama?

If you’ve been hurt, it is important to immediately call an experienced Alabama workers compensation lawyer.

The Alabama Legislature passed the first Workers’ Compensation Law in 1919, effective January 1, 1920. There have been many legislative changes and court decisions since then, but basically, the philosophy of the original Act has been retained.

The Alabama Department of Labor has created a basic claim handling manual that does a great job of putting people in the right direction.  The purpose of the Workers’ Compensation Law is to provide prompt and necessary medical treatment, and wage replacement for workers who are injured or killed from an accident arising out of and in the course of their employment.

Workers’ Compensation was designed as a substitute for common-law tort actions for personal injuries between master and servant. The Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act is found at §25-5-1, et. Seq. Code of Alabama, as amended, 1975.

Will I get paid if I file for worker’s compensation in Alabama?

Alabama worker’s comp law gives injured worker’s two main benefits if they have an accident on the job: Payment of work-related medical bills and payment of 2/3’s of your average weekly wage during the time you are unable to work.

You can also receive a lump sum settlement in Alabama if you are unable to return to work or if you can return to work but have a permanent physical limitation.

How much would my lump settlement be?

Alabama law provides for a lump sum settlement based upon either (1) your medical impairment rating, or (2) your vocational limitations.

While you cannot sue your employer except through worker’s compensation, you may sue a third party (not your employer) and recover if they were negligent.

 

Medical Treatment

Under Alabama Workers’ Compensation Law, an employee who get hurt at work and it is a compensable injury, they are entitled to lifetime medical benefits for the work-related injury.

There are some caveats though. Medical treatment must be medically necessary and appropriate for the treatment of the injury or illness and must be provided by an authorized physician. Medical services provided by an unauthorized physician are not covered and will not be reimbursed. This means that you can’t just go see your regular doctor and expect the medical bills to be repaid.

Who pays for my medical bills?

By law, your employer or their worker’s comp insurance carrier is required to pay for all accident related medical treatment.  There’s a catch though. Because the employer must pick up the tab, Alabama law allows them to choose the facility or physician. The result of all of this is that the employer routinely picks the most conservative doctors who shy away from expensive diagnostic studies or surgery. The goal of the workers compensation carrier is to get the employee back to work and off their tab. For the employer, less down time for the employee and minimal medical treatment helps to keep their job injury insurance premiums down.

You may not like or trust the workers comp doctor that you have been provided.  Fortunately, the Alabama code allows an employee to choose from a panel of four alternate physicans picked by the workers comp insurance carrier. If you don’t like that doctor though, then you are out of luck.

How much money will I make while I am on workers comp in Alabama?

During the time the employee is unable to work, the employer must pay him 2/3’s of his average weekly wage(aww). This is calculated by adding up the employee’s gross income over the past year and divding by 52. The Alabama legislature has reasoned that if the employer were to pay the injured worker his full wage, this would be a disincentive to return to work.

 

Third-Party Claims

Most of the time someone is injured on the job, they have a worker’s compenation claim against their employer but not a third party claim. The Supreme Court of Alabama has expressly ruled that the  only claim that can be made against an employer after a workplace is accident is for workers compensation benefits.But, you can make a claim against someone else other than the employer, so long as that other person’s negligence caused your injury.

For instance, if you are told to use a forklift and another contractor’s employee runs you over in their bobcat, you can bring both a workmen’s comp claim and a Gadsden, Alabama personal injury lawyer claim against the logging truck comany and driver. The third-party claim personal injury claim includes damages that you can’t get in a workers comp case.  This gives another purse to help compensate you. You could be eligible for mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity and even punitive damages, things that cannot be claimed in the workers comp suit. You can also ask for a jury trial, which is not allowed in the Alabama code for worker’s comp cases.

 

Can my boss fire me in Alabama for filing for workers comp?

No.  Not legally at least. Unfortunately, it happens. Employers break the law.  The good news is that Alabama law expressly forbids employer from terminating or firing employees solely for filing a workers comp claim. Employees need to be extra careful during this time to not give the employer any other reason to fire them.

Usually, you can expect to resume your employment after finishing the medical treatment. Companies know about the rule against retaliating against injured workers and realize they can be sued for lost wages and punitive damages should they do so.

Mold Removal: When To Call A Contractor

Mold forms—and thrives—when there is excess moisture in your home. And when there’s mold formation in your home, you need to get rid of it, or you and your family are bound to put up with its consequences.

Mold per se isn’t bad. When this type of fungus forms outdoors, it plays an important role in our ecosystem as it’s instrumental in the breakdown of dead leaves, plants, and trees. But when they favor the inside of your home because of all that extra moisture, you are going to have to get mold removal done before it’s too late.

Where mold usually forms

Any damp area in your home is a preferred spot for mold. If your bathroom has poor ventilation, the mold will eventually form on its walls, floors, and even on shower curtains. Another favorite breeding ground for mold is basement floors, particularly in areas close to water heaters and sump pumps. A plumbing leak can also cause mold to form and grow. If your roof has a problem and rainwater is seeping through, your ceilings and walls are likely to be home to mold in no time.

Appearance

There are different types of mold, and their appearance varies widely as well.  Some mold growth may look like slimy spots. Other mold types look like fuzzy patches. Mold comes in different colors as well, including green, black, purple, orange, and white.

Mold smells

When your nose picks up a musty smell inside your home, then it’s likely that mold has already invaded it. Consider yourself fortunate if you smell mold and you can immediately see where it has formed. You’d be in for a much bigger problem if you don’t see any mold formation anywhere yet the musty smell is strong because that means the mold is inside the walls or ceiling, a spot that is much more difficult to deal with.

Mold can affect your health

In small amounts, mold spores don’t usually cause health issues unless the person involved is sensitive to it. However, when inhaled in larger quantities, mold spores can trigger sneezing, skin rashes, coughing, runny noses, red eyes, and other allergic reactions. Those with severe mold allergies, meanwhile, may also experience asthma attacks or shortness of breath if they inhale mold spores.

You can get rid of mold yourself

If your mold problem isn’t that severe, then you can get rid of it yourself using vinegar, which can kill more than 80% of mold species.

Spray some vinegar onto the affected area, leave it there for approximately one hour, then wipe the area with a wet rag. Make sure the area stays mold-free by doing this every few days.

Aside from vinegar, you can use bleach, hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, borax, and detergent water to get rid of minor mold growths.

When to call in the mold experts

Vinegar or bleach won’t do you much good if the mold growth covers an area bigger than 10 square feet. For a huge mold infestation, only mold removal professionals will be able to deal with it effectively.

The training and equipment of mold removal experts will come into play for mold problems of such magnitude. Apart from cleaning up the mold, they will also determine where the dampness comes from and fix it once they trace it. If the mold has damaged certain parts of your home, you can trust mold removal pros to replace them and restore your home to its former state by the time they’re done.

Never go the DIY route when the mold infestation is too big for you to handle. Leave severe mold problems in the hands of mold removal professionals.

Mastering Streak Free Windows Like the Pros

Cleaning windows is a big task and many people choose to hire a professional. Window washers are great, but you may not always be able to use a pro. Learning the techniques and tips to get streak free windows is a great way to maintain your windows between professional cleanings.

Work, Tools and Technique

Properly cleaning windows requires a lot of elbow grease, the proper tools and the right technique. The cleaning tools are very important and necessary to get the best finished product. A squeegee is a necessary tool when it comes to cleaning windows. Microfiber cloths are also important and do not leave lint behind. Newspaper can also be helpful when washing windows and doesn’t leave behind lint like a paper towel. Coffee filters also work similarly to newspaper.

Streak Free Window Technique

Using a sponge or cloth dipped in cleaning solution to wipe the entire window is the first step. After the solution is on the window you will want to use the squeegee to remove as much of the solution as possible. Wipe the extra solution along the edge with a cloth. When you use a squeegee, you will want to work in a continuous motion from the top to the bottom. After each window you will need to wipe the squeegee off with a rag.

If you are using newspaper or coffee filters you will want to apply the solution with a spray bottle and wipe in horizontal or vertical strokes.

It is best to clean your windows when it is overcast or when the sun is not directly shining on your window to prevent the solution from drying before you can wipe it.

Avoid abrasive cleaners on the windows as these can cause scratching on the surface of the glass. Also, remnants from paper towels can cause your windows to look dirty despite the fact they are clean. Always use a damp cloth or wet the glass to remove spots.

The best way to get streak free windows is to hire a professional window cleaning company, but when that isn’t an option, following these tips and techniques will help you get the job done!

How to manage work stress?

Stress, as difficult as it might be to accept, is an important part of our lives. It can bring out the best in us, motivating us towards ever greater heights of personal achievement.

But too much stress, or feeling unable to cope with it, can take a serious toll on our wellbeing.  Railroad Dental Associates say that stress can get so bad that it can even cause you to grind your teeth at night, which is why they recommend using a mouth guard while sleeping. That’s why corporate wellness apps like CircleCare focuses on managing stress instead of trying to completely removing it. Follow the tips from them below to start managing stress at work from today.

 

Leave your desk

If possible, avoid eating lunch at your desk. Taking a break to eat and enjoy a relaxing mealtime can relieve the symptoms of stress and help avoid indigestion.

Reject negativity

Negative thinking can sap energy and motivation; instead try to think positively, take pride in accomplishments and don’t take on negative attitudes that colleagues may express.

Let go of control

Some things are beyond our control, and key to reducing stress is accepting that. Instead focus on the things you can change and influence, such as your reaction to problems.

Get some “Me Time”

Work-life balance is key to reducing stress and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, so its important to make time for yourself outside of work and try to leave work at the door.

Forget perfectionism

Ditch perfectionism and stop being too self-critical. Instead set realistic goals and expectations, and if they aren’t met avoid seeing it as a failure.

Listen to music

Listening to relaxing music has the potential to reduce stress and anxiety, while lowering blood pressure and heart rate. If your workplace permits, donning your headphones for some Mozart should do just the trick!

Be wary of caffeine

Caffeine can cause individuals to feel “wound up” so limiting intake of products like coffee, tea and fizzy drinks can help to reduce stress. That’s not to say you have to avoid it altogether.

Get enough sleep

While stress and sleep can form a vicious cycle, getting enough sleep is vital to fight stress. If you’re well-rested you’ll be better equipped to deal with issues at work with more clarity.

Have a good lough

Laughing reduces the amount of cortisol in your body (The stress hormone) and boosts endorphins. Watching a funny YouTube video over lunch or chatting with a friend could do the world of good.

Recognize your moods

Realize when you are stressed and what your response is to feeling. Once you recognize this it’ll be easier to determine how to change the situation and alleviate the tension your’e feeling.

Beat the rush 

Leaving your work 5-10 minutes earlier than usual can save a great deal of stress and make your morning more relaxed. Rushing on the other hand, can put you in bad stead for the rest of the day.

Deep Breathing

When things get stressful, tasking some deep breaths can help restore balance. Inhale for 5 seconds, hold and exhale in equal counts through the nose. Repeat a few times and you should feel calmer.

While practicing these tips, it is important to keep in mind that stress should not be completely absent, it should be at a manageable level – so that it can work like an incentive to perform better.

CircleCare is the first workplace wellness app designed to boost employee happiness and improve employee engagement across any organization or team with rewards.

 

 

Home Solar Power in Hot Climates

It doesn’t take a genius to know that solar power works off the sun and the energy it creates. It’s no surprise then that solar power is most popular in the southern, sunny states. Nevada, Utah, Hawaii, California, and Arizona lead the way in solar production per capita. These hot climates are perfect for squeezing every drop out of your solar panels, but they do provide their own unique set of challenges. If done correctly, solar power can be a great resource to help keep electricity costs under control, even when the air conditioning is struggling to keep up.

Choose Equipment Suited for the Temperature

Not all solar equipment is created equal. Solar panels, inverters and racking systems come in a wide variety of applications, each with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Some equipment is made with the goal of being cost efficient, while some is made with longevity and long-term cost savings in mind. When considering solar for your home, you need to make sure you choose equipment that is designed for extreme heat. There are many options for solar equipment that fits these requirements, so make sure to work with a solar installer that is upfront about the equipment they use. All solar equipment has a corresponding spec sheet that will let you know it’s operating temperature range, as well as a few other points of important information. Make sure your solar equipment is rated to withstand temperatures of at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Get a Long Warranty

High temperatures shorten the life of all electronic equipment, and solar equipment is no exception. Taking in all that sunlight and heat, day after day, year after year, can noticeably reduce the lifespan of your solar equipment. All quality solar equipment comes with a warranty from the manufacturer that protects you in case the equipment fails prematurely, but some manufacturers offer longer warranty lengths than others. The longest warranties available currently are 25 years. Long warranty lengths are especially necessary in hot or otherwise harsh climates.

Choose a Local Installer

Local solar installers are crucial in hot climates. They specialize in your particular area of the country so it is easier for a local installer to choose the right equipment and warranty package for your climate. They are also more accustomed to designing solar panel system configurations that can cope with extreme heat. Make sure to check the equipment specifications the installer is using, even if you are using a local installer.

Control Shading Issues

Shade from trees and other tall objects wreak havoc on solar panel systems. Not only are they a danger to the panels in windy conditions, shade can drastically reduce solar production and even shorten the life of the solar panels. This is true especially so in hot climates. Your solar installer should check for any current or potential future shading issues when initially evaluating your home. Any shade where the panels are going to sit should be corrected at this time, either by trimming the tree or removing the shade source completely. If removing or controlling the shade source is not a viable option, the solar panels should be arranged in the way to avoid the shade.

The sunshine belt leads the way in solar power, with more solar panel systems being installed every day. The high temperatures present some unique challenges, but with the right know-how, solar power can be a valuable, money-saving addition to your home for many years to come!

5 nightmares for every contractor

The role of a contractor has multiple levels of responsibilities given the fact that they are accountable for a vast range of people and tasks. On top of that, contractors are under constant pressure to deliver a great result to their client.

In that sense, it doesn’t take much to understand that the job of a contractor can be extremely stressful. In an effort to provide a better visualisation of the obstacles that contractors may come across on their day-to-day work, we present below five nightmares for every contractor regardless of the type of projects they are working on.

  1. Managing and delegating tasks on site

Maintaining a good connection between the back office and the construction site is of paramount importance. Especially if we take also into account that a contractor normally is responsible for a number of demanding projects at the same time.

That being said, task delegation can sometimes be a real nightmare for contractors as they may lack precise overview of the project’s progress. Thankfully, with the rise of digital technologies things have started to change for the better.

Being able to keep track of everything that is happening on site in real time can shorten the project cycle, minimise delays and lower rework rates. After all, “the programme is king” in construction and staying on top of the latest project updates is always the number one priority. But it doesn’t have the number one nightmare.

  1. Staying in control of the supply chain

The way the supply chain communicates and collaborates can also be a notable source of pain for many contractors. At the moment, it is no exaggeration to say that the supply chain in construction is very fragmented. There are simply too many decision makers and in quite a few cases valuable information can be lost as a project progresses.

Finding the right subcontractors for the job is always a challenge for contractors. The problem can be even more intense if as a contractor you don’t have yet a network of professionals whom you can trust and with whom you have worked again in the past.

The good news is that as digital tools have begun to emerge in the industry, it becomes gradually easier for contractors to gain control over the supply chain and hold everyone accountable for their deeds.

That is an extremely important parameter for restoring trust in contractual relations as it can lock disputes out of the project and save contractors a great deal of money and time.

  1. Repeating the same mistakes

Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. One of the biggest nightmares for contractors around the globe is that of making the same mistakes again and again. Learning from past projects can pave the way for boosting productivity and improving efficiency in the construction industry.

For that to happen, contractors need to become better in taking care of their project data. These precious bits of information can provide excellent guidance in regard to upcoming projects based on geographic location, type of project, equipment and many more.

Simply put, data can be the way out for contractors in regard to this nightmare, as it can help them improve their decision-making process and bring their problem-solving abilities up to speed.

  1. Lack of skilled labour

The lack of skilled workers is a nightmare for the entire industry and contractors could be no exception. Construction seems unable to attract the new workforce generation which prefers to pursue an ambitious career in more digitised sectors. As a result, it can be a big challenge for contractors to find people who are properly trained in order to complete successfully the tasks in demand.

On that you should also add the fact that the needs of the sector are rapidly changing and soon construction will be in serious need of knowledge workers instead of construction workers. In other words, they will be in need of people who have a good understanding of analytics and at the same time a certain knowledge around the industry.

Without a doubt, we are talking about a tricky combination which can make life even harder for contractors. Nevertheless, it is a great opportunity for the entire sector to revitalise its profile and become appealing for young and tech-savvy individuals.

Investing in the training of their employees can also be a way forward for contractors. In that manner, they can improve the ones that they have already found and make sure that they train them according to the current and upcoming needs of the organisation.

  1. Paperwork

Last but certainly not least, the paperwork nightmare. It goes without saying that this is a very common struggle for almost everyone involved in a construction project. The amount of tasks and captured information in the course of almost every project is gigantic and can be extremely time-consuming for contractors on almost a daily basis.

As the construction industry goes digital and pen-and-paper practices are left behind things are getting a little better but there is still a whole mountain that needs to be climbed. For now, paperwork is still a source of pain and frustration for many contractors who seem to be trapped in formality processes instead of investing their time and creativity in developing projects which can take the construction industry by storm.

Final word

By now, it is clear that the role of a contractor is very challenging as it entails a plethora of tasks and duties. There are many different factors that contractors need to take into consideration due to their multi-purposed role.

Nonetheless, the emergence of digital technologies in combination with the general paradigm shift in the sector are expected to pave the way for a new approach with regards to the challenges that a contractor is normally battling against.

About the author: Anastasios Koutsogiannis is Content Marketing Manager at GenieBelt.

Driving Business Growth Through Good Safety Practices

Good safety is good business. This popular statement may be used a lot, but just ignored. It’s still true. Even simple improvements in safety can help boost competitiveness, increase profitability, and boost employee motivation.

Here are some impressive facts:

  • More than 60% of CFOs report that each (US)$1 invested in injury prevention returns (US)$2 or more.
  • Over 40% of CFOs surveyed, responded by saying productivity was the greatest benefit to creating a safer workplace.
  • Avoiding one workplace injury by investing in safety requirements can save a company (US)$37,000.
  • Each prevented worker fatality saves an employer approximately (US)$1,390,000

Making the Case for improved Safety Practices

Encouraging sufficient safety standards is a process that is becoming more important over time. Contingent workers are a vital requirement for many companies in the heavy industry and for some important reasons.

Some of the benefits involved include certain specialist skills, the cost of benefits, the ability to upscale faster, and far greater flexibility compared to a more traditional workforce approach.

But using contractors has its downsides. A key one is accountability. Owner of the companies are accountable for anything that happens on their worksites, including accidents and injuries. So, if a worker is injured on your site, you’re the one responsible.

Compared to full-time employees, contractors and temporary workers are more prone to an accident occurring and this can drive up the project costs, reducing overall profitability.

 

Benefits of Boosting Safety Practices

Using a contractor management software can improve worksite safety, meeting compliance requirements and reducing project costs, while lowering compensation costs. It can also help boost business growth.

However, selling the idea of a structured contractor management program to others in the company can be a challenge. Some others may not see the benefits of improving safety practices.

Below are six business benefits that can come from creating a contractor management program.

●       Increasing efficiency and productivity

A good contractor management software can provide a structured roadmap that can help you boost productivity and efficiency. Workers arrive on-site and are already pre-approved, pre-trained and skilled to start work on day one. Plus, it lets you customize online training so workers can complete forms and training that is relevant to them, using their native language.

●       Improving the effectiveness of safety training

The classroom approach to training can leave gaps that come back to haunt you later on. Initiafy’s online training is self-paced, allowing workers to reread or spend more time learning certain information, ensuring that no one is left behind. Quizzes at the end of each course chapter help improve retention rates. You can also customize your own training to include a mix of generic and site-specific content.

●       Helping to reduce compliance risk

Constantly changing environmental regulations increase the chance of non-compliance. This could result in heavy fines, penalties, and other financial losses for failing to comply with the law. Even if you make a good effort to meet legal requirements, you can still be held liable by the courts.

Integrating contingent workers into your system, is a huge problem when it comes to meeting these compliance requirements. An efficient contractor management software reduces the occupational health and safety risks involved with the hiring of contractors.

Using features such as Initiafy’s Traffic Light System, helps you to verify and approve the reliability of companies and their workers online. Workers can also self-register their qualifications, streamlining the induction process.

●       Helping to avoid project delays due to injury

Given the thin profit margins associated with heavy industry projects, the last thing anyone needs is an incident that delays a project, like a bad accident. This can drive up project costs and cause you to miss completion deadlines.

Implementing a contractor management program helps you cut project delays caused by accident or injury, so you won’t miss completion dates. Using the platform’s advanced features, like Access Control, helps gain control of what’s happening on your worksite.

Access Control links remote worker check-in/check-out to compliance validation. Workers can check into a worksite more quickly and easily with this feature but only if they meet mandatory requirements. Meanwhile, the platform’s Identify Capture feature helps to verify worker identity.

●       Lowering the costs of accidents and illnesses

Accident and compensations costs involved in heavy industry projects can slash a company’s profitability. However, medical expenses are only one of the major costs involved.

Other primary costs include:

  • Workers compensation insurance costs
  • Training replacement employees
  • Lost work time
  • Accident investigation

Improving safety training and safety standards helps reduce these costs by cutting down on workplace health and safety issues.

The initial effort to improve safety may increase costs in the short-term, but it lets workers know that safety is a top priority. That makes workers pay more attention to the safety practices imposed by companies on-site.

●       Demonstrating social responsibility

Savvy companies recognize the importance of image and reputation. However, the public expects large companies to display ever-increasing standards of corporate governance, such as the willingness to explain any future plans, admitting any risks which could occur. Investors and stakeholders expect the same thing.

Boosting Safety Practices Does Make Sense

Research shows that boosting workplace safety makes sense, even with a small improvement. Convincing others of the benefits involved can often be the primary challenge. Workers may not fully grasp the business benefits of safety improvement.

The benefits described above can help to explain the importance of a structured contractor management program. The platform is easy to learn and use, streamlines contractor management and reduces paperwork.

More importantly, encouraging safety practices reduces compliance risk, maximizes return on investment, and increases profitability—while providing a sustainable competitive advantage that rivals will find hard to beat. This can lift companies up to the next level, boosting business growth.

Using a contractor management software, powered by Initiafy’s SaaS platform, is a proven way to boost safety practices.  Easy to learn and use, this Initiafy platform plans and simplifies contractor management with less administration confusion, while reducing the costs involved.

Improving occupational health and safety:

  • Increases efficiency and productivity
  • Improves the effectiveness of safety training
  • Encourages compliance with any safety regulation
  • Lowers the costs of accidents and illnesses
  • Assists in the cutting of project costs
  • Demonstrates corporate responsibilities

 

 

11 Problems Contractors Have to Face

 

Contractors face a number of different problems, some of which have been present for many years, and others have joined only in the past decade. No matter what the pain-points are, contractors need to learn how to identify and solve them in order to have a successful business. They are not only responsible for their employees, but for their family and clients as well,


Even though there are many more issues, in this article, we will go through the eleven most challenging ones for tradesmen.

1. Worker shortage

In the last couple of years, one of the main problems contractors face is finding proper and talented workers. In order to preserve the business, contractors need to become more creative in their training, technologies and recruiting strategies so they can attract the right people.

 

“The age gap between the people needed and the ones working is quite big as well. The youth does not feel tempted to start working in this field and their desires are more headed to a creative, financial, linguistic or programming future. It is hard to find good pest exterminators,” says PantherPestControl.co.uk, “The parents are also a part of this change as they tend to push their kids to a more traditional higher education, and prefer having their kids behind a desk, where it’s supposedly safer. Where in our experience, the market of pest control is only growing in the UK”.

 

One way to deal with this issue is for contractors to engage in a strong marketing campaign towards younger generations. Companies are starting to see the benefit of internships, which are helpful for both parties in more than one way. Companies are able to test the talents of the employee before hiring them full time while popularising the business. The students, on their side, will be able to work in a proper environment, gathering experience while combining it with their studies while also balance as a part time job for cleaning, moving, pet walking and even voice actor gigs.

 

Another good strategy for companies is a partnership with high schools and vocational schools. By doing so, contractors will have the chance to catch the attention of potential future employees while they are still young and searching for their path in life.

2. Increased competition

Unlike the working force, throughout the years, competition is only growing. This is more of an issue for the small-scale contractors and not so much for already accomplished and proved companies.

 

Most of the work goes to the companies people already trust and have tried before, so that’s why is harder for those smaller to win a bid and projects in general.

3. Rising Cost of Raw Materials

There is always a huge risk of cost change during a fixed price project. Many times the price of land and raw materials can change so quickly, that the small construction companies don’t have enough time to react and suffer great losses.

4. Safety

Every contractor and business owner understands the importance of safety regulations. Keeping the workers secure and unharmed should be a top priority for everyone. That’s why regular training should be performed and the safety protocols updated when needed. Still, this is a bit difficult to achieve with the constant flow of new inexperienced workers.

 

“So in order to keep everyone safe, frequent trainings and strong vigilance by management and supervisors are crucial” shares Jordan Vellutini from Westline Electrical Services.

4. Slow Invoicing and Payments

A common problem that small construction businesses face is underestimating the importance of having a reliable invoicing system. Without one, the cash flow cannot be regulated properly and it’s a lot harder to keep track of the projects and their different phases.

 

It’s easier and smarter to divide the various payments that go with the different parts of a certain property, than having a bunch of resources tied up in a single job advice Variety Cleaners.

5. Time constraints

With the constant flood of demand, many contractors face issues with keeping up with their schedule. The ones motivated to get better, have started integrating a project management technology which allows them to do real-time updates and data entry. With a simplified communication and daily updates, those contractors manage to do a lot with less.

6. Government regulation

Often contractors find it difficult to keep themselves up-to-date with the constantly changing government regulations connected to their business. Still, no matter how annoying it might be, they have to regularly check posts and publications about the construction industries and reassure that nothing will affect them.

 

It’s best to have a specific person who will keep up with the regulations and will have the time to check how the business is affected financially and economically, if possible, one who is usually keeping track of the company’s documents.

8. Trouble getting paid

This issue affects mostly subcontractors. A paycheck of a subcontractor depends on how good they are at keeping records. The documents presented must always be detailed and completely accurate in order to collect the money on time. Proper file organisation and security are a must here if the subcontractor wants to receive what he deserves.

9. Lack of communication

Having a good level of communication between the different layers of management and workers should be a natural target for every contractor.

 

Naturally, the smaller the company, the easier it is to achieve, but one must not put compromise when the business grows larger. Everyone wants to streamline operations, improve their accuracy and overall having a good flow of work in every field and level of their company.

 

Luckily we are living in the era of communications so mobile and cloud based softwares are easy to use and implement in the work of your staff. Time has proven that nothing compares to real-time communication when completing a project with a deadline or with certain milestones. So check what are the best options for your business, put them to action and enjoy the efficiency of your workers.

10. Managing documents & files

There is a very small number of people who genuinely like sorting out documents and files. Especially if the transition from paper records to a mobile and cloud-based system has not yet occurred.

 

The latter makes access to notes, documents, records and photos a lot easier and also space saving. There are no restrictions on where the files are opened from. Could be done from the office or from home. You can decide which ones should be accessible to all the employees, which ones are only for the coordinators and so on.

 

Security is easy to control, more reliable just physically guarding a bunch of documents. Still, the person managing all of the files and the cloud systems should be someone who is specially trained for such tasks and someone who can be trusted completely. Having the wrong people taking care of your documentation is very dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

11. Integrating technology

Now that we have already mentioned a couple of fairly new technologies that could be implemented in the construction business, is important to also add that they should be integrated slowly, carefully and by people who are specialist in the technological fields. Innovations are easily accepted by the younger generations, but the process for the veteran employees might be a bit longer.

 

It’s important to make everyone understand that these technologies will not change the operations of the company, but only improve the quality and execution of already existing practices.

The future is bright for the learner


Just like in every other business, problems and issues will never seize to exist, so to survive, one must learn each day and never stop improving. As the technology and the rest of the world move forward, so should tradesmen companies. Business will never disappear and the demand for competent people as well. The types of projects might change and for a person who has been working only 5 years ago, they might seem absurd and impossible, but for the contractor of today, everything is in the realm of possibilities.