• Tips for Delivering Projects Efficiently

    Efficient Project Delivery Guidelines

    Time is money, especially in the construction industry. Efficient project completion equals more time to work on other projects, which is all good news for your bottom line. But just because a project is finished on time, does not always mean that the quality is up to par. Some companies cut corners and rush through projects just to make ends meet, but eventually the lack of attention catches up to them, resulting in necessary repairs that always take longer than if the project was done right the first time. To avoid missing deadlines and dealing with unsatisfied customers, take a look at these helpful tips from a professional construction consultant to help deliver high-quality projects on time and on budget.

    It all starts with a plan

    The old saying “measure twice, cut once” applies in more ways than one when it comes to efficient project completion. Detailed plans not only give the contractors and sub-contractors a good idea of what needs to be done, but also how long it will take to complete. Clients will always be happier with a quality product over a quick turnaround time, so even if it takes a while to nail down all of the particulars, you will be glad you did in the long run. Any glaring issues can be dealt with before work begins so you won’t have to waste time with corrections, and with all of the information at your fingertips, you can establish a sensible deadline that works for everyone.

    Know your limits

    If your client wants a decorative cornice on their historic preservation project but you know it is outside of your team’s area of expertise, then say so ahead of time. Better to pass on a project that will only lead to missed deadlines, client dissatisfaction, and low team morale then to overcommit beyond your capabilities.

    Break it down and delegate

    Any project can look overwhelming if you only see the big picture, so break it down into smaller projects and assign each part accordingly. These smaller steps are a lot easier to manage, make progress tracking a breeze, and ensure that deadlines are met. Also, tasking the right individuals for the job is key. Your chosen workers should have adequate knowledge on how to complete the assignment up to sufficient standards and have at least one supervisor to report their progress.

    Manage your time

    Time management is probably the most vital component to efficient project completion. Take all deadlines seriously, prioritize your tasks, and keep an eye on all current works in progress to make sure that everything is going according to plan.

    Communicate, communicate, communicate

    The biggest time-waster of all is poor communication. One hasty email with bad instructions or harsh language can derail even the most efficient of teams, leading to hours of unnecessary work. Craft emails with purpose, take time to consider your objectives for phone conversations, and pay attention to exact language. Here is another instance where a little forethought goes a long way to maximizing your project efficiency.

    For more useful tips on efficient project delivery, give our team a call at 732-810-1049.

  • What You Need to Know About Historic Preservation

    The thought of working in an historic building has a certain irresistible charm. Just walking through the rooms inevitably makes you wonder about the lives of the people who came before you and the events that may have transpired where you are now standing. If these walls could talk, right?

    But owning a property that is deemed “historical” does come with certain challenges, so here are 4 questions you should ask before taking the plunge.

    Is the property listed with the National Register of Historic Places?

    The National Register of Historic Places is the official Federal list of all districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects with significant value to American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. If your property is listed, it could help with your preservation plans because in addition to honorific recognition, your property would be entitled to:

    Tax provisions

    According to the National Park Service, owners of listed properties may be entitled to a 20% rehabilitation tax credit, which equals 20% of the amount spent on the “certified rehabilitation of income-producing certified historic structures”. This applies to any project approved by the Secretary of the Interior.

    Federal grant qualifications for historic preservation

    When money is available, there are several Federal and State grant programs that can help you fund your historic preservation project. Most of these grants apply to historic properties owned by local governments and local non-profit organizations and not private individuals, so check out your State Historic Preservation Office to find out more.

    What changes or modifications are allowed?

    The rules, restrictions, and regulations for historic property owners vary from state to state, but one thing remains the same: you must run your plans by the local Historic Preservation Office before getting started. Any external changes, including paint color and window type, are often strictly regulated. Also, if you were hoping to add on a fully-equipped kitchen or change up the interior layout without keeping the historic value in mind, you could end up devaluing the building or shelling out additional money to correct the problem.

    What kind of repairs are needed?

    If your historic property needs extensive repairs, costs can add up fast. You need to maintain the historic authenticity of the property, so repairs are often limited to replacing like with like, which is not always the most cost-efficient solution. Window restoration, for example, can be quite the process since you cannot simply remove the old windows and replace them with the latest energy-efficient products. Attention to detail is key in any historic preservation project, so beware of buying a property that needs a lot of work if you don’t have the available funds to properly complete the repairs.

    Is there a historic preservation easement in place?

    A historic preservation easement protects the historic integrity of the property and restricts what can happen to the property, meaning that if your property already has one in place you will have adhere to all terms, conditions, and payments. The upside: your easement payment may qualify for a federal tax deduction.

    If you have decided to go ahead with your historic preservation project, contacting a qualified preservation company in Bound Brook, NJ to handle your repairs is a great place to start.

    Give the historic preservation experts at George Rullo and Associates a call at 732-810-1049 today!

  • Don’t Underestimate These Historic Preservation Projects

    So, you think you have everything well in hand to get started on your historic preservation project. I mean, really, how hard can it be? Just fix a few cracks here, update the plumbing there and voilà! Your building is all good to go, right?

    Not so fast!

    First of all, this is not just any home or building renovation. You can’t just add a new bathroom or knock out walls without meeting the standards set forth by the U.S. Secretary of Interior. If you don’t follow these standards, you will not only anger a lot of local historians but your project could be deemed ineligible for historic tax credits.

    There is a lot more to historic preservation than just improving the aesthetics of a building. The following restoration projects may seem straightforward, but they are actually a lot more complicated than first meets the eye.

    Window restoration

    As it turns out, window restoration is one of the most sensitive hot button topics when it comes to historic preservation. Building owners want windows that are more energy-efficient while those charged with protecting the historic character of the building insist on maintaining authenticity. Original materials can only be replaced when they are too deteriorated to ensure a sound building envelope, and any new windows must be compatible in type, style, operation, sashes, size of lights, and number of panes. Before you place an order for all new windows on your project, check with your local Historic Preservation Office or you might end up having to replace them all over again.

    Masonry restoration

    When restoring the masonry on a historic building, special attention needs to be placed on the replacement materials. Similar-looking bricks from your local Big Box store will not do. Instead, you will need to salvage, clean, or repair as much of the existing building material as possible or find the closest possible match if the existing materials are beyond saving. Also, as much attention needs to be paid to the removal method as the type of material used upon re-installation. Only a professional preservation company with an appreciation for the delicate nature of historic buildings and a lot of experience working with hand tools can fully restore your historic treasure.

    Trying to recreate the past

    Some may look at historical preservation as trying to recreate the past, but there is a fine line between restoring a historic building and adding a new addition that merely looks historic. Using neo-traditional designs that replicate the past to tack on additional rooms or outbuildings, for example, can actually detract from the authenticity of a site, giving off a false sense of historical development and incurring the wrath of local preservationists. According the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, anything new must be differentiated from the old and new designs that recreate the past are unacceptable, so tread lightly when it comes to altering original historic designs.

    Want to find out more about the challenges of historic preservation projects? Call 732-810-1049!

  • No Toolbox is Complete Without These Handy Items

    Hardware Tools

    Walking through your local hardware store can be quite overwhelming if you are new to DIY home improvement. There are lots of gizmos and gadgets that do everything from sand floors to carve intricate designs in wood, but spending thousands of dollars on tools you may only use once is not exactly sound financial advice. If you are preparing for a specialty project, then it’s probably best to check out your local tool rental establishment or consult with a professional contractor . Otherwise, make sure that you have all of these items on hand to complete any basic home repair project.

    Let’s start with the obvious

    Before commencing with the obligatory eye rolls, these 10 tools are absolutely essential in even the most basic of toolboxes.

    • A hammer and nails
    • Phillips and flathead screwdrivers
    • Duct tape
    • WD-40
    • Pliers
    • Adjustable wrench
    • Tape measure
    • Level
    • Utility knife
    • Hacksaw

    Other necessities: work gloves, rags, a pencil, and safety goggles.

    Upgrading from the basics

    You can borrow most of these items or make do without them for a while, but eventually these tools should find their way into your permanent tool collection.

    Electric drill

    Once you start using an electric drill, it’s hard to remember why you ever settled for less. Not only did drilling holes and driving screws just get easier, but you can also sand and grind materials, stir paint, and a whole lot more!

    A variety of wrenches

    If you have to tighten or loosen a lot of nuts and bolts, then give your hands a break and get some of these babies:

    • Socket wrench
    • Pipe wrench
    • Allen wrenches

    Putty knife

    Have holes in the wall that need patching? This is the tool for you! Putty knives are also great for scraping off old paint, prying up nails, and removing wall paper.

    Stud finder

    If you want to mount your new television without putting a million holes in the wall in search of a stud, then trust a stud finder to locate one for you in the blink of an eye.

    Crosscut saw

    Designed for cutting across the wood grain, these saws make quick work of cutting 2x4s down to size.

    Other useful tools include: chisel, crowbar, rubber mallet, combination square, ratcheting screwdriver

    Now you’re getting fancy

    Finally, you are ready to upgrade to tools that run on more than just elbow grease (with the exception of the power drill, of course). These power tools make all household projects more efficient.

    Staple gun

    Need to secure some loose roofing or reupholster your favorite chair? No problem! A staple gun has a broad range of applications and comes in both manual and electric versions.

    Nail gun

    Driving a lot of nails with a hammer can really do a number on your hands, so if you are installing molding or intricate trim, an automatic nailer will save you a lot of time and effort.

    Circular saw

    The most common power tool out there, the circular saw can cut through masonry, tile, steel, wood, and just about anything else.

    While this is by no means a complete list, it should definitely help you get started on your home improvement projects.

    For helpful more tips on essential tools, contact our expert contractors at 732-810-1049 today!