Livingston Reporting - page 260

Handling Water Damage Within the Home

Homes are affected by water damage by many various sources. Hurricanes, tornados and floods are becoming all too common inflicting millions of dollars worth the water damage to homes each year. On top of natural disasters water damage can happen from various extenuating circumstances within the home. Pipes leak or worse yet burst, washers overflow, sump pumps stop working all of these unexpected sources can lead to extensive water damage in homes today. Homes affected by water damage should be handled with extreme care. Professionals should be called to access the damage and help home owners properly care for the areas affected.

There are many do’s and don’ts when it comes to properly cleaning up any disaster within your home. Water is no exception. Unlike fire damage, water damage leaves the pieces of your life intact but damaged. It is hard for many victims of flooding to understand that the best option for cleanup is to call a professional. Many people assume that they can remove the water and that will be that. However this does not take into consideration contaminates and bacteria within the standing water. This also leaves room for error which could allow mold to be produced. The best option in any home disaster is to contact a professional and have them assist you in the cleaning process.

Here is a list of the major dos and don’ts involved in the process of restoring your home when water wreaks havoc.
1) Start by finding out where the water is coming from. Of course if your home is inflicted with a natural disaster the source will be obvious. However, more subtle leaks in your pipes or appliances can leave home owners searching for the source of the water issue. Turning the water off will alleviate any further damage.
2) Call an insured reputable restoration company in your area. Many times your insurance carrier will have approved companies to go through so check with them first.
3) The main concept is to remove as much of the water and humidity in your home as possible. If you have damage during the cooler months you may need to run the heat in your home more frequently to help with drying where as in the summer you would want the air conditioning to run. Both processes remove the humidity and help with drying. Fans are also useful to help keep the air circulating. Of course make sure it is safe to run these appliances before using them. Water often causes major damage within your electrical systems.
4) Remove as much water as possible. Sponge mops are helpful during this process. You may also want to employ a siphon technique to detour the water into a proper drain.
5) Furniture should be handled with great care. Remove cushions and pillows. Prop them up so that even and thorough drying happens.
6) Rugs, floor coverings and curtains should be removed. They need to be properly treated to make sure bacteria are dealt with and mold is not allowed to grow.
7) All personal items such as paintings, photos, books, fabrics, luggage and items to a dry location with even heat. This will prevent further damage.
8) Don’t let pets or children come into contact with the affected areas. Make sure that protective gear is worn at all times when dealing with the contaminated areas. The last thing needed is to be exposed to bacteria that could harm your health.
9) Don’t turn the heat up. Keep all areas at a consistent 70 degrees. Turning the heat any higher than this will promote the growth of mildew and bacteria.
10) Household vacuums and shop-vacs should not be used. They do not provide thorough water extraction. You will need to have a professional restoration company out to do a thorough job in this area.
11) Do not enter rooms where electricity is still on and standing water is still present.
12) Carpet that is tacked down should be left for professionals to deal with. If lifted incorrectly the carpet could become damaged not allowing it to be salvaged.

My top tip to anyone suffering with any amount of flood damage is to call restoration professionals within twenty four hours of the damage occurring. This will help prevent further damage including but not limited to mold, mildew, bacteria growth or a myriad of other tragedies.

Fire Damage: Restoring Homes after a Fire

“Hello 911.” the operator answers cool and calm. “My house is engulfed in flames. Please hurry!” the homeowner explains frantically. “Help is on their way.” the operator replies.

This phone call is one that all of us think about at one time or another. We hope that we are prepared if a fire ever strikes our home. Do you know what you would do? Of course we would all like to feel that we are prepared but can you ever truly be prepared for an accident or natural disaster? Whether you are in a flood or a fire surviving the event is monumental. How do you proceed to get your life back in order back to some resemblance of what it was before the fire?

Most of us realize that we will need to find away to begin the process of restoring our home and the items that belong to us. This process will take time. Not only will your belongings have been damages by fire but water damage will also be an issue. Who or where do you turn to first? Did you have the proper insurance? Are your ducks all aligned and how fast can you get back on your feet? If this situation ever happens to you be prepared.

Here is a list of the major dos and don’ts involved in the process of restoring your home when fire wreaks havoc.
1) First things first call the insurance agent immediately. As you are watching the fire fighters fighting to save your home call and let your agent know what is going on. They will be able to get the ball rolling for fire restoration professionals to assess the damage. Fire damage will be unavoidable. It will also be necessary for them to help you find a place to stay in the mean time.
2) Don’t reenter the home until you are sure it is safe structurally and that ventilation has been established. Windows and doors with fans blowing are a good start for evacuating smoke from the environment.
3) Electricity to the area should be shut off and not turned on until a professional is out to evaluate the environment.
4) Start by removing anything that you notice is visibly damaged beyond repair. All food should be disposed of. Do not eat anything that has been exposed to fire. The chemicals that certain materials give off when on fire could be hazardous to your health if ingested.
5) The urge will strike to wash walls and the contents of your home. Do not attempt to do this on your own. More damage could be done. It is best to have a professional service in to survey the area and give advice before cleaning is attempted.
6) Make sure as the restoration process is attempted that you change the filters on all heating and cooling systems.
7) Pets should not be removed from the premises. Do not allow pets to roam amongst the damage. It is not safe for their health and could be dangerous in the unstable conditions the fire has caused.

It is so important that fire alarms are installed throughout your home. A quick response by a homeowner coupled with a responsive fire team will yield the best overall result in saving your home and family. Be as prepared as possible. Make sure you go over fire safety often and that you are in regular contact with your insurances agent. Being prepared for accidents and natural disasters will help in the long run if something does happen to your family and home.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Mold Restoration

If your home has been affected by a flood you know that cleanup efforts are long a tedious. Flood damage causes major expense to homeowners and insurance companies. On top of all of it is the hassle and inconvenience flood damage causes to the lives of those affected by them. The aftermath of a flood can leave homes susceptible to mold, mildew and other hazardous bacteria. What is a homeowner to do if they find themselves in that situation? Here they have taken all the time necessary to remedy the flood situation only to find themselves knee deep in another problem.

Mold restoration most likely will require professional services. Although small amounts of mold can be treated by homeowners it is best to evaluate each situation to determine the proper course of action. Mold is common to outdoor environments but when mold affects your home it becomes a whole different story. Not only does mold create an unpleasant environment visually it is harmful to the health of the people and animals within the home as well.

Here is a list of the major dos and don’ts involved in the process of restoring your home when mold wreaks havoc.
1) The fungus that is mold needs water to grow and spread. You must first eliminate the source of water and humidity to halt the spore’s growth. If you do not you will be wasting your time removing the mold because it will just reoccur given the environment has not changes. Eliminating the source of water will ultimately eliminate the environment the spores thrive in.
2) Protective gear must be worn at all times when dealing with mold growth. Health issues can arise from the mycotoxins released in spores that are disturbed. Issues from the inhalation and skin contact are common when dealing with mold.
3) Determine the size of your mold invasion. If the size of the issue is relatively small the average homeowner can handle it with proper care. For mold issues greater than a space of 3 feet by 3 feet it is best to call in the professionals.
4) If you are dealing with the issue on your own you will want to take proper care in removing the affected area. All trash related to the infestation should be placed in a heavy duty black garbage bag, sealed and placed outside.
5) The area should then be treated using anti-microbial chemicals. Of course remembering to wear protective gear throughout the process. Sanding all wood surfaces and removing drywall should be sufficient for most minor mold infestation. Scrub any area with a combination of soap and water to clean the area and continue the cleaning process by drying the area thoroughly. Seal any and all wood with primer and sealer to prevent further infestations before completing repairs.
6) If the area affected by mold is of substantial size it is best to call in the professionals. Do not touch or disturb the spores for they release chemicals in the area that can spread the population throughout your home environment.
7) Do not use bleach on the mold. Bleach is hazardous because it does not effectively kill viable spores and colonies before evaporating into the air around you.

The best advice anyone can truly give you is to call a professional. They have been educated in proper mold remediation techniques and can therefore properly treat the area without causing further issues to you and your family.

Surveying: What it Takes to be a Surveyor

We see those people out all the time the ones with orange vests and tri-pods. What are they doing? You see them everywhere land is developed or going to be. They are surveyors. Surveying professional use advance scientific techniques to accurately determine the position of points and the angles and distances between them. Land surveying is necessary in order to plan and carry out virtually all forms of construction.

It is an important piece of the construction puzzle because it sets the physical boundaries of a project. It allows for society to have legal definitions in land possession. Imagine without these the wars that would be had over borders. Imagine if Canada thought they owned a mile more into the United States then what is set forth on a map with legal boundary lines. Chaos would ensue.

It is important also to have these definitions for defined transportation routes. As the land layout changes due to Mother Nature it is important to have surveyors out to keep track of these changes. Any minor discrepancies need to be tracked, mapped and documented for legal reasons. Property ownership is valuable to all of us. No one wants to have the road creep up into their property which is what can happen especially on roads that are not as established as highways.

Whenever new construction is taking place surveyors are one of the first people on the scene. It is important when looking at raw land that you evaluate the true boundaries so that land developing does not encroach on property that is not owned by the developer. Whenever building and construction of any kind is going on it is important that legal boundaries are set in place. When construction takes place on land that is not legally owned by the developer than messy legal situations ensue.

Surveying can be a very stressful position to hold. Professional surveying requires precise, accurate measuring. It is required that all calculations be within a set standard often as close as one – hundredth of a foot or about 1/8th of an inch. That leaves very little room for error. This is why when doing any project involving land that a licenses surveying professional is brought in. It is required by law that before construction begins a licensed surveyor signs and seals all plans involved in the project. Boundary corners are set in place with land markers that state the land surveyor’s registration numbers and contact information.

Civil Engineering: Are you a Natural?

What did you want to be when you grew up? Were you a kid that was always playing in the dirt, constructing some version of a building and determining if a natural force could take it down? Too bad that natural force always came along in the form of a sibling. Applying physical and scientific principles is how civil engineers apply their knowledge to all areas within math and science to improve the internal and external structures of our lives today. If you find yourself gravitating towards engineering as a field of study the possibilities are endless with a degree in civil engineering.

When studying for a Bachelor of Engineering your course study will include area in physics, mathematic and project management. You will then decide what sub topic of engineering you wish specialize in. If you are interested in working in the United States you must also meet a range of qualifications to become certified. You must complete your degree, have work experience – this is where internships are valuable and exam requirements and then you will be certified in the field of engineering. Only now will you be considered licensed and able to prepare, sign and submit plans for use within the public sector.

As you begin your journey in the field of engineering you will begin by proving you have the necessary skills needed. Most likely you will begin your career you will be put in charge of remedial tasks that are low in responsibility and have few consequences. These positions might be things such as monitoring construction out in the field, keeping an eye out supervising for senior designers, routine analysis and interpretation all will be considered entry level. As you become more capable you will work with other engineers in more complex areas.

A general civil engineer will work in conjunction with specialized civil engineers, land development specialists and surveying crews to create an environment that interacts with people in a way that will benefit the greater good. They take and combine knowledge from all of the engineering disciplines to make sure that the project is not only feasible in combination of environmental conflicts that are present but also that human nature afflicts. Common sense says you do not build a one hundred story high rise in the middle of an area that is prone to earthquakes but civil engineers help to determine what type of structure would work in that area. Not only is the structure involved but also how people get to the building, how water and electricity come and go to the area and how the natural surroundings of the land and Mother Nature will affect all of those elements.

Civil Engineering: Modern Conveniences

We often go about our daily lives without little thought about how things have materialized. We don’t often consider how the sidewalks were established or who thought of and designed the buildings we work in. I know after the toilet is flushed I give very little analysis to where the remains went and how they got there. The little conveniences in life that we take for granted are the work of civil engineers.

Civil engineering’s are the people who plan for, create and preserve the environment that we live in. Have you ever thought about the effort and thought that goes into making a bridge safe? Civil engineers are the people responsible for erecting the bridge, overseeing the construction and research all aspects of travel on the bridge. The distance of the bridge, traffic on the bridge, the environment surrounding the bridge are all things civil engineers will have to review and think about when constructing these massive structures. There are many things for them to consider and plan for before a structure of any kind can be built.

Civil engineering can into play well before there was a name for it. Think about the people who lived before us without roads and the natural travel paths we enjoy today. Early engineering was taking place as society moved from one that drifted from place to place to a civilization that was focused on creating dwellings to permanently live. A need and desire was placed on developing construction techniques that would provide suitable housing for the occupants. Civil engineers, whether they had coined the phrase back then, were leading society into the modern times we now exist in.

Imagine what the environment would be like today without engineers looking at all aspects of development. Without people directing nature for people to construct homes, roads, canals, lighthouse and break walls life would not be what it is today. If civil engineers did not did not apply all aspects of the physical and scientific sciences to our living environments today we might be living in a state of natural disaster all the time. Imagine if buildings were not built to sustain the natural forces Mother Nature throws at us. If every hurricane, earthquake or heat wave produced building failures and bridge collapses society would not be what we enjoy today.

We live in a place that we know is safe because of the existence of civil engineering. Engineers apply science to direct the powers of nature for the convenience of the human race. These skilled people take into consideration external and internal forces of nature, effects from society and apply their knowledge to construct buildings, roads, bridges, canals, ports, harbors to make navigation and living comfortable in the modern world we live in.

Due Diligence Report: A Guide to Wise Investing

When you are looking to invest in a product what are the steps you take to ensure its quality? Often we go to consumer guides, websites, word of mouth and of course if we can we test it out. What would happen if you weren’t able to have a friendly guide at hand when making a major purchase what would you do then? Many companies find themselves in this dilemma often during the acquisition of a business or new division.

When a company, large or small, is looking at prospective businesses to buy they hire professionals, financial, cultural, safety and those in between to research every aspect of the company they are looking to purchase. This is called due diligence. You want to make the best decision for your company and that is what the purpose of a due diligence report is. It shows the investors that you are hoping to persuade that you have done a thorough job in planning for the mission at hand. This is what will lead investors in their decision to invest or not.

Due diligence provides an official review of a company overall. It is important to look into the financial of a company to make sure that you are starting out in a financially sound marketplace. If you aren’t a due diligence report should show areas of financial weakness so that you can hone in on those important aspects before moving forward.

It is also very important to view the cultural and operational within an organization. This is important to make sure that you are on the same page running a business. For instance you buy in to a company with incredibly strong family values. A company where children are brought in on snow days and it is very casual and relaxed in atmosphere. It could be potentially devastating to your company if your ethics are work first no family in the office at any times and strict time off policies. The two corporate climates would not coexist and problems will arise. It is important to review the company’s policies, procedures and handbook. A due diligence report allows for a thorough review into these matters.

A site visit is also an important key item that should be included when writing a due diligence report. It is important to know what the company has in assets and what type of environment the company is located in along with the shape of the physical equipment. Along with this research into the properties lease is important. In order to fully evaluate the state of the physical part of the business this is essential.

A due diligence report is a critical part of any business transaction that considers another business entity. It is worth taking the time to have professional research any company before you consider moving forward in any business dealings with them. As a business owner you need to not only look out for yourself but also the interest of any people who have invested with your company. A little bit of effort will go a long way in making sound business decisions.

Land Development: Weighing Risks and Rewards

Land development is a crucial part of the modern society we live in today. Land development involves the alteration of natural land to create a site that is ready for building. Construction could be for public, private, commercial, residential or even government sectors. Developing land involves many improvements. For instance, most land in its natural state does not have adequate drainage for building. In order to create an environment that is stable to build on land developers go in and prep the land for later construction. This might involve excavating the land, filling it in, paving areas or even adding concrete. These things are done to improve the land to prepare the environment for construction.

Developers assume great risks when developing land. It is such a lucrative business to go into because of the risks involved. Not every mind works in the same fashion. Land developers must be able to look at the current facts and historical data to make predictions on how the conditions involved will affect the piece of property. With that information they can choose what the best method is to prepare the site in order to create the most usable land.

The risks involved are huge. If a mistake is made even if construction has begun on the land the developer is responsible for correcting the error. When something goes wrong the developer is physically and financially responsible to correct the situation. They are creating the entire infrastructure of the project. The position they hold is not only risky but very profitable when things go as planned.

Of course there are so many aspects of risk in any position that is held. The first risk in land development is the developer’s skill level. How much experience does a developer have? You need to be able to look at a piece of natural land and develop it within the concept the construction company has without error. The bigger the project the more difficult the task at hand will be. Developers must use math, science and their knowledge of construction to create a site for their clients.

Developers will be called in as investors search out available raw land. It is important that a developer know what to look for in helping investors purchase property to develop. It is important to know if the lot you are looking at is going to be perfect for a residential sub division or is a mini mall is better suited for that property. It is important to access the land around the site including any buildings that might be erected already or in process. Does the development that is being proposed fit in the area? This all rests on the land developer.

If you are searching out land to develop before an investor is involved you will also need to find funding for your proposed project. This is quite often the hardest part of a developer’s job. You must prove that it is viable and at the end of development you will be able to make the money needed to pay off the loaned amount. It is a waste of money to develop land that is not seen as valuable. How as a developer can you make each development more valuable than the next?

Land development is not all about where to place this dirt to make a smooth canvas for construction to begin. As you can see it is truly all encompassing in the entire construction process. Developers need to make sure that the manner in which they displace the current landscaping and replace it is the most profitable for all involved.