Tips for New Residential Construction

The process to entitle lots can take more than five years and is expensive. The cost of parcel maps for five lots or less is $100,000. Tract maps for more than five lots can cost more than $500,000. The number of lots and the potential size are determined by biology, health-department regulations, slope, and the zoning and general plan. Included in the cost are engineering, processing, and regulatory fees and various reports and studies.

Reports and studies include conditions of approval costs, storm-water treatment, anthropology and archeology, soils, biology, noise, and traffic. When a map is approved and recorded, there are additional fees that include, but are not limited to the following:
• Potential greenhouse gas studies
• Retention and drainage basins
• On- and off-site mitigation land
• School fees
• Parks and recreation fees
• Physical secondary access
• Fire fees
• Annual bonding fees.

Politics comes into play when obtaining the required approvals from county boards, city councils, and planning commissions. The level of public opposition or support affects hearings completion. They can be completed in as little as four months, or take years and cost over a million dollars. Property owners have three courses of action to take into consideration.

1. Entitlement and sale of the property ‘as is’ – This option brings the lowest price, but costs the least and requires the shortest time for property disposal. Under rare circumstances, the land is worth more when it is unentitled.
2. Enter into a long-term agreement – The agreement is made with a home builder who incurs the expenses of processing a tract map. This option is the most utilized. The process could take up to five years. The buyer is required to release nonrefundable deposits periodically to the seller after approving their contingencies. Escrow closing typically occurs after tentative or final map approval.
3. The owner incurs the entitlement costs – Much of the process is like option two. The difference is the owner has full control of the mapping process and bears all expenses.

The ramifications of each choice should be weighed carefully before making a decision. Owners, who have chosen not to seek advice, have made the decision to process a map and found out later the number of lots was not financially feasible. A competent engineer can determine the optimal number of lots that can be obtained and approved. Smart growth design principals call for buildings with a variety of materials, texture, and color and individuality; well-defined open space; a building and street relationship; mixed uses; and high-density development. Contractors, who specialize in residential subdivisions, can give realistic cost estimations.

The process of entitling residential property to higher densities is costly, complex, and cumbersome. Many factors must be taken into consideration. The leading concerns that communities have about increased density are the quality of life and increased costs.

There is a need for new affordable housing to reduce recent overpayment and overcrowding. There is also a need for high-density housing that supports economic recovery, accommodates new workers and their loved ones, and economizes the costs of infrastructure. It is quite a balancing act. Open spaces need to be conserved and the distance between new jobs and new homes reduced.

FRP Construction Products And Design Codes

Concrete infrastructure is of immense significance when it comes to the economic growth of a region. Civil structures should be designed and built with satisfactory materials and techniques so that they can stay in good shape for a longer life span without rehabilitation. Durable infrastructure systems such as bridges, highways, water systems, buildings play a vital role in building a healthy economy. The need for cost-effective and corrosion-free construction materials, therefore, has reached to an unprecedented level.

Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP), also known to be composites, have been in use for so many years in various sensitive applications where harsh environment is a prime concern for structural engineers. Excellent results produced by FRP materials in civil infrastructure has resulted in a shift from traditional reinforcement to FRP in most of the developed countries. The ability to resist harsh environment and to protect reinforced concrete against corrosive agents is what makes fiberglass bars and other GFRP construction products the incredible alternative to conventional concrete reinforcement techniques.

Construction industry relies heavily on design codes, standards, and specification so that materials can be used accordingly. In past, FRP products were designed, fabricated, and manufactured using general codes and design manuals provided by the authorities concerned. The extensive academic and on-site research has resulted in the development of in-depth and specific FRP design codes and specifications, making it easy for the construction industry to adopt advanced composite materials as a permanent alternative to conventional and substandard materials.

“Pre-standard for Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) of Pultruded Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Structures” is a new design code developed by American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA). The development of such new codes would help structural engineers build durable and safe projects. In addition, the presence of design codes would pave the way for FRP composite materials to dominate the market.

Fiberglass rebar is probably the most significant FRP product that is widely used for concrete reinforcement. Rock bolts, lifting anchors, tendons, and form ties are some of the GFRP construction products. The development and distinctive properties of composite construction products have received a warm response from the civil engineering community. With the advent of new design codes and specifications, civil engineers have shown confidence in GFRP construction products.

Construction Site Safety Checklist

“What to wear” checklist:

• Wear Safety Glasses or Face Shields, whichever suits better, to protect your eyes from harmful exposures like dust, chemicals, flying particles, smokes and what not – especially if your job involves welding, cutting, grinding, nailing, concreting and chemical-related works.

• Use proper boots – insulated, water and skid proof – whatever protects you best. The right footwear protects you from skidding, crushing your feet, and being electrocuted.

• Gloves are essential to safely deal with sharp objects and toxic substances. Put on those that are fit and right – welding gloves for welding, heavy-duty rubber gloves for concrete work, and insulated gloves and sleeves should work exposes you to electrical hazards.

• Injury to the head is one of the most dangerous fatalities and one must wear a proper hard hat to avoid it. Do a regular check for dents or deterioration and replace it as soon as you find any.

Scaffolding checklist:

• Do a daily check on scaffolding to ensure its steady and solid with high weight capacity. Report to seniors and get it corrected if its damaged or weakened in any way.

• Never use uneven surface and unsteady objects – loose bricks, barrels or concrete boxes – as base for scaffolding.

• Avoid using scaffolding in bad weather: be it rain, snow or hailstorm.

Electric safety checklist:

• Check all electrical tools and equipment regularly for defects and wear and tear. Replace the ones that are faulty in any way.

• Only qualified and designated operators must have access to electrical equipment.

• Keep construction materials, workers and equipment at least 10-feet away from electrical power lines.

• Use double insulated electrical equipment. Ground them if they are not. Refrain from using Multiple plug adapters; it’s dangerous!

Hazard communication:

• Workers must be notified about dangerous areas and stuffs by marking them as such – put up posters, signage and barricades whatever is required. Heavy electric equipment, suspended loads, toxic chemicals, wet and slippery patches etc. are few such hazards that must be marked.

Crane, hoist and rigging equipment safety checklist:

• Barricade/swing areas within the crane’s swing radius.

• See to it that load and speed limit is never exceed.

• Conduct daily safety and maintenance inspection for crane machinery and other rigging equipment before they are put to use.

• Only properly trained and qualified operators should have access to cranes, hoisting and rigging equipment.

• Keep these machines well away from electric equipment and power lines.

There is another checklist I have saved for the last: verifying that every entrant to the site – worker or visitor – carries a valid CSCS Card. This is a great way to cut down on fatalities especially those resulting from lack of knowledge or attention. Have workers without proper CSCS Cards? Get them proper cards by booking a CSCS Test online.