WHEN THE PRICE IS RIGHT
While searching for materials on how to prepare for a renovation, I came across many different recommendations, checklist, to-do list—you name it and Google has it all. And one article on choosing the right builder caught my attention. There’s a section that talks about price negotiation.
Many homeowners often struggle between a tight budget and a builder that they are comfortable with but are over their budget. So, how do you choose? Some may call up their preferred builder and tell them to cut down cost. Others may go for the cheaper alternative. But one rule stays the same in all industry--you can never have cheap, fast and high quality all-in-one. And one of the best ways to resolve? Communication.
What my client did was amazing. We met up and he openly shared with me how much I was over and asked for suggestions to modify some works in order to lower the price. My practice is never to cut corners to save cost, and so I asked him a few specific questions on materials selection, which I know can save him some money and man-hours. And at the end of it, there are two happy men.
Over-promises and cutting corners can pose a huge danger in the near future. Just look at the number of housing and constructions accidents. I sincerely hope that every one of us take responsibility in ensuring a safe environment for our future.
HOW SMART IS YOUR HOME?
Have you ever left home worrying about things that you couldn’t remember doing? Like locking the main door, leaving the stove gas on or not switching off the air-con? What would you do—rush back home to check or just let it bugs you the whole day?
In the recent years, there’s this evolving technology that helps you take control of your home environment, regardless how far away you are. Home automation has been in the scene for a few years in terms of controlling the lighting and simple appliances. Today’s technology has moved home automation to another new level.
Imagine you can control almost every device and appliances within your home. This sound totally unreal but you can attached sensor onto your window blinds and have them shut when it’s too bright, all based on your preference. How about setting your coffee maker to have a freshly brewed coffee as soon as you wake up or turning on your TV using voice recognition? All too cool!
Home automation provides you with the convenience, security and cost-efficiency. Remember how much worries and money it can cost you if you leave the air-con on before going on a weekend trip? And how frustrating it is to go home and find yourself in a mess of leaking air-con.
Home automation can be as simple as turning on or off the lights or extremely complex tasks. If you want a SMARTER home, you can start by choosing a network protocol to help you with the automation process such as Z-Wave or connect with us to have your automation done. Have FUN!
IF SIZE DOESN'T MATTER...
I’ll equip my new home with everything that I fancy! But sadly, that’s not possible because houses are indeed getting smaller. There’s barely space for you to move around the kitchen, not to mention that tiny bedroom.
Having experienced the frustration of rampaging through my storeroom, unpacking and repacking all the items, just to find that extra space for my new 21-inch luggage, I have decided to do some research on storage solution for small house.
Here are some tips that I’ve found useful.
Make use of wall space
Consider multi-functions furniture
Rethink the bathroom
Revamp your wardrobe – literally
Last but not least, throw away stuffs that you won’t be even touching in the next three months. If you are looking to free up more spaces in your house, contact us for some practical yet modern ideas.
A NEW 2016
Refreshing a new look for your house doesn’t always need a huge budget or a drastic renovation. Here are some simple tips to help you make a difference in 2016.
Donate those stuffs that you haven’t been using to somebody more in need. Consider the Humanitarian Organisation of Migrant Economics (HOME) to help migrant workers in Singapore whom have been the victims of human trafficking or forced labour. Or, simply head down to the Salvation Army to help support the underprivileged.
GET A NEW COLOUR
A professional painting job can range between S$1300 to S$1800 for a 4-bedroom flat, depending on its complexity. If you have sufficient knowledge of painting, you can consider Do-It-Yourself but do take precautious to avoid peeling paint. Tips: You don’t necessary have to re-paint the whole room to have a change!
U GOTTA MOVE IT
Re-arrange your furniture around and you will be amazed at the difference it makes. If not, it gives you a good opportunity to vacuum those hard to reach area and start preparing for Chinese New Year. Tips: Start by a simple layout sketch unless you wanna work your muscles.
Pack all those books, magazines or comic books that you are never going to read again and sell them off at carousell. Throw away empty boxes or expired products that have been hiding at one of the dark corners. Psychologically, packing up a room can help a person de-stress!
Re-purpose an old frame and make it a centrepiece. Or, simply throw in some bright coloured pillows or cushions. Consider placing mirrors to make your room brighter feels bigger. Sometimes, changing a new light might just do the trick!
Image credit - Corbis
2015 AND BEYOND
There’s a saying, “If you want to know how well the country economy is doing, look at the number of constructions happening”. To certain extend, the construction industry plays an important role in the economic growth in addition to its contribution to the country’s GDP.
Government stimulates the economy to achieve economic growth. In order to support the increased economic activity, there’s a need for corresponding increase in the provision of roads, buildings, housing and other infrastructure. Firms depend on the performance of built infrastructure to remain competitive; investors consider the quality of built infrastructure to consider location decisions; our workforce availability and productivity depends on the efficiency of our built infrastructure. In another words, through its impact on the national socio-economic development, construction plays a crucial role to promote sustainable growth and development.
In January this year, Building and Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA) released its review for construction demand for 2015 onwards. 2014 has been the record-breaking year with contracts for the MRT lines and Changi Airport development. BCA forecast that construction demand is expected to stay between S$27 billion to S$36 billion in 2016 to 2017*—with 60% generating from building projects and 40% from civil engineering projects. These are great news for construction industry.
In order to sustain the growth, it is also important that companies invest in the right talent to ensure the construction sector continues to positively serve the nation. The nation’s growth is in the hands of people—skilled labours who build the foundation of the built infrastructure to professional engineers making crucial decisions.
Buildings, around the world, emit one of the highest percentage of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). BCA’s Green Mark scheme has urge for a greener building that optimise energy performance and is healthy for its residents—all for a sustainable future.
The construction industry plays many important roles—economic growth, sustainable environment, health of the nation, and employment. Will 2016 be a year where construction industry starts to evolve?
*Source: Building and Construction Authority of Singapore, 2015; Public Sector projects to sustain construction demand in 2015
THE LIFE & DEATH OF PAINTS
Paint is used for several purposes in construction—aesthetic, weather protection, and waterproofing or increase durability. Painting can be done on the interior or exterior wall surface and the durability varies based on various factors.
The exterior walls of buildings are constantly exposed to long hours of sunlight, change in weather and moisture level. These produce free radicals in the paint film. Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons, which in pairing cause damage to other molecules. If left ignored, the protective properties of the paint will soon wears off, leaving the exterior surface expose to damages. The first sign of deterioration is the change in appearance—colour, gloss or chalking.
Cracking or flaking paint is one of the most common problems of interior wall paints. The inability of the paint film to cope with the heat and mass exchange between the air and walls is one of the main reasons why paint crack. Leaks in the wall can also pose a huge problem! A good paint job should last for 8-10 years.
When it comes to paints, it may be wiser to invest in better quality paint as the binder, pigment or formulations does determine the lifespan and durability of the paint. Maintain and repair at the first sign of deterioration before the problem gets out of hand. If you are unsure, always check with the professionals.
THE BOOTS' JOB
Before the evolution of safety boots, there’s wooden boots also known as sabots. Wooden boots were widely worn during the early industrial evolution and workers on strike will throw their sabots to stop factories productions. That’s how the word “sabotage” was created.
Before the 1930s, no companies care about workplace safety. Not until the liability cost claimed against the companies skyrocketed did they put in place safety measures. Steel-toed boots, invented in Germany, were introduced. Reinforced by a steel plate, the steel-toed boots are also puncture resistant to guard your feet against rolling and falling objects.
Today, safety boots now comes with various designs and colours. But it’s still important to find the right safety toe shoes based on your industrial needs. Here are a few tips in picking the right boots for you or your workers.
Safety: What kind of hazards will the job face? Do you need a electrical resistant boots or something that can protect against compression?
Durability: The worst thing that can happen is when your boots falls apart in the middle of a job. Search for one that can offers the best value and lifespan.
Waterproof: Some jobs may require boots that can protects the feet from getting wet—especially if you only have that one pair of boots to wear.
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT CEMENT?
Cement is a fine, powdery substance that is made from a mixture of elements that are found in natural materials such as limestone, clay, sand or shale. And there are many types of cement with different composition to serve different purpose. Here's some of them.
TO PURIFY OR NOT TO
Not all air purifiers work the same! Make sure you know how these technologies work before buying the right purifier that suit your needs. Currently there are five most common types of air purifiers available in the market:
High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter can trap at least 99.97% of all particles that are larger tan 0.3 microns. HEPA air purifier filters most air-borne particles such as chemicals, bacteria and viruses. Activated carbon based material is also added in the filter to absorb odours and chemicals.
Activated Carbon Technology
Originally used as water purifier, the molecular sized pores of the activated carbon filter were discovered to have high absorbent ability and chemical bonding. They are effective in absorbing pollutants such as chemical emissions, gases, smoke and odours.
Negative ion air purifier attempts to clean the air with negative ion to magnetically attract airborne particles. But the purifier does not clean the air, instead these newly-formed particles attached themselves to the wall or other surfaces and get circulated into the air again when positive or negative charge become loose.
A UV air purifier is effective in killing viruses and bacteria through the use of UV rays. However, because of its inability to filter airborne particles, UV technology is often used together with a filter system such as HEPA or activated carbon.
An ozone air purifier produces gas ozone to control air pollution. However, ozone does not remove particles and most purifiers include negative ion technology to mask the air. There has yet to be studies confirming that ozone air purifier is safe and effective in indoor air cleaning.
Knowing the technologies may not give you enough reason to buy one and in fact many people use air purifiers only during hazy conditions. But clean air is essential for every day living because environmental pollutants create free radicals and are harmful to your health. Think you are in a clean environment? Look around. The gases emitted from motorcars, industrials, smoking and someone coughing down the next house etc are lurking in every household. Remember, the health of your family is in your hands.