Goodman Birtcher, the North American subsidiary of the Australian ‘Goodman Group,’ has decided to put down roots in none other than New Jersey (Linden, specifically). Located just 20 miles from downtown Manhattan the company will be in an ideal location to exercise its’ expertise in global property, logistics and business space while also redeveloping an area that had previously been an eyesore for residents and providing the city with a financial spark. Read more
Have you been down to your crawl space lately? No? It’s alright neither have we. In fact, we’re pretty much sure nobody goes down to their crawl spaces anymore. Why? Because it’s creepy. They’re filled with dead mice, birds, squirrels, bees and the Ghosts of Christmas Past. In other words, it looks like the scene of a murder; not exactly where you want to have your cup of afternoon tea (or more practically store your belongings).
The Need for Insulation Contractors
Since crawlspaces are so often ignored they can become breeding grounds for things that could negatively affect your living situation as temperatures continue to climb. It’s no secret that warm air rises but when that air is rising from the urine and mold infested underbelly of your home there are certain problems that may arise. For starters, mold spores and moisture will accompany the rising air into the main portion of your home. Toxic spores will thrive and reproduce triggering allergies and putting those with asthma, and other respiratory problems, at greater risk.
One New Jersey firm has set its’ contractors to work in an effort to effectively clean crawl spaces and remove any hazardous material from your home. Eastern insulation NJ contractors at AttiCare, an insulation contractors NJ company, just recently announced a new method in cleaning crawlspaces that should make for a cleaner and safer environment.
While they mostly specialize in insulating and maintaining attics, AttiCare has expanded their business to cover crawl spaces as well. Perhaps the most important part of their process is to check the air cuts and insulation in your home. Insulation keeps your house warm, but it can also serve as the perfect home for your not-so-friendly neighborhood rat and air ducts, if improperly maintained, can lead to higher energy bills and respiratory problems.
Consider Hiring Insulation Contractors to Clean your Crawl Space if:
(1) You smell mold
(2) You notice insulation has been displaced, nibbled or fouled
(3) Vents are improperly placed (or blocked entirely)
(4) Your crawlspace smells like something died
(5) If your crawlspace looks like any of the crawlspaces depicted in these images
When people think about the impact of a superstorm or a hurricane they typically think about the damage inflicted upon people’s homes as well as their communities. They think about rebuilding and creating a new hope. What they don’t consider is all of the rubble (left behind by the storm) that must be cleared away before contractors can even think about setting foundations and paving new roads. It’s not a particularly fun job but it’s a necessary one if the community is ever to regain some semblance of normalcy.
After major tragedies there are plenty of stories of contractors doing the right thing (and sometimes going above and beyond that) to help those in need yet (like every profession), there are those who will abuse their position in order to gain either political leverage or some form of illicit cash flow. That’s exactly what happened in Belmar, New Jersey as federal auditors have recently questioned over $500,000 in Hurricane Sandy debris removal costs, which apparently stem from a suspicious relationship between two firms and a local politician.
Matthew Doherty, the mayor of Belmar, has recently come under increased scrutiny from the federal government. Auditors from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General found that both J.H. Reid of South Plainfield and Ferreira Construction of Branchburg (who both have relations to Mr. Doherty’s wife) accounted for over half of the town’s debris removal costs (roughly $1.6 million dollars in all).
Doherty claims that the costs were substantially higher than they should have been as they were awarded on an emergency basis. Though the costs may have been higher it is not immediately apparent why the federal government has become involved. But, look a little closer at the report and it becomes much clearer. The town of Belmar wants the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to cover $285,000 in markups. A price Inspector General has refused to accept on the condition that the firms used a cost-plus-percentage-of-cost method of billing which does not adhere to federal regulations.
Using that method of billing and the relationship to Mr. Doherty’s wife both firms were able to charge a sum that was substantially higher than the norm. With superstorms and hurricanes frequenting the East coast more often towns and local governments should take care to come up with a reasonable plan of action for debris removal that will increase the incentive for contractors to control costs and hopefully result in a much smoother phase of redevelopment. With debris still littered across the tri-state area keep your eyes open for those who may be misusing their power when it comes to clean-up. We would much rather have good contractors such as yourself rebuilding neighborhoods instead of those who may do more harm than good. Happy building!
Across the country, construction defect litigation is taking a toll on contractors and on their insurance companies. These types of claims are most prevalent in residential construction projects, especially when the completed unit is owned by an individual as opposed to a business. For that reason, many insurance companies, particularly non-admitted insurance companies, add residential exclusions to their Commercial General Liability and Umbrella/Excess Liability policies.
Winter is not the optimal time to be pouring concrete, but sometimes a job can’t wait for the weather to warm up. There are a number of problems that can arise when pouring concrete in cold weather. Two of the biggest problems that occur when pouring concrete in cold weather are that the concrete may freeze before it becomes strong enough, and that it sets much less quickly when it’s cold.
At temperatures below 50°F, the setting process is very slow, but below 40°F the concrete essentially stops strengthening because of the effects of the cold on the hydration reaction. Bear in mind that these temperatures are that of the actual concrete, not the air, so it’s most important to take great care in protecting the concrete before it can handle being exposed to the cold air temperatures.
A rule of thumb is that once the concrete has strengthened to about 500 psi, it’ll set just fine. Once the concrete has gained enough strength to measure 500 psi, the cement has absorbed enough of the water in the concrete mix through hydration that there isn’t enough water left in the pores to cause damage to the concrete if it were to begin to freeze. There are two things that contractors can do in cold weather to help their concrete reach 500 psi: change the mix so that it will set more quickly or protect the concrete from the cold. Usually both measures are required.
Some changes you could make to concrete in cold weather include:
Hot water: the producer of your ready mixed concrete will usually use hot water when it’s cold outside. When concrete leaves the plant during winter months, most producers try to have it measure at least 65°F, which is usually sufficient for work being done.
Accelerators: As we mentioned, cold weather slows the setting of the concrete, so when pouring concrete in cold weather, you can expect delayed set times. In order to keep your job on schedule, you can add calcium chloride to accelerate the hydration reaction. Determine the weight of your cement, and add 2% of that amount in calcium chloride. This method is not only very effective, but is also fairly inexpensive. HOWEVER, if you’re planning to embed steel into the concrete, like rebar, adding that much chloride could potentially lead to corrosion. It can also result in a mottled surface appearance in colored concrete.
Next time, we’ll continue looking at changes you can make to the mixtures when pouring concrete in cold weather, and also at how to protect the poured concrete while it sets!