Friday, August 30, 2013

Review of the TracRac system

TracRac truck rack system

When I bought my new truck last year I had a new track system installed on it. In construction we go through trucks about every 5 years and every time I buy a new truck I sell the old truck with the rack system on it.

For the last couple of trucks we have been putting the TracRac system on it and have been extremely satisfied with the results. They were made out of a heavy duty aluminum that had a high quality and seemed to stand up well to the abuse that we as a custom home building company put them through. Everything from ladders to lumber gets strapped on top of our TracRac system.

So with that in mind I bought and had installed a new TracRac system from my local dealer who I have bought several other TracRac systems in the past. The system was completely different than any TracRac system I had before. The rails that attached to the top of the sidewalls of the truck where the same, other then that the entire system looked different. It looked lighter and slimmer.

I always buy the heavy duty rack system, the system that is rated to carry the most weight, this is so that I know that I’m not overloading it. For years track rack has had optional side rails that run from the back posts to the front posts and create an overhang over the cab of the truck. This creates a hanging canopy over the front cab of the truck allowing you to carry longer lengths of lumber and ladders without the fear of them bouncing on the roof of the truck every time you hit a bump. These side rails I found out are no longer available on this new system. In its place there is a hanging canopy that looks heavily built and hangs off the front supports only to give you the coverage over the cab.

The system when originally installed worked well with me being able to slide the back rack forward to the front of the box near the cab. This allowed me to put larger things that were to tall to fit under the back bar into the bed of the truck.

After a couple of months I started to notice that the rack seems to have a lot of movement in it. I took it back to the dealer and he tightened up some screws on it. This helped for a couple of months.

I ended up having to start taking the whole rack system apart and tighten all the bolts every 6 months. This process took me about 1.5 hours every time I did it.

At the one year mark the back feet on the system broke and I was able to get dealer to replace them under warranty.

The cantilever system that hangs over the cab became so loose that it started bouncing off the roof of the cab taking the paint off. My tightening of the entire system every 6 months became the tightening of the roof canopy every 3 months.  There was so much damage to the top of my cab that rust was starting to show because of the amount of paint that had been scraped off. I had to tighten it so often that I stopped putting things on the racks that were long for fear of the damage it was causing to the roof of the cab. After tightening it three times in 9 months I simply removed it completely and threw it away. This left me with a simplified TracRac system with no canopy, limiting what I could carry.

After 1.5 years of owning the TracRac system I have now come to the conclusion that it has to come off the truck. The bolts that hold the racks together have sheered and the system isn’t safe to have on the truck anymore. I was forced to take it off and throw it away. The interior bolts that hold the top rails to the vertical posts are cheap aluminum and do not tighten well, because they are cheap aluminum and they come loose the bolts end up shearing off just from normal bumping around while your driving without any kind of load on top of them.

As the Operations Manager I don't put a lot on top of my truck anymore, the rack maybe gets used twice a week, the previous TracRac systems I had used to get used everyday all day and after 5 years they where as strong as the day they where installed.

I am now looking around for a new rack system to install on my truck as I will never go back to TracRac.
Basically TracRac took a good product, cheapened it to the point where it no longer works for construction.

I would recommend that if you are in the market for a rack system for your trucks stay away from TracRac, the product is cheap and poorly designed.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back to school organizing tips for your bathroom

Back to school means back to shared bathrooms for most of us.

A good designed bathroom with proper storage can help those hectic rushed mornings flow smoother.

A cabinet with drawers is a great start but cabinet organizer inserts are key for all those small accessories. Buy pretty little bins or decorate old shoe boxes with your left over wrapping paper.

If you still have an overflow of daily items use your vertical wall space. A towel rack is a practical and an effortless way to add colour, while freeing up space for more important things.

Mount hooks on the back of doors for wet towels or housecoats. Place a medicine cabinet over the toilet or behind the mirror above the sink.

Use shampoo, conditioner and soap dispensers to eliminate clutter around the bathtub.

Hope these simple tips help to bring order to your bathroom.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Trends in custom home decks 2013

2013- Decks and porches of Custom Homes

Here are some trends in the Decks and porches of custom homes in 2013. Some of the trends have started this year (2013), a lot of trends where started in the 2012 construction year and continued into this calendar year. There are trends that have been sustained year over year as well; they are the long running trends.

Decks and Porches of Custom homes

Here is a list of the trends that have stayed the same over the last several years;

The structures that hold up decks and porches are still mostly made of pressure treated wood. It is still the most cost effective way to build the frame of a deck and have it last a long time.

The moving away from natural wood for the top of the deck continues. The past most decks where pressure treated or cedar. Today homeowners are willing to pay extra for something that has the chance to last the lifetime that they own their home.

Glass railings to increase the view from elevated porches and decks is now more common then wood railings when views are being considered.

Outdoor spaces have become more important than they ever where before, they are now gathering
areas for family and friends and thus are designed to do more things than ever before. Such as dining areas and lounging areas.

Here is a list of the trends that have started this year and are growing in popularity;

One of the newest thing going on decks is torrefied wood. This is natural wood like pine or spruce that has been heated and pressurized until the cells in the wood collapse. This process leaves the wood with almost zero moisture and because the cells have collapsed there is no way for it to reabsorb more moisture when installed outside.

Composite decking has been installed in almost records amounts. This is because the new composite decking is light years beyond the stuff that was first sold decades ago. The variety in color and the durability has made it extremely attractive to homeowners.

Wrapping the top of wood joists with waterproofing membrane. This creates what we call the “100 year deck joist”, the process waterproofs the top of joist where the fastener penetrates the joist from the topping but allows the bottom of the joist to dry with air movement.

The decking railings have changed as well. One of the hottest things today is using rot iron railings instead of wood. The sturdy metal can be created in a pattern you desire. It can also be painted any colour that you want.

LED lighting in the post caps and the decking are popping everywhere. This helps illuminate steps, deck edges and railing tops.

Custom decks have more and more choices every year and the trends seem to be changing about as fast as the materials that they are being built from. The cost of a lot of these trends is high but the longevity that you will get out of most of these new products is impressive.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Renovating a 20 year old home

Renovating a 20 year old home

In North America that is an abundance of homes that were built in the late 1980’s into the early 1990’s, those houses were the last great building boom. Those 20 plus year old homes are the predominant home that is now coming up for re-sale in the real estate market today.

Search through the real estate websites at all the homes no matter what the price and what you will find is that more than half and sometimes almost all of the homes listed today are from that time period.

There are a lot of factors that are going into the reason that all of these era homes are for sale. The homes have served their purpose for the people (they raised families in them), the home is too small for them, the home is too big for them and the most common one is that the home is 20 years old and requires a lot of updating. A lot of people don’t have the money, time or the energy to do it.

When you are looking at buying one of these homes there are certain things that you are going to have to realize. The home will need to be renovated, it will need to be renovated even if it has been renovated in the past already. There are many factors that go into having to renovate these homes from outdated heating systems, more modern efficient technology to homeowner abuse and down to just plain wear and tear for two decades.

The major things that usually need to be fixed in 20 year homes are as follows, they are also the big mess big ticket items that you have to do right away or they will end up costing  you a lot of money and headache down the road;

Heating system. Depending when your home was built and who built it the home might still be on baseboard heat. You will need to install a furnace, if the home has a furnace you will probably want to look into installing a newer more energy efficient one.

The roofing. Most houses of that vintage have the same shingled roofs that were installed originally on them. This will need to be replaced or you could end up with major water and mold problems in the future.

Foundation waterproofing. All of the houses built 20 years ago had tarred foundations. This is not considered waterproofing at all. It is considered damp proofing. Tar sprayed foundations over the years dry out, while they dry they let more and more moisture seep into the foundation. Your basement will end up damp and possibly flooded. You will need to dig around the entire house and waterproof it. This is a lot of work and a big expense. Some houses that are built well out of the ground in dryer locations don’t require re-waterproofing, but if you plan to stay in the house for 10 years every year the odds of needing it go up.

Windows. A lot of the windows installed in that era where make of wood. Homes routinely didn’t have air conditioning and if they did it wasn’t used all the time, this had people leaving their windows open all summer. The wood over the decades absorbs water and slowly rots the windows. Window replacement is not that expensive but is a big job and can be intrusive.

Other things that will need to be updated are the complete renovating of bathrooms and the kitchen. These are more cosmetic fixes and a lot of the houses can be found with these renovations already completed.

When inspecting a 20 year home if the major fixes have not been accomplished then you should be adding those costs into your budget for the home.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

When building a custom home there are 20 to 30 different sub-contractors that are required

When building a custom home there are 20 to 30 sub-trades needed.

If you are thinking about building a custom home and you believe that you will be able to general contract (or over see) the job yourself maybe you should think again.

If you have a job that you work at full time then there is almost no way that you can general the constructing of your custom home yourself. It can be a full time job being the homeowner and having to make all the decisions that you will be asked to make without having to actually deal with the constructing of the building.

An average custom home takes 20 to 30 sub-contractors working on it to make it come to life. That means that you would be dealing with 20 to 30 small to medium sized companies to have your home constructed.

Here is a list of things that you would have to do with these 20 to 30 companies as the acting general contractor of your own home:

Schedule 20 to 30 companies in an order that doesn’t waste time because time is money.

Receive 20 to 30 different bills.

Pay 20 to 30 different bills at anyone time with each company asking for different payments schedules and offering varying lengths of time to pay.

Quality control of 20 to 30 companies.

Find all the relevant contractors that you will need well before you need them.

Find and choose 20 to 30 companies out of the potentially thousands of construction trade companies.

Answer in a timely manner all of their questions. You must be available all the time during normal business hours. That doesn’t mean available on your cell phone, that means that you have to be physically available to answer questions and show companies where you want things and where you don’t want things.

Schedule all of their inspections and meet the inspectors for the Municipality and Province.

Guarantee all of their safety and that their practices of work on your site are safe. If someone was to get hurt on your construction site then you as the homeowner are the first person they will blame and ask to see your health and safety policy and procedures. As the general contractor under new labour laws (even if you are the homeowner) it is your duty to do everything in your power to keep all workers on your site safe at all times.

Find all the relevant materials that the sub-trades will need.

Site cleanliness falls on you. Any garbage or debris left behind is your responsibility to have cleaned up and removed before it becomes a problem.

Order all materials and have it delivered to the site in a timely manner.

Insure that the individual companies talk to each other onsite so that mistakes aren’t made and things aren’t done twice.

You have to chase the 30 different companies for warranty if and when you require it.

These are just some of the things that you will have to deal with when you try and general contract the construction of your own custom home. The management fee that a quality and experienced general contractor will charge you usually works out to be less than the mistakes that you make and the time that you are forced to take off work to deal with problems and the scheduling of the trades. This doesn’t even take into consideration the mental and physical toil that the calendar year or more it will take you to have your custom home completed.

Stick to what you are good at and let the professional contractors handle the erecting of your home.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What is Thermal Mass and how does it affect the heating and cooling of my home?


What is Thermal Mass and how does it affect the heating and cooling of my home?

Thermal mass describes how certain building materials can help flatten out temperature swings. Masonry is probably the best example. If you're adding a bank of south facing windows to your home, a thick tile or brick floor next to the windows will soak up solar energy during the daytime, helping to keep the house from becoming overheated. At night, it will let that heat out slowly, helping reduce the load on the furnace or boiler.

When contractors talk about the thermal mass of concrete they are talking about its ability to hold and store heat and radiate it back out. In walls like ICF or Insulated Concrete Forms even though the wall performs at an extremely high level because of its thermal mass it has a lower R rating based on the foam that is attached to it. These walls have less R value than conventional stick framed walls but have a much greater thermal mass. So when you are building with a product like ICF you are building a wall that out performs it's R value rating.

When buildings are being designed a lot of time and effort is put into the R value of the walls and ceilings. Little to no planning is placed on the thermal mass of the exterior walls. People will spend thousands of dollars upgrading the R value in their new home and never consider that upping the thermal mass of the outside walls will do the same thing for sometimes less money.

In short thermal mass will have a more dramatic affect on your heating and cooling costs, more of a dramatic affect then the level of R value in the home.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Interior hot tub rooms


In our new house we are having the hot tub inside the house, should we heat the room?


In a new home depending on where you are putting the hot tub you definitely need to heat the room that it is going in.

Most people when they design a room with a hot tub in it also put in large opening windows or doors so that you get the feeling of being outside but the convenience of having the tub out of the weather. When you do this you need to take special care of how the room is designed and how it is suppose to function.

There is a reason that you have to really think about the way that the room is going to function, a new home is designed so that it is basically a tightly sealed envelope where as little air as possible is allowed to enter the home without being heated or cooled. This means that a hot tub room is the opposite, it is designed so that the air from outside can freely enter the room and exchange the interior air of the room.

With that in mind there are a couple of things that you are going to need to do;

The walls of the hot tub room that are interior walls need to be treated as exterior walls. They should be insulated and have vapour barrier on them just as if they were outside walls themselves.

The ceiling of this room if it has livable space above should get the same treatment as the exterior walls. Preferably it should be insulated with spray foam, actually if you can get away with spray foaming all the walls then you can limit your problems immediately and efficiently.

The room should have a drain in the floor so that any over splash from people entering or exiting the tub or when you are draining the tub the water has somewhere to go. This is a lot safer than trying to attach a long garden hose and running it out a door or window. If the hot tub room is in the basement then you can have your contractor slope the floor near the hot tub to the drain, if the hot tub is on a floor that is on a wood floor then you need to take steps to create a waterproof base. You need that base to stop water from ending up in the floors below or damaging the ceiling.

You need a water supply. Hot tubs require you to add water from time to time, the best way to do that is to add an exterior hose bib, the same ones that you would use to connect your garden hoses. They are frost free so leaving the windows or door open when it’s cold outside shouldn’t hurt it. Having an interior shut-off in the warm part of the house will help make sure there is no freezing of pipes also.

Make sure that your contractor knows the power requirements for the hot tub. Some larger hot tubs require larger wiring to be run to them as the main feed coming from the hydro panel.

If your hot tub is to sit anywhere other than the basement then you should make sure that your contractor knows the size and the amount of water that it can hold. Your contractor needs to make sure that the floor joists are beefed up enough to hold the extra weight.  Hot tubs when full of water weigh thousands of pounds and that doesn’t include the up to 8 fully grown people that can be in them at any one time.

If the hot tub is in the basement, then the basement floor should be at least 4 to 5 inches thick. A lot of concrete floors are poured in new houses at 3 inches. Without any extra rebar installed in the concrete you run the risk of having the concrete crack because of the heavy load the hot tub will place on it.

You should have some heating in the room, this is so that it is more comfortable for you to be in the room before and after you use the hot tub. Heating the room can be tricky. You shouldn’t heat the room with the same furnace that heats the rest of the house. The smell of the hot tub can be drawn back into the house through the ductwork and the opening of doors leading to the room. If you only add heat through ductwork then you end up pressurizing the room, every time you open the door to the room it will allow that air to enter the rest of the house. Most hot tubs need chemicals such as chlorine to keep them clean, that is a smell that you don’t want in the rest of your home. A simple thing to do is to add an exhaust fan, the fan would exhaust air outside, this way the room would always be drawing air to it instead of pushing air out any opened doors.
If you have the ability the best way to heat the room is with in-floor heating. Other alternatives are to use electric heaters installed on the walls of the room.

Make sure that you make the room big enough that you can have seating in the room; this will allow you to towel off or remove your shoes instead of doing it in another part of the house.

If you lower the middle of the room so that the hot tub can sit at a lower level then the floor that you walk in on. This will allow you to enter and exit the tub easier and it also helps with the view as you are at a lower angle giving you more glass and sky to enjoy.

You should plan to have a bathroom next to the hot tub room. This bathroom should have a shower in it so that people are able to wash the chlorine off without tracking it through the entire house.

Proper planning is the only way specialty rooms like an interior hot tub room will function properly. The more thought that you and your contractor put into it the better it will turn out.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Is your renovation contractor clean enough for you?

Is your renovation contractor clean enough for you?

In the movies you see the contractor who shows up and destroys the home, there’s holes in every wall, it’s pandemonium. Everything is covered in dust and dirt and there are workmen walking around everywhere ruining the floors. By the end of the movie the house looks perfect and everyone is happy.

Well in the real world, when the contractor acts like that, it doesn’t turn out very well, actually it turns out rather badly for everyone involved.

If you hire the right contractor then the following is what your home during the renovation should look like;

Site meetings with the homeowner and the principles that are doing the actual work so that everyone knows where they are not to go and what they are not to touch.

Plastic installed over doorways to minimize dust from drifting into non construction areas. If it is a high traffic door zippers can be installed to make access easier.

Furnace vents and cold air returns sealed with tape and plastic.

Either removing of all furniture from the construction area or the draping and tarping of all furniture.

Rooms designated as clean rooms where personnel items of the homeowner will be stored.

Craft paper or other floor protection installed on all carpets, tile and hardwood flooring to protect from damage.

Debris bin on site so that construction waste is not piled on the lawn.

A clean up is completed at the end of every work day to minimize the chance of dust entering other parts of the home.

Garage pails or debris boxes placed on the floor so that waste is thrown into some instead of on the floor.

If scaffolding or major demolition must occur on hardwood floors plywood is installed to protect it from impact damage.

If you are going to live in your home while the renovation is proceeding then you and your contractor should be coming up with a plan to do the renovation in stages that will allow you to still have access to the washrooms and bedrooms. This can be easily accomplished with construction of certain parts of the home first and other parts near the end of the project.

In an extensive renovation to minimize cost sometimes you as the homeowner have to find a place to stay that isn’t there to allow the contractor to do their work efficiently and to also keep you safe.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

What is Green Construction?

What is Green, Anyway?

Sustainable construction is nothing mysterious. Its most important aspects are some of the same things that define a quality remodeling contractor.

Green, or sustainable, remodeling is more popular and more affordable than ever. Last year, for instance, a nationwide McGraw Hill study of builders and remodelers projected that 65 percent of remodeling projects will have a "green" element this year, with that number increasing to 77 percent in over the next three years.

The same study also found that the price tag is coming down: going green adds an average of just 7% in cost to a project, compared to 11% six years previously.

Part of the reason for this growth is that there's more widespread agreement on what makes a project truly sustainable. It turns out that you don't need organic concrete or a $40,000 solar electric roof array. The most important qualities of sustainable construction – those that offer the most positive environmental impact – are the same qualities most people look for in a new car: low maintenance and maximum efficiency.

Achieving this isn't brain surgery; instead, it's a matter of good, basic design and detailing. The areas that provide the biggest bang for the buck are design, materials choice, good management, durability, and the efficient use of water and energy.

Thoughtful Design: A thoughtfully designed project uses the floor plan in a very efficient way, with elements such as cleverly designed spaces that serve multiple purposes. It's also efficient to heat and cool. For example South-facing glass helps reduce heating and lighting bills by bringing ample daylight and solar energy into the home.

Wise Materials Choice: Seemingly every manufacturer wants to label its products as green, but look for third party verification from a reputable organization – GreenGuard, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), or ENERGY STAR, for example. Also consider maintenance; for instance a decking product that has to be refinished every year may use materials over time that are potentially harmful to the environment and require time, energy and dollars to maintain.

Minimal Waste: In some parts of the country, 40% of landfill volume is from construction and demolition debris. Much of this can be avoided. A well-managed project minimizes the amount of waste sent to the landfill, and saves you money in the process.

Long-Term Durability: This is a huge part of sustainability: a project that can stand for years without the need for rebuilding or repairing will use fewer resources over time. When it comes to durability, Job Number 1 is keeping water out of the structure. That's why, when doing exterior work on your home, we make sure our crews understand proper flashing details, use quality building wrap beneath the siding, carefully seal penetrations like plumbing vents, and inspect everything before installing the siding.

Water Efficiency: Reducing water bills is easier than ever. For instance today's WaterSense rated plumbing fixtures are rated for water savings as well as performance. That means a quality low-flow showerhead can now deliver the same experience as the old full-flow models.

Energy Efficiency: The most oft-cited benefit of green construction is the promise of energy savings (the equivalent of higher gas mileage). But while homes have gotten more efficient on paper, many aren't performing better than the average home built a decade ago.

The key to getting high performance is to hire a remodeling contractor who pays attention to detail. For instance, thicker insulation will only deliver its benefits if properly installed. The contractor has to make sure that there are no gaps in the insulation, that it fills the entire cavity and the surrounding structure is properly sealed against drafts.

None of these systems and strategies is very sexy, but good design and detailing have a big payoff: a home that's more efficient, more durable, and less costly to run. And of course it's also a more pleasant place to live.

Warm Regards,

Doug Abbott
Village Builders

This is an excerpt from a newsletter that is distributed to all former, current and future clients of Village Builders Inc.  If you would like to receive this newsletter feel free to email me at

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc

Friday, August 9, 2013

Moen plumbing fixtures-lasting a lifetime


If you are looking around for plumbing fixtures and you are on a fairly tight budget look no further then Moen.

Moen makes plumbing fixtures that look stylish and last a life time. Moen has such a good reputation that if you ask any plumber what they think of Moen, they will tell you that they would rather only put in Moen valves.

Moen valves are the most trusted valve in the market. They last a life time and if and when they do fail they are easy to repair with you usually only having to replace the cartridge in the valve. This means that’s you wouldn’t have to go out and buy a new valve, tear the wall apart and re-plumb it. A licensed plumber is all that you need and he can do it an about an hour.

Moen makes there fixtures in all the normal finishes; chrome, brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze and brass.

There are other specialty colours for certain items but these are the industry norms.

Moen fixtures are usually easy to get and always in stock, there usually isn’t any special ordering involved.

You can find Moen in any plumbing supply place and big box store in North America.

Any add on parts, replacement parts or quick fixes are found at every little hardware store in North America.

Moen makes a wide variety of plumbing fixtures for every different style and taste. They are a plumbing fixture company and do not make fibreglass showers, tubs or toilets.

When you are shopping for new plumbing fixtures don’t pass the Moen’s display without taking a close look.
You will be surprised at the fit and finish on their new line of plumbing fixtures and the modern styling they are making.

Moen truly is a valve you buy once and have for life.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How do you strengthen an existing foundation for an addition?


How do you strengthen an existing foundation for an addition?


There are a variety of methods and materials to structurally upgrade crawlspace and full basement foundations to carry the weight of a second-story addition. Some simply require more piers and additional floor beams or joists; others may need to be retrofitted with shear walls in the corners. It's not easy (or inexpensive) work, but it rarely can’t be done.

It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish, to have your plans approved by the local building department and be granted a permit for the addition they will have to be reviewed and approved by an engineer. The engineer will be able to tell you everywhere you need footings, pads, re-enforcing of existing walls and load barring posts.

The engineer will spec the sizes and placement of all things listed above. Your contractor will be able to price you the cost of all that off of the drawings.

It is very dangerous to try and do this yourself, especially when it is holding up a central part of the home. More than a few people have been injured or killed trying to re-enforce foundations with a house above them and a collapse happens.

There are other things you need to consider when doing an addition to a home, you have to re-mediate the weepers system and waterproofing not just the new addition but also the tie-in between the old and new building.

Spend the money on an engineer and you will be guaranteed to have a well re-enforced foundation no matter what the size or scale of the addition will be.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Safety Tip - Proper safety training for employee’s

Safety Tip

The construction industry has changed with the manner they work and in the way that they accomplish the erecting of buildings. Along with the new methods and equipment have come new and advanced safety regulations. In the modern age of construction safety comes before all else when building a custom home.

Proper safety training for employee’s

Training your employee’s is the first line of defence when it comes to minimizing the risks of injuries at the work place.

A properly trained employee has less of a chance of hurting themselves or someone around them.
What construction companies have come to realize is that injuries cost money to everyone involved. The employee that has to go through the injury, the company that has to pay the employee while they are hurt and having their insurance and WSIB rates go up.

Every year employee’s are mandated by the government to have specific training completed depending on the work they are performing.

That’s not the only thing; once you have been trained on some piece of safety equipment that employee should be given an update on that procedure on a yearly basis.

Here is a list of some of the common training courses that are given to construction workers;

Fall arrest
Aerial man-lift
Crane directions
Cutting and grinding tool safe operation
First Aid
Propane storage and use
Flammable liquid storage
Confined space
Working near water
Working near open excavations
Heavy Equipment training
Proper truck driving and backing up procedures
Air tool safety and handling
Proper back care when lifting
Eye protection
Hearing protection
Proper ventilation in construction areas

A lot of the courses listed above you can find government regulated courses or common courses put on by large tool rental companies, there are some on that list that you cannot find and have to give yourself to your employee's. Some safety training only requires a competent person to give the course and not someone that has been certified by a regulating body. This is important to know because it can save you time and money when you give the courses yourself.

A properly trained employee will help keep themselves safe and everyone around them. Nobody wins when someone gets hurt.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Should I request a low-VOC exterior paint?


Should I request a low-VOC exterior paint?

All top brand paint companies are now offering low VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) in their paint. These reformulated paints reduce VOC's which help protect our ozone layer. Interior paint and other interior finishes containing VOC's may pose a health hazard when occupants breathe VOC emissions.

If you stick to a higher quality of paint, they are usually all low VOC, professional painters usually only work with higher quality of paint because frankly it makes their job easier and their finishes nicer. If you ask your contractor or your painter for low VOC I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer you get is that they are already using it. It is a more expensive paint but it does apply better and more evenly to drywall allowing a painter to use less of the product.

The best thing to do is to consult your general contractor and let him look into it for you.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.