Precise Construction Remodeling solutions for a better way of life Tue, 18 Dec 2012 03:45:32 +0000 en hourly 1 What Do You Really Need a Permit For? Sun, 30 Jan 2011 23:45:42 +0000 admin Building Permits And Why You Need Them

If you’re looking to make significant, non-cosmetic (painting, plastering) changes to your home, you’ll need individual permits from your city housing board. Though permit requirements vary from city to city (and by the size and scope of your plan) generally you’ll need a permit for major structural or electrical projects. Here are some of the projects you really need a permit for, though you are still encouraged to double-check with your individual city board:

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Building a Fence. A fence less than six feet tall usually won’t require a permit in anywhere other than a city. If you share a fence with a neighbor and are planning on alterations, however, be prepared to get written consent from him/her before applying.

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Moving a Sink. If you’re moving around any plumbing in your bathroom — adding a tub, removing a shower, moving the sink to the other side of the room — then a permit is necessary. Repairing fixtures does not require permission from the city.

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Installing Electrical Wiring. If you want to run new wiring in your house (not just replace or repair old ones) then you’ll need a permit. These usually require at least two inspections (two for when you initially mount device boxes and cables, and one for when you connect switches, install circuit breakers, etc.)

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Making a Door/Window Opening. You’ll need a permit for this so that the city can prevent proposed openings through plumbing lines, electrical fixtures, or heating ducts. Additionally, the city will recommend certain measurements and thicknesses for the openings.

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Altering the Roof. Typically, if a heavier roof covering (like a tile roof) will be used to replace another one, or if rafters or trusses need to be replaced, a permit is required.

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Demolishing a Wall. A full demolition will require a permit, and the permit itself will necessitate several attached documents. You’ll need photographs of the area and written permission from the homeowner, among others.

Remember: Permits increase the amount of time you need to do the project, partly because of inspections and re-inspections. If you fail to start your work within a specified period of time, or otherwise abandon your project, then your permit will expire and you’ll have to re-apply. You can’t transfer a permit to another person once you get it (the name on the permit is the party responsible for the work) though, in the case of illegal work, fees and fines apply to both homeowner and contractor.

Illegal work typically involves more headache and stress than going about your project the legal way: All municipalities have their ways for discovering hidden illegal changes to your home, and the punishment is harsh. If you don’t have a permit for certain changes, some cities will force you to undo your work — and then force you to apply for a retroactive permit before starting over. Additionally insurance companies often will not cover damage done to or caused by work done without a permit — and it will make selling your house sometime in the future extremely difficult. Contact your local building board for up-to-date details about the housing codes in your city.

About the Author: Mitch Harris is a freelance writer for Lennar. Lennar Corporation is one of the nation’s leading builders of quality homes for all generations. Potential buyers can find a Woodland Texas home builder in Lennar as well as Minneapolis new homes for sale.


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Getting Your Home Ready For Winter Thu, 07 Oct 2010 22:17:04 +0000 admin Safety First.

Inside your home, the winter cold can be more hazardous than summer heat, because heating a home can be done in so many different (and potentially unsafe) ways; wood fireplace, gas fireplace, radiant heat, electric heat, oil or gas furnace, boiler, even leaving open an oven! Conversely, there are few ways to cool air temperature; you can either circulate the air, pump in cool air (air conditioning) or pull out warm air (heat pumps).

Turning on that furnace for the first time after months of inactivity is often a shock. It can literally be a shock to your heating system, or it might be a shocking experience when you get your first heating bill! But there are common sense things you can do to get your heating system ready for winter. And, take it from a technician who visits a variety of homes every day, most people do not adequately prepare their home for the peak winter months. Here is some advice to consider before the next big chill.

Service Experts highly recommends having a fire extinguisher next to your furnace, fireplace or heating system at all times, especially when turning on the system for the first time.

Turn your furnace on now.

Don’t wait until it’s freezing out to see if the system works normally. Do it now.

Got it switched on? Good. Now stop and immediately check your common senses:

1. Smell: Does it smell like something is burning? If so, first check to be sure there is not an actual fire or smoke coming from the heating system. If there is, turn the system off immediately (you have that fire extinguisher, right?) Put out any flames or get out. Call emergency fire services or 911.

If there’s not a fire, wait and see if the burning smell subsides. If not, this is a sign that the system needs to be tuned-up.

2. Listen: Does it sound like the system is struggling? Is the noise level or airflow excessive? This is also a sign that the furnace needs to be tuned-up.

3. Feel: Feel the ducts and walls. Is there vibration? If so, I recommend a Performance Inspection to identify the cause.

4. Look: Check your carbon monoxide detector’s readings. If the carbon monoxide alarm goes off or is above 30, turn the system off immediately and call for a furnace Performance Inspection. This is a sign that there could be a potentially hazardous condition. Open windows to air out the house and do not turn the heat on again until it is checked by a professionally qualified, NATE-certified heating technician. You may want to also exit the home until the reading falls below 30.

After you’ve tested your heating system and followed your common senses, you should have a pretty good idea if the system is working normally. By design, any appliance or equipment that heats up can be a potential danger, so always put safety first when it comes to your furnace. Checking your heating system early in the heating season not only helps you know if there are problems now or on the horizon, you can also beat the peak heating repair service rush, when heating repair companies are in high demand.

This article was provided by Service Experts. For more information, visit

Published in air quality

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Top Ten Remodeling Tips Thu, 09 Sep 2010 03:34:43 +0000 admin Remodeling Tips

Bathroom RemodelingRemodeling your home can be a great alternative to moving and building a new home. This is especially true in today’s real estate and financial markets. A well planned and executed remodeling project can significantly increase the value and comfort of your home. Having said that I wanted to share some remodeling tips that are sure to help make your next project a more successful one.

Realistic Budget

Before beginning any remodeling project it’s extremely important to identify a realistic budget. There’s no sense starting a major remodeling project if you can’t afford it. Be honest with yourself about how much you can afford and write down an actual budget. After you’ve done that then only allocate 90% of that money for the remodeling tasks and save 10% for a contingency.

Appraisal / Value

So you’ve decided that you can afford to install an Olympic size pool in your new addition but is that the best decision? Or you decide to install a slate roof on your home because you love re-creating historically accurate homes. The real question is are you remodeling to an extent that the real estate market will not bear based on location. If none of your neighbors have a slate roof or indoor pool it may be less likely that an appraisal will compensate you for those costs.


Now that you’ve come up with a budget and you’ve presumably come up with an idea of your remodeling needs it’s time to develop a design. This is a step that requires some time and planning. You SHOULD NOT RUSH the design. Take your time and make a list of needs and goals for your remodeling project. Once you’ve got a list of needs then you can do some research and come up with a design. Obviously if you’re going to undertake a substantial remodeling project then you may want to consider an architect or interior designer.

There are tons of great design books available from Amazon and your local library. Taking the time to at least start the design will likely save you money even if you hire a professional to finish the design. We have quite a few remodeling and design articles on; kitchen design, walk-in closet design, kitchen remodeling and a kids playroom design. There are also lots of great resources out there at links like: bathroom remodeling, kitchen remodeling and  kitchen cabinet refacing.

House RemodelingScope of Work

Once the work is finished create a detailed scope of work. You won’t be able to effectively sign a contract with a contractor without identifying the scope of work to be completed. The more detailed the scope of work the better your experience will be and fewer chances for conflict will arise.


Start with some realistic expectations about the remodeling projects schedule. Most projects are not accomplished in a weeks time like Extreme Make Over’s! Even simple kitchen remodeling projects are likely to take a month or more so be sure to plan for the disruptions. Be sure to plan for holidays, bad weather, and product lead times. The bottom line is don’t wait until two weeks before Christmas Dinner to remodel your kitchen and expect it to be complete.

Multiple Contractor Bids

Unless you’re going to do all the work yourself I highly recommend getting at least three bids from qualified and recommended contractors. This is very important if for no other reason than to flesh out details that may not be specified or clear to all the parties.  It’s also likely to save you a significant amount of money and flexibility in choosing someone that is available to meet your schedule. Be sure that each contractor is bidding the same scope of work so you can compare apples to apples.

Qualified Contractors

This may be one of the most important tips I can give you. You really should get references from all contractors that you’re planning on hiring. There are lots of great contractors doing wonderful work and there are also a handful of crooked, dishonest, un-qualified contractors out there. It doesn’t take much effort to ask them for 3 or 4 references that you can call and ask about the quality of their work. I also recommend you call your local Better Business Bureau and check that no complaints have been filled against the contractor.


NEVER hire a contractor without signing a contract. Most reputable contractors will insist on it and if they don’t then this should be a clue to a shady operation. Contracts can be quite simple but it’s important to detail the scope of work, the cost and how delays and changes in scope will be paid for. Trust me this is very important and something that needs to be a high priority.

DIY and Save Money

Save some money on your next remodeling project by doing-in-yourself (DIY). Even if you don’t have many DIY skills it’s not that hard to save some money doing basic demolition, painting or other simple tasks. Maybe you’re creating an open floor plan, you could remove a wall before hiring someone to finish the project and save some money that way.


The last remodeling tip is about financing. Depending on the size of your remodeling project you may want to consider several different financing options. If you’re project is fairly large one option would be to take out a home owner’s equity loan instead of using savings or a credit card. The benefit of that would be obvious tax deductions for interest paid. However you decide to finance the project be sure it’s in place before you begin and find yourself un-able to pay.


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