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San Francisco Roof Decks

PostedbyonSep 20, 2011inBlog |0 comments

San Francisco Roof Decks

In San Francisco - where land is in short supply, and mostly covered by buildings - gardens and outdoor space can be hard to come by. Roof decks, however, can offer a great way for you to enjoy the outdoors. Properly designed, a deck also can provide a nice indoor/outdoor flow for your living space that is hard to come by in a city filled with lot-line buildings. Most people are overwhelmed by the thought of roof decks because most of us have not even been on our roofs. It’s much easier to visualize a deck overlooking the garden and a ground level deck. But, when you start thinking of putting one on the roof where do you begin? Well, while there are a few hoops to jump through, the process may actually be easier than you think - especially if you hire a renovation consultant to shepherd you through. A renovation consultant helps you put together a plan, a realistic budget and matches you with the right professionals so that your project is set-up for success and flows more smoothly. When contemplating a roof deck there are a number of considerations. Chief among these is deciding how you are going to access your roof. The most common way is to extend an existing exterior stairway (this is probably the most cost effective way, too). But there are alternatives. If you are planning a roof deck as part of a larger home remodel, for example, you may want to create access to the roof from the interior. One of the advantages of this approach is that - with proper design – it can allow for a dramatic influx of light to the interior of the home. It also helps to incorporate the outdoor space and blur the line between inside and out. Also, there are many choices of materials. I prefer to use Ipe pallets or tiles that float on adjustable pads. Using these materials allows u to retain the existing slope of the roof, which saves money, and – due to the modular construction - makes it easy to do necessary repairs without damaging the decking surface. I also like to use a combination of glass railing and solid parapet walls. A glass railing provides an unobstructed view but can be varied in height to suit the local wind conditions. Solid parapet walls can also vary in height, and can be used to provide privacy or screen unattractive elements. By combining this with plantings such as bamboo for blocking the wind or unsightly surroundings, and lower plantings to add color and texture, as well as some comfortable furniture, and your outdoor space is complete. Some options you may want to consider are gas grills and fireplaces, heat lamps and water. All of these options should be contemplated during the design phase so that the gas, electrical and water connections are brought to the roof. Of course nothing can be done in the City without a permit. This type of project will most likely have to go to the Planning Department ,then to the Building Department, and finally the Fire Department, for approval. However, the planning approval process is not too bad. You begin by submitting a Building Permit Application, including a set of plans with structural details or...

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California Title 24 Quick Guide

PostedbyonSep 18, 2011inBlog |0 comments

Quick Guide for Title 24 Requirements What is Title 24? The Energy class action Efficiency Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings were established in 1978 in response to a legislative mandate to reduce California's energy consumption. The standards are updated periodically to allow consideration and possible in-corporation of new energy efficiency technologies and methods. Local governments are charged with enforcement. Download our Quick...

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How Can a Renovation Consultant Help You

PostedbyonSep 7, 2011inBlog |0 comments

When you are contemplating a home renovation there are many questions which go through your head.  It can be overwhelming. Where do I begin? What can be done in this space? Can I add a bathroom in “that” space? Do I hire a contractor or an architect first? How much is this going to cost? How long is it going to take? Can I live here while the work is being done? How can I get more of what I want with a small budget? The chances are that you will get different answers to these questions from the architect, the designer, the plumber or the builder – if only because their interests are all subtly different to yours. The best way to get answers to these questions is to hire a remodeling coach, or renovation consultant, whose interests are more closely aligned with your own. Acting as a third-party they can offer an unbiased evaluation of the existing conditions of your home, help you develop a game plan for the project with a realistic budget and schedule, and then establish – and enforce - the budget and project timeline. A renovation consultant will help you determine a realistic budget for your project, prioritize your wants and needs based on that budget, and even help you decide if you should move rather than remodel. At the preliminary meeting with your renovation consultant you will discuss: What you want to accomplish with the remodel 
What is your intended budget 
The current condition of your home 
Design ideas Realistic timeframes What professionals need to be involved and when After this meeting you should have enough information to decide if you want to proceed and you will know the essentials elements of a remodeling plan.  A renovation consultant should be paid on an hourly basis or a fixed price, because if they are compensated on a percentage of the total project cost their interests are not aligned with...

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A Feasibility Study is a Good Place to Start, Use a Renovation Consult

PostedbyonAug 31, 2011inBlog |0 comments

I’m sure you have heard this from your friends that have remodeled their homes, “our remodeling project took twice as long and cost twice as much as the contractor told me it would”. There are several reasons this can happen, most of which can be avoided by getting a neutral, third party’s (ie. someone unrelated to the contractor or architect) help to get and keep your remodeling project on track. That third-party can access the existing conditions of your home, help you develop a plan for the project and develop a realistic budget and schedule, and then establish – and enforce – the budget and project timeline. I would recommend that you hire a renovation consultant (also known as a remodeling coach) to help you. For example, before you begin your project, these are just a few of the questions that arise: Where do I begin? What can be done in this space? Can I add a bathroom in “that” space? Do I hire a contractor or an architect first? How much is this going to cost? 
How long is it going to take? Can I live here while the work is being done? How can I get more of what I want with a small budget? Chances are you will get different answers to these questions from the architect, the designer, the plumber or the builder – if only because their interests are all subtly different to yours. The best way to get answers to these questions is to seek unbiased advice from a hire a remodeling coach, or renovation consultant, whose interests are more closely aligned with your own. A renovation consultant will help you determine a realistic budget for your project, prioritize your wants and needs based on that budget, and even help you decide if you should move rather than remodel. A service I call a feasibility study the renovation consultant and you will discuss:   What you want to accomplish with the remodel What is your intended budget 
The current condition of your home
Design ideas 
Realistic timeframes
What professionals need to be involved and when After the initial meeting you should have enough information to decide if you want to proceed and you will know the essentials elements of a remodeling plan.  A renovation consultant should be paid on an hourly basis or a fixed price, because if they are compensated on a percentage of the total project cost their interests are not aligned with...

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Why Use a Renovation Consultant for Your Next Home Remodel

PostedbyonAug 31, 2011inBlog |0 comments

Why Use a Renovation Consultant for Your Next Home Remodel   1. Why would someone remodeling a house hire a consultant first rather than an architect or contractor? Getting unbiased advise about the feasibility of your project and budget should be the first step. In my experience contractors and architects are reluctant to be the one to tell the client that their expectations about time and money are way off base. As a consultant it is my job to help the client understand and if needed, be the one to deliver the “unpleasant” facts. My clients pay me to give them an honest assessment. My main function at this point is to make sure their expectations are in line with the amount of money they want to spend.  I also help clients decide what professionals are needed for the project and help assemble the right team.  How does a homeowner choose the right professionals or even know what professionals to hire? A good consultant is a bit like a matchmaker and knows the right professionals for the client and the particular job. 2. How does a consultancy work? What is the process? While the process varies depending on your particular needs, a renovation consultant will typically put together an action-plan that includes a budget for the project and a prioritized list of needs and wishes, while helping the client understand what to expect before, during, and after, the home renovation. The consultant may or may not also become part of the renovation team, with the role of ensuring that communication, quality, and scheduling are maintained. By acting as an agent for the client, the consultant will be their eyes and ears on site, allowing the client to continue to live their regular life. While all renovations are different here is the usual process I follow: Assess existing conditions Develop project scope Complete a Move vs. Remodel analysis to help you determine if you should move or do a home renovation Develop a realistic budget Assist in choosing design professionals Material selection and specification Produce the request for bid or proposal documents Review bids/proposals Recommend construction professionals Manage the remodeling contractor Monitoring quality control Managing the project schedule Management of weekly project meetings Monitoring payment schedule and payments Meditation disputes Management of punch list completion 3. How much does it cost to hire a remodeling consultant? Do you work by the hour? Or a flat fee? I believe the interests of the consultant and the client are best aligned by negotiating an hourly fee for service, rather than, say, a percentage of the project”s cost. (For one thing, that makes sure the consultant is not motivated to inflate that cost unnecessarily). For smaller jobs, such as a move or remodel evaluation, a pre-buying inspection, etc., charges typically range between $95 and $300/hour.  For longer engagements the hourly rate will be reduced. I use a retainer agreement based on an hourly rate with a built-in not-to-exceed cap. 4. What do you think is the biggest mistake homeowners make when remodeling their homes? Using the lowest price professionals they can find, to grind out what appears to be a bargain. In fact, the market is pretty effective when it comes to labor for home remodeling professionals, and like it or not, the...

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