Design and Build Contracts, Advantages and Disadvantages

Anyone who has spent time working in the UK construction industry is likely to have strong opinions about Design and Build contracts. In the immediate future, it’s likely that activity within the sector is going to increase, and whilst the exact political flavour of the Conservative government has yet to be confirmed they have at least promised to invest heavily in house building. With that in mind, the following points highlight some of the thorny issues associated with design and build contracts.

UK House Building

200,000 appears to be the magic number; in March 2015, David Cameron promised to double the target of 100,000 homes aimed at first time buyers, and with his position now confirmed in No.10 Downing Street we wait with bated breath to see if this commitment will reach fruition. Across the UK, firms are experiencing a modest rise in construction projects and reporting a certain amount of confidence. Besides the always-nebulous claims of politicians a range of measures including a loosening of planning laws and assistance for first time buyers is buoying up the industry after last year’s lack of growth. For many developers, however the fact that an increased demand for labour and materials is likely to push up prices can make design and build contracts more attractive.

Design and Build Advantages

Design and Build [D&B] is a useful procurement route for developers in that it allows a certain amount of control over costs. In general, lump sum contracts result in a contractor agreeing to take on the responsibility for both the design and construction of a project for an agreed price. The contractor may have their own team of designers or may engage an outside firm. They will agree a design initially with the developer, but after the contract is signed the contractor will have full responsibility.

If the agreed-on design remains unchanged throughout the project, the developer can be reasonably sure that the overall cost of construction will remain unchanged. Of course, it’s possible that the developer will require some design changes during the project, but it should then be possible for the contractor to provide an illustration of exactly how any such changes will affect overall costs.

Another of the advantages of design and build contracts is the possibility of reduced construction time. If the contractor is entirely responsible for design a great deal of time can potentially be saved as the design and building elements will run concurrently. For developers the main benefit is that, once the contract is agreed the contractor takes on much of the financial risk inherent in a project; that’s increasingly attractive when prices of both labour and materials are looking likely to rise. When various political parties claim that an upswing in construction is just around the corner, it’s worth remembering that it’s not just the taxpayer who will be expected to contribute. The Conservative government will also need to rely on private investment.

Design and Build Disadvantages

Not everyone in the industry is a fan of design and build contracts and it’s therefore worth taking a look at their disadvantages. Those who dislike the system point out that if a builder is given a free hand to design a building based on a pre-agreed price, even if costs don’t rise during the project they will be likely to work to the lowest possible specifications [if the contract allows them to alter the specifications].

Secondly, there’s an inherent problem in that builders are not architects. An architect, as well as having years of training and a very specific set of skills not least aesthetic ones, will be up to date with both the legal and design requirements. There are also requirements that may not be written into law but will be at the cutting edge of what makes a building fit for purpose now, and years into the future. Giving a builder a set amount of money and most, if not all the responsibility for design is a recipe for a shoddy result, say some people.

Making generalisations about the merits of D&B versus traditional construction methods is dangerous. In the real world, both can and do result in some buildings that are successful and some that are a disaster. For developers, architects and contractors perhaps the most important point is to ensure that the contract whatever form it takes is fully understood by all sides, covers all legal requirements and has the flexibility built into it to allow a satisfactory result.

Construction Management

Recently there has been something of a trend towards construction management rather than design and build contracts. Here, an intermediary in the form of a construction manager is appointed and the developer takes more responsibility for the overall costs of a project. It’s possible, however that if private investors are effectively forced into taking more financial risk the supply of money for the promised housebuilding boom could begin to dry up.

Waterproof Area Rug Pad – Is There Such a Pad?

I often hear people ask for a waterproof rug pad. The closest to this is a waterproof pad made for under wall to wall carpeting. Even in this case, the waterproof aspect is still not a guarantee and could cause problems by trapping any moisture between the carpet pad and the carpet above it. In the world of area rugs, although there technically is no 100% waterproof rug pad, there is something that comes close.

For those who experience the occasional spill or perhaps pet accident, no matter what type of floor covering or protection you have in place, it is always best to try to blot the area as soon as possible. When you place an area rug on your hardwood or laminate wood floor, you should have the proper rug pad. Many of these pads do not resist water or liquid at all, hence causing the spill to go through the rug and the pad right to the floor under it. The only padding available with a plastic layer is one made for wall to wall carpeting and would be severely dangerous if used under area rugs as the plastic layer is quite slippery and causes rugs to slide right off.

There is a high quality rug pad made of a recycled jute and rubber combination. This pad is about 1/4 of an inch thick and very dense. Not only is ti one of the best protections for your rugs and your floors for normal wear and tear, it is also one of the only rug pads that will resist liquid until you can get to it and dry it up.

I have tested several pads by pouring a cup of water and watching the results. this above mentioned pad did the best in as far as the time it took to penetrate through to the wood floor underneath. Since we all would like to catch the spill or accident as soon as it happens, sometimes this is not possible. This jute and rubber carpet pad resists as best as possible and takes quite long to penetrate through to the rubber bottom. Although the top jute may be wet, and this can be dried up when you have a chance, the solid layer of rubber underneath acts as an excellent barrier between the spill and your floor. I will not say the spill will not eventually seep through this rubber. It will, depending on the amount of the spill, yet in my test it took several hours for the underside of the rubber to feel damp.

As I always mention in my articles, when I refer to this jute and rubber combination pad, I am referring to the finer one available. There are plenty where the rubber is a sprayed on latex and this will not stand the test as well. My test was on a solid rubber layer that is sewn on to the jute surface.

As much as we try to avoid spills and pet accidents, they are bound to happen. Choose the proper rug pad and you will have less worries and damage to your floors.

Monuments of India


Monuments are the structures which are either created explicitly to commemorate a person or an event or which are made in previous time and has become important to remember the late people or past events. But some monuments are so whimsical and precious that they become the brightly shining star from the vast universe of beautiful structures. They are showcased as the world heritage site.

It is a saga but a very practical truth of today. These valuable gems of our country are getting endangered and if serious and bold steps are not taken for their revival, the country will be like a bride without jewelry. Though India is the treasure of temples, monuments and ancient amazing pieces of art and beauty, I’ll limelight some famous monuments marked as world heritage site.

– QUTUB MINAR- in Delhi built by Qutbuddin Aybak in 1193;

– RED FORT- in Delhi built by Shah Jahan in 1639;

– HUMAYUN’S TOMB – in Delhi built in 1570; these three are among the world heritage sites.

The other famous monuments in Delhi are:

– 22ft TALL IRON PILLAR-in the year AD 375-415;

– JAMA MASJID-India’s largest mosque built in 1655;


Some other world heritage sites in India are:

– TAJ MAHAL-a tomb in Agra built by Shah Jahan in 1631 for his wife Mumtaz Mahal;

– FATEHPUR SIKRI-a magnificent red sandstone city in Sikri near Agra built by Mughal emperor Akbar.

– AJANTA & ELLORA CAVES-present in Maharashtra these caves were built near about 6th century. The caves depict the Buddhist and the Jataka tales.

– ELEPHANTA CAVES-present in Maharashtra these caves were also built near 6th and the 7th century has a 6-m high bust of lord Shiva.

– SONAR QILA-a fort in Rajasthan was built by Rawal Jaiswal in 1156.

– CHARMINAR-it is a square shaped monument built in Andhra Pradesh in 1591.

– SANCHI STUPAS-they are one of the oldest Stupas in Bhopal.

– BHIMBETKA-in Madhya Pradesh they are the rock shelters discovered in 1957. They have many different paintings.

– BASILICA OF BOM JESUS-present in old Goa it holds the tomb of St. Francis Xavier.

– HAMPI-present in Karnataka has many beautiful temples.

– MAMALLAPURAM-it is a group of rock-cut monuments built near 7th and 8th century in Tamil Nadu.

Monuments are getting spoiled: there is not one but many ways in which the valuable and literally non-renewable structures created originally by ancient artists of different dynasties are getting ruined.

The chemicals are released and merged in the air through motor vehicles, coal-fired power plants, nuclear waste disposal, plastic factories and other heavy industries. Even spraying of pesticides and chemicals in agricultural fields are harming the quality of air. The harmful gases released in the environment are basically oxides of Carbon, Sulphur and Nitrogen and the chloro-fluoro carbon gases. These gases are making the air polluted, increasing the global warming and even depleting the ozone layer allowing the UV-rays to enter in the earth’s atmosphere. These bad elements share hands with the other acts causing harm to our heritage. Making the matter worst the deforestation has crossed the limit of pollution. All these negative human behavior together are ruining the environment, basic life and also our very prestigious & precious world heritage sites.

The basic structure of these sites is getting weaker with the pace of time. Deep into their foundation the acids and the chemicals are penetrated which are shattering the skeleton of these whimsical creations leading to the breakdown of their both anatomy and morphology. Either the paints or the detailed intricate work are dropping down; or the luster and the lacquer on the stone are diminished or getting dull.

The chemicals merged with the air and falls on these monuments as the acid rain washing away the beauty of these great sites.

The natural glow or colors of the stones are getting black. The clear example is the Taj Mahal-it is made up of white stone called ‘Sangemarmar’. Due to the presence of dense smog in the atmosphere the ‘Taj Mahal’ is literally turning in the black beauty.

People scrub on the wall of these beautiful structures. Couples write their names and love messages on the walls, throwing garbage and spitting the chewed beetle and through many other obscene attitudes ruin the crystal clear beauty of these monuments.

The scorching heat stops the tourists to visit these places. The intense global warming, deforestation and over pollution has increases the temperature to such an extent that people doesn’t like to view these beauties with itching and sweating all through body.

The foreign tourists who enhance the value of these sites and propagate about their art and beauty are being exploited and used falsely by some bad Indian hosts. This cools down the enthusiasm of the foreigners to visit India and ultimately the economical degradation is the result. Fewer tourists, less economy and reduced revival of the monuments. If these heritages are not revived from time to time, then after few years they will permanently become the history.

The metro advancement acts as a dike. Dike prevents flood but here the metro stations construction and metro route construction are obstructing the stagnancy of these monuments. For instance the tall Qutab Minar getting distract due to the passing route of metro.

But it’s never too late. Let’s join our hands together and put our step forward for the revival mission of the Indian Gems- OUR MONUMENTS:

“The conservation and preservation of these monuments cannot be neglected further”…. Well written and shared by C.B.S.E ‘Siksha Sadan’ to all heads of C.B.S.E affiliated schools on 7th Jan’10.

The cultural ministry showed their courtesy by supporting the subject and lectures in the schools for students to understand and respect their world heritage site.

The books are not the only solution. As always said “action speaks louder than words”, the students should be frequently taken on a trip to these very special monuments. With the proper guidance their knowledge about the ancient monuments should be enhanced. Quiz must be arranged on the basis of world heritage sites and other monuments. Prizes awarded to the winners will encourage the pupils to avail the thorough information of their heritage. The students should be explained the reasons for the protection and the revival of these sites.

The generation availing the fields like civil construction, paints, interior & exterior decoration and designing should be guided to promote their wide creative knowledge in the revival of monuments.

The former and the common style of reviving these world heritage sites and monuments is converting them totally or their particular part(s) in museum, library, tourist place or hotel. One famous example is ‘Chauki Dhani’ in Jaipur. By setting up museums or libraries in these prehistoric beauties, the visitors will get the interesting and the elaborate knowledge of these sites. By converting them in hotels or tourist places, the government will get the foreign revenue and the motive to rehabilitate these ancient creativities.

VOTE FOR TAJ MAHAL – a very fruitful steps to position this whimsical monument on top. Similarly, voting can be supportive to save and revive other monuments. The step can be laid down through:

Internet- software can be designed to inform the viewers and net savvies about these heritage sites and asking for their votes in favor. This method will cover the people review globally.

Besides internet, the NGOs can work on this procedure by setting up seminars, meetings and small get together. The government on this prospect should support these organizations through financial and legal formalities.

Cinema has always inspired public. People literally follow the trend which celebrities start. If cinema and the celebrities perform in those films and shows that convey the message for the protection and the rehabilitation of the monuments, the effect will be strong and productive. The speeches and the messages delivered by the celebrities on the radio, T.V, theatre and on road shows boost up the patriotic feeling hidden deep in the heart of Indians.

Proper security of these eminent works of great artists is required to avoid destruction either by theft or any other way. In addition, if someone is found guilty he/she should be punished either by imprisonment or a fine according to the extent of harm being done to the heritage.

The mentioned above are the few steps that can be put forward for the appreciating work of monument revival. Besides this, national culture should be strengthened not only in dance, music and other performing arts, but also in the rehabilitation and defending of the world heritage sites and monuments.

The procession has started, don’t wait and just share hand on hand being part of this divine act.

How to Accurately Measure a Roof to Purchase Shingles

How to measure your home for roofing materials? That is a great question and here are a few easy solutions to getting your material list down. I will first say that if you have a low slope like 4:12 to a 6:12 roof pitch then you will have it easy from just the roof top by measuring the planes. This is providing you are not scared of heights of course. There are a couple of rule for the initial measuring process.

1. For a Gable Roof you should add at least 12% for waste. 1 square equals 100 square feet of material.

2. For a Hip Roof you should be depending on how cut up with hips and valleys at 15 to 17 % waste ratios.

3. For Architectural or Laminated Shingles you will need accurate Lineal Footage measurements of the hips and ridge to determine how many bundles of enhanced ridge caps you will need to ridge cap your roof. For every 20 LF. Of ridge on hips or gable ridges you will need to know the total LF to know how many bundles you will need. These shingles run cost wise from $42.00 to $55.00 per bundle and that is not cheap.

4. For Standard Strip Shingles you should be know that you can cut up 33 LF out of each bundle for your hip and ridge caps.

5. If you have a gable roof and you want ridge over ridge vent such as Cobra 2 or 3 by GAF/ELK. Know that ridge vent comes in 4 foot sections so that you can decide how much you will need for the overall ridge of your roof.

6. Standard nailing patterns call for 4 nails to every shingle and there are 78 shingles per roofing square and that comes to 234 nails per square if done to manufacturers minimal requirements. So for a 50 LB. Box of hand nails you will get around 25 square or 75 bundles of hand nailed shingles on your roof.

7. You will need to measure your valleys to see how long they are for Ice and Water Shield to protect your installation from leak. They come in 1 and 2 square rolls. A single 1 square roll has 33 lineal feet per roll and it is twice as much for a 2 square roll.

8. Last but not least you’ll need felt and depending on your preference you can use a couple of different types. There is 15 LB or #15 that comes 4 squares roofing felt and for 30 LB or # 30 roofing felt it comes in 2 square rolls. You’ll also need to purchase some plastic caps to nail down the felt. You can install around 30 squares of felt with a 20 lbs box of 1 ” plastic caps.

9. You’ll need to know how many plumbing vents are on the house and the size of each one. They range from 1 1/2 ” to 4 ” in size.

I hope this helps you out because I have used the same methods for 20+ years to get a material list in order for roofing residential houses.

Material Donations Make a Big Impact on Habitat Homebuilding

Habitat for Humanity, an international organization that constructs affordable homes for people with low or moderate incomes, depends largely on its corps of dedicated volunteers to donate their time. Many hundreds of hours go into planning the build, finding and developing the site, gathering the volunteers, and constructing and finishing each home.

Habitat for Humanity's efforts are well known around the world, thanks to the organization's promotion by former president Jimmy Carter and other prominent leaders and celebrities. Less well known are the contributions that businesses, both large and small, make to each home. Westinghouse routinely donates clothes washers and dryers and kitchen appliances to the new homeowner, while giant corporate megastores like Home Depot often contribute a variety building materials and supplies.

Local firms also make major contributions; for instance, Monadnock Habitat for Humanity, a chapter in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, has had all its roof trusses for all its homes donated by one area contactor. Plumbing contractors often donate time or materials or both; local hardware stores will contribute tools, materials, and supplies for every aspect of each build. And local delis and grocery stores often provide sandwiches, sodas, and other food items to make sure the volunteers on the build are well fed. The board of directors of each chapter is often made up of individuals from the business community, who donate their expertise ranging from accounting to contracting to administration. Business and individuals also contribute money to the cause.

The result is that each home built by Habitat for Humanity presents an intense amount of time, energy, and generosity from every segment of the local community – truly a welcome to the family moving into the new Habitat home.

Elastomeric Fascia Board Paint Problems – Building Tips

I couldn’t believe it about 10 or 15 years ago they came out with another fabulous product that created problems for my home. Elastomeric paint is so good, that it can create problems because it seals what ever you paint with a rubber like coating. I wasn’t the only one to have problems with this product.

I built a two-story room addition onto our home and used this type of paint without any problems at all. I painted the fascia board before I installed it with a oil based alkaloid primer and then painted it with elastomeric paint. By painting the entire piece of wood, before installing it, I had sealed it correctly. This worked out in my favor and this is the only way that I installed new fascia board today.

It wasn’t until I painted the rest of the home with elastomeric paint that I started to have a problem. When I built the room addition, I installed the metal flashing and roofing materials properly, that wasn’t the case on the existing roof of our home, at the single-story level.

I didn’t realize it yet, but while I was painting the fascia board, the roof edge metal wasn’t installed properly in a couple of spots around the bottom of the roof. Which is where most of the water drains off of the roof, because the roof edge metal wasn’t installed properly and the top of the fascia board wasn’t painted at all. The top of the fascia board started to absorb water as it dripped off of the roof.

The elastomeric paint did an excellent job keeping the moisture inside of the wood, where some latex paints would have allowed the moisture to escape through it. Eventually the fascia board rotted away and needed to be replaced.

I never had any problems with the second-story fascia board that was installed and painted correctly. If you’re really looking for an excellent paint for your fascia board, you can use elastomeric paint if you want to. I doubt if I will ever use this type of paint again, because of the problems I had with it in the past.

I know some painting professionals who won’t use anything but elastomeric paint, but this stuff is truly too good of a painting product and I’ve seen other problems with it also. Most of the problems associated with this paint are due to incorrect application of the paint or poor construction methods from other contractors.

Elastomeric paint is truly a wonderful product, but it’s almost too good to use unless the home is built correctly in the paint is applied over the entire surface of the product with out leaving any small holes or cracks exposed.

Base Running Technique – How to Properly Round the Base

The shortest distance between point A and point B, is a straight line. A simple mathematical formula which we accept as true, but is it true in all situations? Does baseball occasionally tend to bend the laws of physics?

I am reluctant to say baseball does not adhere to basic laws of physics and mathematics, but sometimes baseball applies it’s own logic, in conjunction with other laws, and running the base paths is one such example.

Based on logic, the quickest and most efficient method of running the bases is to exit the batters box and take a straight line to first base, make a 90 degree turn at the base and proceed in a straight line to second base, and so on and so forth until re-reaching home plate, a journey of 360 feet.

The only problem with this method is, it’s Impossible for the human body to achieve such 90 degree turns without stopping, or at least slowing to a crawl, which defeats the entire intent of safely and quickly reaching the farthest base possible. Is there a way to run farther than 360 feet, in a shorter time span? Perhaps illogically, the answer is a resounding Yes.

How to run 390 feet faster than 360 feet. The human body is an amazing machine capable of accomplishing astonishing feats, but it also has its limitations, and that’s where technique becomes important. Proper technique allows the body to overcome it’s limitations and actually become strengths, which is what proper base running techniques accomplishes.

I’ll never forget my first minor league coach telling me he always taught a new skill as if the student had no idea what he was talking about, which helped eliminate any confusion. Bear with me if I seem elementary, but I adopted his coaching style, thus the steps listed below.

1. The very first issue in proper base running has nothing to do with speed of foot, but rather speed of mind. The body reacts as quickly as the mind tells it to, therefore making quick decisions ahead of the required task allows the body to react at peak efficiency.

When coming out of the batter’s box, for our illustration we’ll assume the ball was hit to the outfield, our eyes must go from tracking the baseball to immediately picking up your first base coach. We should be between one-half and two-thirds down the first baseline, running in foul territory.

2. As you see the first base coach indicate he wants you to advance to second base, you will gradually swing (run) towards the first base dugout, in a backwards C motion, which will result in you approaching first base in, more or less, a straight line with second base. Hit the base with your right foot on the inside portion of the base, which will propel you towards second base.

Do Not alter your steps or speed in order to hit the base with your right foot, or the inside portion of the base. This is the optimum method of running, but the main goal is to not lose speed and to take a direct path to second base.

3. As you are running to second base, quickly pick up your third base coach, who will be directing you as to what to do. If the play is in left or left center field you may be able to see the handling of the ball and decide on your own whether to stop at second or continue to third.

However, if the play is in right or right center field, you’ll have to crane your neck trying to locate the ball, which turns your shoulders and slows you down. You must rely on your coach in this scenario. Being waved on to third base, swing slightly into right field, again a backwards C, hitting the base with either foot and pushing off in a straight line to third base.

4. Inside the park home runs are very rare, but in little league, quite possible. Being waved on to home, take the same backwards C, swinging towards left field, hitting the base with either foot and taking the direct path home.


1. Always slide into home plate. Number one you won’t be fooled by a catcher who is acting as if there is no play, when in fact the throw is quickly gaining on you.

2. There’s less chance of being injured if your mind is preparing your body to slide as practiced, instead of a panicked last second awkward slide attempt.

Competitive Advantage: 5 Steps To Regaining Your Competitive Edge

Current Situation

Many American business leaders are complaining that they cannot compete due to the current state of the economy and the massive outsourcing of jobs to other countries. During the past couple of years the headlines of many local newspapers, national publication and business publications have been full of companies that have gone out of business or declared bankruptcy. Many more organizations are at risk for going into bankruptcy and almost all are blaming the current economy as the reason for their demise. Many American business leaders have talked about the increased competition from around the globe as a one of the reasons for these economic conditions. They often complain that they cannot compete with the cheaper labor rates found elsewhere and they cannot hire enough good workers at a reasonable price here to compete. These are the kinds of problems that managers complain about today. President Obama recently addressed this issue in his State of the Union Address given on January 25th, 2011. In his address he said “And now it’s our turn. We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business.” Do you think if you had a competitive advantage over your competition this could change your ability to compete? Would it not allow you to get a fair price and get you out of the commodity price wars? I believe it would, so now what can you do about it?

What Should We Do About It

So the question is how does an American business leader/executive rally behind Obama’s call to action? According to recent studies the United States is still one of the most productive countries in the world, but we are also primarily manufacturing the most complex products. Therefore many of the product/services consumed in the United States are imported. Why are we losing so many jobs and buying so many more foreign goods than domestic? The answer lies in the way most organizations compete within in their marketplace. Most organizations will develop products and services that are already being successfully sold within the marketplace as this minimizes their risk. Unfortunately this approach leads to the situation where an organization becomes seen as a “me too” organization. This is an organization that must compete primarily on price, or possibly it might have a higher value for the customer. There is not any real appreciable difference between their products/services and their competitor. You need to distinguish yourself, so that you are different and unique within the marketplace. As history has proven, if you are a market leader, or have a unique competitive position, the price you charge for your products and services is not usually an issue. Take a look at the Apple iPhone, first year the price was almost double what it was in the second year. When the other organizations started selling their smart phones, Apple was forced to reduce the price and begin competing on features/functionality as well as price. Therefore, if your organization can create a competitive advantage which makes you unique the effect of the economy and your competition will be minimized on your organization. This will enable you to receive a better fair market price for the products and services that you provide to your customers, as well as increased loyalty. A competitive advantage can be created by adding innovate features to your product, reducing the cost to produce or introducing a new unique product,

5 Steps for Creating a Competitive Advantage:

Develop a strategy -You must create a strategic vision that identifies your unique abilities and strengths that will enable you to develop and deliver using this advantage. Your advantage may be producing the product/service at a reduced cost, offer a higher value with it to the customer or it may be you have are more agile than the competition. This strategy that is developed should be in the form of an end-state vision that clearly shows how the organization should operate to leverage your unique capabilities.

Develop a tactical plan – To make the strategic plan actionable a good solid tactical plan must be developed. This plan must include the milestones that are necessary to ensure that you realize the end state vision. It should also include the time frames of when the expected benefits will begin to be realized. In addition, the time frames of when the features/functionality necessary to reach the end-state vision will be realized. The success criteria need to be clearly identified and how you will know when it is successfully completed.

Implement the plan – This tactical plan must be implemented with excellence and efficiency. All milestones should be tracked and the plan revised as conditions dictate. You need to ensure that all Key Performance Indicators have been identified, and how they are going to be tracked.

Execute the operations – Once the plan has been completed and successfully implemented, it must be executed with efficiency and excellence to ensure that all of the desired results are realized. All operations must be executed with excellence and need to be rigorously monitored to ensure that the intended results from these operations are realized.

Review and Revise – After the plan has been implemented, business leaders must review the actual results against the planned results to ensure that they are realizing the benefits that were expected. Any variations in the results need to be analyzed and revisions to the operations need to be planned to get the operations on track to get the intended results.


Today, Organizations cannot afford to sit back and say, “Look at what we just accomplished and see how good we are!” There are only two states in life of an organization, it is either growing or dying. There is no such thing as the status quo. So an organization must seek to continually improve and find ways to improve their processes and operations to do things better. Otherwise, their competitors will pass them up, taking their market share and profits. This development of a competitive advantage will require the support of the entire organization. You will need the entire organization working together to ensure that the desired results are achieved. Business leaders/executives must guard against their organization trying to take the easy way out by adopting the current “FAD” software products, or the latest management “FAD” techniques. This has never given an organization a sustainable competitive advantage as other organizations will follow suit and use the same software, or gimmick. Typically this approach leads to a price war as the products and/or services become commodity items. With no differentiation of these products or services, the customers feel no need to be loyal and will shop for the lowest price. The better approach is to develop your competitive advantage, so that you are unique and can attach and retain your customers.

A competitive advantage will allow organizations to compete under any economic conditions, and or competitive environment. Unique products/services these organizations often have no initial competitors when their products/services are first released, so they are often able to enjoy a higher price. This allows these organizations recover their development costs faster, often gain customer loyalty that will help them remain strong as competitors start offering similar offerings. A competitive advantage will help any organization succeed in the global marketplace.

How to Impress a Girl Who Already Has a Boyfriend – Three Girlfriend Stealer Techniques You Must Use

These “super-powered” techniques that I am going to present to you should give you the toolbox to attract a woman who is already attached. Do not forget – if you want to make any woman want you fast, you must use some “super-powered” mind control tactics and hacks to get a woman “addicted” to you psychologically. I will tell you the facts about attracting a woman with a boyfriend. But first, something to cover my butt – I will *not* be held responsible if her beefy boyfriend goes to your house at 3 in the morning with a shotgun and a knife.

“Portray Her Boyfriend In A Bad Light”. Here’s the trick – once she understands that you can make a better partner than her existing one, then that’s a strong reason to dump him for you. Here’s the thing… it’s really quite easy to get her to think that you are better than her boyfriend – you just need to get her to tell you about her perfect partner. When you do this, her boyfriend will come across as TERRIBLE – simply because it’s virtually impossible for him to measure up against her ideal description of a perfect boyfriend. Yes, this trick is particularly shady, but surely you’ll want the most effective method that will work?

“Impress Her – EMOTIONALLY”. Here’s something basic that you should know about. The most powerful way to make a woman like a guy is to get her to feel EMOTIONAL about him Here’s the reason… women are seldom driven by reasoning, and therefore you should not give logical reasons for a woman to ditch her boyfriend for you. Her guilt could remain a strong barrier, and you must make it easy for her to get over the feeling guilty.

“Inner Change”. This particular technique would involve making you examine yourself and see FOR SURE if she has the reasons to leave her partner for you Get back to the fundamentals, and be the IDEAL man that she wants in a perfect partner. Confirm that you’re beyond doubt the better man, but most of all trust that you indeed are.

Real Estate Agent Assistant Agreement

Using an assistant agreement is vital when hiring a real estate assistant. It should describe the working relationship between you and the assistant. The first thing you should consider is whether he or she is an employee or working as an independent contractor. If you choose to have an employee you have to deduct taxes, social security and unemployment insurance from their pay. This involves a lot of record keeping on your part plus the added expenses you incur by having an employee…

So after consideration most agents that hire assistants choose the independent contractor status. You do not have to do any of the withholding. You just have to provide a 1099 form. There is no salary only a commission or fee as payment or services rendered payment. This fee will also be deductible on your taxes as an expense.. It would be wise to check with your accountant to see how to handle the payment schedule.

You should hire an assistant that has an active real estate license because if they don’t have one it will limit them to doing only what an unlicensed person can do. This will make a very big difference because there are many tasks that need a licensed agent to perform. Some of the requirements you should consider when interviewing an assistant would be having computer skills in programs such as Microsoft word, excel or comparable programs. If they don’t have a laptop computer you may have to provide one. Although it’s an expense the investment will prove well worth it.

Let’s talk about what else an agreement should do.

  • Define the work hours
  • Define commission or payment services
  • Explain what duties you expect from an assistant
  • Assist with showings
  • Assist with market value reports
  • Go on market value report appointments with you
  • Set Appointments
  • Do open houses
  • Record keeping
  • Mailings
  • Hand out flyers
  • Place signs for open houses
  • Make phone calls on your behalf
  • Prospecting for new business
  • Review the daily updates on the MLS
  • Preview new listings
  • Meet all of your clients and customers
  • A team player attitude

You must determine a payment schedule of how much, when and how often the assistant should expect payment. Your business growth should have a direct effect on commission increases for the assistant. A confidentially clause is important to have in your agreement. The assistant must know that what goes on between both of you stays confidential. Having this all on paper will set the guidelines. Your assistant will know their job description and their duties.. A real estate assistant agreement should protect both parties.

Bokashi Composting: Overview, Advantages, and Drawbacks

Bokashi composting is a program of intense composting sans oxygen whereby food scraps are fermented inside a sealed bucket by means of a bran which is inoculated with effective microorganisms. Once totally fermented, the food waste is then typically entombed inside of a backyard garden where it breaks down quickly generating nutrient rich soil.

Heritage: Initially formulated and used in Japan, the process of bokashi biodegradation has been followed for hundreds of years. It was eventually popularized by Professor Teruo Higa who identified the appropriate amount of bacteria necessary to best biodegrade organic substances.

Composition: Bokasi bran is commonly comprised of wheat bran, water, molasses and microorganisms.

How it Works?: When Bokashi bran is combined with organic waste, the bacteria begin to develop triggering the material to ferment and break down.

Uses: Bokashi food recycling is practiced by people and companies.

In home functions, food is placed in an sealed container and the bokashi bran is added. Once a few weeks have passed, the bran and microorganisms start to digest and breakdown the organic material. Once the food is fermented it can be deposited in a compost mound, entombed in ditches, or in a backyard where it is going to easily dissolve.

Positive aspects: People that use Bokashi reference a variety of perks to using bokashi composting compared to typical food recycling tactics, including:

Speed: Organics decompose with bokashi bran for a length of a couple of weeks and are subsequently ready to get deposited in trenches or garden soil. Traditional food recycling typically takes more time (however it is dependent on your system of composting) and comes together over the course of a few months.

Scents: Since bokashi food recycling is anaerobic, the fermentation procedure has got to transpire inside of a hermetically sealed container. Thus, there is no bad odor involving bokashi composting.

Animals: Matured Bokashi organics are maintained inside a sealed container or buried in the soil and therefore, contrary to some backyard compost heaps, won’t generally bring in critters or mice.

Greenhouse Gases: No GHGs are made during bokashi food recycling. This is distinct from conventional food recycling through which greenhouse gases are created.

Health of the Soil: The water content in earth embedded with bokashi fermented food is normally higher than that of regular compost. As such, bokashi food recycling permits greater conservation of groundwater. The organic nutrients in the earth after bokashi fermentation are also less water soluble as are the nutrients derived from composting (with oxygen) and as a result are unlikely to leach away because of run-off following down pours.


Price: You will have to buy bokashi bran or mixture from a vendor like BokashiCycle.

Packaging: Bokashi fermentation is unlikely to break down and ferment compostable food packaging.

How Will a Car Ionizer Help to Keep Air in My Car Fresh?

Depending on where you live and what the air is like where you live will depend on whether or not you keep your car sealed when you are driving around. Most people will use their air conditioner during the summer and run the heat during the winter and therefore they do not want to keep their windows opened a small bit to allow specific elements that are in your car to escape. If you are a smoker and you drive your car around for a set amount of time then you will benefit from the use of a car ionizer. The car ionizer is made to remove the elements in your car that are caused from cigarette smoke as well as other elements.

The car exhaust can seep into your vehicle and can cause you and your loved one’s to get a headache and can ultimately make you sick from ingesting to much of the fumes that the exhaust puts out. This can be caused from a number of a factors. If your car has an exhaust leak then you might be getting fumes into your car from the leak. A car ionizer is designed to filter the air in which the ionizer is placed in. Depending on the size of your car will depend on what size of a ionizer you need as well as if you are going to need more than one. In some instances the car is to large and you will need to install more than just one ionizer in order for the air to clean properly. If you own a minivan then you might be interested in purchasing more than just one ionizer to have the people in the rear of the minivan receive the full benefit of the ionizer.

When you are interested in purchasing a air ionizer for your car then you might be interested in purchasing the one that has a long cord so that you can place the ionizer in the middle of the car which will eliminate the need of purchasing more than one ionizer. Otherwise there are small individual car ionizer’s that are plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter port and will take up just a small portion of your car. When the ionizer is plugged into the port of the lighter in your car, the filter inside of the ionizer is designed to filter any bad particles in your car’s air out of the air and then return the clean air into your car. These car ionizers are made to remove such articles of dust, fumes, smoke and so on from your air. The clean air is then distributed back into the air of your car for everyone to share. This is perfect for small cars or large cars. Driving with your windows closed makes a big difference on the air quality of your car as well as being able to keep the air quality on bad days outside out of your car.

Do I Need a Car Battery Jump Starter or a Super Capacitor?

The car battery jump starter of today is an amazing appliance. In addition to having the power to start a car with a dead battery, many of these devices have additional features. These extra features can change a jump starter into a true survival tool.

Some of the extra features found on car battery jump starters are:

1. A light attachment. You might have to use the jump starter in the dark. If the light source is LED, then the power consumption is low. If you have other extra features, you may be using the jump starter for something besides getting a car started.

2. An inverter or AC power source. The energy in a jump starter is DC (Direct Current) energy. Our home appliances are AC (Alternating Current). European AC is 50 cycle and North America is 60 cycle. These are not compatible. Check the owner’s manual for the type of AC produced.

3. DC power outlet. Cell Phones and computers may need recharging if power is out.

4. Air compressor attachment. The emergency problem may not be a dead battery, but rather a tire that needs inflating or inflating an air mattress on a camping trip.

5. Polarity warning alarm. If you try to connect the battery improperly, a warning will sound.

6. Full Charge indicator. There are several kinds of displays, from a red-green light, to gauges or a digital display to tell that the unit is fully charged.

7. Jump start through a cigarette lighter rather than under the hood. These devices take longer to get a charge into the battery, but raising the hood may not always be an option. Some devices have the ability to recharge the unit through the cigarette lighter with DC power.

8. A carrying handle. Handling a device in less than ideal conditions could be a big obstacle.

9. Recharge Time. Depending on the technology used, the recharge to full power can vary between devices.

10. A two stage recharger. This allows the battery to be continuously plugged in when not in use. The unit will stop charging when it is fully charged

These extra features can have a negative effect on the amount of power a the jump starter can produce. Compact size is an important attribute for the jump starter. Extra features take up some space at the expense of the battery size.

The individual unit should have a chart about how long and how much continuous amperage is provided. That will help define the value as an emergency device. Most jump starters are sold based upon cranking amperage and not continuous amperage. In an emergency situation, continuous amperage may be more important than cranking amperage. Short term limited electrical power for an essential medical device, a cell phone or computer network can be lifesaving.

Future versions of the car battery jump starter will reflect new technologies that will improve the product dramatically. Rapid technological change is going to have the same effect on these products as it has on other electrical devices. Energy storage is a rapidly evolving technology, and the type of battery storage in most of the current devices on the market will soon be obsolete. Most of the present models rely on the environmentally unfriendly lead-acid battery technology.

Newer battery technologies are beginning to find their way into jump starters. These new technologies are expensive at the present time because they have not achieved the manufacturing scale required to bring about lower prices.

Most of the new battery technologies use rare earth metals. Many of these metals are mined in either difficult or politically unfriendly locations. This not true of the rapidly evolving super capacitors. New words like Graphene and nano technology are destined to become a part of our everyday vocabulary. The main ingredient of these super capacitors is environmentally friendly carbon. These new technologies will replace the battery in many applications in the very near future.

The word capacitor is not exactly a household word. The capacitor of today is an extremely short term energy storage device. The devices are commonly used on electric motors and flash cameras to give a fraction of a second burst of energy to get the motor running or create the flash. The capacitor of tomorrow may replace the battery for electrical storage.

Two different technologies will revolutionize energy storage. The term Ultra Capacitor is used instead of Super Capacitor in the nano technology developmernt, but the concept is the same. This technology holds the promise of environmentally friendly energy storage on a much larger scale than today’s batteries.

Graphene is a new environmentally friendly material that is also allowing the ordinary capacator to invade the battery space in the form of a super capacitor. This new material is a very promising technology in many industries, and especially in electrical storage. In the car battery jump starter market, it also holds the promise of improving the performance of traditional devices by several orders of magnitude.

Neither nano technology or Graphene based super capacitors require the rare earth materials needed by many new battery technologies. In moving into the battery space, a super capacitor has several performance advantages over batteries. They can be charged and discharged many more times than a battery. A super capacitor can also be recharged in a fraction of the time it takes to charge a conventional battery. The amount of energy that can be stored in a super capacitor hasn’t yet reached the level of the battery. The simple physics of a super capacitor suggests a huge storage advantage is possible compared to current battery technology.

The effect on the car battery jump starter will be amazing. Newer devices will be able to store much more energy and discharge it much more quickly than today’s devices. The value as a short term emergency energy source will be exponentially greater because of additional storage, discharge and recharge capabilities.

This raises the question should I buy the present technology when I know these new technologies are just over the horizon?

In an emergency situation, the technology must be immediately available. A consumer must accept that electricity storage technology is just in its infancy. A purchaser of a jump starter will see the device become obsolete very quickly.

Just as with other electronic devices, a strong consumer market can be the engine that makes these devices into a robust market segment and encourage constant product innovation. A car battery jump starter is a durable good, which means it lasts more than one year. Just as with other appliances, a secondary market will absorb the older devices. The life cycle of technology pricing is that new and innovative products cost more. The initial purchasers of these new products are providing needed capital to create mass production capabilities that will bring prices down quickly so the latest technology can be enjoyed by more consumers. It will also encourage the research and development needed for rapid product improvements.

About all that can be said is get ready for amazing improvements similar to other electronic devices. The energy storage technological advances are not slowing down, The pace of technological change in general is accelerating. It will take some imagination to picture how these advances will affect the market segment of car battery jump starters.

How To Make Gel Candles

Diwali is around the corner and we all know that it is a festival of gifts. This Diwali gift your loved ones a special gift made by you. Make them feel more important and special by doing so. There are many gifting ideas and since candles and diyas are a symbol of diwali then why not indulge ourselves in making some pretty candles.

We have already learnt how to make a simple pillar candle. Let’s learn something new today. We shall now learn how to make beautiful gel candles at home for the purpose of gifting.

For making a gel candle all you need is:

  • Gel wax
  • Wick
  • Glass container
  • Stainless Steel Utensil (for heating the wax)
  • Scents/Perfumes/Oils
  • Colors/Dyes
  • Embeds (optional for decoration)

Steps for making a gel candle:

  1. Stick the wick at the bottom center of the container using glue.
  2. Take the utensil, break gel wax into small pieces (so that it melts faster) and put it in the utensil.
  3. Now keep the utensil over the flame and remember to keep it on low flame as gel wax may catch fire. Maintain its temperature to approximately 200°F so that it looks just like a thick liquid.
  4. To this melted wax, add some color/dye. To keep the transparency of the wax, use very little color. This would also make embeds visible.
  5. Add some scent/perfume to give fragrance to the candle.
  6. To put embeds in the container, you may keep them at the bottom of the container or arrange them wherever you want by dipping them in the hot wax. Keeping them on the sides would increase their visibility.
  7. Keep the wick up on the edge of the glass container.
  8. Now pour the gel wax in the container. Be very careful while doing this. To avoid the bubbles in the wax, it should be very hot.
  9. Roll the wick over a pencil to keep it straight and in the center.
  10. Let the candle cool. After being cooled, trim the wick and pack it the way you want to gift.

Some tips:

  • For beginner, there are many kits available with all the material assembled.
  • All the material mentioned above can be obtained from candle wax suppliers or some art shops.
  • It is important to use essential oils and colors specially made for gel candles. Cosmetic oils/perfumes are not suitable.
  • There is a wide variety of glasses and perfumes available for making gel candles.
  • For embeds you can use anything non-flammable – colored aquarium gravel, marbles, glitter, sand, sea shells, pebbles, crystals, polished stones, artificial jewels or pearls.

Mistakes In Choosing A Mailbox

As of now, there are numerous items homeowners consider to make their homes better and functional such as windows, doors, fixtures and other items that can make homes comfortable and appealing. That is why some homeowners make mistakes in choosing a mailbox. In order to avoid these mistakes, below are some of the most common mistakes homeowners make.

Not checking safety features

One of the most common mistakes homeowners make when choosing a mailbox for their homes is they usually neglect safety features. As of now, communicating is much easier with the use of laptops and mobile devices. Plus, there are companies that offer door-to-door deliveries. However, there are still instances when homeowners may receive snail mails or small packages. Because of this, these essential documents or package can be taken by passerby, which can be frustrating. Therefore, homeowners must consider safety as an integral factor in choosing letterboxes.

Disregarding mounting styles

The next mistake homeowners make is they usually disregard mounting styles. Like other home items, mailboxes have numerous mounting styles. These styles can provide numerous features for homeowners. For one, wall mounted boxes can provide better security for your mail. Next, standalone mailboxes are more accessible. And, fence mounted mailboxes are easy to install. Disregarding mounting styles can surely make installation tasks harder. Neglecting mounting styles can also affect your schedule since you need to spend time thinking how to fit the box. In addition, homeowners may require special tools in fitting mailboxes which can make it even stressful.

Neglecting mailbox materials

Another factor homeowners neglect when choosing a mailbox is do not consider mailbox materials. Just like mounting styles, mailboxes are created from numerous materials. And, one of the most popular materials used is stainless steel. With this, boxes are more durable. Not to mention, mails are more secured since stainless mailboxes are water resistant. Other than that, stainless steel letterboxes can complement any home designs.

Not considering styles and sizes

Finally, some homeowners also do not consider styles and sizes of mailboxes. In case that you regularly get small packages, it is best that you opt for larger sizes. Homeowners also need to make sure that mailbox designs can complement your home aesthetics. These factors are important to allow homeowners to ensure that mails, packages and home designs will not be compromised.

Knowing all these mistakes will allow homeowners to find the right mailbox that can help them secure their mails easily and properly.