California Contractor License Verification

The State of California is one of the largest and most prosperous states in the US. Its popular cities and fast growing towns attract a lot of investments in new business ventures of all types ranging from construction of new buildings, parking lots, roads, highways and other construction projects. The State of California requires all contractors involved in construction work to obtain an approval from the California Contractors State License Board before proceeding with their work. There are certain rules and regulations to be followed and certain prerequisites to be met in order to apply for this license. The rule applies to all contractors who have a budget of $500 or more on any of their projects.

There exist many consultants in California who help contractors with the process of applying and acquiring these licenses. With their help, the daunting task of receiving the licenses becomes easier to a large extent. It is essential for contractors to possess certain certificates and licenses, which must be in accordance with the board located at Sacramento. The verification of these licenses is essential in order to prevent fraudulent or dubious activity pertaining to construction projects. Most people are advised to check the credentials of contractors before engaging with them.

The California Contractors State License Board issues contractors pocket licenses, which provide information about the type of work and contract that a particular contractor is licensed for. It is advisable to verify these pocket licenses before signing and finalizing the deal with a contractor. It is also essential to verify whether the contractor is licensed for the type of work that needs to be done. The contractor’s commission must be verified as well and cannot exceed 10% of the total cost of the construction. The payment to contractors for their services is usually made in cash.

A large number of experienced contractors offer their services to businessmen and firms in California. Verification of the license of contractors has become essential with an increasing number of unlicensed contractors jumping into the fray of construction, given that the business sector has huge pay-offs. It is advisable to hire contractors only after checking their license and the credibility.

California’s Water Allocation Plan

On October 29th of 2008, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced that it would be allocating only 15% of the water requested by the communities served by the State Water Project (SWP) in the State California; this represents the second lowest allocation level in over 40 years. Several factors have contributed to this conservative plan including a prolonged drought in the region, lower than average snowfall, and a court decision to protect a small fish. The California DWR is tasked with taking this all into account and managing the State’s fresh water resources; a difficult task even in a wet year.

California, and indeed most of the southwest United States is in the midst of a multi-year drought. Lower than expected rainfall has been recorded for the past 2 years, and that trend is projected to continue in 2009. In fact the pattern of repeated drought is well known to archeologists who study the ancient cultures of the Southwest and to the Native Americans and settlers who lived through such cycles. To overcome this hurdle, the State of California began to build a system of canals, dams and reservoirs decades ago; this work is ongoing and the DWR is currently the state agency tasked with the maintenance, repair and construction of these facilities. These structures have the effect of ‘leveling’ the wet and dry cycles, allowing the State to collect and preserve a large percentage of the rainfall and snow melt in the wet years and then use that to sustain the State’s water demand during the dry years.

Over the past two decades, California has seen two trends which both contributed to the current low reservoir levels. The first is the increase in population seen by California; over 15 million new citizens came to the state in the past 30 years, almost doubling the population. This growing populace obviously puts a greater demand on the state’s water supply, siphoning more water from the reservoirs than planners 50 years ago expected. The second factor may be more of a surprise; the past 30 years have been fairly wet years and the State of California regularly had ‘surplus’ water. This bounty was one of the main reasons that California’s Central Valley saw such agricultural productivity during these years. Certainly there were dry periods, but on the whole, the State experienced some of its wettest years in the 20th century from 1978 to 1998, the graph below from the University of California at San Diego reinforces this point. The graph also gives some insight into the lag that accompanies the rainfall cycle; for several years at the beginning of a ‘dry’ period, the groundwater supplies appear to be bountiful. This effect, however, is only temporary and the abundant supply quickly disappears; California appears to be entering this plunge to drought, currently.

Another interesting factor in California’s water dilemma is, of all things, a fish. In 2007, a Federal District Court judge protected the delta smelt, citing its declining population and short lifespan as reasons for protection. The delta smelt is a small, silver fish approximately 3-4 inches long; it lives in the San Joaquin-Sacramento River and has a one year lifespan.As it happens, these pumps generate the water pressures which allow the California and South Bay aqueducts to reach their destinations. Because of this court ruling, the State of California lost the ability to deliver approximately 625,000 acre-feet of water to central and southern California.

The State’s Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has proposed building new dams and channels to avoid the environmental issues associated with the delta smelt and has been caucusing with other governors in the region to reach a common understanding that may help to ease the situation. In the meantime local water managers, faced with reservoirs that are less than half-full, are calling for immediate reductions in use by farmers and households. If the State’s water allocation plan holds at 15%, many fields will sit idle this summer. Of course, a wetter winter or greater than expected snowfall would allow the DWR to upwardly revise their allocation; this happened last year when the DWR initially projected a 25% allocation and then later revised that to 35% after a wet winter. But that isn’t a guarantee and the DWR’s conservative planning appears to be warranted at this time. Looking forward, however, it appears that the State of California needs a revision to its water plan, one that plans on much less water availability for the next several years.

Dome Homes Available Across The Country And In California

Dome homes come in a variety of sizes, but the shape is fairly standard: dome-shaped. The geometric architecture of a dome home is visually pleasing and the depending upon the type of construction, they can be resistant to wind, storm, earthquake, and insect damage.

Monolithic domes are made with concrete supported by steel bars inside. Once the steel bars are in place, airfoam is applied so the cement can be poured. Once dry, the foam is removed to be used again. The Monolithic dome home is then strong, fire resistant, and ready to face the worst elements nature brings.

Another type of dome structure is the tent-like geodesic dome. This housing option is best for emergencies because of their quick construction and relatively low cost. For about $350, the housing triangles create a self-bracing framework that gives structural strength and use only a little bit of construction materials.

In California, dome-shaped homes are growing in popularity. Kits are available for homeowners to build their own house, but there are also construction experts available to do the build for people less construction inclined or who have little time of their own to complete one.

The geometric homes offer wood interiors and are energy efficient. Through a radiant floor, water is circulated under the home through PEX tubing, with an “instant on” boiler that can be switched on and off manually.

There are several geodesic dome houses now available for sale in California with prices dependent upon location. In Oakhurst, a 1400 square foot dome shaped piece of real estate is now available for just $150,000. The open floor plan includes a bedroom, bathroom, loft, a small office, and a front and back deck. It has all of the conveniences of a standard house, but operates on a septic system and uses a wood stove for heat.

A magnificent dome house in the lush woods of Taylorsville, California is currently offered for just under $600,000. One of the nicest qualities of this home is the 360 degree views of the trees and surrounding mountains. The location – like the home – is stunning.

Finally a captivating dome home is for sale in San Francisco for just over $1 million. That the home is 20 years old and in perfect shape is a testament to the longevity of these structures. The house has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a soaring cathedral ceiling in the living room, and a wonderful wine storage room in the basement.

The costs of building a new dome are minimal compared to a lot of construction options. Kits may be purchased for between $9,000 to $28,000. If you hire a company to put it together for you, expect the price to double. Still, the cost is very reasonable considering most new construction homes across the country are priced from $70,000 up (depending on location).

Dome Homes Available Across The Country And In California

Dome homes come in a variety of sizes, but the shape is fairly standard: dome-shaped. The geometric architecture of a dome home is visually pleasing and the depending upon the type of construction, they can be resistant to wind, storm, earthquake, and insect damage.

Monolithic domes are made with concrete supported by steel bars inside. Once the steel bars are in place, airfoam is applied so the cement can be poured. Once dry, the foam is removed to be used again. The Monolithic dome home is then strong, fire resistant, and ready to face the worst elements nature brings.

Another type of dome structure is the tent-like geodesic dome. This housing option is best for emergencies because of their quick construction and relatively low cost. For about $350, the housing triangles create a self-bracing framework that gives structural strength and use only a little bit of construction materials.

In California, dome-shaped homes are growing in popularity. Kits are available for homeowners to build their own house, but there are also construction experts available to do the build for people less construction inclined or who have little time of their own to complete one.

The geometric homes offer wood interiors and are energy efficient. Through a radiant floor, water is circulated under the home through PEX tubing, with an “instant on” boiler that can be switched on and off manually.

There are several geodesic dome houses now available for sale in California with prices dependent upon location. In Oakhurst, a 1400 square foot dome shaped piece of real estate is now available for just $150,000. The open floor plan includes a bedroom, bathroom, loft, a small office, and a front and back deck. It has all of the conveniences of a standard house, but operates on a septic system and uses a wood stove for heat.

A magnificent dome house in the lush woods of Taylorsville, California is currently offered for just under $600,000. One of the nicest qualities of this home is the 360 degree views of the trees and surrounding mountains. The location – like the home – is stunning.

Finally a captivating dome home is for sale in San Francisco for just over $1 million. That the home is 20 years old and in perfect shape is a testament to the longevity of these structures. The house has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a soaring cathedral ceiling in the living room, and a wonderful wine storage room in the basement.

The costs of building a new dome are minimal compared to a lot of construction options. Kits may be purchased for between $9,000 to $28,000. If you hire a company to put it together for you, expect the price to double. Still, the cost is very reasonable considering most new construction homes across the country are priced from $70,000 up (depending on location).

This type of investment – whether you live in California or elsewhere – is a great deal.

Are Road Construction Fatalities Decreasing?

A high percentage of the personal injury and death that occurs in road construction zones can be attributed to crashes involving drivers and workers. Transportation incidents, such as a vehicle striking a worker or crashing into a construction site, accounted for approximately 40 percent of all workplace fatalities in 2008, a decrease from the 2,351 cases recorded in 2007. “Moreover, fatal highway incidents declined by 19 percent to 1,149 from 2007 to 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, while road fatalities decreased throughout the country from 2008 to 2009, they increased in California”, explains James Ballidis, a personal injury lawyer in the state.

Nationwide, 667 people died in motor vehicle accidents involving work zones in 2009, a 7.4 percent decrease from 2008, a 20 percent decrease from 2007, and a 34 percent decrease from 2006, according to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse. Although thousands of new highway projects were started in 2009-a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-recent data from the U.S. Department of Transportation indicate that highway work-zone fatalities fell to the lowest level since 1992.

The Department of Transportation attributed the decrease to several factors: multi-million dollar work-zone safety programs implemented by the Federal Highway Administration to train more than 46,000 highway workers; improvements in work zone design; and heightened law enforcement near work zones. In addition, the FWHA issued several new federal rules to improve worker safety, such as the requirement that workers wear high-visibility clothing.

While the national incidence of personal injury and death suffered by road construction workers fell, increases were recorded in some states. From 2008 to 2009, the number of fatalities rose from 0 to 5 in California, according to a local lawyer. Increases were also recorded in Florida, with 6 more deaths in 2009 than in 2008, and Arkansas, where fatalities increased from 0 to 8.

An accident that recently occurred in Palm Desert, California illustrates one of the most common ways that road construction workers are injured or killed while on the job. A person driving on Hovley Lane struck a worker and then a construction vehicle. The motorist and the worker were both injured in the accident.

Motorists present a great risk to road construction workers. In a study of work zone accidents that occurred between 1995 and 2002, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that more than half of the 844 fatalities suffered were attributable to a vehicle or mobile equipment striking the worker.

April marks the beginning of the road construction season in the United States. As sites are erected along our roads and highways, we must exercise caution to protect the workers who are helping to improve our nation’s transportation system.

Why Choose Concrete Construction

We are always looking for ways that we can add to our home. It might be in adding a specific type of siding or roofing, through updating the landscaping or perhaps by making our driveway smoother and easier to use, but the reality is that we are always on the lookout for something that can help us stand out from the rest.

When it comes to adding a feature that is practical and yet versatile one such option is to incorporate concrete construction elements. Be it a masonry patio, an outdoor fireplace, building a lanai or having an outdoor kitchen, the use for masonry are as numerous and varied as your imagination or budget. And, speaking of budget, because of its durability and ease of maintenance, opting for concrete construction is one of the most budget friendly choices available.

But what is that can be built using masonry? Why, nearly anything you might want! From indoor elements such as gorgeous stained or stamped concrete floors, stairs, or columns to outdoor features like pool side patios, driveways, walkways, garden paths, outdoor kitchens and fireplaces concrete is the perfect medium for all things house related.

5 Ways to Incorporate Concrete Construction:

If you have always considered concrete to be suitable for just the obvious things like driveways or by the pool, you might be surprised to think of it as other home elements. Consider these fun uses of concrete:

  1. Create a custom kitchen counter by using concrete. You can customize everything from the color, the thickness, or even opt to embed personal items in the concrete before it set up for a truly customized look.
  2. Add concrete stepping stones to a garden path Sure you can buy them at your local garden store, but why not create your own shapes, sizes, colors and designs! So much more fun.
  3. Have an outdoor kitchen built, and incorporate concrete elements such as seating, planters, or table tops,
  4. Need help with erosion? Add a masonry retaining wall and keep the dirt and lawn where you want it.
  5. Use concrete to design a raised bed area for your yard

Concrete construction is nothing new, as it has been used in architecture for years. However, we sometimes forget just how perfect it is for so many decorative elements. If you are trying to determine what to do with the appearance of your home or landscape, be sure to consider employing masonry features. You just might be surprised at their versatility. Talk to a local concrete professional today.

Why Modern Home Design Is Oh So Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright was not only considered one of the world’s greatest contemporary architects, but was also one of the most prolific and controversial public figures of his time. He was a writer, art collector, philosopher and visionary, all of which combined to inspire his craft. An outdoorsy child, Wright fell deeply in love with the Wisconsin landscape he explored as a boy. “The modeling of the hills, the weaving and fabric that clings to them, the look of it all in tender green or covered with snow or in full glow of summer that bursts into the glorious blaze of autumn,” he later reminisced.

Widely known for four distinct architectural styles, his work stemmed from his belief that buildings should be made from the land, and benefit the land.

  • Prairie: born out of his belief that we needed fewer, larger rooms that flowed more easily and incorporated low pitched roofs, overhanging eaves, a central chimney, and open floor plans which, he believed, was the antidote to the confined, closed-in look of the Victorian era.
  • Textile: these took on a more linear approach, combined with influences from Mayan architecture.
  • Organic: this drew from natural resources, combined with the influence of Japanese architecture.
  • Usonian: smaller than his sprawling Prairie style residences, these contained little ornamentation and lacked basements or attics. These houses were set up into zones, typically with three areas: living space, small bedrooms, and a kitchen-dining area. Built-in components and furniture allowed homeowners to appreciate the simpler, integrated space Wright intended.

Frank Lloyd Wright was clearly a man ahead of his time. The design of many of his homes once seemed light-years ahead of their time, and people often had trouble understanding his vision, yet almost all of our modern home design and custom home building construction puts to use the ideals he thought so important.

The works of Frank Lloyd Wright are unique. No two homes or buildings look alike. He built according to his vision of what the future would be. He saw the need for homes to be more fluid, more open, more live-able, and less restrained. His architecture both documented a time in history and yet managed to push the envelope with his modern philosophical approach to the future of building.

Wright stood for clean lines and simplicity. He believed that a well-built building complemented its environment and surrounding. He disliked the intricate detail and fussiness of the architectural styles that preceded him. His ideals, words and foresight continue to be used as inspiration for modern home design and custom home builders. The echoes of his style are evident in many of the contemporary homes we see designed today.

House Extensions – Things You Need To Know

Rather than moving to a new house, every budget conscious homeowner desires to extend or upgrade their existing home to save both time as well as money. Home additions are a perfect choice for increasing your living space and adding property value. A home extension substantially increases the functional space inside your home and undoubtedly increases the property’s resale value to a great extend. However, before you jump into a final decision, here are some important points to consider regarding a home extension procedure.

Is it a wise choice?

Are you looking forward to an extra bedroom, a new living area for the whole family to enjoy or for a home office? The first and foremost step is to verify the viability of a house extension procedure in your property, no matter whether it is a single storey extension or a two (double) storey extension. Always keep in mind that only a well-planned sensible design can be cost-effective and provide you the likely benefits. Before you proceed, it is also necessary to recognize the need of a planning permission and verify whether your property is located in a conservation area. If so, it is highly recommended to seek advice from your nearby building control authority and do a research about the legal procedures related to the extension work.

Next, take time to find an answer for “how much does an extension cost?” For this, your exact requirement has to be analyzed in detail. Based on your need, you can either choose a rear extension or a side extension procedure. A single storey extension, either done on the side or rear portion, is comparatively cheaper and it requires only minimal disruption. However, if you need more ventilation, then a double storey extension is considered as more beneficial. An extra investment is often required when you adopt additional painting or interior design services. Also, make sure to implement adequate safety measures, before your home remodeling job, to avoid unexpected costs.

As there are multiple possibilities in a home or kitchen extension project, it is extremely essential to find a reputable professional who utilize highly sophisticated construction methods for a hassle free home improvement job. Such professionals inspect your site and suggest the most suitable design pattern, based on your specific requirements, budget and the building’s pre-existing conditions. Moreover, they adhere to essential quality standards and offer adequate work warranty for the job undertaken to ensure utmost customer satisfaction.

Top 5 Qualities of Landscape Pathway Materials

You can easily find your way to a better yard with the right landscape pathway materials. If you are looking for new solutions for your outdoor area, then you will also want to consider the qualities for the hardscape you are working with. This will make a difference in how you approach your next landscape project while ensuring that you have the right options for your pathway. Following are the top five qualities to look for with the materials.

1. Water Resistant. A common mistake that many make with landscape pathway materials is the water erosion that occurs. Often, jointing sand, stabilizer for aggregate pathways and other materials don’t have resistance to water. You want to make sure that you have the materials that allow you to maintain the pathway for a longer time frame.

2. Durability. Nothing is better than a durable pathway. You not only want to find stronger paving stones or aggregate. It is also important to make sure that your jointing sand or stabilizer is durable with the pathway. This will assist with a long – lasting solution for your pathway.

3. Low Maintenance. Even though all landscape pathway materials claim to have the best options for maintenance, they often erode quickly or don’t provide you with the correct solutions to upgrade your path. You want to find materials that allow you to replace sections of your pathway or to find solutions that are based on long lasting formulas.

4. Easy to Apply. Some of the landscape pathway materials are mixed with chemicals and other materials that are not compatible with aggregate or paving stones. You want to find options that are natural and are able to easily mix and work with the applications for your pathway.

5. No Chemical Residue. For paving stones and other unique materials, there is often a white haze left behind from poly haze. If you are applying specific pathways, then you want to make sure it won’t leave behind chemicals and white residue. Environmentally friendly solutions with the landscape pathway materials you are looking for will provide you with different levels of compatibility for your hardscape.

Upgrade your outdoor area without problems. If you are looking for different options, then landscape pathway materials can assist you with the desired options. There are a variety of alternatives that you can look into, all which will provide you with high quality, long lasting materials for your next hardscape project.

Enjoy All the Advantages of Affordable Venetian Marble

If spending got in the way of acquiring the super marble and granite looks and feel, read on about Venetian marble. Since recycling is everywhere in our fight to preserve the environment, salvaging natural marble brings us this solution to many dreams. Instead of the rather expensive cultured marble and granite, why not opt for the man-made Venetian marble?

How is Venetian marble made?

The reprocessed marble undergoes a procedure of pressing and heating with polymers and pigments. The result is a very strong, non-porous surface. Made of slabs in the factory, fabricators cut and polish it, ready for installation. You get VM in several attractive colors and enchanting edges for a fairyland feeling. Designs come to life in dreamy settings!

Among the Venetian marble, advantages are easy installations with little maintenance headaches, resisting bacteria and staining. Immense durability makes it appropriate for floors and shower enclosures, backsplashes and countertops.

Installations without seams

Without 48″ restrictions, Venetian marble is the first 60″ wide manufactured marble. With few seams, install it quickly and easily with little waste. Don’t you desire the most environmentally sustainable product?

Attractive color options too

Natural rock comes with many surface pits and marks from the wild underground through sustained earthly processes. Engineered stone is quite regular in coloration and surface consistency through the slab. Seams are minimal as a result and they suit applications where color regularity is preferred. Tibetan Beige and Coco Emperador are popular choices unless you opt for the more traditional colors like the Vanilla Sky and Melange.

How to maintain Venetian marble?

Compared to the conventional tile and natural stone surfaces, These marble premium surfaces present no maintenance issues. Simply wipe with wet cloth and even sponge and paper towels would suffice. If heavy stains occur, you need to use a mild soap. A neutral pH cleaner could also be used. A nonabrasive scrub pad will preserve the surface and result in many years of service with no hassles. A marble sealer is advised for additional protection. This marble being very durable, use it for backsplashes and countertops to provide the smart marble and granite look with a long life.

Venetian marble would introduce a great natural stone fantasy into the home or business at reasonable expense. Since many options exist, some are bound to meet your expectations, fancy, lifestyle, and budget. Survey our vast range of premium surfaces to make the best decisions.