Why Are Risk Assessments Important For The Construction Industry

The construction industry is an area that is full of potential risks and therefore a thorough risk assessment is essential for any project. The construction industry is one that has the potential for a wide range of health and safety issues to rear their head, and carrying out a risk assessment is one way to ensure that the chance of any incidents occurring is as small as possible, protecting everyone involved with the project.

Risk assessments not only involve identifying potential risks of a construction project but also weighting these against numerous other factors, including contractual obligations, financial constraints and the requirements of the proposed projects. It is important to consider the health and safety risks of a construction project in conjunction with these other factors and not as singular problems that are not affected by other aspects of the construction project, doing this could mean leaving yourself open to other risks you may not have initially considered or prepared for.

There are numerous qualified health and safety consultants that can be employed to carry out professional and thorough health, safety and risk assessments and have experience in a wide range of settings, including within the construction industry. Having an expert carry out a risk assessment on any construction project is imperative, especially as construction is often considered a high risk area, and these risk assessments can highlight issues that you may not have even considered could be a risk or potential problem, allowing you to prepare for potential problems and minimise the chance of them occurring.

Often to coincide with risk assessments many companies further this by employing the same companies to carry out air testing of the environment after project completion to ensure it meets and complies with UK building regulations. There are specialist risk assessments and air testing companies across the country that have experience in a number of fields including the construction industry. These often provide services locally, for example specialising in risk assessment in the Dorset area and air testing Bournemouth.

When undertaking any project, whether this is a construction project or any other one it is imperative to consult with experts and have a thorough and complete risk assessment carried out prior to starting. And by contacting the experts you can ensure that all the risk have been evaluated and health and safety measures have been put in place to reduce the risks to everyone involved.

Koi Pond – Liners Vs. Professional Construction

Why is there so much talk about pond liners? Which ones are UV protected, or stronger, or last longer? I am by no means an expert on liner technology, nor have I ever used them in my 29 years of designing and building waterfalls. If you’re a “liner guy” disciple, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Oh no, here he goes.” To tell the truth, I have been minding by own business for over two decades, just watching, reading and listening to all the “experts.”

I’ve listened to how “pond liners are simple to install,” and “pond liners are inexpensive compared to concrete and steel,” and “pond liners are quick to install.” Or “pond liners last for 50 years,” “pond liners bring higher profits to pond construction and waterfall construction,” and “liners don’t contaminate the water with alkali as does concrete construction.” Yes, I’ve almost sold myself on listening to the facts of the “experts.” Well, not quite, due to a few facts of my own.

So, a pond liner is guaranteed for 40 to 50 years? I would have to agree with that, as long as you leave it in its box the whole time. Too bad a liner manufacturer’s warranty doesn’t include damage from gophers, ground squirrels, chipmunks, rats or mice. Or tree, plant and weed roots. Or from stretching and punctures in the liner due to heavy rocks and other sharp objects. Startling fact: a puncture only the size of a pin hole can cause a pond to lose one drip per second, or 5 gallons in just 24 hours. That’s a pin hole, not a hole made by a pair of buck teeth on a burrowing mammal.

Imagine along with me for a minute: You have spent $350 on a pond design and then $8,000 of your hard-earned money for a pond and waterfall. This water feature is impressive. They dug a big hole, piled up some dirt at one end, draped a large rubber liner over the whole thing, and placed giant boulders all around the fish pond and on the dirt mound. Smaller rocks fill in between the boulder and additional rocks cover the liner in the pond. Now, it’s two years later and you’ve just come home from a two-week vacation to find the pond half empty (or half full, if you’re a positive person).

There must be a leak! How did this happen? Where is it? No problem, you think, I remember the salesman’s pitch: “If you should ever get a leak, just clean off the area around the hole, dry it off, and using the directions enclosed in the patching kit, apply this patching material.” But there’s only one problem: Where is the leak? or leaks? How do I find them? And if I do find them, and I’m successful in patching them up, what’s to keep it from leaking again?

Okay, I’m going to snap my fingers and you’ll wake up: “Snap!” Surprise! That was only a mental exercise with a happy ending. It wasn’t real. Or was it? Yes, it was. The short story you just heard was true. One out of every eight projects we do involves replacing the leaky liner for an angry fish pond/leaky liner owner.

Why am I finally speaking up now, after all these years and waterfalls and fish ponds? Because I’m angry, too! Not at the “liner guy” who sells the pond liners, but at his disciples around the country who are bragging how much money they make in just one or two days. I’m not upset at the fact that they make in two days what takes me six to seven days to make in constructing my fish ponds of rebar and 3000 psi concrete.

My ire stems from having to charge $8,000 to replace a $6,000 liner pond that lasted only two years. (A pond liner with padding didn’t stop a tree root which traveled 25 feet to do its destructive work.) For only an additional 16% in cost, that client could still be enjoying his original pond, stress-free, for his lifetime and that of his children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The main features touted by pond liner promoters are simplicity, low cost, quick installation, and extremely high profits. In an article published in his catalog/magazine of liners and accessories, the “liner messiah” has obviously taught his disciples well, as you can read in this excerpt:

“If you hire us to install your pond, you get a choice of buying it with or without a stream. We offer no other choices! The pond we build covers an area of 11 by 16 feet, has a maximum depth of 2 feet, and a beautiful waterfall. We’ll build your pond in one day. The basic pond costs $5,100 and if you want to connect the falls with a stream, you’re looking at an extra $1,000. That’s it. End of story. No mas.”

That’s what Ernie Selles, president of Patio Ponds and disciple of the “liner guy,” said. Another quote from Ernie in the same catalog is, “I get out of bed every morning and look forward to going to work in a way that I never had before.” I noticed he didn’t mention how well he slept.

Let’s do the math on Ernie’s installation. The pond, stream, and waterfall cost is $6,100. The actual retail cost of the kit is only $1,000. $5,100 profit for only one day of labor. Notice: unlike our package, they offer no lights, no autofill, and the pond is only two feet deep. Yet three feet minimum are required for koi fish. A two foot pond affords no protection from predators such as raccoons and herons, and the shallow depth is affected easily by rapid temperature changes, causing undue stress on the pond’s inhabitants. They do not like to construct ponds over two feet deep, because they are more susceptible to cave-ins.

We would build the same pond with a depth ranging from 3 to 3 feet, with no shallows for dining predators. It is constructed of rebar 18 inches on center with a shell of 3000 psi concrete (sidewalks and driveways are typically 2000 psi). This 7 sack, 60% pea with fiber mix is so dense that it’s waterproof. However, we still coat it with ThoroSeal. The pond is equipped with two anti-vortex bottom suction drains, a skimmer to remove surface debris, and an out-of-pond pump that produces 5000 gallons per hour at only 2.6 amps, compared to the liner guy’s pumps which are only 4200 gallons per hour at 7.6 amps – over twice the cost of energy! In addition, you have to pull his heavy cast iron monster pump out of the water to clean out debris.

We would also include a state of the art Aqua Ultraviolet filter and UV light – the best money can buy. The liner guy’s filter needs to be disassembled in order to clean it by hand. The Ultima II filter requires the simple turn of a handle to back flush the debris. This system has been operational in my water features for nine years with no problems. We include an ultraviolet light in our system that kills the bacteria that create smells, kills pathogens that cause disease and algae spores that turn the water green. This light has a wiper arm that cleans the internal lens without the need to open the light.

We also offer an automatic electronic water level control system, the “AquaFill” by Aquamedia Corp.com that keeps the water level of the pond constant. Pond liner installers use floats that are mechanical like the float in a toilet tank. Mechanical fillers can corrode and stick, causing overflows and even poisoning the fish with excess chlorinated water. However, the AquaFill does not stick or corrode.

Not only are all our ponds designed a minimum of three feet deep, we build caves for the turtles and fish to hide in. With pond liner construction, rocks cannot be cemented to the liner and consequently many are loose, creating a hazard if someone were to step on them. Kids will be kids and I promise they will eventually be running up and down the falls. We have no loose rock because they are all cemented in place with Aquamedia Mortar Mix, which is not only three times stronger than regular mortar, it is very dense. As a result, alkali will not leach out into the water and create a pH problem. Regular mortar mix is porous and water passes through the joints of the rock, carrying with it cement residue. This in turn creates stain trails high in pH, easily poisoning the fish.

In conclusion, as an educated customer, would you pay $6,100 for a rubber pond liner or spend the same amount or a little more to get a shell made of concrete and steel that not only would never leak, but would last for decades. So what are we as contractors looking for? Exorbitant profits or peace of mind with long-term, happy clients?

It is more enjoyable for me to get a call eight years down the road from a content client than to get a complaint of a leaky pond. What does the “liner guy” disciple say? “Sorry, we only have a one year warranty”? Or do they go back and remove all the rocks, pull out the pond liner, clean it, repair the leaks, and replace all the rocks and equipment at no cost? Liners or professional installations?

If you say pond liners are professionally installed, then why is the very same liner kit sold to homeowners and do-it-yourselfers? The reason is, it doesn’t take an experienced professional to install one.

All you need is “a garden hose and a shovel”!

Look before you leap, and ponder before you weep. Happy koi, peace and joy.

Unsafe Working Conditions Continue To Cause Construction Site Accidents

Unsafe working conditions continue to plague some construction sites, both locally and internationally, according to many news reports. Though several websites exist that offer construction accident information, construction accidents continue to occur frequently. Many times, these unsafe conditions can be easily remedied by a competent foreman on the job site. Sadly, there is a certain stigma against safety on some construction sites. Safety is often overlooked or it is thought that engaging in dangerous construction site behaviors is overtly masculine. Others believe that safety is a cost that can be cut to save money on job projects. This specific belief that money can be saved by ignoring building code safety requirements or using sub-par building materials has been the cause of two recently reported construction-related issues.

The first has been the widely reported problem of defective Chinese drywall present in recently constructed homes across the U.S. Homeowners have recently become aware that a large percentage of drywall imported from China between 2000 and 2007 may be releasing a toxic sulfuric gas in to their homes. This gas has been shown to corrode copper wiring in electrical sockets, copper duct work in air conditioning units, and tarnishing silver flatware. Additionally, it may present health concerns both from short term and long term exposure; many individuals have already experienced a litany of symptoms, including respiratory problems, headaches, and fatigue.

The contaminated building product has gone beyond creating unsafe working conditions for the construction workers that may have been exposed to the toxic Chinese drywall; it has now created a potentially hazardous living environment for many of the homeowners in which this defective product was installed.

Another example of unsafe working conditions came from an international incident in Shanghai. A 13 story apartment building collapsed almost completely intact, killing one worker. The collapse was apparently caused by workers beginning excavation on the underground parking garage, causing the river bank nearby to collapse and triggering a foundation failure for the complex. Preliminary reports have said that the Chinese government is holding 9 individuals connected with the building’s construction. This tragic accident shows us what happens when costs are cut on building code safety regulations.

Ultimately, the responsibility for construction site safety rests on the shoulders of those in charge of the site. When safety is overlooked in favor of cutting costs, it is the construction worker who generally is the victim of oversight. Oftentimes, this leads to the victim contacting a construction accident lawyer and developing a costly construction accident lawsuitfor the building contractor.

Construction Industry Accounting & CPA Services in Houston TX

Construction Industry Accounting & CPA Services in Houston TX

For years we have worked with all types of construction contractors… everything from commercial and residential general contractors, to subs like roofers, electricians, commercial plumbers, HVAC and utility contractors. You could say it’s in our blood.

You see, our founder’s (Jim Trippon CPA) father was a custom homebuilder, and Jim grew up pounding nails. In fact Jim could install 3 tab shingles and roof flashing before he ever got his first drivers license, let alone before he went to college to become a CPA.

We have found that very few CPAs have a passion for the construction industry. Most don’t even know that many of their contractor clients qualify for a special deduction to save them 6% on their federal income tax every year.

What we’re talking about is the Domestic Production Activities Deduction (which can be deducted using IRS Form 8903). This special deduction allows many construction contractors to deduct 6% of net income derived from qualified “production” activities. There are some limitations, but most construction contractors that do new construction projects can qualify.

There has never been a more crucial time for construction contractors to pay more attention to their tax preparation and tax accounting details. By reducing their tax liability, construction contractors can protect themselves against increasing taxes and income assessments by the IRS. Here are a few tips on how to effectively reduce your tax liability in the construction industry.

Maximize capital asset deductions. Recent tax laws have increased the fixed asset cost expense up to $250,000 for construction contractors. Construction contractors can take advantage of this deduction as long as less than $800,000 of the company’s assets are in service within the given year.

Capital Gains & Dividend tax rate increases. Under the current law, expect it to change with the new presidential administration, capital gains and dividend are taxed at 15%. This issue is something that you will definitely want to consult with your tax CPA. These tax rates are under close watch Congress and the presidential administration.

Tax Rebate. Most of the economic stimulus checks have been delivered. However, there are additional funds that may be available. The economic stimulus checks were actually an advance on the 2008 tax liabilities. The amount of each person’s check was based on income from 2007 & 2008. So if there was significant changes in income there may be additional rebate funds that are available.

Depreciation Deductions. Investments in equipment can be partially deducted in the first year of use. Contractors are allowed to deduct of the cost investments made in a calendar year during the first year of use. Construction contractors can then depreciate the remaining half of the asset purchase over its normal useful life.

Beware of the “Kiddie Tax.” Since most construction contracting companies are family owned and operated, the kiddie tax has been extended to require excess unearned income of full-time students under 24 years of age, to be taxed as marginal income at the parent’s current tax rate. This may not apply if the student’s earnings equal of their support. You will definitely want to consult with your tax CPA regarding retirement planning options and monetary gifts to avoid increasing your tax liability on dependents over 18 years of age.

If you would like to work with a CPA firm that understands the construction industry and will work hard to make sure you do not pay a penny more than you owe give us a call at 713-661-1040.

At Trippon & Company CPAs we use our 30 years of experience in construction industry to minimize your Federal tax liability. Call us at 713-661-1040 and put our experience at work for you TODAY!

Aluminum Fabrication And Industrial Construction

Construction industry has been witnessing many changes with the innovations in the production processes as well as production equipment. The growing need for construction and commercial activities has compelled research engineers to make the production process more efficient. Aluminum welding, aluminum fabrication, parts repairs are all terms commonly applied in commercial and industrial manufacturing businesses. By making use of these modern processes, construction companies have innovated improvements in the production methods making them more efficient and cost-effective. Metal fabricators are able to transform raw material into products, tools and machinery easily and with greater precision.

All industrial and commercial concerns rely on aluminum fabrication and concrete cutting for all kinds of construction activities. These days, with the advancement in technology, aluminum fabrication is assisted with computer aided machinery and robotics for an improved performance and lower wastage. The fabrication services have become more complex and require more sophistication because of the enormity of construction activities.

For high quality aluminum fabrication, it is required that the professionals are fully trained and reliable. This is because of the high level of concentration and attention required in the process to ensure accuracy. Preparation of equipment is the first consideration to be made. The next step requires the selection and application of the most suitable technique for welding. Careful inspection of the process is also very important to ensure the job is flawless.

The fabrication is a method of cutting, shaping and transforming a material into a product. There are various fabrication methods and materials. The choice of the material and method depends on the product purpose, appearance and of course the budget. Aluminum is generally a preferred choice for various reasons. It is a lightweight and ductile metal. It has the following advantages over other materials used for welding, cutting, forming, lathing, milling and other such activities:

It is heat resistant:

The metal has a typically higher melting point and is less likely to degrade under extreme temperatures.

It is a strong and sturdy material:

Aluminum is much harder and durable than some of the other counterparts such as plastic.

It offers more versatility:

Aluminum can be used quite efficiently for a wide range of processes including casting, welding, soldering and forging.

It is cost-effective:

Aluminum is a relatively economical option especially for large construction jobs.

Aluminum, with the afore-mentioned benefits, is indeed a metal of choice in most companies for many construction jobs. A lot of industrial and construction companies make extensive use of aluminum fabrication and pipe fabrication for the many benefits it offers.