Countertops: Granite vs. Quartz

In addition to appearance, there are several factors to consider when choosing a material for your countertop. A handful of materials can be used for countertops, which offer various aesthetic qualities and functions. Two of the most popular materials used for countertops are granite and quartz.

Having a general understanding of granite and quartz is important. Granite is a 100% natural material. It is mined from quarries, cut and then polished. Quartz countertops are a 95% natural material; the other five percent is binder and color. With this basic makeup in mind, we can compare qualities of both.

Look of Countertops

Granite is slightly more natural looking due to its 100% natural composition. It can be found in a variety of unique colors and patterns. Though not quite as organic in nature, quartz still provides a stone aesthetic. Since it is engineered, quartz may be more easily found to fit a particular color.

Maintenance

Granite is more porous than quartz. For this reason, it requires more maintenance. It is suggested that granite countertops be resealed annually to ensure longevity, while quartz does not need the same care.

Durability

Both granite and quartz are incredibly durable. Because of granite’s porous nature, spilled liquids can cause staining. While quartz will not stain, it can be damaged by excessive heat.

Price

While the cost of granite and quartz are similar, quartz can run slightly more expensive. Based on estimates from HomeAdvisor, the national average cost to buy quartz without installation fees is $75 per square foot, while slab granite can typically be purchased between $40 and $60 per square foot without installation. We suggest getting quotes from two to three professionals, with installation fees factored in, so that you are able to get what you want for the best price.

In deciding between granite and quartz, there is no right or wrong decision. In the end, it comes down to personal preference, and you cannot go wrong with either.

What is a change order?

During the construction process, it is important to address sensitive subjects to avoid future conflict. Contracts solidify expectations and help to ensure that contractors and customers understand expectations.

Once a contract is in place to specify a scope of work and the budget, change orders are essential for moving forward. A change order is a written document that records alterations made during construction and acknowledges any increase or decrease in the cost and timing of the project.

In short, change orders consist of:

  • Revisions made to the scope of work
  • Updated pricing for revisions made
  • Alterations to the existing contract to accommodate the new scope of work
  • The signatures of the contractor and the customer

For a more in-depth understanding of the subject, check out eSUB’s explanation.

The key to a successful change order is a clear, two-sided understanding of expectations between customer and contractor.

At The Residences at 66 High Street, building allowances provide a clear set of guidelines for both contractors and customers. In the event that a client goes under or over the total budget for the allowance, a change order would be necessary.

OSHA Safety Standards

As part of the United States Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created by Congress to assure safe and healthy working conditions for private sector employers and workers across various industries, such as construction, maritime, and agriculture.

In the construction industry, which includes construction, alteration, and repair, OSHA is essential in identifying and enforcing workers’ rights and protections, while also helping employees to understand their responsibilities to employers.

The list of laws and regulations that caters specifically to the construction industry is broken up into 29 subparts that address a wide array of topics. Topics include:

For the full list of OSHA construction regulations, click here.

What is the Role of a Project Manager?

Project managers, especially in construction, are responsible for juggling a handful of responsibilities. From start to finish, they carry out all aspects of the building process to align with the visions set forth by clients and developers. All the while, a project manager must ensure that tasks get completed safely, on time, and on budget.

Construction project managers must be experienced within the industry, as they tend to a variety of responsibilities requiring a great deal of knowledge. These include:

Planning: Before a project gets underway the project manager must establish a timeline for each stage of construction. Throughout construction, the project manager makes sure each stage is finished for timely completion.

Resource Management: Project managers must understand what resources and tools are required for a given project and have them available.

Staffing: Just as they are responsible for the resources for projects, a project manager is also responsible for staffing individuals of all trades. Hiring the correct people is essential, as the timeline and quality of work is dependant on it.

Setting Benchmarks: Setting benchmarks allow all parties involved to have a clear understanding of when certain things need to get done.

Budget Management: Project managers are responsible for the financial planning of a project and ensuring that the scope of work stays within budget. If any changes are made that influence cost, those too must be accounted for by the project manager.

While the above list encompasses the broad roles of a project manager, a lot more work goes on behind the scenes in order for a project to be completed on time and at a high quality. For a project manager to be successful, it takes a great deal of cooperation, communication, and confidence in his or her decisions.

 

Certificate of Occupancy: What is a CO?

Certificates of occupancy (CO) determine whether a building is suitable for living or working. The primary purpose of a CO is to:

  1. Dictate a structure’s function. Functions of a structure can include residential, retail, commercial, or industrial properties.
  2. Determine if the structure is suitable for occupancy. Structure is suitable for occupancy so long as it complies with all standards and codes related to its function.
  3. Make sure a structure complies with building codes.

While requirements for COs may vary depending on location, they are typically needed in a number of different instances, which include:

  • New construction.
  • Property conversion – when the function of a building changes. The Residences at 66 High Street are an example, as the history industrial Mill Building was turned into residential units.
  • Change of ownership.
  • Major construction – Any construction that changes the occupancy of the property or alters the entrance or exit of the property.

Certificates of occupancy are ultimately awarded if the structure passes a number of inspections, which include plumbing, electrical, fire safety, and general building.

 

What is Type II-B Construction?

New construction, whether it is for a single family home, small business, or large complex, requires builders and companies to follow strict guidelines to ensure safety for all involved.

Every building is classified as a construction type based on the materials used to build and the fire resistance rating of the materials. The five main types of construction are outlined below:

  • Type I – Fire Resistive
  • Type II – Non-Combustible
  • Type III – Ordinary (Exterior Protected)
  • Type IV – Heavy Timber
  • Type V – Wood Frame

In our ongoing luxury project, The Residences at 66 High Street, we build to fit guidelines of Type II-B construction. Type II-B construction is an uncommon form of construction in Luxury Real Estate condominium developments such as this. The walls and roof are constructed from non-combustible materials, such as masonry, tilt slab, or metal. Weight bearers in Type II-B buildings are typically steel beams.

Type II-B construction is one of the reasons The Residences at 66 High Street has won the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Connecticut’s distinguished HOBI Awards for:

  • BEST Condominium Community
  • BEST Luxury Condominium Unit
  • BEST Historic Rehab
  • 2016 PROJECT OF THE YEAR

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