Contractors Begin Year With New Accounting Standard
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The great pioneers of electricity, Faraday, Volta, Ampere, all instinctively associated electricity with the source and spark of life. Modern neurosurgeons would not disagree.
In 1891 Galvani identified the fact that an electrical charge activates the nerves and muscles even in dead animals. As every schoolboy knows, if you put a circuit across a dead frog's legs they will spasm and twitch.
Bringing The Dead Back To Life
In 1802 his nephew, Aldini, took the whole circus act even further. He sent a charge across a severed ox head and the eyes opened, the ears shook and the tongue moved!
In 1803 he extended the experiment by applying electricity to a human corpse! A hung murderer, Thomas Fletcher, on receiving a charge, quivered, opened an eye and clenched his hands. In other macabre experiments a corpse raised itself from the table as if about to walk and another repeatedly banged its fist upon a table.
Electricity: Servant, Master Or Monster?
The die had been cast and scientists continued to associate electricity with life. Such thinking caused great excitement and was a challenge to the church. By 1818 Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein: or the Modern Prometheus, took the idea to another frightening level.
The fictional Dr Frankenstein seeks to usurp the role of God and by using electricity create life. You must remember in his vision his creation will be beautiful and unlock great secrets. In her book, Mary Shelley questions this impertinence and we all know the resulting dichotomy of servant or monster.
That, of course, is the same question we have today about electricity. It is both a servant and a monster. Ever since man saw the first tree split by lightning in an electrical storm he has been in awe of this vast power. Later during the enlightenment, he began to seek to harness it. To some extent man has succeeded. There are numerous medical interventions that utilize electricity and it is unduly the great power source that drives our cities.
It is also, however, a lurking monster. Today the general public take electrical power for granted. We have become blasé and unconcerned about this mighty force … that is until it ceases to work. Then it is only contemplated as an inconvenience to be solved as quickly as possible so that we can resume our busy lives.
Finding An Electrical Contractor
Those in the know see the risks in a more realistic way. Ever since Edison electrocuted an elephant in 1903 the ever present dangers have been known. (Those of a macabre turn of mind can see a short film of this on YouTube. Building Regulations have become increasingly refined and organizations like The Electrical Safety Council offer free advice on sourcing electrical contractors.
Obviously the most important feature about an electrical contractor is competence. If your fuses are blowing too frequently or you are overusing adapters and extensions you need your circuits checked. Your problem is where can you find a trustworthy electrical contractor?
The very best first step in locating a competent electrical contractor is to contact the trade organizations. I recommend NICEIC, which has a register of competent electrical contractors who can be relied upon to deliver sound service.
Alternately you can find your electrical contractor through The Electrical Safety Council
Once you have located a local electrical contractor you still need to make a decision that is right for you. Are you a vast commercial or industrial concern with a heavy electrical commitment? In which case you have to source an electrical contractor who specializes in commercial electrical installations and who can provide a proven track record.
On the other hand if you are a householder you might prefer the personal touch of a fairly local electrical contractor. Do not be misled however, as many companies are able to provide both types of service. The will have district departments that specialize in domestic electrical contractors and commercial electrical contractors.
Whatever you decide avoid the "bright sparks" when dealing with the spark of life. (See my article Electrical Contractors: Avoiding The Bright Sparks. ")
A plumbing contractor has many jobs that they do, including installing, maintaining, and replacing the system of pipes in a home or business. They are also the ones that do troubleshooting to find out what the problem is. In addition to working in homes and businesses they may also work in the industrial section. Some work in all three. A plumbing contractor can be self-employed and work alone or have employees working for them.
Plumbing contractor specializations
• Maintenance-they have a yearly contract with the proprietors of multi-unit structures like apartments, hotels, condominiums, or motels. When they have plumbing problems they call the contractor to take care of them.
• Work on new construction-some just work on new construction projects installing the new plumbing to all areas of the new business or home
• Remodeling and retrofitting-in this field the plumbing contractor will be the one to call to replace or upgrade the plumbing systems to bring it up to code or to increase the efficiency of the system.
A plumbing contractor who does work for residences will generally be contacted by the homeowner over the phone and set up an appointment for them to come to home, which could be in a few days unless it is an emergency. When they come to the home they will diagnose the problem and give an estimate of the time and cost to take care of the problem. Many plumbing contractors will have a set fee to come to the house to diagnose the problem. Some may even charge mileage. If it is a common problem like a garbage disposal that is clogged, the contractor can give the homeowner an estimate of the cost and time to fix the problem over the phone. The contractor will give the homeowner a written estimate of the cost for repairs or replacement. If the homeowner agrees to the charges they will sign the written estimate so the work can be done. On the estimate it will include charges for parts, labor, and any other charges like mileage along with what the plumbing contractor is doing. Once the written estimate is signed the contractor will get all the tools and parts that are needed for the job and fix the problems..
The contractor is required to make sure that their contractor’s license is up-to-date along with his bond documents and insurance. Being self-employed they will have to keep all their records and files for tax purposes. Some plumbing jobs may also require special certifications in order for them to do these jobs. They also have to keep up with the building codes and any changes. To become a plumbing contractor some take apprenticeship programs.
Castles need moats
There's an old saying that strikes a chord with most people. It goes "An English man's home is his castle". This, of course is true regardless of nationality. In the old days they built moats for protection. Today potential threats and hazards are far more complex.
Electrical Installations and Informed Choice
I will show you how to obtain peace of mind when you are obligated to undertake or check your electrical installations. Whether your field of operation is domestic, industrial or commercial the choice of electrical contractor is crucial. Getting the strength and wisdom of trade organizations around you will enable you to make an informed choice. Picking the wrong electrical contractor is mental and the cost can be monumental!
The Cost of Electrical Complaints
Consumer Direct, a government funded organization managed by the Department of Fair Trading received complaints about electrical installations to the value of £ 1.6 million in the first three months of '08
Those Risky Rogues
It is a fact of life that rogues, chancellors and cowboys exist and the trade papers are full of accounts of criminal prosecutions. We use somewhat fancy names for these people when, in fact they are criminals taking advantage of the unwary. In doing this they are putting your life and property in danger.
The government take this most seriously particularly where electricity is concerned and have strengthened the Corporate Manslaughter Act but there is no substitute for you taking responsibility for the protection of your loved ones and property.
Who are the Electrical Trade Organizations?
Many trade organizations are government supported agencies that take an active role in raising consumer awareness about all matters electrical. The most reputable is no upstart having been established for fifty years.
Register of Competency
If you want quality and competency from your electrical contractor I urge you to check out the register of these organizations. They are accessible to the public and an assurance that your electrical contractor is able to undertake work within the requirements of BS7671 that is essential for all electrical installations. What's more is that it is government authorized.
These registrants are active and independent. Electrical contractors are assessed annually and those who infringe requirements are removed. Electricians have received jail terms for, among other things, fraudulently claiming to be government registered.
If this was all that was on offer it would be enough but there's more. Many have a complaints procedure where if a claim is justified they will ensure the matter is rectified at no cost to the client.
This offer covers each notified domestic electrical installation for a period of six years. Your registered electrical contractor will issue you with a Building Regulation Compliance Certificate. The details are on the back so it also acts as an insurance certificate!
If this does not convince you there is still more that reputable organizations offer to electrical contractors that helps them protect you. There is a technical help line and they encourage updating training as well as interpreting new legislation. In fact insurance companies recommend using registered electrical contractors.
Plumbing and plumbing contractors are the forces behind the continuous flow of hot and cold water in your home and office as well as clog-free drain in your sinks and bathrooms. Without their services, you might find yourself out of flowing water and find your house or workplace flooded. That is why it is important for any building contractor to get the services of established and licensed plumbers & plumbing contractors. Plumbers must have the necessary skills, experience and certification to prove that they can do their jobs while plumbing contractors must have the same qualifications but also need to know about management and finance like any general contractor.
Plumbers are skilled tradespersons whose specialization is the installation and maintenance of systems used for drinking water, drainage, sewage and pipe fitting for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), among others. They also install plumbing fixtures such as bathtubs, toilets and sinks as well as heating and refrigeration units. Plumbing usually work for contractors but many are also employed by companies which have plants and factories. Plumbers are assigned to do the maintenance work for them. They may also be contracted to install and connect piping for water, gas and waste disposal in a city or town.
Plumbing can be traced back in 1700 BC in the Minoan Palace of Knossos on the isle of Crete where you can find four separate drainage systems that were made to be emptied into large stone sewers. The pipes used during the ancient times were made of terra cotta and were laid beneath the floor of the palace. These pipe system provided water for the palace's fountains and faucets from where hot and cold water flowed. The Minoan Palace also had the world's first flushing toilet or water closet which had a wooden seat. However, the plumbing system that we know of today was designed by the plumbing engineers of the Old Roman Empire. They were able to build large baths and recreation centers which water supply came from sources miles away from these structures.
In the United States, the first known plumbers were the Hohokam Indians who first made irrigation canals in the Salt River Valley in 350 BC. They built canals with open ditches and gouged out with stone tools and wooden hoes which spanned almost 250 miles. However, the Hohokam Indians disappeared in 1450 AD even before America was discovered by Columbus, and it was only in the 19th century that water and sewage systems were developed. The people responsible for the efficiency of these systems were plumbers, skilled craftsmen of lead, expert bell hangers, blacksmiths, toolmakers, and tin and sheet-iron workers.
Plumbing contractors, similar to other contractors, must be able to present accurate price quotes to clients after studying the building plans and blue prints for the water and sewer systems. After clients accept their bids, they have to solicit the services of other contractors, subcontractors and expert plumbers. Most states require that all workers be licensed beginning with the plumbing contractor down to the plumbing and pipe fitters. Plumbing contractors must also have the required education, skills, experience, certification, and license before working in most states and be able to work independently or under a company.
Choosing an electrical contractor to do work on your home may not seem as if it should be a big deal, but choosing the right one can really make a difference. The process of hiring an electrical contractor involves more than just finding one that is the most economic.
Finding a professional that is qualified to perform and undertake your project is a must. Making sure that a contractor you are considering using is a member of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), with a renamed compensation, is something that can really make a difference in the out of your venture.
The NECA is the institute that a good portion of electrical contractors are represented by. It can also be a good idea to ask around to family and friends to see if they advocate anyone to perform your service.
When hiring an electrical contractor you should make sure to check their accreditation. In beginning a relationship with a HVAC company there are many questions that should be asked and guidelines that should be established. You should make sure that your contractor is able to supply you, the customer, with professional counsel in regards to your electrical systems needs.
You should also make sure that if something were to go wrong with the project that the supplier would be able to be reached and willing to return to fix anything that was unsatisfactory. It is necessary to find a contractor who works hard, who conducts business with conviction, in a professional manner, and who is qualified to be performing the job at hand.
Electrical contractors in the past have typically only used very basic forms of advertisement and marketing to promote their business. The tried and true phone book that is very expensive to advertise in, the weekly coupon mailer that you might run an ad in but how many people actually save the coupons for when they have an electrical problem? Perhaps you have even tried to put together a direct mailing campaign that targets certain areas of the city. In order for that to you need to have a "call to action" The typical electrical contractor does not understand marketing or how people think? Yes you might be the best electrical contractor in the city but without having a finger on the pulse of your clients how do you know what they need? How do you know what type of advertising works and what does not?
Times are changing. If you're a typical electrical contractor who only uses original forms of advertising and marketing. Your electrical contracting business may soon be left in the dust. Each week more studies are being produced about the habits of people and how they are getting their information. Most are turn to the internet on a regular basis for their information. If you are not being found on the internet you run a real risk of not making your company last another 10 years. I'd like to ask you to think of what your best form of advertising is today. I'm sure most would say word of mouth advertising. If you did then you are absolutely correct.
By having the recommendation from a friend or family member you are almost a shoe in to get the project. The issue arises though how do you stay in the people mind long enough to remember who you are? Hopefully the business card that you gave your client will not be lost before they need your services again. Hopefully your target clients will hold onto their coupons that you spent the money on to send out week after week. If you're like most electrical contractors this is exactly what you are hoping for. What if there is a better way to use the internet to your advantage were you not only slash your advertising budget in half, but also will make you considered to be the top contractor in the area. That is exactly what you will learn at the electrical contractor seminar.
If you decide to do some remodeling on your existing home or are having a new residence built from the ground up, you have a few different types of contractors to consider. Different ones have their own specialties, and you can save money by hiring a smaller-scale provider for redecorating jobs rather than paying for a large company. Plan out and budget how big your redecorating job will be in order to choose the right professional for the project.
If you are dreaming big and would like to add an extra room or floor to your house, a residential general contractor is the best person to consult. They have experience with larger projects that involve architecture and design aimed at improving the living standards of the homeowner. Just under these specialists are home improvement contractors, who work on smaller tasks such as installing new windows or cabinets. In the construction field, they are called subcontractors and work under the residential general contractors.
Once you have planned out how large and intensive your home improvement project will be, you can start to narrow down who to hire. If you are simply remodeling one room of your house, it makes more sense to hire a home improvement specialist because that is their area of expertise. As long as you are not knocking down any walls or rewiring the whole room, a home improvement expert will be perfectly able to fulfill your requests. These providers are very knowledgeable on where the best place for any installations in the room, and can sometimes even offer decorating advice.
If your redecorating plans involve major demolition or addition of walls or rooms, a residential general contractor is the best way to go. They will be able to organize the schedules and workers efficiently and keep the project on time and moving forward. These experts can also offer advice when hiring contractors and make sure that everyone is doing their job correctly and with the right materials. In general, if the project is going to take more than a week or it requires several different specialists, you will need a residential general contractor.
Home improvement projects are complicated and sometimes stressful, and it helps to have the right professional overseeing the process to ensure quality work. Plan ahead to figure out how much work your proposed job will require, and how extensive the construction will be. This way you can avoid overspending on a specialist you do not need and will have the best person for the job.
Obtaining a plumbing license in Pennsylvania does not state specific guidelines. Currently this state has general licensing guidelines for licensed plumbers in Pennsylvania.
General Requirements to Become a Plumber
In order to become a plumber, the person should apply for a plumbing license. This license is issued by the county or city the person residing in. Therefore, each city within the state can have its own plumbing license requirements. However, all counties and cities within the state of Pennsylvania agree that a plumber must have work experience as an apprentice. Before you can become licensed, your work experience would need to be completed under a plumber who is already licensed by the state.
Training Requirements to Obtain a License
To obtain a license within this state, you will need to complete education and training as a plumber. You will need to be at least 18 years old to be accepted and this education and training program will require you to have at least a high school diploma. It is also suggested that you take courses in science, math, and mechanical drawing during this time.
There is a training program for licensed plumbers in Pennsylvania overseen by the trade organization the Plumbers Union Local 690 in which admission requires a test administrated by Work Keys Test Services. As the main union within the state, the accreditation of the training program is further overseen by the national organization, the United Association of Journeymen and the Apprentices of the Plumbing.
Applications are accepted from early January and you will be required to attend an interview to determine if you are able to become a plumber. The training program can be quite intense and usually involves a minimum of at least 224 hours of instruction within a classroom during the year.
The trainee plumber will be required to work as an apprentice with an experienced plumber. You will need to obtain an apprentice plumber's card. You will work as an apprentice under an experienced journeyman plumber. The total amount of training during the apprenticeship should be the equivalent of two thousand hours of plumbing training that usually totals 576 hours of school.
After completing your apprenticeship for at least four years, you will be certified in the main aspects of plumbing. For example, this will include certificates in welding, backflow prevention, and brazing. The completion of this training will also qualify you for the journeyman plumber's license.
Obtaining a License
To start offering your service as a plumber, the journeyman's plumber license can be applied for from the Health Department. You will need to take the state licensing examination and be required to pay a $ 100 examination fee before being allowed to take the test. Once you pass it, you can work for a further two years and take the master plumber's licensing examination at a cost of $ 200. The master plumber license is renewed annually for a cost of $ 300 and both of these licensing exams are administered twice per year.