Q: Please explain the difference between General Conditions and Overhead & Profit when you want to separate them in a proposal for your client. What items fall into each category? Also, what percentage is the norm for General Conditions in a proposal? -- Tonka S. A: Let's first define terms. There are two types of overhead expenses. Some contractors mix the two together, … [Read more...] about How Much Markup For General Conditions, Overhead & Profit?
Q: One of my three identical, single-floor rental quadruplex units was destroyed in north Florida (tree/fire). They are very small (~500 sq-ft ea.), built in the 60’s of concrete block construction. I want to “rebuild” it, but don’t have the original design. I don’t need it to “match” the other two units. I suspect there are cost-effective, new designs available, but wouldn’t … [Read more...] about Where Do I Get Multifamily House Plans?
Q: I am trying to challenge my property taxes without going through a big expense. I have 14.5 acres. Six acres are considered unbuildable. Of the remaining 8.5 acres, all are considered buildable. I don't understand how they can be buildable when there is no access or frontage to any of this property, Is there any type of definition as to what makes land unbuildable? … [Read more...] about Appealing Assessment of Unbuildable Lot
Q: I have a century-old home with copper and cast-iron drain pipes. I recently installed a high-efficiency furnace but learned the condensate may be corrosive to the drain pipes. I am wondering what pH level can harm the drain pipes. Also should I filter the water though a material such as limestone to reduce the pH. Would this an effective solution for treating the water … [Read more...] about Will Furnace Condensate Corrode Plumbing?
Q: How do I identify the source of a water stain on the ceiling? I’m not sure if a leak is from the bathroom directly above or from something else. Also, once identified, how do I go about fixing the leak? – A.G. A: Finding the source of a leak in a ceiling often involves a bit of detective work. Like a detective, you start with the most likely suspect. If you can rule out … [Read more...] about What Caused Water Stains on Ceiling?
Q: We just bought a house with a 20-year-old septic system. It’s a basic gravity system with a leach field. We had the system inspected before buying and they told us that everything "looked good." The sellers did not keep records, but said they had the tank pumped “a few times”. How many years can we expect to get out this system before it needs to be repaired or replaced? … [Read more...] about Lifespan of a Septic System?
Q: I am planning to make a chimney top with aluminum covered by copper. Does there need to be any type of barrier between the two because of heat, ash, or wood smoke? What material do you recommend? – Pat A: For the longest lasting chimney cap, the recommended materials are stainless steel or copper. Caps made with these usually come with a lifetime warranty. Galvanized … [Read more...] about Best Material For Chimney Caps?
Q: My wife and I gave earnest money for a piece of land to build our dream home. Before we paid the full amount, the seller contacted us to say the drainage plan failed on the land and had to be re-engineered. NOW the land has a drainage pond in it, which my wife and I don't want as it is too much upkeep etc. I asked the seller to refund our earnest money and he said NO. What … [Read more...] about How Do I Get Earnest Money Refunded?