Five Tips For A Better Home Office

 If you work at home and don’t have a comfortable home office or have one that’s not ideal, now is the time to convert a rarely used space (formal living and dining rooms), remodel a bedroom, or add a new addition. Costs are rising: labor, materials, equipment, furnishings, etc. Materials delivery is lagging too, but the sooner you start the sooner you’ll finish and possibly with a lower price tag. Financing is still at a relatively low rate, but interest rates are expected to rise by mid-year or sooner.

After a year-plus of being asked to work at home temporarily, you’re probably like many of us beginning to wonder if this might be the new normal.  Some companies are also beginning to reconsider how much physical office space “togetherness” is really necessary to meet their business objectives.  Those sprawling corporate campuses and skyscrapers are expensive. Many office employees also prefer some mix of home and company office time. Continue reading

Now You’re in Hot Water . . . Let’s Keep it That Way!

Water heaters are like many appliances, and they need to be maintained regularly to extend their life.  Minerals in our hard water, as well asnormal corrosion, can shorten the life of your water heater by years without annual maintenance. Otherwise, you might be in for a rude, cold surprise!

If it has been awhile since you purchased a new water heater, the prices have gone up quite a bit.  You can easily spend $500.00 to $1,000.00 for a simple, natural gas entry level small family water heater that serves up to four people.  

Labor is extra and typically adds up to another $1,000.00 or more.  In Southern California, earthquake strapping is necessary too.  With natural gas, the services of trained, licensed plumber are needed to ensure safety during installation and that the installation will meet local fire codes. Continue reading

Aerial Cranes and Properties with Poor Construction Equipment Access

Helicopter Transport in Construction and EngineeringA few days ago, I saw a report on the global crane market forecast for 2017 through 2024. It got me thinking about the different types of cranes that I have used in my career. Especially aerial cranes. Aerial cranes are great because they can be used to move large loads in areas that are hard to access and they can do so at a fraction of the price of a traditional crane. They also do not require the set up and tear down process that a traditional crane requires.

Sometimes we get asked to work on properties that are difficult to access. This could include a property that is in a remote area, on a small parcel with limited access due to surrounding properties or buildings, or in mountainous areas.    Continue reading

Engineering Using Google Earth

EarthIf you’ve ever used Google Earth, you know it’s amazing mapping tool from Google, the search engine company, that can help you find out all sorts of really neat geographic details about your property, neighborhood, city or region – and even the whole Earth. It’s such a useful tool that Google Earth is used in everything from the classroom to the board room.

At Helfrich-Associates we use Google Earth as a part of many of our projects. It’s a very useful tool that helps us plan our investigations and determine relevant conditions on a job site.

Let’s take a general look at how we use Google Earth for some of our work and how we used it for one real-world project. Continue reading