Blueprints

Remodeling or adding on to your existing home? You are going to need some type of blueprint. If you are simply upgrading your kitchen or bath to new fixtures, you probably don’t need one.

But if you are making major structural changes to your existing home, or adding an addition, you definitely need a blueprint. For most projects, a city permit must be acquired before any construction begins.

A blueprint shows in accurate drawings, what changes are going to be done to your home or property. When your contractor pulls a permit, blueprints are submitted along with estimated project costs, which are passed on to the city engineering department for approval.

The engineering department checks to make sure your project conforms to standard building practices and codes. If approved, work can begin and certain inspections will be made by the city, during the course of construction, to insure compliance with your submitted project.

If you are doing a simple remodel to the interior of your home, like a bathroom or kitchen, you may not need a blueprint or permit. Usually when making structural changes to your home, tearing out walls, altering your electrical or plumbing system, blueprints and permits will be needed.

Any time you add a new room or structure, such as a garage, you will have to get permits and blueprints. They give your contractor exact details of the work to be done. The city through inspections, insures the work is done properly, according to the latest codes and standards.

Blueprints are used by the contractor to figure accurate costs of a project too. Most of the time homeowners hire someone to design a print to be used. They don’t have to be an architect, but usually a mechanical draftsman at least.

You may be able to draw your own, if for a simple project, if you have accurate drawing and measuring skills. Some contractors have their own in-house draftsmen for this purpose.

Bradco Kitchens and Baths can help you will all your building needs. Whether remodeling, adding on or new construction. They have their own in-house design team. You can rest assured that your project will be completed on time, within costs, and to acceptable building standards. Contact them today!

How to Check a California Licensed Contractor

How to Check a California Licensed Contractor

According to the California State License Board (CSLB), any person who bids on a construction contract worth $500 or more of labor and materials must have a current contractor’s license from the State of California. The CSLB is the first place to check a CA licensed contractor. You’ll learn critical information about a contractor such as when the person acquired their license, how much insurance they carry and if the individual has any current or past legal actions against their company. Further research such as contacting former clients and inspecting work quality can also help determine the quality of a California contractor.

Check Online

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1.  Visit the California Contractors State License Board. Look for the menu option on the left that says “Instant License Check.”

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2.  Search by the contractor’s license number. Locate your vendor’s six-digit license on any printed materials such as advertisements, an estimate worksheet or business card. By law a California contractor must include their license number on all printed materials.

Another way you can search for the contractor in this website option is by typing the

person’s first and last name or company name.

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3.  Click the contractor’s name to examine the license history. Several people with the same name may appear. If so, search for the city where you believe your contractor resides.

Verify when the contractor obtained a license and what type of construction work they are licensed to perform. Notice if the license is currently active and how much insurance and bonds they carry.

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4.  Ensure the contractor has workers compensation insurance for employees. If they don’t, you can be liable for any on-the-job injuries incurred by workers. If it is noted that the Contractor is exempt from workers compensation insurance be alert as this means that the contractor has stated to the California Contractors State License Board that he is working alone and that he has no workers or not using subcontractors.

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5.  Look for judgments against the contractor. Verify there are no public complaints or civil actions against substandard work.

 

Check by Phone

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1.  Telephone the CLSB at 800-321-2752. This allows you to check contractor’s licenses using an automated voice system.

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2.  Press the number 1. This enables you to check the validity and history of a contractor’s license.

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3.  Press the number 1 again. Next, enter the license number. A license only has numerals, not letters.

4.  Review the license information provided. The automated system shares the same contractor license histories available on the CLSB website.

Speak with an agent if you don’t know the license number. Press the numeral 2, then 9 to transfer your call to a live agent who can answer questions Monday through Friday during business hours.

BRCONI INC dba B & R CONSTRUCTION INC

Is proud to maintain an impeccable record with the CLSB at all times. We carry $1million liability insurance and all our workers are insured with proper workers compensation insurance

Finding the Right Contractor for a Kitchen Remodel might seem like a Daunting Task

How to find a competent contractor

Finding the right contractor for a Kitchen or Bath remodel might seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. A few simple steps can mean the difference between finding a competent contractor or ending up with a fly by night company that is only after a quick buck. In today’s cyber age most contractors are found and researched on the internet. Narrow down the list of contenders, and set up meetings. Is there a magic number of contractors you should interview?

“Ultimately, the right number could be one,” says Al Pattison, president of NKBA; he recommends talking with no more than three. “With too many quotes, it gets too confusing trying to make a decision.”

BE ALERT AND USE COMMON SENSE

Be alert if the contractor shows up in a car with an out of state license plate or if his phone has an area code that is not from the area.

ASK FOR REFERRALS 

Hands down, talking to former clients of the potential candidate is probably a good start to make sure you have someone that knows what he is doing. Ask the referral what made it a positive experience, how the contractor handled problems and whether they would use the same contractor again.

LOOK AT CREDENTIALS 
With recommendations in hand, do some preliminary research, check if the remodeler has a website. Check Yelp, Angie’s List or other web rating sites. Most importantly find out whether the contractor holds all the required licenses from the State Contractors Board and a Business License from the local municipalities, as well as Workmen’s Compensation Insurance and Liability Insurance. Ask to see a copy of the Contractor’s License and their Certifications of Insurances.

A list of questions to ask potential contractors:

Is your company Licenses and Bonded? California requires every contractor to be licensed and bonded, ask for a copy of your contractor’s license. Confirm the license number and expiration date with the California Contractors Board

Does your company carry workers compensation and liability insurance? Ask for copies of the insurance certificates to verify coverage.

How long have you been in business? Look for a company with an established business history in your community.

Who will be assigned as project supervisor for the job? Get names and contact phone numbers for the main persons who will be involved in your project.

What is the time frame for starting the project?  What is your estimate for completion? How early will your crew normally begin work? When will they normally quit for the day? Will I be contacted about delays or changes in the schedule? By whom?

How do you operate? In other words, how is your firm organized? Do you have employees or do you hire subcontractors? If you do have employees, what are their job descriptions? Do you use a project supervisor to oversee the project? You should know what parts of your project will be handled by staff, and which will be contracted out to independent contractors.

Is your company a full service or specialty firm? If you are planning a small project, say replacing only some of the bathroom or kitchen plumbing fixtures, you may be better off hiring a specialty plumbing firm, however, if your project involves multiple changes, entire rooms or additions, you should consult a full service or design-build firm.

Do you have design services available? If you are considering a large or involved project, you will need design services. If the contractor does not have design-build capabilities, you should consider hiring an architect or designer. Depending on the scope of the project, you may need a structural engineer.

May I have a list of references for projects you have completed which are similar to mine? The contractor should be able to supply you with a minimum of three references, including names, telephone numbers and addresses.

How many projects like mine have you completed in the past 12 months? This will help you determine the contractor’s familiarity with your type of project. You should confirm that a good portion of those completed projects were similar to the type of project you are proposing.

Will we need a permit for this project? Most cities and towns require permits for building projects. Failure to obtain the necessary permits or to arrange obligatory inspections can be illegal. A qualified remodeling contractor will be conscious of the permit process and give you professional advice

Of the many questions you can ask during an interview, the most important question is one you must ask yourself: “Do I feel comfortable with and trust the person and his firm?”

GET IT IN WRITING 
After zeroing in on one contractor who seems right for the job, take a look at the documents he or she has prepared for you. Do they look professional? Make sure that they show the contractors or a company name and the California Contractors License Number. The scope of work should be itemized with a price for every item, be skeptical if you get a lump sum proposal. Scrutinize the contract, does it seem fair and balanced? Make sure that the written agreement includes a payment schedule. Sometimes plans of the project are required. Look for a change-order clause, a clause about dispute resolution and a waiver of lien, which would prevent subcontractors and suppliers from putting a lien on a house should their invoices go unpaid by the contractor. If everything checks out, go ahead sign on the dotted line with confidence.

Making Your Big Dream Addition a Reality

You’ve been dreaming about it for years, at this point: the perfect addition to your home. Whether it’s a fancy game room, new master suite, or expanded, eat in kitchen, you just know that it will complete your home, as well as increasing its value.

On the other hand, you’ve watched enough of those do it yourself shows, where the homeowners attempt such things on their own and get stuck halfway through, that it’s scared you away from trying to do it yourself. You are also afraid that if you call in the professionals, the consultation itself will be over your budget and that big dream will just stay that way—a dream.

We know that your dream addition can become a reality, with our assistance. For starters, we do not charge for consultations. We start with a phone conversation to help us understand the parameters of your dream. That is followed by a free, on-site estimate meeting with one of our project coordinators. This gives both you and us a chance to ask questions, get a sense of each other, and see the space onto which you want to build your addition.

The next step is that our project coordinator will present you with an estimate, along with some ideas for possible alternatives that can help your budget and/or increase the value of your home even more than you had imagined. Once we have come to an agreement on the job, you will receive both an itemized list and a schedule for your project. This means that you are always fully informed about what we are doing. Once we begin working on your dream addition, we also assign a jobsite manager so you have someone to connect with while the work is actually going on.

We believe that all of these steps are necessary because a dream only becomes a reality when there is careful, thorough communication about the work. It is because of extra steps like this that our track record is so excellent, and our customers are so happy. We may not be a cheap, fly-by-night construction company, but we promise you that your dream addition will add value to your home, and be well worth the cost.

We look forward to working with you on your dream, so contact us today and let’s get started!

Window Replacement as Part of a Home Improvement Project

Window replacement is often part of a home improvement project.  Windows are a big investment, and not many people buy them regularly, so the lingo used in the window industry is something you will want to know before shopping for windows.   Here are the terms used for each part of a window.

Head – The head of a window is the main horizontal part forming the top of the window frame.

Jamb – The jamb are the two vertical pieces of the window frame.

Sill – The sill of a window is the bottom horizontal part that forms the frame.

Frame – The frame is the combination of the head, jamb and sills that form the opening in which the window sash is set into.

Grilles – The Grill is any bar that divides the window glass into smaller panes.  In many cases, the grilles are decorative and are just set into the frame.  This is also known as a muntin bar.

Balance – A mechanical device used in some windows to balance the act of opening and closing.  The device makes opening and closing the window a bit easier.

Casing – The casing is the exposed molding on either the inside or the outside of the window.  The casing covers the space between the window frame and the wall.

Bradco Kitchens and Baths can help you with your window replacement project, or any other home remodeling project that you are taking on.  We work in the Los Angeles area, and specialize in kitchens, bathrooms, additions and new construction.  Contact us today for a free, no obligation estimate.

Kitchen Remodeling Contractors: Choosing the Best Contractors and Design Trends for 2015

The kitchen is one of the best-loved and most heavily-used rooms in your house. For that reason your choice of a kitchen remodeling contractor to complete your desired upgrades cannot be made too carefully.

Too often contractors are selected rapidly and without careful investigation of their prices and contractor’s license. Many contractors intentionally misquote the cost of the job in order to be hired (with the intent to add extra expenses later), leave without completing the job or provide questionable work completed low-quality materials.

When selecting your contractor be sure that he has a license and insurance as well as workman’s compensation. Research the company to determine the length of time they have been in business, see customer reviews and ensure they’re qualified to provide the services advertised.

After you’ve selected a contractor for your kitchen re-model be sure and investigate the design trends for 2015! According to one article trends for this year include; fresh, white-painted cabinets, durable and luxurious quartz countertops, gray accents, environmentally-efficient LED lights, electronic, hands-free faucets to maintain a sterile environment, satin, nickel finishes for a modern look and glass backsplashes to add dimension and shine.

One designer called the current trends a “modern cottage.”  She says that “it’s not stark modern design…it has natural materials, textures and layering, with lots of whites and grays. There is nothing fussy or frou-frou about it.  Although stainless still reigns, there is growing interest in white ranges and refrigerators in a new glossy finish, as well as soapstone countertops and floating shelves.”

Using a top-quality contractor to implement the latest color and design trends is guaranteed to provide a kitchen makeover you’re thrilled with!

Getting Your Eggs in the Right Basket with our Kitchen Remodeling Contractors

You’ve been thinking a lot about eggs lately, as you’ve been buying, filling and hiding plastic Easter eggs, assessing your retirement nest egg as you complete your 2012 taxes, and realizing that the egg holes in your fridge door are, like the fridge itself, incredibly outdated…. If you’ve played your tax cards right, perhaps you even have an Easter surprise headed your way, in the form of a tax refund—which might just as well become a nest egg for something special, like replacing more than just your outdated, and power guzzling, fridge.

We suggest that you call your friendly local kitchen remodeling contractors and let’s discuss how you can transform that nest egg into a lovely new kitchen. Together we can hatch a remodeling plan that will renovate your kitchen into a space you will enjoy working in, with appliances that are modern and energy efficient. Here are some things to consider as you think about how to improve upon your current kitchen:

  • What did you find while you were hiding Easter eggs in your kitchen? Perhaps you saw some chipped counter tops, broken moldings, cracked floor tiles, or the poor condition of your breakfast nook bench cushions. Your kitchen is one of the most lived-in spaces in your home, and that wear and tear really shows after a while.
  • What besides your fridge is old enough to be causing undue strain on your utility bills? Yes, new appliances cost, but the cost of running your old appliances may be higher than you realize.
  • Do the work space and work flow in your kitchen really work for you? Many kitchen setups just aren’t functional. If you and your family bump into each other in the kitchen, perhaps it’s time for a professional assessment of your kitchen space, with an eye to making it really work for you.
  • A kitchen remodel, done right, adds value to the nest egg that is your home.

So why not contact us today for a free, no obligation assessment of your kitchen? From design to execution, our professional, experienced team will transform your kitchen into a beautiful, functional and energy efficient space that will be a joy to work in and a pleasure to show off!

Assistance with Contractor Jargon

Most of our customers are new to remodeling projects.  They are interested in making their home bigger, brighter, more useful or just different.   One thing we run into on most jobs is unfamiliarity with the jargon we use in the remodeling industry.  To help you with this, we have provided here a dictionary of some of the more common terms we use, and what they mean.  Please always ask us if you don’t understand something, we are here to help.

Allowance – A specific dollar amount allocated for a specific item.  For example, you might have an allowance for plumbing fixtures for your project.  After selecting the exact fixtures, the final amount will be calculated, but the allowance is a good estimate of what a reasonable quality set of fixtures should cost.  

Bearing wall – An exterior or interior wall that supports the roof or overhead floor joists.

Building Permit – A document issued by the city or other governing authority.  This document gives permission to go ahead with a construction project.

Change Order – A change order is written documentation to the contractor to change what is in the original contract.  The change order should include changes to materials, methods and costs.

Draw – A total project budget is not usually paid all at once.  A payment made for services to date is considered a “draw” from the total budget.

Expansion joint – A flexible material between two surfaces, allowing joints to expand and contract in different temperatures.

Lien – If a subcontractor is unpaid, he may obtain a lien from the courts.  When enforced, the property can be sold in order to pay off the lien.  If the subcontractor is paid in another way, he will sign a lien release to remove the lien responsibility from the property.

Mud – Any type of plaster or spackle that is used to coat walls, ceilings, foundations and other surfaces.

Punch List – Near the end of the project, the contractor will walk through the project and make a list of things that are still left to be done.  This is known as a punch list.

Bradco Kitchens and Baths can help you with your home remodeling project. We work in the Los Angeles area, and are a full service home remodeling company.  We specialize in kitchens, bathrooms, additions and new construction.   Contact us today for a free, no obligation estimate.

Guide to reading blueprints

If you are working on a home remodeling or home building project and you have little or no experience in the construction field, reading a blueprint may be a bit intimidating.  Here is a guide to help ease your frustration, and be able to understand the blueprint.

A blueprint is a birds-eye drawing of the architects or contractor’s plan for the project.  The blueprint will contain information such as the location of all items to be used, definition of the materials that are used, and the dimensions of each item.  Often, there are several different blueprints for one location.  For example, for the first floor of a new building, there may be a separate blueprint to show the electrical, another one for the plumbing, and another one to show the dimensioning of the walls and rooms.  Together, these sheets will comprise a set of plans.

When reading blueprints, look at each page carefully, and pick out similar items on each page to help you understand what you are looking at.   For example, if you want to look at the details in the kitchen, find a wall or unique element of the kitchen on one blueprint sheet, and identify it on all the sheets that pertain to the kitchen.  This will help you understand the relationship between the various elements shown in the kitchen.

On each page of a set of blueprints, there will be a legend that explains what all of the symbols are on that page.  Symbols are used when there are a lot of small items, such as electrical outlets.   If each individual outlet were called out, the plan would get crowded with words and would be more difficult to read.  All symbols used on a page should be shown on the legend.

If you have questions about reading your blueprints, please contact us and we will help you understand.

Some Great New Ideas for Shower Renovations

So maybe you’ve got an older home, and you’ve slowly been renovating it, bit by bit. Perhaps you started with those areas of the house that everyone sees, like the living room and the kitchen, and now it’s time for you to focus on yourself. Or maybe you recently bought this lovely old house and you wouldn’t change a thing in the public areas, but you can’t stand the old bathtub where you hit your temple on the short shower head each morning. You’re ready for a shower renovation, but you aren’t sure where to start. Here are some trends that we think are worth exploring as you turn your dream into reality.

  • Larger showers are here to stay. Increasingly we are seeing that renovations are removing the big soaking tubs and small showers and replacing them with large, comfortable showers that include bench seats and handheld or rain shower heads.
  • Turning tub and shower into one unit also gives you more space in the bathroom, which is wise if you expect to spend the rest of your life in this home. Bathrooms are designed these days with accessibility in mind, and being able to easily step into and out of the shower is key to long-term happiness with your new shower.
  • Take this opportunity to think about safety as well, and install slip-resistant tiles on your shower floor.
  • There are a great variety of water-safe lighting fixtures that have been developed for showers, meaning that your shower can also be bright enough to see at any hour of the day.
  • All this concern about accessibility and safety does not need to prevent your shower from being sleek, elegant and tasteful. The hot colors for 2013 are charcoal and emerald, which are elegant enough to last for years, regardless of where trends may go in the future. There are hundreds of stone and ceramic tile finishes to choose from, whether you want sparkle or understated.

So contact us today and let’s discuss how we can turn your ideal shower dream into reality.