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By Leonard GildarieDoing some things yourself…This week, as we bring the curtain down on what has been an enlightening experience for the past 12 weeks or so, the news is good.Minister of Housing and Water, Irfaan Ali, is quoted on the government TV channel last week as saying that his officials are making heartening progress to ensure that both home builders and contractors are protected more. This will entail,Wholesale Stitched Jerseys, among other things, the introduction of a standard contract, something that was notably missing between the two parties, where the option was to go for a more informal arrangement. Eventually,Authentic Jerseys Wholesale, there will be a licensing system for contractors.Judging from the number of complaints via letters and email,Wholesale Jerseys China, this was a sore issue which led to many homes being stalled while in construction.We have been receiving mail from Holland, the British Virgin Islands, the US, Canada and several Caribbean islands.From a newspaper perspective, the good news is that Guyanese living abroad want to return home and are reading the news online.As we wrap up the articles, there are a few things that need to be examined, based on queries.Sand-fillingOne landowner asked whether it is a good idea to build up your land before or after construction and whether it would be better to use sand or dirt.Regarding both questions, I think it is a matter of choice. While building, my contractor cleared the area for the foundation, ensuring that he had enough maneuverability for his wheelbarrows and camp. He told me it would be pointless to waste $20,000 to clear the land and level it as it still has to be filled.Now, that particular scenario will in all likelihood be different from yours. You may not want to concrete your yard. I did. Another reason I waited to sand fill the yard was because cash was not readily available for that part, yet. I had to concentrate on the actual structure.On the other hand, because sand takes some time to settle – it has to be soaked – it may have been a good idea to fill the yard while building. Watch out, though, for those pieces of wood which may be left and which can help attract those fearsome wood-ants.Bottomline on this issue – it is a choice that you have to make based on money and other issues.Regarding the sand and dirt issue, this too is a matter of choice. If you are pouring concrete on the entire yard, sand is better. However, many folks like to plant too. It may be a good idea to mix them, placing the dirt where the garden is supposed to be.One warning that I think is pertinent here is ensuring that the perimeters are blocked around if you are raising the level of the yard. If your neighbours’ land is going to be lower than yours, you have to either build a concrete fence or build a curb wall (kind of) around the fence area to keep the sand or dirt in. My contractor did not do such a good job on a section and we were forced to do repairs recently after part of the drain collapsed because the sand was washing over to the adjacent lot.Self-helpAnother land-owner wanted to know whether it may be a wise idea to do a lot of “self help”. I presume she meant having the contractor do the harder part and maybe some of the smaller things can be handled later by family members.This is a good question. If you have a flat house, and some time to play around, yes you can do some of the painting yourself. We did a lot of work on our home. Stuff like staining the doors and internal painting was not done by the contractor.For some people, plumbing is easy,Cheap Jerseys For Wholesale, and with care could be handled by the home owners. Fence painting, landscaping and leveling of the yard can wait if you are tight on cash.So yes, there are a number of things that you can handle by yourself. But be careful, it can cost you if you end up buying wrong pipe fittings or messing up the works.What you should noteHouseOver the past few weeks, several critical issues were raised.In my mind, the most pertinent one is ensuring that you have a very clear idea what it is that you are building. This has to be conveyed clearly to your architect who will be drawing your plan. Your plan in all likelihood will not include arches and other little details that can cost you extra money – money you may not have.You have to select your contractor. Investigate him or her. Check out a few of the homes that he/she would have built. Talk to the owners and neighbours.Start also to shop around at the hardware stores. You may see the different tiles or faucets that you may want to use.Ensure that your contractor or a contractor gives you a detailed estimate of the materials needed. On your own, you have to also factor in the cost of things like sink, toilet bowl, wiring and lighting, grills and paint, as each will add up to your final cost.Ensure that you get a contract or legal agreement with your builder. It will protect both of you. The Ministry of Housing said that they are putting up a specimen on their website, but I can’t imagine it being difficult for a good lawyer’s office to prepare one.The size of the home, where windows and doors fall, and the location of the bedrooms are all linked to your budget.At the back of your mind, always keep in thought that the investment to build your home is a large one that you will have to literally live in for the rest of your life.We spoke extensively on how to get your plan approved and applying in a timely manner to GPL and GWI for power and water. We also examined the very real possibility of managing your budget and ensuring that you put aside around 10-15% more for incidental expenses to cater for price increase and emergencies.I would also like to remind you to constantly check with your contractor and the building site to ensure that it is being built according to specifications. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It is your money.Check around for hardware stores in your area. In many cases, they provide transportation and this can help you save money.Very critical is ensuring that you shop for materials yourself or have someone trustworthy to do this. There have been many complaints of some contractors colluding with sawmills and hardware suppliers to doctor the bills. He can over-order, deliberately receive short materials,Wholesale Jerseys China, and a host of other scams that can cost you dearly.Watch the measurements when you are buying at the sawmill. There are scams of deliberately shorting you or giving you running feet instead of board measurement (BM).We also spoke of tips to protect your doors and windows by placing them away from the rains and sun, and using special materials and even a shed to protect them.The Housing Expo started by the Housing Ministry last year is a place to go to. The shopping options, tips, and options are tantalizing.We examined how to apply for a mortgage and what happens when you receive it. These tips include the need to keep records and not to stray from the budget.Again, I would like to encourage landowners and others to use the internet. The search engine ‘Google’ is very helpful in this regard. There is a variety of advice that can be had for painting tips,Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale, from how to choose the right colour to intricate interior decorating.We also spoke of the need to ensure your wiring is done by licensed contractors and what is required by government as far this issue is concerned.I will be the first to admit that the articles would naturally have missed quite a number of critical issues that could have been elaborated on more. However, it must also be stressed that building a home should not be limited to what the contractors say. The designs and options for different materials, along with the possibilities offered by the internet are exciting, and can allow a landowner to build something really eye-catching and satisfying, while not costing an arm and a leg.So folks, thank you for the many calls and encouragement. And thanks for reading.Kaieteur News, because of recent increases in the number of requests, will be placing the articles online at its website. You can email me at [email protected] or call at 2258491.