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Five Tips for People Who Want to Build a Raised Garden Frame From Untreated Timber

Posted by on 7:28 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Five Tips for People Who Want to Build a Raised Garden Frame From Untreated Timber

Timber designed for outside use is usually chemically treated to protect it from termites, weather and other threats. However, if you are using timber to build a frame for a raised garden bed, you may want to avoid treated timber, as its chemicals may leach into the soil. In other cases, you may simply have untreated timber on hand, and you may be looking for ways to seal and protect it before you make the frames for your garden beds. Luckily, in both cases, there are ways to safely treat wood on your own. Here are some ideas to explore: 1. Paint your timber. Paint seals timber and helps protect it from the elements. If you opt to paint the timber you are using for your garden beds, use environmentally-friendly paint with low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC). Also, use paint designed for use outdoors that promises to be waterproof. 2. Seal it with natural oils. If you don’t want to paint your frame, consider making your own sealants with natural ingredients from your kitchen. A mixture of one part vinegar to three parts canola oil works perfectly. Simply mix the oil and vinegar and apply it to your timber with a dry rag or brush. If the wood seems dry or brittle after the mixture has dried, apply extra coats as needed. You may substitute olive oil, grape seed oil or other oils if you prefer. 3. Line the timber with plastic. In lieu of oiling your timber, you may line it with plastic. Cut heavy duty plastic into pieces that are large enough to cover one side of each piece of your timber. Then, glue or staple the plastic to the timber. You should cover the side that is going to be in contact with the soil — the plastic should create a barrier between the wood and soil to prevent the migration of insects and moisture from the soil to the wood. Alternatively, you may wrap landscaping fabric around your timber and use that to protect it. You can cover just the side that touches the ground, or you can cover the whole piece of wood. 4. Choose timber with longevity in mind. If you haven’t already purchased your timber, you may want to forgo the idea of treating it on your own. Instead, you should just shop for timber with longevity in mind. There are many types of wood that are relatively naturally resistant to insects, moisture and other threats. For example, several hardwood species such as teak grow well in Australia, and these species are naturally resistant to the perils of the outdoors. Alternatively, you can use woods that mimic the qualities of durable hardwoods — for example, bald cypress is a conifer, but it is rot resistant like many hardwoods. Finally, you may want to speak with a timber specialist in your area about local timbers that are uniquely resistant to the threats of your particular climate. 5. Replace your timber more often. Timber is treated so that it lasts longer, and if you want to avoid treated timber, you may simply need to replace your garden frames more often. If possible, plan to include replacement timber in your gardening budget as needed. Untreated timber lasts varying amounts of time based on...

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What you Need to Know Before Building a Home on Sloping Land

Posted by on 1:47 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What you Need to Know Before Building a Home on Sloping Land

The idea of building a property from scratch is a dream for many people, but the quality of the property will often be dependent on the quality of the land. For this reason, you might think that building on sloping land is out of the question, but this is not necessarily the case. You do, however, need to arm yourself with some important information so that the build goes to plan. Here’s everything you need to know. Managing soil erosion. When building a house on a slope, there is a far greater chance of soil erosion. This is because the force of gravity will send soil sliding down a hill, picking up more soil as it goes. This is particularly problematic in parts of Australia where there is a lot of rainfall, and given the country’s recent storms, this could be problematic for huge swathes of the population. Of course, the reason why soil erosion is problematic for any property build is because you don’t want the land beneath your foundations to give way and lead to structural problems or even total collapse. If you have concerns about soil erosion on your land, your best course of action is to contact a landscaping company. They can use planting methods that help rainwater to approach the land more gently, and to bind the soil with plant roots so that less erosion occurs. Hydroseeding is a popular planting method that entails sowing seeds across a large area to reduce sediment run-off. Creeping shrubs provide a carpet of foliage so that less rainwater hits the earth. And ground cover plants such as ivy will bind tightly close to the ground to slow the rain’s penetration of the earth as well. Building on stilts is an underutilised solution. One of the greatest challenges with building on sloping land is building a strong foundation. For many people, this means cutting into the land to be able to create a foundation that is totally level. But instead of messing with land that is already precarious, a construction solution that is underutilised is building a foundation on stilts. This means that your house wouldn’t actually sit directly on top of the land, but perch above it. As well as being simpler than cutting into the existing landscape, a benefit of using stilts is that your landscaping company can cover more of the land with plants to help prevent soil erosion. Evaluate the soil. Finally, it’s important to remember that two areas of sloping land with exactly the same sloping angle could be very different in terms of their suitability for building projects simply because of the type of soil that is present. Something else that a landscaping company can help you out with, before you get the builders in, is a comprehensive soil evaluation. A clay based soil has its advantages because this kind of soil holds together very well. This means that it will be less susceptible to erosion. On the other hand, because clay soil is dense, it can be harder to plant any greenery in it, so if you want to add extra planting to prevent soil erosion, this might not be such a great soil to work with. Sandy soil, on the other hand, is much looser. It is gritty in texture...

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Queenslander Renovation And Demolition: What You Need To Know About Brisbane Planning Regulations

Posted by on 9:30 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Queenslander Renovation And Demolition: What You Need To Know About Brisbane Planning Regulations

For many people in and around Brisbane, the Queenslander home is one of the most iconic property styles in Australia. Designed to cope with the tropical conditions that Brisbane must sometimes withstand, these homes are increasingly under threat from developers, so it’s unsurprising that planning regulations now actively protect these famous buildings. If you’re planning renovation work on a Queenslander that involves any form of demolition, you need to make sure you carefully consider all planning regulations. Learn more here. About the Queenslander Queenslander homes first appeared in Brisbane in the 1840s, and builders continue to use this iconic design in new build projects. Queenslander homes primarily consist of timber, but the design varies considerably across Brisbane. You can find Queenslanders on one or two storeys, and some are high-set on stumps, while others are set on the ground. High-set Queenslanders are particularly popular. This design gives owners an underfloor area that can actively cool the property above. The design also protects the buildings from pests (including termites) and natural hazards like flooding. Protection for older homes in Brisbane Brisbane’s City Plan Heritage Register lists protected properties. The Queensland government maintains a similar register. Buildings on the register are crucial to city or state history, and many listed properties are unusual or rare. Some listed properties also have special aesthetic significance. Any property on the heritage list is subject to strict controls. You can’t remodel or demolish any part of the building without planning approval from the local authority. Approval is subject to strict heritage criteria. If you own a Queenslander on the Heritage Register, you’ll find it almost impossible to get approval for any change that does not stick within the building’s original design confines. Other forms of protection can also limit your ability to renovate or demolish part (or all) of a Queenslander. You will also need approval if the home is: On a site listed in the Pre-1911 building overlay Listed as rooming accommodation. Within a neighbourhood plan. In all these situations, it’s highly unlikely you will get approval for many types of demolition work. What’s more, you may also need approval to demolish any free standing buildings on the property, including sheds and garages. How to find out if your home is protected You cannot assume whether any building is or is not protected. While most Queenslanders are subject to some type of protection, you should still always confirm the details. A real estate agent should give you this information before you buy a property, but the only way to get completely accurate information is to contact the planning authority for the local council. How to adapt your plans While complete demolition of a Queenslander is seldom likely to receive approval, by talking to the authorities, you can sometimes adapt your plans in a way that may get planning consent. In all cases, the authorities will want confidence that the proposed work is in keeping with the original design and character of the building. As such, demolition work that allows you to restore a Queenslander to its original condition could actually receive approval. Think about the design of the street and the shape of the buildings. Do your plans stay within the classic design elements of a Queenslander? It’s sometimes useful to hire an experienced architect to...

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Using Clean Fill In New South Wales: Advice For House Builders

Posted by on 7:35 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Using Clean Fill In New South Wales: Advice For House Builders

The term ‘clean fill’ refers to earth and soil that is completely free from contaminants like grass, rubble and industrial waste. House builders commonly use clean fill to raise the height of a low-lying construction site or to fill in unwanted features like swimming pools and ponds. If you’re building a home in New South Wales, it’s important to understand how local environmental regulations can affect the supply and use of clean fill material. Find out what you need to know here. Why do builders want clean fill? Construction projects often create large quantities of clean fill when they remove subsoil to make way for a new development. In theory, clean fill is a form of recycling because you use up valuable unwanted material from another site that may otherwise end up in landfill. Clean fill has almost no organic matter present. As such, this type of soil doesn’t decompose. This makes clean fill a great material to use in foundations and other parts of a project because you don’t need to worry about pockets of space that occur with low-quality soil that quickly decomposes. Is it legal to source clean fill? Many people in New South Wales advertise clean fill for sale. In most cases, this type of clean fill simply comes from a small excavation project that has created a pile of unwanted soil. While this type of clean fill may seem OK, it’s unlikely that it has the properties you need. There is actually no legal definition of clean fill in New South Wales. When soil leaves its place of origin, it automatically becomes waste. Strict regulations in NSW control the movement of waste material. For example, before you accept any waste, you must check that the waste comes with a consignment authority. Someone selling clean fill from his land probably won’t have this, so you will break the law if you accept delivery of this material. What steps should you take before accepting clean fill? In New South Wales, you should always check with your local council to find out what controls may restrict the use of clean fill. The council will often need to check and approve that the material does not present any health or environmental risks. For example, a batch of clean fill could still harm local plants and wildlife. What’s more, if you don’t have permission to use waste material in this way, you could face severe penalties, including fines and jail time. Even if you don’t face criminal charges, you may have to foot the bill to remove the waste and clean up the site. Which suppliers should you use? Always use a professional clean fill supplier with the right credentials. Reliable suppliers can give you a valid business name and ABN, as well as customer testimonials that prove their quality of service. If an unknown operator contacts you and offers to put clean fill on your land for free, you should contact the authorities. Unscrupulous providers have scammed innocent consumers and left them with contaminated soil that costs thousands of dollars to remove. It’s important to know where your clean fill comes from. Reputable suppliers will give you details of source sites, as well as information about the site’s usage and why the soil is available. A quick visual inspection...

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Is Your Cooling Tower Operating at Peak Efficiency?

Posted by on 2:03 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Is Your Cooling Tower Operating at Peak Efficiency?

As a busy maintenance and engineering manager you are well aware of the vital role your cooling towers perform at your facility. With the many urgent demands on the budget, keeping them operating at peak performance may sometimes be difficult to manage. However, by attending to just three common cooling tower issues you can increase their efficiency, improve their operation and extend their working life. Effective management of the motors, successful handling of contamination, and close observation of water levels will result in more efficient performance. This in turn means cost effective operation over the longer term. Managing Cooling Tower Motors Your cooling tower needs to be upgraded to have the latest high efficiency motors installed. This is necessary because: Today’s motors are manufactured with higher-quality components, conform to more exacting processes and are therefore a much better motor. More reliable electronic controls are able to match the operating speed of electric motors to the requirements of the load. These motors are suited exactly to the application and allow the entire spectrum, ranging from the small pump applications to the huge centrifugal chillers, to operate at peak efficiency. Although the energy efficient motors are initially more expensive than a standard efficiency model, significant savings can be made over long term operation, particularly when contemplating the number of hours of horsepower the motor consumes in annual operation.     Weekly motor maintenance checks are also highly desirable. Technicians should check to detect any signs of excessive heat or vibration in the tower fan motors. Gearboxes must be maintained with the correct oil level and checked for leaks. Knowing the Causes of Cooling Tower Contamination Because of their operating environments, cooling towers are exposed to a wide range of contaminants. Inorganic particles, such as dirt, dust, silt and sand, from the atmosphere and organic particles such as pollen, leaves, bacteria and algae are introduced into the tower’s water supply. These solids eventually collect in the basin of the tower. They begin to erode away the components, particularly the circulation propellers. They develop a scaly growth on the heat transfer surfaces and block the spray nozzles. Dealing with Contamination Regular inspection and maintenance by qualified technicians is best possible strategy of reducing contamination. A proper water treatment program will limit the contaminant’s ability to form scale and minimize their spread and growth throughout the tower. Treatment with ultra-violet light and biocides is the preferred method. A regular replacement of a percentage of the circulating water will keep down the concentration of suspended solids. Technicians can bleed off the necessary amount of water at regular intervals to keep operation within recommended levels. Maintaining the Ideal Water Level The task of keeping just the right amount of water circulating through the system is a common issue for cooling tower engineers. The water circulates through the tower in a cycle by collecting in the tower basin and then returning to the pumps. When the water level becomes too low, the pumps begin to draw in air. If the level is too high, water then overflows to create damage and leaks. Technicians can monitor the float valves and add water to the basin to compensate for water loss and check water levels. Replacing the float valves with electronic level controls will make the task of monitoring the water levels...

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Diagnosing The Grind: Three Sensory Steps To Troubleshooting Your Heavy Machinery Gearbox

Posted by on 8:55 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Diagnosing The Grind: Three Sensory Steps To Troubleshooting Your Heavy Machinery Gearbox

Heavy machinery is often the backbone of a business, and when it’s not working right, the downtime to fix the machine will cost your business money. While some heavy machinery gearbox issues can be avoided with regular preventative maintenance, it is up to you as the business owner to know when it is time to call in a gearbox mechanic before things go extremely wrong. Leaving heavy machinery to continue running when the gearbox is giving you grief will only earn you a bigger repair bill. So that you know when it is the right time to call in the experts, here are three ways to help you troubleshoot gearbox problems within your machinery gear. What Can You See? A visual inspection is the first step to identifying what your gearbox issues are. Bear in mind that heavy machinery rarely works in a clean environment, so a damaged seal, for example, could be letting dust and dirt particles into the gear wheels of your hard working machine. To do a visual inspection, you must: Have a camera ready to photograph any damage that you see. Once you clean the housing surrounding the gearbox, you could destroy evidence that your mechanic needs before making repairs. By taking photos of everything that you see, you take the guesswork out of trying to describe what you saw at a later time. Look at the seals around the gearbox housing. Are they in perfect condition? Or are they cracked and deteriorated? As mentioned above, if your mechanic opens up the gearbox housing and finds that dirt is mixed in with the lubrication that keeps your gears moving, then the dirt has likely entered through these cracks. Even small particles of dirt can cause gear wheels to wear unevenly or throw the gear wheels completely out of balance. So, a fully sealed gearbox is essential. Unless you are an experienced mechanic, leave the opening of the gearbox for closer visual inspection to a professional. They are trained to detect irregular wearing of the gear teeth and have the tools needed to have a really close look at what is happening beneath the gearbox housing case. What Can You Smell? After you have looked at the exterior of your gearbox, it is time to get your nose to work. Much like a bloodhound dog, you are sniffing the air to see if your olfactory detectors notice any unusual smells coming from the gearbox area. What you are sniffing for are scented clues that your gearbox is overheating. Odours that will help you confirm this diagnosis include the smell of smoke coming from the gearbox seals, or the smell of hot oil leaking out of the gearbox area and striking the hot metal of a running machine. A visual inspection will be required to narrow down where the smell is coming from, but telling your mechanic what you can smell will help them to quickly get the repairs under way. What Can You Hear? Sight and smell are not the only two senses that can help you troubleshoot gearbox issues, as your hearing will play a role in your diagnosis as well. In particular, you’re listening for the sound of vibration, knocking, or clunking coming from the gearbox area. When the gear teeth turn, they should perfectly mesh...

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Raise Your Home with Style: 5 Fun Designs and Ideas for Raised Houses

Posted by on 1:05 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Whether you are building a raised home from scratch or modifying your current home, there are a range of styles you can embrace. Keep in mind that a raised home does not need to look utilitarian or boring, and it also doesn’t have to be based on the traditional Queenslander, one of the first styles of raised homes in Australia. Stumped for ideas? To get your creativity flowing, here are five stylistically diverse raised housing ideas and designs to consider: 1. Modern lifted box Take a style cue from the Sydney Opera house, and imagine a home that complements the water. However, instead of wave shapes, consider a modern, rectangular home that looks reminiscent of a long dock. To lift the home, simple metallic stilts at jaunty angles sit under its base. 2. Antique shutters If modernity isn’t your passion, consider antique embellishments for your raised home. If you already have an old home or if you simply love Victorian, plantation, Queenslander or any other turn of the 20th century styles, lift your home and then add a unique facade of antique shutters around the space under your home. This covering creates a seamless look with the rest of your home’s exterior and almost makes it appear as if the raised area hosts living spaces. If a ten or twenty-year floor occurs, your home should be safely out of the rising water, but any wood elements in the antique shutters may need to be replaced. 3. Classic firehouse style If neither modern nor antique styles appeal to you, get into the action with a raised house modeled after a classic firehouse. Traditional firehouses and many contemporary ones feature the parking spots on the ground floor of the firehouse and the living area above it. This option appeals to homeowners for several reasons. By turning the area under your home into a parking garage, you keep the area useful which is much more efficient than having wasted space under your home. Additionally, because you have to raise the home so it is elevated enough to accommodate parking, you actually gain extra respite from flooding because your home is more elevated than it would be if you simply created a metre-high deadspace under your home. 4. Treehouse Instead of adding parking under your home, take a foray back into childhood with a raised home based on a treehouse. The tree house idea is perfect for homes that already have that log cabin look, or you can easily embrace this idea if you are building a new home in a flood zone with lots of trees. To create a treehouse look, you can use trees as some of your posts, or you can simply set your raised home in or near a grove of trees. For stylistic consistency, your home can be a log cabin home, or it can take on a clapboard style. Instead of metal or steel posts, a lifted home modeled after a treehouse looks best with timber stilts, the traditional type of stilts used in house raising. 5. Outdoor living Instead of foraying back into childhood, create more space for your adult lifestyle by turning the raised area into a living space. There area few ways to achieve this effect. For example, you can raise your home, and underneath...

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Annoyed By Graffiti? What To Do When It Strikes Your Business

Posted by on 2:23 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Annoyed By Graffiti? What To Do When It Strikes Your Business

While some graffiti has a lot of thought put into the design, most is just vandalism of buildings. Graffiti continues to be a problem for many businesses in Queensland, but there are a few things you can do to deal with this nationwide problem. Now that you are dealing with this issue yourself, you need to put these three tips to immediate use so that you can deal with the current problem, and also hopefully prevent it from happening again. Remove It Quickly When your business is tagged with graffiti, the number one tool you have for future graffiti prevention is to remove it from your building quickly. While graffiti may look like random letters or words to you, many times they are identification tags that are unique to each graffiti artist. The person who has placed the graffiti on your business is hoping that all their friends and associates will see their handiwork and give them the attention they crave. Therefore, you will achieve two things when you attend to graffiti removal fast: The faster you remove the graffiti from the building, the less attention the artist will get. This will discourage them from tagging your building again in the future. The fresher the graffiti paint is, the easier it is to remove. When it is time to remove graffiti, you need to head down to your paint supply store to get the tools you will need. Choose The Right Graffiti Removal Tools When you get to the paint store, you need to decide which method of graffiti removal you are going to use. There are two popular methods that you will choose between: Purchase the paint that you are going to use and a long-handled paint roller, and simply paint straight over the top of the graffiti. The main downfall to this method is that it can be difficult to colour match the existing paint if this has faded over time. You may end up needing to paint the whole side of the building, which could take up a lot of your time. Purchase chemicals at the paint store that can be used to remove the graffiti. These solvents work best when the paint is fresh. The longer the paint has to soak into the wall, the harder it will be to remove the stain. You may still need to paint over the top of the graffiti once it has been removed depending on how far in the paint colour has set. Once the graffiti has been removed, you need to consider how you are going to keep the graffiti from coming back. Plan For Future Graffiti Prevention Once you have removed the graffiti, your business will look great again, but there is no guarantee that you will not be paid a visit by the vandals again in the future. There are several ways that you can minimise future graffiti damage to your building: Add good quality lighting to the areas being targeted. Graffiti artists like to hide in the shadows since they will be charged with a crime if they get caught. By illuminating the area well, they won’t want to risk being seen by passing police. Use a graffiti-resistant overcoat once you have repainted the wall. You can purchase this from your paint supplier, and...

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