Archive for the 'Helpful Hints' Category

Aging in Place Modifications: Practical & Stylish

Portrait of happy senior woman cutting vegetables in kitchen

A 2015 Houzz report showed that over 50% of homeowners age 60+ are planning to age in place. As the baby boomer generation begins to enter the golden years, home construction and renovation contractors are seeing an increase in accessibility modifications being made. With more spending power than the younger millennial generation, the boomers are also a large player in the interior design industry; frequently updating their home to incorporate the latest design trends. Combining the need for accessibility with the desire to keep the attractive appearance of the home, these modifications are not only practical but stylish as well.  Read below for some simple yet important modifications to make to your home accessible for any generation.

Continue reading ‘Aging in Place Modifications: Practical & Stylish’

Do You Know About National Lumber’s Turn-Key Framing Division?

National Lumber's Turn-Key Framing division is the one source supplies for your large scale building projects.

Serving builders, developers and owners specializing in large wood frame commercial buildings, we work on a variety of projects such as hotels, multi-unit residential buildings and more. We are your one source lumber and building materials supplier providing you with all the materials required. Our team of framing experts will come to your jobsite anywhere in the nation and meet your production schedule.

Doug King, of Douglas A. King Builders, offers a testimonial on behalf of National Lumber

Well established builder, Doug King, shares his thoughts on his experience with National Lumber.

This is what a builder of commercial projects had to say about our service, “We do for sale housing, custom housing, apartments, condominiums. Over 40 years now. National Lumber has been a big part of my operation, and my growth. We’ve been dealing with the same people for 30-40 years. The people we deal with are great. It’s a good relationship.

They have the size to give you whatever you want, and the efficiency to deliver it on-time. They’re a good asset, and a good partner.” Doug King, Douglas A. King Builders, Inc.

National Lumber’s Turn-Key Framing Division offers you the best value for your projects because all of your supplies are coming from one source. You can avoid unnecessary confusion between suppliers and framers because we can fulfill all of your needs for lumber, building materials, structural components, roof and floor trusses, and wall panels. Our experienced engineers have the ability to design the most cost-efficient system for the scope of your project, saving you time and money.

With our team working on your project, the risk of differing interpretations of your design is greatly reduced. Accuracy results from our team’s understanding your design requirements from the beginning and lasting through all phases of your project. Included with all of these Turn-Key framing services is our Double Guarantee, which not only holds the pricing on materials throughout the project’s duration, but also guarantees the material take-off to complete our work.

If you work with a specific National Lumber representative, please ask about these products and services. If you don’t have a specific contact, you can email insidesales@national-lumber.com and we will have someone contact you.

Thank you for your business. We are honored to be your supplier for building materials and more!

The National Lumber Family of Companies

www.national-lumber.com

National Lumber's Family of Companies: National Lumber, Kitchen Views, Reliable Truss, National Millwork, Pro Insulators

Putting a face on the importance of Fall Protection Training

The OSHA fall protection enforcement extension ended on March 15, 2013. It’s imperative that you get training to meet the requirements as soon as possible. But many are delaying meeting this requirement, thinking that OSHA won’t be watching their work habits. Sometimes, we need to put a face on these preventable tragedies to make them hit home.

James McNally died after falling from a roof. OSHA requires  contractors to stay educated to comply with The Fall Protection Directive.

Posted online July 26, 2013 – James J. McNally, 61, owner of James J. McNally Roofing and Siding of Sandwich and a Cape Cod Baseball League deputy commissioner, died Thursday after falling from a roof.
© Cape Cod Times File

In local news this summer, a Massachusetts resident died from a preventable fall. James J. McNally, owner of James J. McNally Roofing and Siding of Sandwich was 61. Years of job experience didn’t protect him from falling 35 feet while working on a roof.

Speaking in 2011 about a particular enforcement case in Connecticut, Robert Kowalski, OSHA’s area director in Bridgeport, CT said, “There is a simple truth that employers must recognize: Fall protection is a requirement, never an option, when employees work at heights of 6 feet or more. In this case, employees were exposed to 15- to 22-foot falls from the roof and ladders because this employer chose to not provide the required safeguards and training that would protect them.”

One of our popular trainers is Mark Paskell of The Contractor Coaching Partnership. He will be offering his next OSHA Fall Protection training class on Thursday, November 7 from 8:30am to 3:30pm at our Mansfield location. The cost is $225 and includes lunch.

Meeting OSHA Training Requirements

By Mark Paskell, The Contractor Coaching Partnership

Our training will help you comply with the Fall Protection Standard, protect your workers and be ready when OSHA visits your job site. This course is also approved for six (6) Massachusetts Continuing Education Credits towards the new CSL requirement. The approved Massachusetts course number is CS7502 CSL-CD-0075.

What you must do to comply with the OSHA Fall Protection Directive

• Create a written fall protection program or plan for your company describing your practices and the equipment you will provide for your workers to protect them from fall hazards.

• When working 6 feet above the ground or other surface you must use one or a combination of the following — guard rails, fall arrest systems and safety nets.

• If you can prove using one of the three standards is infeasible, you must write a site specific fall protection plan showing alternative methods and keep it on site.  

You must effectively train your workers and prove through documentation that they were trained.

This training is for:  Remodelers, Home Builders, Roofers, Painters, Siding Installers, Gutter Installers and Electricians

Who should attend:  Business Owners, Estimators, Foremen, Crew Leaders, Superintendents, Project Managers and any contractor who works at heights of 6 feet above lower levels.

You will be provided with numerous Forms, Templates and Tools to implement this standard into your business. You will be shown the type of equipment you will need to meet the standard and where you can find it. You will receive a Certificate of Completion at the conclusion of the training.

To sign up for this training class, or for more information visit my website at www.thecontractorcoachingpartnership.com. You can contact me at my office: 1-978-422-6354,  mobile: 1-508-847-0162 or by email: mark@thecontractorcoachingpartnership.com


National Lumber is pleased to help make training on multiple topics more convenient for our customers by hosting various training companies in the Training Room on the second floor at our Mansfield store.  You will find information about upcoming training opportunities on our website at national-lumber.com/events or national-lumber.com/training.

DISCLAIMER: National Lumber is not responsible for the event being offered. Registration and the content are being handled by an outside company. National Lumber is hosting this event for your convenience. By clicking on the links you will leave the National Lumber website and be taken to another company’s website.

National Lumber

245 Oakland Street

Mansfield, MA 02048

508-337-8020

Expired Certification – Don’t Risk It! Stay Educated Through Contractor Training.

construction builder holding his head in his hands looking worriedThe busy season is in full swing and the days quickly fill up with task lists for project at hand. Have you checked to be sure all of your safety licenses are up to date? If you know your license is coming up for renewal, be sure you have all your credits earned before you actually need them. It’s better to be educated with current information in case industry codes and safety requirements have changed or have been updated.

There is an array of training to choose from. Depending on what type of position you hold, will determine the training best suited for you. National Lumber regularly partners with industry renowned trainers in efforts to offer the best possible opportunities for your benefit. Our trainers have real world experience and are engaging and informative.

Shawn McCadden training a class at National Lumber in Mansfield, MA

The type of license you hold will determine which training you need and the amount of hours needed to renew your certification. Here is an example of the various licenses and requirements needed to renew each:

Unrestricted: Construction Supervisor License; 12 credit hours = 5 required topic credit hours and 7 elective

Restricted: One and Two Family License; 10 credit hours = 5 required topic credit hours and 5 elective.

Specialty Licenses: 6 credit hours = 5 required topic credit hours and 1 elective.

For more information on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts continuing education license regulations, please click here.

Feel free to visit our events and training pages on national-lumber.com to read about our upcoming training classes. We welcome our newest trainer, Phil Sheehan of Construction Safety Institute of New England.

Be sure to bookmark our Training page and check back frequently to see the courses and trainers National Lumber is hosting. Sign up today for the classes you need to renew your license!

Save Time Using Factory Finished Siding and Trim

As a contractor, finding experienced, qualified workers today is still a challenge due to the economic downturn. We’ve written about it, as have other industry news resources. Yet the question remains, how can contractors keep up with a rising workload while utilizing a smaller crew to complete a project at or above expectations, in a timely manner?

In a previous blog post, we wrote about the use of engineered wood products and how they save time, money and waste on a project. Today’s savings tip is  about the use of Factory Finished siding and trim. Russin Factory Finishing has teamed up with Benjamin Moore to offer products that will save time at the jobsite because they will arrive finished and ready to install.

Russin man applying coating to end of a substrate of Factory Finished trim and siding image

Each substrate undergoes a precise process to apply the coating, then inspection for quality control to ensure top quality products

The application of coatings on every substrate is followed through with careful precision and inspection to ensure the highest quality and protection on every side of each piece. Benjamin Moore paints and stains are renowned for their superior quality and lasting duration.

By choosing to use Factory Finished products on siding and trim, this will give you the ability to offer your clients a product that will not only look great, but will be better protected and last longer than if you were to install these items unfinished, then stain and seal them after installation.

If you don’t usually offer painting services, this will be a new service you can offer, with no additional labor costs.

Learn more about Factory Finishing and Benjamin Moore Paints and Stains on our website at www.national-lumber.com.

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Dangers of Exposure to Asbestos During Home Renovations

This week, our Kitchen Views Designer Blog has a guest blogger. Brian Turner is a health advocate and blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, the type of cancer which comes from exposure to asbestos. Where many homeowners are planning renovations to older homes which could contain asbestos, we feel that this information is highly relevant to you.

In many older homes it was common at one time to use asbestos to insulate heating pipes. If you have this type of insulation on heating pipes that will be disturbed during home renovation, you must have it removed properly with appropriate safeguards.

The article at the link below is about the health and safety concerns that one should keep in mind while doing home renovations or DIY projects, and how exposure to certain materials, such as asbestos, can cause harm to yourself and family members.

Click here to read the article on the Kitchen Views blog. 

Massachusetts CSL Continuing Education Credit Requirement Details

Don’t worry about the new Construction Supervisor License Continuing Education Requirements for Massachusetts contractors! National Lumber will continue to sponsor and host upcoming training classes to help you meet these new requirements!

Click here to see the latest events that we are hosting or sponsoring.

Here is more information clarifying what the CSL CEU credits are, as well as how and why you need to get them.

Who it Affects: All Construction Supervisor License holders need this information, and need to take action to earn Continuing Education Credits which will be required for future renewals (read on for timing).

What? The Board of Building Regulations has announced Continuing Education requirements for the Massachusetts Construction Supervisor License. Licensees must provide proof of completion of required hours for every two year license cycle.

When? There has been some confusion and mis-information regarding the timing of the continuing education requirements.

If your next license renewal is between now and June 30, 2013, you will NOT need to provide continuing education hours when you renew next.

For license renewals July 1, 2013 and after, you WILL need to provide proof of continuing education (credit hours) at the time of renewal in order to be granted a renewed license.

Note that taking any courses now will “count” toward the first time you need to provide these credits. Courses must be pre-approved for credits and will indicate that when you sign up and attend.

How Many Credits/Hours?

  • Construction Supervisors License/ “Unrestricted”: 12.0 Hours*
  • The One and Two Family Dwelling (“Restricted”) License: 10.0 Hours*
  • The Specialty Licenses: 6.0 Hours*

    * Every Two Years at Renewal (see above dates)

What Categories?

Of the required hours, there are five mandatory topics, with a minimum of one hour required in each:

  • Code Review
  • Workplace Safety
  • Business Practices
  • Energy (except Demolition Specialty License)
  • Lead-Safe Practices (only first renewal cycle)

Where and How ?

To earn the required credits (CEUs), licensees must take courses that have been pre-approved by the state. The BBRS deems that approved courses must “impart appropriate and related knowledge in the regulated industries.” Students must attend classes in their entirety in order to receive the approved credits.

National Lumber is working with course coordinators approved by the Mass. BBRS, including the trainers from the Contractor Coaching Partnership, Conservation Services Group, CSI Institute, Safety Trainers, and others.

Some trade associations such as BAGB and NARI have also begun to offer programs that earn continuing education credits, and will continue to do so, offering multiple opportunities to earn all of the required hours at locations throughout eastern Massachusetts.

To keep up with the latest events eligible for CSL CEU credits, please join our email list.

National Lumber logo
National Lumber, Mansfield, MA

Why Every Contractor Should Have a Facebook Fan Page

We can talk forever about how social media can be very good for business, but how does it help you as a contractor: builder, remodeler, painter or otherwise? Here are some big reasons why Facebook, when used correctly, can be a great resource for not only getting leads, but keeping your past customers happy and giving them a way to reward you by liking and commenting on your social material!

1. Loyal fans mean repeat business

The best thing about Facebook is that it’s social, meaning that if you have satisfied past customers, it’s definitely worth getting them to like you on Facebook. It also can’t hurt you in getting repeat business, the lifeblood of many contractors. Loyal customers can help you more on Facebook than on a traditional website simply by giving you real, live testimonials. Ask a few of your fans to submit photos of projects you did on their homes! Before and after photos are especially good!

2. Show, don’t tell

As we’ve said previously, project photos are perhaps the best sort of testimonial you can have! In-progress photos are especially interesting. People will remember photos of before, during, and after portions of projects. It doesn’t help just to post “We do x, y, and z. Call us today!” That isn’t memorable. It’s one thing if you have a loyal customer base that you can always count on. Say work is slow, and you suggest doing like projects for your fans, perhaps make a little special or coupon just for Facebook fans. That’s okay. But make sure that only about 1 out of 5 posts is “selling” based.

It’s okay to post occasionally that you have snowplowing services or do little handyman jobs that you wouldn’t ordinarily advertise. If you want to show that you do bigger things like additions or kitchen & bath remodels, show pictures. This is far more effective in the long run, because if someone’s not looking for a remodel or such now, they may remember seeing the great work you did on a previous project and you’ll be at the top of their list when they need work done!

3. Easy to update

Having a traditional website is great, but how often are you able to get it updated? Many websites out there are several years old, and in the world of search engines, that means more than likely you won’t be found. For many contractors, a lot of website traffic is based on word of mouth and from business cards. Having a beautiful website is great, but having Facebook to supplement it is even more important. Facebook is a lot easier to update than most websites, unless your website is blog based and you can add to it whenever you want.

Even if you have a Blogspot or WordPress based website that you can frequently update, you still want to work with Facebook. If you frequently update a blog on your website, you can post updates to Facebook about your new posts! But if you’re not really a blogger, Facebook is still pretty easy because as long as you post photos, provide quick status updates on current projects, and interact with fans who post on your wall, your fans will see you in their timeline. Staying in front of your customers is important, and what better place than Facebook to do just that!

4. Get Found!

Facebook pages are indexed in Google if you have over one hundred fans, so people searching for your service in your area can find you more easily. It’s important when you create your page to set the location, as this definitely helps in search. Also, every page can have a custom URL, which is easy to share. This is incredibly useful, so even if you have a website, you can potentially show up twice on the same search results, once for your website, and again for your Facebook page. Also, the more places you can post a link to your Facebook page, the better. Facebook pages can become your most useful advertising method.

Just search Facebook for other contractors to see what they’re doing and connect to them to keep up with the sort of material that they post. The networking is the best part of what Facebook has to offer; see what works for other people and adapt it to your own business!

If you need assistance, here’s a great guide to help you create a good Facebook fan page made just for contractors!

If you create a Facebook fan page for your business, be sure to like National Lumber on Facebook. We’ll like you back!

National Lumber & Reliable Truss: Dedicated to Recycling

Here at National Lumber, our goal is to have nothing go to waste. We make every effort to recycle by-products of our manufacturing and daily tasks. Whether it’s wood chips and metal scraps from our manufacturing facility at Reliable Truss, or the paper and plastic that we consume in everyday operations, there’s somewhere it goes other than just the trash bin! Below are some informative product life-cycle diagrams to illustrate just how our recycling program works! You can click on each image to see a larger PDF version of that diagram.

We’re proud to announce that we now offer wood pellets that are made in part of recycled wood scraps from our manufacturing facility at Reliable Truss. Above, you can see the entire process. No more wood scraps going off to rot in some landfill somewhere!

What about all those scraps from metal studs cut to the exacting specifications our customers need? Those scraps are taken away and graded and processed. That recycled material then becomes raw material for nails, which we then sell at National Lumber stores! Pretty cool stuff. You’re being “green” just by buying our nails!

In everyday operations, a company like National Lumber uses a lot of paper products. But we’re proud to say that we provide plenty of raw material for all of the recycled paper products you see around at local stores. We’re proud to be a small part of that life-cycle.

You may wonder, what happens to all of those protective plastic coatings and straps that we use all of the time in receiving, shipping and packaging building materials? We’re happy to say we have those taken away by a disposal company who provide the logistics for seeing that they are properly recycled. Now whenever you see anything using recycled plastic material, it remember that water bottle you’re drinking out of could have a little bit of National Lumber in it!

We encourage you to recycle as much as much as possible, because no material is unlimited, and the more we can reuse and recycle, the better off we’ll all be!

Social Networking: NOT Just Social Anymore!

If you want to keep in touch with old friends and aunt Nellie you can friend them or tweet them, BUT, if you own a business, Networking ain’t just social, it’s mandatory. Communications is a-changin’ (see this article which has a better explanation then I can give you!)

We’ve all heard about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and WordPress for blogs among many other ways to communicate. How about Google+ and social media platforms like Twylah, Klout, and so many more flying into our lives? They are coming, and coming faster then we’d like to believe. If you aren’t on board now, and learning more every day, how will you keep up? The pace is frenetic and there is a lot to know.

The days of “surfing the web” are over. It’s now “join in the revolution or “get left in the attic with grandma’s trunk.” Your business can start off slowly with some basic applications and programs like Facebook’s business pages and LinkedIn for your personal networking, but whatever you do, DO SOMETHING! Hire a kid to get you up and running, research what your competitors are doing, take courses through your trade associations, work with a consultant to get you going, and lots more you can do. Above all, hire someone to be the voice of your company via all of the tools that you choose to get involved in. Ideally, it should be the owner doing the writing because personality clearly comes through when doing this stuff.

Any other thoughts or ideas you’d like to add for our readers? What is working for you? Who is using Google+ and how would you rate it against Facebook?

As my drill sergeant used to say at 4 am when he was clanging his trash barrel cover in the darkened barracks, “Up and at em, boys! Up and at em!”

Steve Linsky
Marketing and Sales Specialist
Green Initiatives Coordinator
Past HR Director at National Lumber
National Recruiting Manager at Wickes Lumber
www.national-lumber.com


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