Category : Interesting Stuff

Today I’m going to talk about the increase of all things digital at home, what can be a problem and what to do about it.

Just recently we had fibre installed and connected at home by Chorus. By all accounts they did a very good job but highlighted a problem that comes about as a result of a combination of the new fibre router and auxiliary distribution boards.

What’s happening is more and more new homes are installing auxiliary distribution boards which are used as the initial entry point for telephone, television and data before being distributed via a patch-panel to various termination locations of the house to service the intended device/s. We’re going wi-fi I hear you say and that’s fine but hard-wiring data cables is sometimes preferred for 2 main reasons; speed and security.

There is no question that distribution boards are the only way to go. Everything is in once place which makes it so much easier for technicians – and therefore cheaper for you when adding even more IT stuff or future-proofing. However Chorus were telling me that the biggest problem with distribution boards is that they are generally made from steel and wi-fi finds it difficult to penetrate steel – not impossible, just difficult.

As a conclusion, if need, must have, or enjoy/love the freedom and mobility of wi-fi with security and speed being less important (only by a fraction anyway), then these ceiling dome transmitters look like the next best thing to hard-wire cabling.

If you have any questions or comments please ask them using the Enquiry section of the website or phone on 06-370-2058.

Oh just one last thing, you have our permission to forward this or anything else by Moss Brothers on or share it with others that you think could benefit from this advice.

Wi-Fi Ceiling Domes

Wi-Fi Ceiling Domes

Auxiliary Distribution Boards

Auxiliary Distribution Boards

The information about the ceiling domes was provided by:

Brad Curtis-Smith | Computer & Information Systems Manager

Ohnyx IT Solutions Ltd

021 IT BRAD (021 482 723)

brad@ohnyx.co.nz

 

 

 

I had a phone call the other day from the daughter of a couple we built a house for back in 2003. The daughter’s father had passed away a few years ago and her mother now wanted to sell the family home as it was just too big for her to manage.

The daughter said that they had a buyer for house but as a condition of the sale they had to supply a Code of Compliance Certificate (CCC). As the Auckland construction law specialist Geoff Hardy of law firm Madison Hardy explains, “The CCC concept was introduced under the 1991 Building Act, but it never fulfilled its promise, largely because there was no particular incentive for building owners to obtain the CCC, and no effective penalty if they didn’t. That tended to defeat the purpose of having CCCs in the first place, so in the 2004 Building Act the Government tightened up the rules.

“Now, building owners must apply for a CCC as soon as the project is complete. If they don’t apply within two years of receiving the building consent, the Council must do something about it. However the new rules don’t apply to building projects where the consent was issued before 31 March 2005 (which is when the 2004 Building Act came into force).”

To cut a long story short, it is the owner’s responsibility to apply for the CCC and although we supplied them all the information they required for the application (albeit back in 2003) they did not do it. Now the sale hinges on a mad scramble to organise this information and to apply to the council for a CCC.

The daughter said that the council experiences this a lot so I asked the daughter this question (which I think is reasonable but it was not appreciated), “When the house was first listed on the market did the real estate agent ask if a CCC had been issued”. No the agent did not ask this. As mentioned, it’s the owner’s responsibility to apply for the CCC and the builder has nothing to do with it so long as they have provided all of the documentation to the home owner in order for them to make the application.

If you have any questions or comments please ask them using the Enquiry section of the website or phone on 06-370-2058.

Oh just one last thing, you have our permission to forward this or anything else by Moss Brothers on or share it with others that you think could benefit from this advice.

Note: The quotations above in relation to the Building Act were sourced from an article written by Geoff Hardy of Madison Hardy – commercial and business law specialists based in Auckland. The article was originally published on their website at www.madisonhardy.com.

Future-Proof Your New Home

Almost all projects Moss Brothers designs these days have a comms hub. So what is one of these things? ‘Comms’ is short for ‘communications’ and ‘hub’ us short for ‘in one location’.

 Hills-Home-HubHere is a photo of a Hills Home Hub and inside (I haven’t taken a photo of the inside because to me it looks like organised chaos) is the electronic nerve centre for the house. I think it should be noted that these days a reliable connection to the internet is just as vital as water, sewerage or power connections.

Initially the hub has telephone and or fibre cables that come from the street directly into the hub – located in this photo on/in the garage wall. From there items to be connected to phone or fibre or installed into the hub are things like, but not restricted to; a security alarm system, data cables to various jack points located throughout the house, telephone cables to various jack points located throughout the house, a data router for wireless laptops or smart phones, and Sky cables.

Once you have this in place you really have gone a long way to electronically future-proofing your house. Other configurations could be a house inter-com system, sound or stereo systems, and of course with smart phones more and more appliances including CCTV monitoring could be introduced – not to mention Cable TV – its coming, plus things I haven’t mentioned or things we haven’t even thought of.

Also, having a hub like this, even if you only pre-wire at the ‘build’ phase, makes it so much easier for the technician to work on any existing and future electronic work.

If you have any questions or comments please ask them using the Enquiry section of the website or phone on 06-370-2058.

Oh just one last thing, you have our permission to forward this or anything else written by Moss Brothers on or share it with others that you think could benefit from this advice.

 

 

Project Management Is An Investment, Not A Cost

Today I’m going to talk about how to reduce the risk of a contractor cutting corners on your building project.

I’d like to think the problem of contractors cutting corners was on its way out but I’m not so sure. Even I just about got caught out – or at least they tried it on.

Just recently I had a security fence with an electronic sliding gate fitted to my business premises. The gate is always open on week days but electronically controlled after-hours and on the weekend. However across the main drive there had to be a 300 x 300 concrete ground beam installed for the gate to slide on. The workers had dug and boxed for the beam but as they began to pour the concrete I noticed there was no reinforcing steel installed. I told them about it but then got distracted.

When I came back the pour was complete but one of the boys came over and said’ “Just to make you happy (hello) we’ve put some steel in”. “Oh good” I said, “What did you use”? Thinking he would say something like, D12 reinforcing bars (the same as a house foundation) but he said, “Waratah standards”. What? At least he told the truth.

That afternoon I contacted their boss to discuss the matter and he assured me that after that event the boys went away for some proper reinforcing bars to install while the concrete was still wet. The boss went on to say that, no problem, he’d guarantee the work if it failed.

The ground beam under the gate had to be replaced.

The ground beam under the gate had to be replaced.

A few days later I get the invoice. Checking it against the quote I noted the beam had been quoted at 300 x 300 but there was no way it was that size. Once again the boss assured me that they’d guarantee the beam for any failure. For the record, guarantees are there in the case of failure if the job has been done correctly in the first place and then fails.

To cut a long storey short I have had them replace the beam at their cost, with the right size steel reinforcing bars and at the quoted size. The staggering thing here is, if they’d done it properly in the first instance the additional cost would been less than $100.00 greater than what it actually cost. I am now satisfied with the job, however not overly satisfied because there are still things that could have been done better but I now believe I have a strong and tidy job that will last.

What lessons can I share with you here? The first is; if you are not familiar with building work, building quotes, or building contracts then engage an independent experienced project manager. It will be an investment and not a cost. It’s vital that that project manager is on site to inspect and oversee critical parts of a project like before and during the pouring of concrete – without distractions. There are of course a lot of other areas that get covered over when building a house and not seen again unless there are problems so regular unannounced inspections are the key.

You may ask, “What about the council building inspector”? Generally they do a great job but they may only make 5 or 6 30-minute inspections throughout the duration of an entire new house ‘build’ project. Besides it’s not the inspector’s job to make sure work is carried out in the best trade practice.

For the record I did not choose the cheapest price. I choose on inspecting a previous job carried out by them. However, I did break my own rule by not carrying out enough due diligence and speaking to any of their past customers and I should not have allowed myself to be distracted.  In saying that, in this instance it may not have mattered because the job they did looked good on completion – a bit like a paint job that fails a year or two later.

If you have any questions or comments please ask them using the Enquiry section of the website or phone on 06-370-2058.

Oh just one last thing, you have our permission to forward this or anything else by Moss Brothers on or share it with others that you think could benefit from this advice.

 

In life, it doesn’t matter what we are doing, even going for job interview, we have to sell ourselves. Sales, marketing and negotiation are all skills that most could improve on – I for one.Wolf

 A couple of weeks ago I saw the movie ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ staring Leonardo DiCaprioJonah Hill, and Margot Robbie. Based on a true story, what an eye-opener.

If you take out the sex, drugs and foul language and watch the film from the angle of marketing, selling yourself, sales, persistence, determination, and self-belief , there are very powerful messages that I believe can make a difference in our lives.

I was amazed to see so many concrete floors snap like dry biscuits in the Canterbury earthquakes. I have a theory for the reason why so many performed so poorly – this is not research or laboratory tested – just a gut feeling. What I’m about to write is based on what I’ve experienced, seen and had to deal with over the years. I blame it on poor or non-existent project management, concrete-contractors and some carpenters/building contractors who either don’t understand, can’t be bothered, or don’t care.

Take a look at this photo. You should be able to see some evidence of reinforcing steel but I can’t.

For a concrete slab to be at its strongest the steel reinforcing mesh, in residential construction, must be in the centre and the concrete must be properly vibrated as it’s being placed. However, a combination of support chairs that hold the steel in place before the pour being placed too far apart, and by concrete-contractors standing on unsupported mesh before and during the pour, forcing it down to the bottom, renders the steel almost useless.

However, a good project manager that issues placing instructions to the concrete—contractors and actually oversees this vital stage of a build could make all the difference whether you see this kind of damage after an earthquake or not.bathroom300

If You Refer Us We’ll Send You On Holiday

Fancy a holiday at Sheraton Denarau – Fiji?

If it sounds too good to be true it usually is – not this time. This is for real with no strings attached.

Only some of our business comes from word of mouth, recommendation and referral but we’d like to increase that. And then, most of those referrals are from past clients but occasionally are from people just like you i.e. people that have either found us on the internet or visited a Moss Brothers show home.

We all know conventional advertising is expensive and it usually doesn’t result is additional business – or not for us anyway.

That go us thinking; we should be finding a way to thank and really show our appreciation to those people whose referral does result in additional business i.e. a referred person, couple or business becomes a Moss Brothers client whereby they end up building with us.

Here’s what we dreamed up; if you refer someone to us and they end up having Moss Brothers design and build a New Zealand period replica or Australian Queenslander home or homestead for them, we’ll send you and your wife/husband/partner (i.e. for 2 people) away for a holiday break – a little get-away.

Every 2 to 3 months we’ll be offering a new destination.

This first package is to Sheraton Denarau in Fiji.

How can this work and where does the money come from to pay for this? Well it’s like this; if we don’t have to spend money on advertising, which may or may not result in business, we’ll have it available to give it to a much more worthy cause – you/the referrer.

The package includes:

  • Air fares – ex New Zealand
  • Accommodation for 2 in a Villa Suite
  • Breakfast
  • If it’s not state it’s not included.

To make this fair for all, because no 2 houses cost the same to design and build, the greater the value of the project the longer your holiday i.e.

  • A project value between $100k and $200k = 1 night
  • A project value between $200k and $300k = 2 nights
  • A project value between $300k and $400k = 3 nights
  • A project value between $400k and $500k = 4 nights
  • A project value between $500k and $600k = 5 nights
  • A project value between $600k and $700k = 6 night
  • A project value between $700k and $800k = 8 night
  • And so on, and so on
  • A project less than $100k – air fares only

How to register.

How can you confirm your referral has been received and acknowledged and how will Moss Brothers know who I referred?

That’s easy.

Have your referred person Register here on-line. Tell them that when they register they must include all of your details as the referrer in the ‘Questions/Comments’ field – i.e. Referred by….. By doing that locks you in. So that you have a record of the referral just ask the person who fills out the Registration Form (the referred person) to, before submitting, hit the ‘Print Screen’ button on their computer and paste that to a blank document page – then save that to a file, sending you a copy. It’s that easy.

How do you redeem this offer?

To claim, or before you can claim, the referred person must have signed up to a building contract with a licensed Moss Brothers builder.

Then simply forward the ‘printed screen’ page to julian@moss-brothers.co.nz

And how often do you hear this?

If you can’t take the trip yourself you can give it to a friend or you CAN even redeem it for cash i.e. no strings attached.

This trip offer last until August 2011

Best regards and happy hunting.

Julian Moss

Oh PS: You can also refer yourself

Thank God for America

I’m sick and tired of those that knock America and Americans. As an New Zealand citizen, I sincerely say, “Thank God for America”.

Just this weekend, on my way home from the office, I noticed the streets of my home town (Masterton) lined with American flags. I had no idea what was going on as I don’t much read the local newspaper (sausage wrapper – as some call it). As it turned out there was a American classic car rally taking place. Some amazing looking cars driving in convoy around town and surrounding district.

Seeing the rally jogged my memory of how grateful I am we have America as a friend. I sincerely believe that if it weren’t for America and Americans we wouldn’t be speaking English. Actually more to the fact, New Zealand wouldn’t even be a Commonwealth country.

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to Casey Caesium – DJ of the American Top 40. The local radio station was playing a re-run of his program from the 70s. Casey was saying, that apparently a Canadian chap wrote and recorded a song that praised the technology that came out of America and influence America had over world stability and peace. The song also criticised American knockers.

So America, if any of you read this, some of us are grateful to you and what you do for us.

Cheers and good health you America
Julian Moss
Designer and builder of New Zealand period replica homes and homesteads

Op PS: I drive a Ford and have done for the last 8 years.
Oh PPS: We love Australia too, especially when we beat them at sport, which we did quite often in 2010.
PPPS: before publishing this it was drafted on Google Docs – more American technology.

Is Common Sense Dead Or Just Slowly Dying?

An obituary supposedly published in the London Times

I am unable to confirm whether the London Times was the source of this but it makes pretty good sense in any event. Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: – Knowing when to come in out of the rain; – Why the early bird gets the worm; – Life isn’t always fair; – and, Maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.

Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot.

She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason. He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights I Want It Now Someone Else Is To Blame I’m A Victim Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Supplied by Winston Marsh – Marketing Guru – Melbourne, Australia

While travelling in northern India, Bengal actually, I saw some comments by the current Dalai Lama. ‘We have more degrees, but less sense’. In fact if you read the balance of his comments you’ll probably find it hard not agree with him.

Moss Brothers will taylor-make a home to suit you – Character home design and build specialists – found at

Current Dalai Lama