LEGAL

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Renovation Ideas
Developing renovation ideas requires that you look at, and really see, your house.  You may believe you know it intim...
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Complying with the Code
A building code is a collection of regulations regarding building construction that is intended to ensure public safe...
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Contractors, Contracts, and Costs
Dankmar Adler—architect and partner of the great Louis Sullivan in the firm of Adler and Sullivan—once remarked that ...
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Getting Professional Help
In order to be assured that you're not embarking on a trip straight to debtors' prison, it's a good idea to consult a...
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Contracting the Contractors
Do you need contracts? Yes is the short answerContracts are a crucial part of the paper trail that will help assure t...
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The Building Permit
There is one last piece of paper that you'll need: a building permit. A general contractor usually handles the permit...
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First Step: Get a Permit
Building application and approval processes vary from town to town and district to district, but most municipalities ...
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One Warranty for Everything
If your furnace dies on a blustery winter morning, you’ll need a few hundred dollars to get it fixed or, worse yet, a...
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What Your Contractor Won't Tell You
Licenses, bonding, and insurance: Every contractor is required by law to have these essential documents in order, but...
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The Case for Flood Insurance
Nothing underlines the importance of flood insurance like a Major Weather Event. The damage inflicted by Sandy—the hu...
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Your Insurance Punch List
It's a home improvement project. What could go wrong?Better not to think about it. That's really a job for the agent ...
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Construction Contract Checklist
All contracts you sign should begin with the parties to the agreement. Your name and address and that of the contract...
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Bob Vila Radio: Homeowner's Insurance
Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing)...
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What Makes a Room a "Bedroom"?
Defining the BedroomDefining the bedroom space is important for two main reasons: home value and safety. The value of...
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The Insurance Certificate
When you hire a GC, subs, and other on-site workers, ask whether they have insurance coverage. Each should have a bla...
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A Recipe For Renovation Contracts
All contracts you sign should begin with the parties to the agreement. Yours and the contractor's names and addresses...
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Know the Rules for Finished Basements
Converting your basement is like finding new space, fully equipped with plumbing and heat. Before you begin your remo...
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Homes That Can Survive Hurricanes
Bob joins Leslie Chapman-Henderson from FLASH -- Federal Alliance for Safe Housing -- to look at two homes on the same street. One was completely destroyed the o...
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Building the Fireplace
Bob talks with general contractor Ted Riley about the fireplace construction.
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Reviewing Attic Conversion Plans
Bob meets structural engineer Steve Siegel on the attic floor of the Medford, MA home to discuss the owner's desire for an office with cathedral ceilings.
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Building Code Check
Bob meets with the general contractors and the architect for the project house to discuss mid-construction changes to the building plan.
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Fire Codes and Installing Fireproofing Material
Bob and carpenter Bob Ryley review the interior construction, which must satisfy stringent fire codes.
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Building a Porch Railing
Carpenter Bob Ryley and George (from Crosswinds Enterprises) collaborate to build a porch railing for the accessible home. Looking on, Bob discusses the building ...
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Installing a Grade Beam
Bob oversees the installation of a grade beam in the garage, which is in compliance with California seismic code.
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Incorporating California Building Code
Bob and contractor Joe Fitzgerald discuss the structural work taking place at the Malibu beach house, as well as California's tough building codes for earthquake ...
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Insulating the Victorian
Bob and the insulation contractor review how different types of insulation are used in different applications. Blown-in insulation is put into the existing house,...
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Wiring the Home Addition
Electrician Steve Bradley is on hand to install the electrical wires and boxes for the addition. Bob discusses the codes regarding receptacle placement and Steve ...
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Building the Porch Rail
The carpenter shows Bob the new railing on the deck off the master bedroom, explaining that code requires that it be 36 inches tall. The carpenter then builds a p...
Move your knick-knacks to a brand new home on this charming DIY shelf. It's an easy project that can be completed in the s... Filling an underutilized area beneath the stairs is a smart way to save space. Doing so with a stash of wood, however, is ... The Audubon Society inspired wallpaper in this Adirondack-styled entryway will get you in the outdoor mood. Grab your coat... Chalkboard paint opens up endless possibilities for customizing your dresser time and time again. Use chalk to label the c... A fireplace in the bathroom creates the ultimate setting for relaxation. Homeowners often choose electric or gas over wood... Yes, a freestanding garage can become its own tiny house. Artist Michelle de la Vega has all the comforts of a modern resi... There’s nothing like a new set of cabinet hardware to refresh a room. The possibilities are endless: Go modern, rustic, or... A kitchen in a greenhouse—who wouldn't enjoy spending time in this light-filled space? Details that enhance the conservato... Chalkboard paint features prominently in this elegant yet unpretentious headboard design. Add a new message daily to reflec... Twine lanterns add pops of crafty—but sophisticated—flair to any outdoor setting. Wrap glue-soaked twine around a balloon ... The indecisive homeowner need not fret over choosing one (or even two) cabinet colors. The kitchen cabinets in this artist... Incorporate nature into your lighting scheme by securing a dead tree in a concrete mold and draping your pendant lamp from... Simple and striking, a couple of pieces of "lovingly used" furniture creates a special kind of charm. A weathered chair fo... The Infinite Artisan Fire Bowl from Eldorado Outdoor is made from glass-fiber reinforced concrete, and offered in Oak Barr... The vibrant green of Granny Smith apples make a beautifully natural alternative to the traditional evergreen wreath. Brigh...
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