Homeowners are always looking for ways to boost their property value and aesthetics. One of the ways to achieve this is to build a deck. In this do-it-yourself (DIY) era, deck building has become one of the most common home improvement projects.
However, you can waste your money or be disappointed if it’s not done correctly. Thus, ensuring you’re equipped with the right skills and know-how is necessary before starting the project. You can get a quality and low-maintenance deck that boosts the beauty of your home. This blog discusses what you need to know about deck building. Keep reading.
Choose The Right Building Materials
The building materials ultimately affect the outcome of your project. Gone are the days when your only option was wood. Today, there are many types of products to choose from. They include:
The popularity of composite has increased notably over the last few years. Recycled plastic and wood dust are bound to create long, dense boards. Composite decking boards are generally eco-friendly and require little to no maintenance. Additionally, they are dust and weather resistant; thus, they have a longer lifespan.
You can use composite material to build different sections of a deck. For instance, you can erect composite deck stairs to allow people to move from one level to another. However, you must avoid spending on low-quality products by purchasing your building materials from a reputable manufacturer.
Aluminum has become a popular alternative to wood. Many homeowners use aluminum because it has a lower maintenance cost. Additionally, it can last for years and is fire-resistant. This might be ideal if you live in wildfire-prone areas. You can choose from various aluminum options to meet your needs and preferences. Remember that aluminum decking materials have different strength properties, corrosion resistance, and workability.
Other building materials, such as concrete, grass deck tiles, and hardwood, are available. The type you choose depends on several factors. You should consider your budget and expectations, the required upkeep, and the durability of materials.
Follow The Appropriate Building Codes
The local administration has rules and policies surrounding any home improvement project. These building codes are enforced to ensure safety and protection. Some of the guidelines include the following:
- Start With A Proper Foundation
Building a deck on a weak foundation may compromise the stability of the whole structure in the long run. Visit the local building authorities to learn more about how you should build your foundation. Adhering to this requirement can prevent accidents and other hazards.
- Obtain Necessary Permits
You may be violating a local ordinance or zoning law if you don’t have the authorization to build a deck. Ensure the paperwork is complete before starting the project to prevent unannounced visits from the local authority. To obtain a permit to create or renovate a deck, the homeowner should submit the construction plan to the concerned agency for approval. You can avoid unnecessary downtime in deck construction by securing a license to build. You’re also confident that you’re following safety protocols and sustainable practices.
However, it’d be best to understand that these building codes may change over time. Thus, ensure you’re up to date with construction rules and regulations to avoid any conflicts.
Outsource The Building Services
Despite the growing popularity of DIY projects, it’s advisable to outsource the services from a reputable contractor. The service provider possesses the right skills and tools to ensure you build the deck of your dreams. However, getting the right provider is challenging, especially for new homeowners. Consider utilizing the following tips to ensure you employ a reputable local company:
Before hiring a contractor, check whether they’re certified to offer the services in your area. It would help if you also asked for their documentation. Most providers post their certifications on their sites. If a contractor is unwilling to share their documents, that might be your cue to move to the next provider on your list.
Besides licensing, reviewing the service provider’s liability policies is crucial. Understand how it’ll cover you, your property, or your workforce in case of an accident. Otherwise, you risk getting stuck with the bill if your house gets damaged or someone gets hurt.
You’ll get high-end deck designs when you outsource the services from an experienced third party. Also, a competent contractor can keep up with evolving construction policies, ensuring your safety and workforce.
Over the years, homeowners have built decks to boost their property aesthetic and value. However, constructing one is daunting for many. Therefore, it’s crucial to research extensively to understand how to go about it, including outsourcing a reputable contractor.
Taipei Self-Driving Gharry
Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the vibrant streets of Taipei? Well, get ready to buckle up and explore the city like never before, because we’ve got an exciting ride in store for you! Introducing the Taipei Self-Driving Gharry – your ticket to freedom, fun, and discovery.
Forget about tour guides and rigid itineraries, because with a Gharry at your disposal, you’re the master of your own adventure. Whether you’re a solo traveler or exploring with friends and family, this unique experience promises to be a thrilling escapade you won’t soon forget. So, let’s hit the road and dive into the heart of Taipei, where hidden gems, mouthwatering delicacies, and fascinating culture await your eager exploration.
What is a Taipei Self-Driving Gharry?
Imagine a charming blend of tradition and technology – that’s what a Self-Driving Gharry is all about. Originating from the iconic horse-drawn carriages of yesteryears, the modern Gharrys are electric-powered vehicles with a vintage touch. Equipped with user-friendly navigation systems, they are perfect for the independent traveler seeking a unique experience.
Why Choose a Gharry over Conventional Rental Cars?
While rental cars are an option, a Gharry adds a touch of whimsy and excitement to your exploration. Unlike conventional cars, Gharrys are designed for urban adventures, allowing you to meander through narrow alleys and lively markets, where larger vehicles might not dare to tread.
The Joy of Driving
Freedom to Roam at Your Leisure
With a Gharry at your disposal, the city becomes your playground. No strict schedules, no rushing to catch buses – just the freedom to stop wherever your heart desires. Whether it’s a picturesque park or a roadside café, the joy of driving a Gharry lies in the spontaneity it offers.
Embracing Serendipitous Discoveries
Ever stumbled upon a hidden gem while strolling through a city? Now, imagine the thrill of discovering such gems from the comfort of your Gharry. Embrace serendipity and let the city unfold its secrets as you navigate its charming neighborhoods.
Exploring Hidden Gems
While Taipei boasts popular landmarks, there’s so much more beyond the obvious. Venture off the beaten path with your Gharry to uncover quaint temples, picturesque viewpoints, and local artisan markets that offer authentic experiences.
Serene Nature Escapes
Escape the urban hustle for a while and retreat to nature’s haven. Taipei and its surroundings are blessed with lush landscapes and serene parks. Drive your Gharry to a tranquil oasis, immerse yourself in nature, and recharge your spirit.
Savory Treats on Wheels
Taipei’s culinary scene is a feast for the senses, and what better way to relish it than through a Gharry? Park near famous food stalls, where aromas beckon you to savor delicious street delicacies, making every meal a memorable adventure.
Food Truck Adventure
The city’s food trucks are a culinary carnival on wheels. Navigate through a gastronomic maze, sampling various cuisines as you go. From savory to sweet, traditional to fusion – a food truck adventure is a treat for any food lover.
Temples, Traditions, and Tales
Taipei’s cultural heritage is rich and diverse, and a Gharry allows you to immerse yourself in this tapestry of traditions. Visit ancient temples, witness traditional ceremonies, and listen to fascinating tales passed down through generations.
Art and Architecture in Motion
The city’s art scene is as vibrant as its streets. Drive your Gharry to discover vibrant street art, modern architectural marvels, and art exhibitions that reflect Taipei’s artistic spirit.
Preparing for Your Gharry Adventure
Before setting out on your Gharry adventure, ensure you have the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance coverage. Familiarize yourself with the navigation system, and don’t forget to carry a power bank for your devices.
Navigating Traffic and Parking
While Gharrys are nimble, city traffic can be daunting. Plan your routes, avoid rush hours, and embrace the art of patient driving. Parking in Taipei can be challenging, but with a Gharry, you can find creative spots to park and explore nearby.
Benefits of Self-Driving Gharrys
Get ready to fasten your seatbelts and experience the ultimate travel revolution – Taipei Self-Driving Gharry! These charming vehicles combine vintage vibes with modern technology, making them the coolest way to explore any city. Still not convinced? Well, hold onto your hats because we’ve got a list of benefits that’ll blow your mind and have you itching to hit the road:
- Freedom on Wheels: Say goodbye to strict schedules and hello to spontaneity! With a Gharry at your disposal, you’re the captain of your adventure. Roam the city streets at your own pace, stop wherever you please, and make every moment count.
- Off-the-Beaten-Path Exploration: Tired of tourist traps? Gharrys are your ticket to uncovering hidden gems that most visitors miss. Escape the crowds and venture into charming alleys, serene parks, and quaint neighborhoods that only the locals know about.
- Gastronomic Delights: Foodies, rejoice! Gharrys are the perfect food-tripping companions. Park near famous food stalls, sample street delicacies, and indulge in a gastronomic journey like no other. From savory treats to sweet delights, your taste buds are in for a treat.
- Cultural Immersion: Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of the city’s culture and traditions. Visit ancient temples, witness traditional ceremonies, and experience the city’s vibrant art scene – all on wheels!
- No Driving Stress: Don’t fret if you’re not an expert driver. Gharrys are designed for urban exploration, making them easy to handle even for beginners. Plus, their user-friendly navigation systems are a breeze to use.
- Eco-Conscious Adventure: Do your part for the planet while having a blast! Gharrys are eco-friendly, running on electric power and emitting zero carbon emissions. It’s guilt-free exploration at its finest.
- Flexibility and Convenience: Forget about waiting for public transportation or booking pricey tours. Gharrys offer the ultimate flexibility, allowing you to design your adventure exactly as you wish.
- Capturing Picture-Perfect Moments: Every corner of the city is a potential photo op. With a Gharry, you can pull over and capture stunning snapshots whenever you come across a picture-perfect view.
So, what are you waiting for? The world of Self-Driving Gharrys is calling your name, ready to whisk you away on an adventure filled with freedom, fun, and unforgettable memories. Get behind the wheel and let the exploration begin.
How to Rent a Self-Driving Gharry in Taipei
Are you ready to embark on an epic adventure through the lively streets of Taipei? Well, you’re in luck because we’re about to spill the beans on how to rent a Taipei Self-Driving Gharry and unlock the city’s hidden treasures at your own pace. It’s as easy as pie, and we’ve got all the juicy details right here:
- Choose Your Rental Service: First things first, you’ll need to find a reputable Gharry rental service in Taipei. A quick online search will reveal several options, so take your time to compare prices, reviews, and available vehicle models. Look for a service that offers well-maintained Gharrys with user-friendly navigation systems.
- Check the Requirements: Before you get too excited, make sure you meet the rental requirements. Most rental services require drivers to be at least 21 years old and possess a valid driver’s license. Some may also ask for additional identification and a credit card for security purposes.
- Reserve Your Ride: Once you’ve found the perfect rental service, it’s time to make a reservation. Popular Gharrys tend to get booked quickly, especially during peak tourist seasons, so don’t wait until the last minute. Secure your ride in advance to avoid any disappointment.
- Pick-Up Location: Before you hit the road, confirm the pick-up location with the rental service. Some companies may have multiple pick-up points across the city, so choose the most convenient one for you.
- Be Prepared with Documentation: On the day of pick-up, don’t forget to bring all necessary documentation, including your driver’s license and any additional identification the rental service requires. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so double-check everything before leaving.
- Vehicle Inspection: When you arrive at the pick-up location, a representative from the rental service will guide you through a vehicle inspection. Take your time to inspect the Gharry thoroughly, noting any existing scratches or damages. It’s crucial to document these to avoid any disputes when returning the vehicle.
- Familiarize Yourself with the Gharry: Now that you’ve got the keys to your Gharry kingdom, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the vehicle’s features and navigation system. Ask the rental representative any questions you may have, ensuring you feel confident before hitting the road.
- Explore at Your Own Pace: With the formalities out of the way, it’s time to embark on your self-driving adventure! Remember, there’s no rush – take your time, enjoy the freedom to explore, and make unforgettable memories at every turn.
- Follow Traffic Rules and Parking Etiquette: While the Gharry is all about fun, safety should never be compromised. Obey traffic rules, be cautious of pedestrians and cyclists, and park in designated areas to avoid fines.
- Return the Gharry with a Smile: As your Gharry adventure comes to an end, return the vehicle to the rental service with a smile. Be sure to fill up the tank and return the Gharry in the same condition you received it to ensure a smooth and pleasant experience.
So, there you have it – a step-by-step guide on how to rent a Self-Driving Gharry in Taipei. Now, get ready to unleash your inner explorer and dive into the heart of the city, uncovering its secrets one adventure at a time.
Taipei is a city of wonders, where tradition and modernity dance in harmony. Embrace the spirit of exploration with a Self-Driving Gharry, and you’ll unlock a world of hidden treasures. So, why wait? Let your adventure begin
Report: 55 of the top 100 banks by assets under management have invested in crypto or a blockchain company; Barclays and Citigroup are the most active investors (Report Barclays Citigroupavannomayocointelegraph)
Report Barclays Citigroupavannomayocointelegraph: During a time of unprecedented volatility in traditional marketplaces, a new investment trend has emerged: crypto. When the price of bitcoin has been increasing exponentially and new cryptocurrencies are cropping up by the day, it’s clear that cryptocurrency is quickly becoming an important topic to know about. This article highlights 55 of the top 100 banks by assets under management that have invested in crypto or a blockchain company; Barclays and Citigroup are the most active investors. The article also mentions that these investments can help hedge against volatility in traditional markets.
While cryptocurrencies are becoming more and more mainstream, the methods of investment are still limited. You can buy cryptocurrency on an exchange, but you cannot hold it there. At most exchanges, cryptocurrency can be held in online wallets for a short period of time before being withdrawn to a personal digital wallet. Some banks have been willing to act as custodians of crypto assets and to provide accounts denominated in cryptocurrencies; however, most banks have still not entered this market yet. Banks that have been most active in entering this market have been Barclays and Citigroup.
Figure 1: The top 100 banks by assets under management (in billions)
I did some digging to find out which banks had the highest levels of crypto exposure, and found that there were two groups who had cryptocurrency exposure. The first were banks that are regulated in the US; the second, regulated by UK and EU laws, would not be subject to US regulations. The top banks by assets under management (as of June 30, 2017) were Barclays and Citigroup.
Bank Name Total Assets Under Management % of Assets Under Management* % of total AUM in Companies with Crypto & Blockchain Investments Citigroup $859.7 billion 2.65% 2.45% Barclays $868.3 billion 3.84% 1.89% BNP Paribas $831.5 billion 5.18% 0.73% Société Générale $785 billion 4.68% 0.39% Wells Fargo $1.4 trillion 2.27% 2.27% Credit Agricole $419 billion 4.64% 0.39% Royal Bank of Canada $735 billion 5.03% 1.18% JP Morgan Chase $2 trillion 3.06% 1.12% UBS Group $1,349 billion 4.55%-5.5 % 0 0 Deutsche Bank Group $1,049 billion 5%-10 % <0 .01% Morgan Stanley $916.5 billion 9.77% <0 .01% Bank of America $1.3 trillion 6.61% 1.12% Bank of Montreal $650 billion 7.71% 0.39% Goldman Sachs $1,041 billion 4%-6% <0 .01% HSBC Holdings $1,185 billion 2%-4 % <0 .01:1 * % of Total Assets Under Management are calculated as AUM divided by Total Assets Under Management for Banking & Insurance Companies (June 30, 2017). Total Assets Under Management are obtained from World Bank. AUM in Companies with Crypto & Blockchain Investments got from our previous article ‘Where is Cryptocurrency exposure the Largest in Banking?’.
Application, Requirements, and Process for a UK Spouse Visa
A UK spouse visa, aka a Marriage Visa or partner visa, is one of the ways to enter the country. It unites non-UK citizens with their UK spouses. You can use this visa to join your spouse in the country regardless of whether they are a British citizen, a UK refugee, or a settled person. Here are some details regarding this visa and the application requirements.
How Does a UK Partner Visa Work?
The UK spouse visa is a settlement route that permits one to join their British partner in the country for up to 30 months. After that, it can be renewed for an additional 30 months, provided you still meet the visa requirements.
Furthermore, a visa entitles holders to seek Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and, ultimately, British citizenship. Your British citizen partner can send the leave to remain application paperwork on your behalf.
A UK partner visa gives you the same employment rights as all British citizens. Nonetheless, most benefits, such as housing assistance, public subsidies, and tax credits, will not be available to you.
Who is eligible for a UK Spouse Visa?
You may submit a UK spouse visa application if:
- You are aged 18 or older.
- You are married or participating in a UK-recognised civil union.
- You are married to a resident of the UK or a British national.
- You’ve been in a relationship for the past two years and can vouch for it.
- You are either engaged or have a fiancé visa and plan to wed within six months of arriving in the UK.
What are the prerequisites for a UK Spouse Visa?
Before submitting a UK spouse visa application, check that you:
- Have all of the necessary documentation.
- Pass the ‘Genuine Relationship Test.’
- Satisfy the financial and minimum income requirements.
- Demonstrate English language proficiency.
- Have suitable accommodation for your spouse and any children.
- You are willing to submit biometrics data to obtain leave to remain
Depending on where you originate, you may have to pass medical tests to demonstrate that you don’t have tuberculosis.
How does the “Genuine Relationship Test” work?
To ascertain the genuineness of your relationship is genuine, the home office may require evidence such as:
- A shared mortgage or lease, whether it is in the UK or elsewhere
- Show proof of any kids you have together, like a birth certificate.
- Photographs demonstrating your relationship and frequent interaction with
- A joint checking or savings account
- Chat logs from social networking sites or text messages
- Travel records demonstrate that you met at least once before the marriage.
- Documents demonstrating your intent to cohabitate in the UK.
What are the financial prerequisites for a UK Spouse Visa?
The UK spouse visa financial requirements is a way of demonstrating your ability to meet your financial needs as a family. You’ll have to provide evidence that you and your spouse can financially support yourselves and any dependent children without the government’s help. Usually, the UK spouse, i.e., the sponsor, must have a minimum income of £18,600 for childless couples and £22,400 for couples with a single child. Any other additional child will require an extra £2,400/child. These income limits include taxes.
What types of income count towards UK spouse visa applications?
The UK partner may utilise any of the following to satisfy the minimum income requirement:
- Savings above £16,000
- Earnings from work, whether salaried or self-employment
- Payment from adoption, maternity, paternity, or sick leave.
- Other sources of income, such as rent or share dividends
Can I contribute my income?
UK nationals’ spouses and partners may utilise their savings to meet the minimum income requirement for a UK spouse visa application. In some cases, earnings such as salaries may be used, especially if you are currently employed in the UK.
Additionally, you can use a combination of earnings and savings to reach the required minimum income level. But you’ll need to demonstrate that you have sufficient financial support for the duration of the permit.
To determine how much, you’ll need to contribute in savings, deduct any other qualifying income from your minimal requirement. Next, multiply by 2.5 and add 16,000.
What if I don’t satisfy the financial requirement?
If you don’t have enough funds to meet the financial requirements for a UK spouse visa, talk to an immigration lawyer, as there are always exceptions that they can help you take advantage of.
Do benefits and income count?
Yes, benefits and income count. These include:
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Disability Living Allowance
- Work-related Injuries and Disablement Benefits
- The Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
- Guaranteed Income Payment from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
- Police Injury Pension
However, you must demonstrate that you have the funds to care for your dependents. The precise amount you require is referred to as “adequate maintenance,” and it will vary depending on your unique situation. Typically, you’ll require at least £120 per week after paying for housing. This figure will rise if you have children.
What does the English Language Test entail?
Applicants other than the ones listed below will need to pass an English language test.
- Applicants from a country where English is an official language
- Applicants over age 65 or under age 18
- Applicants with long-term mental or physical conditions
- Applicants with degrees in English-taught or researched disciplines, the qualification must be verified by UK NARIC.
The test assesses English-speaking and listening skills. It must be taken through an authorised Secure English Language Testing Provider and will remain valid for 24 months. You can take the test through the IELTS Consortium or Trinity College London.
What are the accommodation requirements for a UK Spouse Visa?
The Home Office requires a description of the listed accommodation, its location, and verification that the couple has the financial resources to pay for it.
A property must have enough rooms for each individual to be eligible. However,
- Couples are permitted to share a bedroom.
- The number of bedrooms can include living rooms.
- Babies under age one can live in the couple’s bedroom, while two children under age 10 can share a room.
What documents are needed for a UK marriage visa application?
To increase the chances of a successful UK spouse visa application, you will need the following documents:
- Your original marriage or civil partnership certificate.
- Document vouching that you’ve been together for two years
- A genuine passport
- A certificate showing you passed the English language test.
- Proof of UK accommodation
- Documents ascertaining the genuineness of the relationship
- Income statements showing you meet the minimum financial requirement.
- Evidence showing you are married to a UK-based person or British citizen. UK citizens can present their passport copy
Documents not in English must be backed by a certified translation. Also, all documents must follow specific format requirements set by the Home Office.
What is the cost of a UK spouse visa application?
Currently, the cost of a UK spouse visa application is £1,523 for applications from overseas and £1,033 for applications made within the country. Of course, the costs increase if dependents are in the mix.
Additional costs related to UK spouse visa applications include:
- Document translation fees for those that aren’t in English or Welsh
- English Test fee
- The Home Office’s Priority Premium Service fee if you want an expedited reply from the UKVI
Depending on where you apply from and the documents you provide, a UK spouse visa can take 2-12 weeks. If your UK spouse visa application is approved, you will have 30 days to enter the United Kingdom and another 10 days to obtain a biometric residence permit. You can apply to extend the 30-day entry timeframe if it’s too short for you, but it will cost you extra.You can always appeal if your application for a UK spouse visa is denied. However, it’s best to have an immigration advisor on your side as this is a complicated and often drawn-out process. That said, all UK visa application processes could be helped with the guidance of an experienced immigration lawyer to increase the chances of a successful application. Contact us for help regarding your UK spouse visa application, and we’ll be glad to help.
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