Deck Building Tips and The Best Materials To Use
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.
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.
Bitcoin – A secure and safest investment for future
Bitcoin is currently providing security for the first generation of Bitcoin smart contracts built on top of a cryptocurrency infrastructure. Ethereum introduces additional possibilities with its more brilliant contract capabilities that allow complex business logic to permeate every aspect of an organization or product’s lifecycle. Let’s look at the latest innovations in blockchain technology and how they are making global supply chains safer and more successful than ever before. You will learn about Bitcoin, Ethereum, Private Blockchain networks, Smart Contracts, and much more, alongside bitcoin being a future safe investment asset. On the other hand, if you decide to start your bitcoin trading journey, you may use safe and secure software to ensure a hassle-free trading experience.
What is a Contract?
The contract can be written, verbal, or even implied. A contract can have long-term implications between two parties from different companies, countries, and continents. For example, A trading company in oil purchases aluminum from a metal supplier in Asia. This contract between the companies could last for years as the trader would be required to buy specific amounts of aluminium at set prices with regular payments due on set dates.
Bitcoin, the safest and most reliable investment asset:
As an investor, you can be assured that this type of contract is safe and reliable. With Bitcoin, you have ensured a transparent ecosystem where all parties involved in the contract remain anonymous – which helps maintain complete confidentiality of the parties involved in a contract. Additionally, Bitcoin is a decentralized currency, meaning no single entity or company does not control it. Therefore, it helps to ensure all contracts are conducted fairly and honestly and provide a level playing field for all parties.
Why is Bitcoin the safest investment asset?
Bitcoin is a safe investment asset you can buy and hold for the long term. Bitcoin has shown remarkable growth in recent years, with its price rising from USD 1000 to nearly $65000 in just three years. You don’t have to worry about holding the currency for long periods or having its price crash down on you; this is why other fiat currencies fail to provide these assurances.
Bitcoin Investment Growth:
According to Bitcoin price tracker Coinmarketcap, since the beginning of 2014, bitcoin’s price has grown at a staggering rate of 1400% in USD and 6000% in BTC. Along with this growth, bitcoin has shown a remarkable ability to withstand market fluctuations, with its value remaining relatively stable for long periods.
Bitcoin Price History:
Many more companies use bitcoin as a form of payment than you would imagine. Companies such as Microsoft and Dell have accepted Bitcoin for years. Even major countries like Japan and South Korea have recognized the value of Bitcoin and its financial capabilities. This year, major companies like JP Morgan Chase, MasterCard, Bank of America, etc… All filed their own “Bitcoin patents”. These examples show how bitcoin has become a stable asset in more ways than one.
How will bitcoin dominate as an investment asset in the future?
Bitcoin is a decentralized network, meaning no government, institution, or company can regulate it. However, some governing authority directly or indirectly controls most other investment assets. Therefore, those controlling the asset’s long-term value will determine its long-term value.
Bitcoin is the only natural choice if you want to secure your financial future in an asset you don’t have to answer to. Furthermore, bitcoin as a currency will continue to grow alongside its user base as more companies recognize its incredible potential. Therefore, in the future, people will want more freedom regarding their financial approach, and bitcoin is a suitable option.
Smart contracts are the reason behind the bright future of bitcoin.
While Bitcoin offers strong reliability due to its decentralized nature, it lacks some sophistication offered by other blockchain technologies like Ethereum. For example, with Bitcoin, transactions cannot be customized beyond their preset parameters, limiting business logic implementation abilities. However, through the use of smart contracts, a business can design clear expectations and outcomes while remaining within the Bitcoin ecosystem.
Smart Contracts are essentially the building blocks of Ethereum smart contracts. It is done using automating sequential steps of contract fulfillment. Smart contracts first had a use case to facilitate, verify and enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract in 1996 by computer scientist Nick Szabo, who created them for BitGold – his digital currency system.
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