<![CDATA[Nicon Developments - Blog]]>Thu, 19 Apr 2018 23:49:02 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[The Challenge of Climate Change for the Construction Industry]]>Fri, 09 Feb 2018 17:33:43 GMThttp://nicon.ca/blog/the-challenge-of-climate-change-for-the-construction-industry​The changes we are experiencing in our climate are affecting all of our lives. Every industry is being affected by what is happening, but is having an especially big impact on the construction sector.
Governments across the world are waking up to the fact that extremes of weather are rapidly becoming the norm. In many countries, they are gradually changing construction legislation to take account of this fact.
Across the world, new laws are being passed that require both residential and commercial builders to work to higher standards. Buildings that can withstand higher summer temperatures, colder winters, as well as floods and high winds, are now essential. In some areas of the world, they also need to be built to withstand earthquakes, and other natural disasters.
For those of us who work in construction this presents challenges, but also means that we are working in interesting times. In order to keep pace with the changing needs of our customers we have to learn new skills, as well as develop innovative building techniques, and materials.
Take for example the issue of flooding. This is become a big problem in many countries. In Canada, the government estimates that the cost of damage caused by flooding in 2017 is in the billions of dollars.
Insurance experts say many Canadian homeowners aren't insured for flooding and could be left footing at least part of the bill. Craig Stewart, vice-president of federal affairs for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, told The Canadian Press that only about 10 to 15 per cent of Canadians have "overland flood insurance," an add-on to insurance policies that insurers started to offer after both Toronto and Alberta were hit with severe flooding in 2013. Without that add-on, Mr. Stewart says, most homeowners grappling with flood damage will be left relying on government assistance, which typically covers less than insurance would.
However, the construction industry, along with the environmental lobby, is urging the government to put together a comprehensive water management strategy.
Officials are working on updates to national floodplain maps to help local officials make better decisions about where to build. The work comes almost a year after the federal environment commissioner warned that the maps had not been properly updated in 20 years. Federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi wants communities to release any maps or data about flooding concerns in their communities in order to help themselves and residents make better decisions about building in flood-prone areas.
Craig Stewart, vice-president federal affairs at the Insurance Bureau of Canada, considers Ontario a leader in prohibiting development on flood plains since the 1960s, while cities like Halifax and Edmonton have been good about releasing information to the public. But others have resisted due to financial and legal concerns. Mr. Stewart says finding better ways and places to build is a countrywide issue:
“We need to learn from our mistakes. We're in a completely different era now of frequent, severe weather events.”
In Quebec, Pascale Biron, a professor of geography, planning and environment at Concordia University, told The Canadian Press the province lacks a centralized, governmental body to oversee, track and maintain data on potential vulnerable flood risk areas. Instead, water management has shifted increasingly to municipalities. Since waterfront homes yield more taxes, politicians have an incentive to lobby hard to get residents to rebuild in the same spot, despite the risks. While there is a move toward getting more high-resolution elevation data, rectifying the situation doesn't require reinventing the wheel, Prof. Biron says: 
“We can just use what's done elsewhere (like Europe) and apply it to Quebec. We have the scientists, we have everyone who can do the job. There's no reason why we're so behind. There's just a lack of political willingness to put the structure in place.”
Innovative new products, for example automatic flood barriers, are gradually becoming available. These are expensive, but consumers are so worried about the risk of flooding that they are increasingly willing to pay for this new technology.
<![CDATA[2017 Review.... 2018 Outlook]]>Tue, 09 Jan 2018 18:31:41 GMThttp://nicon.ca/blog/2017-review-2018-outlook2017 was a busy year for Nicon Developments! From hiring new KEY staff to support our upcoming projects to completing the final phase on The Sequoia Townhomes project.

We saw the completion of three custom homes, two in our Trumpeter Pointe subdivision and one in Arbutus Ridge. In between all that, we had time to complete a spec home too!

Our Courtenay BC, Parkside Townhomes project is underway with site servicing almost complete. We should see the building permit soon and will be able to start on the first two phases of the project. Pre sales on this project were phenomenal and we have only one unit left!

We have started a new townhome project in Duncan off on Fairview Way which will consist of six units and will be ready later in 2018. The first three units are currently listed and can be found on the realtor.com site.

We also have two additional spec homes underway in our Trumpeter Subdivision and these too will be ready later on in 2018. More info will be available soon on these two fabulous homes.

​Other custom homes are in the works for us in 2018 and we expect it to be another busy year!
<![CDATA[Getting Ready for Fall]]>Fri, 25 Aug 2017 20:18:53 GMThttp://nicon.ca/blog/getting-ready-for-fallPicture
The seasons are changing once again, with summer coming to an end and fall quickly moving in. Time to start thinking about the seasonal maintenance to your home to keep everything running smoothly through the winter. Spending time preparing for the changes now will save you time later!
Here are few things you can start to do as the days cool and the daylight hours become shorter.

Interior Maintenance on your home on a regular basis is important to keep everything working.
Check for Drafts. It is important to check all doors and windows around your home. A quick trick is to use a candle and hold it close to the window or door edge. If it flickers, you have a draft. You cand add new weather-stripping around your doors and re caulk any drafty windows. Addressing drafts in your home can save you as much as 10% on your annual heating bill.
Have your Furnace Inspected. A professional can test your furnace for efficiency, change your filters and test for leaks.
Prepare your Air Conditioner. If you have a portable air conditioner, now is the time to take it down and store it for the season. If you have a central air conditioning unit, you may need to cover it for the winter depending on your location and the temperatures expected.
Adjust your Programmable Thermostat. Check the temperature settings and test to make sure it is working properly. If you don’t have one, you may want to consider purchasing one. These thermostats and save you money in the long run and can turn up and down the heat when you forget.
Test all your Home Safety Devices. All smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should be checked regularly and now is a good time. It is also important to check your fire extinguisher and ensure it is serviced regularly.

Exterior Maintenance regularly done and add years to your homes life.
Inspect siding. Check home exterior for cracks or holes. Repair them yourself or hire a professional.
Do a roof check. You should be able to do at least a visual inspection of the roof from the ground. Grab some binoculars to get a closer look or if you’re able and can do so safely, climb on up for a better view. Look for missing, damaged, or loose shingles. If your roof is flat, you may need to remove leaves and debris.
Check water drainage. Rainwater downspouts need to be clear of obstructions and direct water away from foundations, walkways, and driveways. Add extensions to downspouts if necessary.
Clean the gutters. Hire a service to clear your gutters or do it yourself. Remove leaves, nests, and debris from gutters and check for leaks.
Check the chimney and fireplace. If you have a wood fireplace and use it often, have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.
Stock up on firewood. Order enough firewood for the season. If you gather your own firewood, make sure it’s dry and ready.
Reinforce windows and doors. Remove screens and install storm windows and doors if you use them. Check caulk and seals around all doors and windows.
Turn off faucets and store hoses. Drain garden hoses and disconnect from the outside spigots. Shut off exterior faucets, and if you have an older home, you may need to turn off the valve inside your home.
Inspect trees. Check for damaged limbs that may break or that are too close to power lines or the roof.
Trim landscaping. Cut back bushes, shrubs, and flowers as recommended for your climate zone.
Clean the Yard. If you keep plants or flower in pots year-round, bring them inside. If you plant bulbs for spring, now’s the time to get them in the ground. Rake and remove leaves from the yard. Clean and store seasonal outdoor furniture. Remove and clean cushions.
Fertilize lawn. Applying fall lawn fertilizer will help prevent winter damage and spring weeds.
Organize the shed. As your shed is filling up with summer items in storage it’s a good time to organize and clean out the shed. Move summer items to the back and winter stuff up front for better access. Also, remove any liquids that will freeze.

In the Garage plenty to do here too!
Service summer power equipment. Empty fuel and clean lawnmower and trimmer. Have lawnmower blades sharpened and oil changed.
Store summer vehicles. If you have a RV, summer car, ATV or other type seasonal vehicle, now’s a good time to have that serviced as well.
Get winter equipment ready. Ensure your snow shovels are easily accessible and service snow blower to make sure it is ready to go, especially if you live in an unpredictable climate.

<![CDATA[Working in the Summer Heat!]]>Fri, 30 Jun 2017 21:06:15 GMThttp://nicon.ca/blog/working-in-the-summer-heatPicture
While it’s great to enjoy the fresh air when working outdoors, outside work can be hazardous and even fatal—during the strong heat of the summer.

Workers are at risk for a variety of heat-related illnesses. It’s important to know the warning signs and what to do if you or one of your workers begins to show symptoms of a heat-related illness.

Heat stroke occurs when the body can’t regulate its core temperature. Symptoms include confusion, fainting, seizures, excessive sweating (or red, hot, dry skin), and a very high body temperature. If a worker has these symptoms, it’s best to call 911 and move the worker into a cooler environment and provide fluids in the meantime.

Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses water and salt due to heavy sweating. Symptoms include heavy sweating, headache, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, light headedness, weakness, thirst, irritability, fast heart beat, as well as cool, moist skin. Workers should be relocated to a shady, cool area, and drink fluids. Medical attention should be sought if symptoms don’t improve within an hour.

Heat cramps happen with the loss of body salts and fluids during sweating.  Symptoms are muscle spasms, and pain located in the abdomen, arms or legs. Workers should rest in a shady, cool area and drink water or other cool beverages. If cramps don’t disappear, medical attention is suggested.

Heat rash is characterized by clusters of red bumps on the skin. They usually appear on the neck, upper chest and folds of the skin. Workers should move to a cooler, less humid area and they should keep the affected area dry.

Educate your workers about these heat-related risks of working outdoors in the summer so they can prevent such illnesses.

<![CDATA[Harvest Time]]>Fri, 05 Aug 2016 18:12:11 GMThttp://nicon.ca/blog/harvest-timePicture
One of the biggest tricks a gardener can learn is when to harvest vegetables. It’s like that old Gallo wine commercial with Orson Wells intoning in a deep bass voice: “I shall sell no wine before its time.” Determining when it’s time to harvest involves more care than you might think. That’s because there is a difference between a vegetable being “ripe” versus being “ready.”

The rules for when to harvest depend on what vegetables you’re growing. For leaves, stems and some root crops, you want to pick `em early – while they’re still at their most tender state. Ever eat woody asparagus? It’s ripe, but it’s so much tastier when picked while it’s young.
For vegetables where the “fruit” or “seed-bearing” part of the plant is what you’re eating — tomatoes or peppers — the opposite is true. A tomato may be ready, even red, but it tastes a lot better when it’s picked as ripe as possible and eaten straight from the vine.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Many vegetables can taste better while still young. For example, the French love their baby peas or a small zucchini generally has more flavor and is more tender than one that’s been allowed to grow into a giant.
A lot of when to harvest is just common sense. Herbs usually taste better before they’ve gone to seed. Pick corn when it’s sweeter rather than waiting for it to get old and starchy.
Other veggies can wait it out until you’ve got the time. Root crops, like carrots, onions and potatoes, generally have a larger window of picking opportunity than other vegetables.
The best time to harvest is in the morning, right after the dew has dissipated. That’s when your vegetables will have the highest water content. It’s also good to pick vegetables during cloudy days or when you’re going through a cool spell for the same reason. (If you’re growing grains, though, you’ll want to harvest when dry.)
Before your vegetables are ripe for the picking, round up all the tools that you will need to harvest them. Also, come up with a picking strategy: where will you put all your produce? Is it all going to ripen at once or can you harvest early and often? Do you need a ladder or other special tools to reach or harvest? Finally, you’ll want to know where to store, and how to store, what you’ve picked.

Steps for Superior Vegetable Storage

Different garden vegetables require different storage conditions. What’s best? Here are some suggestions to help you get started:
Counter Storage. Some vegetables do best just sitting on top of the kitchen counter where they can rest and ripen. These include tomatoes and peppers as well as fruits, such as peaches and plums.
Root Cellar. Everybody’s heard of root cellars, right? So it’s no surprise that a cool, dark cellar or basement can be a great place to store cabbage, carrots, beets, potatoes and other root vegetables. Don’t have a root cellar? Some gardeners prefer to store vegetables in the garden. When the ground begins to freeze, root crops can be covered with straw, hay, wood shavings or leaf mulch for protection.
The Refrigerator. Using cold for storing home garden vegetables such as lettuce, peas, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, herbs, or summer squash slows down their metabolism and preserves them. Use ventilated bags and insert a slightly moistened towel to keep herbs and lettuces moist, but not soggy.
Freezing. Locks in flavor and nutrients by quickly freezing fresh vegetables. Most fruits and vegetables do best if you blanch them in boiling water before freezing.
Canning. Canning is an easy way to preserve highly acidic vegetables such as tomatoes. You can also preserve in brine (think pickles) or in syrup (fruit preserves, sweetened relishes or chutneys).
Drying. Drying can be a great and easy way to preserve herbs. With a little more work and the help of a food dehydrator, you can dry many fruits and vegetables.

To store vegetables successfully, the following environmental conditions must be considered:Temperature. Cool temperatures (32 to 55°F) help to prevent moisture loss and delays the growth of bacteria and fungi that cause crops to spoil.
Moisture. Stored vegetables quickly shrivel and lose quality without proper moisture. Storage areas must have the humidity raised to reach the ideal 80 to 90 percent relative humidity that most vegetables prefer. A simple humidity gauge, available at most hardware stores, is the best way to measure the relative humidity.
Tip: The most effective way to control moisture loss is to place vegetables in polyethylene bags. Make several 1/4 to 1/3 inch holes in the sides of the bags and liners to allow proper ventilation.
Ventilation. Harvested vegetables “breathe” and require oxygen to maintain their high quality. Wilting and tissue breakdown are minimized by proper air circulation.

<![CDATA[Autumn Gardening Checklists]]>Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:53:15 GMThttp://nicon.ca/blog/autumn-gardening-checklistsPicture
  • Arrange a fall container using ornamental cabbages and kales.
  • Harvest ripened vegetables, including squash and pumpkins
  • Divide overgrown perennials, including daylilies, hardy
  • geraniums and Siberian iris.
  • Plant spring and summer-flowering perennials, allowing six to
  • eight weeks for root formation before winter sets in.
  • Water shrubs and trees well, right up to ground freeze-up, to
  • help them through the winter.
  • Plant hardy, spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils.
  • Rake and shred leaves, then bag them, ready to use
  • as winter mulch.
  • Turn off water taps and store hoses and sprinklers.
  • Dig up tender bulbs and overwinter in a cool,
  • dark, dry place.
  • Clean, sharpen and store tools.

<![CDATA[NICON WINS - GRAND VIBE AWARD]]>Tue, 14 Jul 2015 22:07:49 GMThttp://nicon.ca/blog/nicon-wins-grand-vibe-award
<![CDATA[ Congratulations Nicon Developments! ]]>Thu, 07 May 2015 21:42:39 GMThttp://nicon.ca/blog/-congratulations-nicon-developmentsPicture
Nicon Developments Ltd. Is proud to announce our nominations as finalists in two categories at the first ever Vancouver Island Building Excellence Awards hosted by The Canadian Home Builders Association.  The VIBE Awards were created to showcase the excellence in our local residential building community.    All entries have been narrowed down to the finalists in each category and Nicon Developments Ltd. Are finalists in two of the three we entered – Best Townhouse Development for Sequoia Lifestyle Homes as well as we have are finalists in one of the Grand Vibe Awards for Residential Community of the year specific to our Trumpeter Pointe development!  With over a dozen Canadian Home Builder awards under our belt, we must be doing something right so what’s the secret behind Nicon’s Success?  According to the Owner, Nick Woywitka “We know the importance of tailoring a project to the needs and budget of our clients.  We offer competitive pricing and we have always taken great pride in our builds.”  We are honoured to have our efforts recognized by the Canadian Home Builders Association.  Stay Tuned for more details and wish us luck!

<![CDATA[How to Overcome the January Blues...]]>Fri, 16 Jan 2015 18:59:33 GMThttp://nicon.ca/blog/how-to-overcome-the-january-bluesThere’s no denying it, we all get that post-Christmas feeling; the decorations are getting packed away, the tree is coming down, and the reality of those New Year resolutions is looming. But it’s a New Year and a new day. We have been hunting for some great tips to kick of 2015 in a positive way and have created a list for you. Whether it’s taking up a new hobby, getting into a new routine, or just trying something wacky, there are plenty of ways to beat those January blues!

Spend some quality time with loved ones:

Whether you’ve been spending the festive period with family and friends or not, a great way to cheer yourself up in January is to be around the people you love. Why not get together and go for a long walk? Not only is this a great opportunity to spend some quality time with the important people in your life, it’s also a brilliant way to get some exercise.

Get creative and try something new:

Why not lift your spirits by trying something new? A challenge or even a little competition with a family member can be a lot of fun. Pick up a new instrument, learn to dance a certain style, or try your hand at a new sport- not only will this raise your spirits but you may even discover something you thoroughly enjoy!

A bit of ‘me’ time:

A lot of us can find the Christmas period relaxing but a lot of us can find it very stressful. With the presents to buy, the food to cook, and the cards to write, the calm of January can come as a relief. Spending some time alone can be just the ticket, whether it’s lounging around for a weekend without any plans, reading a good book for a few hours, or going for a long lonesome stroll.

The great outdoors:

Getting out in the fresh air, even in winter, is proven to be a great mood-booster for kids and adults alike. Avoid the hassle of the over-crowded gyms and packed exercise classes and take advantage or your local green spaces. Many local parks have free outdoor gym equipment, and even a walk in the woods will do you the world of good. Why not include the kids as well? High ropes courses or activity centres are a great idea for getting outside and getting active- a great kick start to the year.

Food for thought:

It happens every year- buying more food than we need for Christmas Day. You might think you can eat a delicious full English breakfast first thing, followed by a large roast dinner and snacks later on, but you’d be wrong. So, what better way to empty the cupboards than to use up the rest your Christmas food in creative recipes? Have a party, have a feast with your favourite person, or make a meal up as you go along.

Have you got any top tips for getting over the January Blues?

<![CDATA[An A to Z of Cleaning Tips]]>Thu, 20 Nov 2014 20:09:09 GMThttp://nicon.ca/blog/an-a-to-z-of-cleaning-tipsPicture
Adhesive Stains
Adhesive stains on the walls from hung posters used to be hard to remove but now removal takes a few seconds with a small amount of WD-40. Rub WD-40 on the affected area, allow to sit and scrub lightly with a piece of cloth to get the adhesive residue out.

Bathroom Sink
To clean vitreous and porcelain enamel use a mix of Borax and lemon juice rubbed onto any stains and rinse off with warm water. If you have any blue-green stains from a leaky tap, get the tap fixed as a first step and then place the borax paste on the stain, leave for 5 minutes and then gently scrub off with a nylon scourer. Rinse off with a clean warm water and buff dry.

Cutting Boards
Wooden cutting boards can be cleaned with a mix of lemon and coarse salt. The acidity of the lemons help remove bacteria and give the board a fresh scent while the abrasive nature of the salt helps remove gunk. For plastic boards, you can soak them in a water and hydrogen peroxide mixture. Allow to sit overnight and rinse well to remove the bleach odor.

Depending on the type of door and the door jam, the most successful cleaner of doors is a clean cloth that is used in conjunction with an environmentally friendly surface cleaner to get rid of dirt, marks, dust, grease and grime build-up. For heavy buildup of the former I use the baking soda paste to clean the area first and then I usually run a cloth that has been sprayed with eucalyptus spray or the environmentally friendly mix of eucalyptus oil and water or tea tree oil and water.

Regular use of earbuds usually result to a dirty, yellow color on the buds and cords. Dampen a Q-tip with alcohol and lightly rub over the surfaces you want to clean. Use a small amount of alcohol since this can also damage electronics when used the wrong way.

Floor Grease
You’ll need a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap, 1/4 cup washing soda, 2 gallons of very warm tap water mixed together in a bucket.

Garbage Bins
To keep the garbage bin smelling great use 5 drops of tea-tree oil in a bucket of warm water, use a scrubbing brush to clean the inside of the empty bin and then in the final rinse add 2 drops to the bottom of the bin and rinse out - this will keep it smelling fresh rather than dank and yuck-smelling.

You’ll want to run white vinegar through it, but outside (because vinegar is stinky). You could also use a solution of hydrogen peroxide.

Irregularly Shaped Bottles
Fill the bottle with raw rice, a little water, and a little dishwashing soap. Cover the top and shake.

Jean Stains
Just use alcohol-free face cleansing wipes.

Keurig Coffeemaker
Fill the water reservoir about halfway with vinegar. Run a cycle through without adding a filter or k-cup. Then run two cycles of water through to get rid of the vinegar taste/smell.

Use a lint roller to get the dust off.

Makeup Brushes
Clean them with baby shampoo. Once you’ve rinsed them well, hang them up to dry using a hanger and binder clips. This way the water doesn’t drip back down into the handles, which will harbor mold and make the bristles fall out.

Nail-Polish Stained Carpet
Pour on rubbing alcohol and gently rub with a microfiber cloth.

Oven Racks
You’ll need 6 dryer sheets and 1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid. Place oven racks in the bath tub and fill with HOT water until racks are covered.  Add about 6 dryer sheets and 1/2 cup of dish soap. Let sit overnight. Remove any remaining buildup with the dryer sheets. You may want to do this right before you plan to clean your tub.

Soak them in vinegar for 30 minutes.

Hand-washing is the preferred method for cleaning quilts. Even with a new quilt, machine washing can cause stitching to ravel. If you decide to machine wash, use cold water, a gentle detergent and the shortest, delicate cycle.

Rusty Loaf Pans
You’ll need baking soda, water, a scourer, and oil. Sprinkle baking soda on and leave for about 30 minutes. Scrub with a scourer. Coat in oil so it doesn’t get rusty again. 

Sink Drains
These can be kept clean by dropping two drops of tea-tree oil or eucalyptus oil down the sink hole. For really smelly sink holes Fill up a 1 litre jug 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate soda in 750ml white vinegar and pour it down the sink. Leave overnight for at least 30 minutes, then clear by running very hot water down the drain the next day.

Use a toothbrush to dislodge the residue around the taps. For hard to shift residue try using borax with lemon juice paste around the base of the tap. Use the toothbrush to clean, then rinse off with warm water.

By the end of winter, chances are, your Uggs are covered in water and snow stains. You’ll want to go over them with a stiff brush. Then, use a slightly damp washcloth to rub over the stains.

Vertical Blinds
Use a rubber sponge, also known as a dry sponge (found at hardware and paint stores), to remove dust and residue from both fabric and vinyl blinds. Simply wipe the dry sponge firmly across the blinds. 5. For spot cleaning, spray an all-purpose cleaner onto a clean dry cloth and wipe the soiled area of the blind.

To clean glass windows mix-up the following; 1 tablespoon of environmentally friendly dish washing liquid added to 6 Litres of water, or pure soap flakes dissolved in hot 6Litres of water, add 50 ml cloudy ammonia and 1 cup methylated spirits. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray onto dirty surface. Wipe over with a damp sponge or microfiber cloth .

Lipstick stains can be cleaned off with hairspray. Spray the spot with hairspray, let it set for 10 minutes, dab with a damp washcloth, and wash as normal.

Yellowed Pillowcases
That yellow stuff is SWEAT and DROOL if that doesn’t compel you to do this right now. Throw them in the washing machine using REALLY HOT water, 1 cup of laundry detergent, 1 cup powdered dishwasher detergent, 1 cup bleach, and 1/2 cup borax.

Keep your zippers operating as they should, by giving your zippers a regular clean you will avoid having them stick. Simply brush white vinegar down the back and front of the zipper – the acid in the vinegar should dislodge whatever minor morsels of dirt were blocking your zipper. This will also work on a zipper that is already stuck and not working properly