Foreign, Speculative Investments, and the Construction Management Industry

Soaring housing prices have been a serious challenge in Canada for years now. Different stakeholders have also made numerous proposals, and part of this vague picture of possible solutions includes foreign and speculative investment issues. Below are some discussion points on this matter, as well as their relevance to the construction management industry and other relevant issues.

Current status

The first two items in the British Columbia 30-point plan for a fairer housing market read as:

  • Taxing speculators who are driving up housing costs
  • Increasing the foreign buyers tax rate to 20%

These actions, while intended to be part of the solution, are still being hotly debated today by different critics. Reactions from British Columbians have also been solicited, and a Mustel Group’s survey says that the British Columbians support measures to reduce speculative investment. From this point of view, it would seem like the movement to impose tax on the speculators is just the right option.

On another note, boggling questions have also been laid down to challenge these actions. For instance, some are very keen in asking if foreign investors are the ones driving the prices of housing. This question surfaced in lieu of increasing foreign real estate investment, especially that of China, whose outward real estate in general increased more than 200-fold in 2014, based on a University of Alberta occasional paper series report by Kerry Sun.

Construction Management Industry

Another part of the 30-point plan includes investing $6 billion-plus investment in affordable housing, which falls under the general direction of “building the homes people need.” This hefty investment was labeled as the largest one poured by the government for housing affordability. With such investment, more housing developments are expected and thus, increasing housing supply. When this path is pursued, construction management industry can play a big part in boosting the housing supply in the country.

Data is the Key

In the same 2015 report by Kerry Sun, it was argued that there is a need to have a better set of data to help guide all the stakeholders to the proper direction of housing in Canada. This is true especially when we are talking about foreign investment on real estate. It says that while foreign investments could affect the housing market of the country, the degree of effect can vary. Hence, enhanced collection of different foreign investment-related data, such as policies, can serve as a grease to ease the rough-and-tough decision-making for Canada’s real estate industry.

The 30-point British Columbia covered some parts of the data collection aspect of the housing crisis. Relevant points in the plan include:

  • Taking action to end hidden ownership, including a new beneficial ownership registry
  • Expanding information collection and information sharing with federal government to prevent tax evasion

Actions are indeed being taken by different stakeholders, but the crisis, of course, will not vanish in an instant. One thing is for sure – all eyes are in this predicament. The real estate industry in Canada might continue to be on fire in the coming years, but all hopes are toward its betterment.

Tips in Selecting Office Furniture in Los Angeles for Productive and Satisfied Workers

After their daily hardwork in the office, employees deserve some perks of any sorts, and such can come in the form of enjoying awesome and cozy office. Hence, shops that offer office furniture in Los Angeles would help employers give this perk because believe it or not, this can really affect the way they experience work, from the productivity factor to the seemingly petty aspect of aesthetics.

Here are some pieces of advice on the furniture pieces that your employees might love to use and see in the office every day to keep them motivated and inspired.

  • Table with pouch or slot for books

    Whether or not your office is filled with bookworms, book appreciation is still likely to surface any office. The digital age where people are immersed with electronic display is giving traditional media like books some space for appreciation as break from the virtual worlds. So why not invest on modern office furniture like table that can make it more conducive for your employees to bring their classic favorite books?

  • Book shelf

    If you want to optimize the use of space, bulk storing of the whole office’s books can also work by acquiring book shelves. Book shelf with fancy division could be a great choice to facilitate better space sharing among employees.

  • Table with roomy feet space

    There are a few annoying things that come with the routine of sitting all day, and one of them is the difficulty of stretching one’s legs from time to time. To perk up this irky moment, roomy feet space can help lift your employees’ level of comfort to some degree.

  • Shelf for awards

    If we talk about regaining motivation in the office on a daily basis, achievements and goals are definitely some instrumental aspects to consider. In some cases when an office had previously bagged awards inside or outside the company, it really helps to brag them through displaying the certificates, plaques, medals, or trophies.

    For older employees, seeing this display might just help rekindle their passion in doing work. For newbies, it could be a source of motivation to do good or even better than what has been achieved by the office.

  • Filing cabinet with wheels

    Office rearrangements could be done frequently. Sometimes, employees would get really sick of it and not try to push themselves in arranging the furniture based on the current routines in the office. To avoid discouraging creative changes in office arrangement, wheeled filing cabinets can serve as facilitative elements.

  • Other trinkets and decorations

    Aside from the practical considerations mentioned in the earlier furniture pieces, aesthetic aspect of what your employees would appreciate is another thing to ponder on. Depending on the nature of their job, wall decors would definitely help inspire them. For optimized use, put these decors in areas where they usually hangout to relax or even areas where they brainstorm.

With the tips mentioned above, steps to beautifying your office for a more energized working environment can start now. Looking up modern office furniture shops in Los Angeles is a good way to stimulate minds in proceeding to the mega project of revamping the office.

Food Packaging Facts: Hot Fill vs. Cold Fill Plastic Bottling

Do you want to make bottles the center of your beverage and food packaging operations? If so, then you need to know your options. This article discusses the two major ways to package food and beverages in bottles, namely hot fill bottling and cold fill bottling. Read on to learn about what they are, how they work, and more. Continue reading “Food Packaging Facts: Hot Fill vs. Cold Fill Plastic Bottling”

The Right Questions to Ask to Make Good Food Packaging Great

One of the characteristics of a competitive product—especially if it’s consumable—is good food packaging. Always go for a packaging design that snags the attention of your customer within the first fraction of a second his or her eyes land on your product. More often than not, consumers perceive the attractiveness of a packaging as the manifest quality of the food product.

Design is important, but like people, competitive food packaging is not just about the looks, but also functionality and durability. An elegant and beautiful packaging is useless if it doesn’t maximize your food’s shelf life. In the same vein, a mistake in using hot fill plastic bottles can botch up the taste and quality of your food product.

Packaging is undoubtedly one of the crucial decisions you have to make before sending your product out there. Striking a perfect balance between aesthetic and functionality can be a real challenge.

Luckily, there are many companies out there that specialize in food packaging that can help you make the right decisions. What you need to do now is to know the key points to consider when deciding about your food packaging with your packaging and filling contractor.

What Makes a Good Food Packaging?

Packaging can spell the difference between a loss and a profit, or keeping and losing customers. Here are some key considerations when choosing packaging.

  • Does it protect the product?
    Make sure that your packaging will keep your food products safe during transportation from your factory to your stores and outlets. Remember the supply chain: your product will be moving around after it’s been packaged. The only thing that will keep it in tip-top shape is your packaging.
  • Does it maintain food safety?
    More than just considering the type of material to use in your food packaging, food safety must also be considered during the filling process for beverage products. Make sure that your filling process is appropriate to your kind of product. Hot fill plastic bottles are used for fruit juices, vegetable juices, flavored waters and sports drinks.

    On the other hand, the process for cold filling plastic bottles is used for more easily perishable beverages like milk and fresh juice. Any mistake in filling these bottles will lead to contamination and may harm your consumers.

  • Is it properly labeled?
    To keep your food and consumers safe, always make sure that your food labels are detailed and complete. Follow the guidelines specified by FDA in order to make your product traceable and more trustworthy.
  • Does it keep my product fresh?
    Always choose the packaging that maximizes your product’s appearance, shelf life, quality, and taste. Consider materials, such as flexible wrapping materials, film barriers, or resealable packaging, that will better preserve your products’ flavor, consistency, vitamins, and other nutrients.

Making the right choice for your food packaging—the functionality, as well as the design—will not only improve your products’ attractiveness. It can also earn you loyal customers who’d enjoy your safe, clean, and effective bottles or containers. Who doesn’t love easy-to-use and durable food packaging, right?

The Pros and Cons of the BC’s Speculation Tax on Real Estate

Talks about property taxation can seem very intimidating, at best, or very murky, at worst, depending on the level of knowledge you have regarding housing issues, property laws and policies, and real estate jargons in your community. Case in point: one of the hottest issues circulating right now in the British Columbia community: the BC’s Speculation Tax on real estate.

You can scoff and say that this does not concern you: a middle-class homeowner in British Columbia who refuse to dabble in real estate. “I’m no speculator,” you might even say. That could be true, but this issue might affect you and your children, too.

Before we get into that, let’s see what the BC’s speculation tax on real estate is all about.

What is the BC’s speculation tax on real estate?

The speculation tax was first brought into our attention on February 2018, when the new BC government released a list of its provincial budget. This list introduced new taxes to be imposed, one of which is the speculation tax.

According to the BC government’s website, the speculation tax was designed to “take on” the provincial housing crisis, and “help make housing in overheated markets more affordable and available.” It is supposed to target speculators: people who invest in extra property in the hope that its value will increase profitably in the future. Through the BC’s speculation tax on real estate, the government aims to “force” speculators to open up these idly sitting properties to the market, unless they want to pay the 0.5% speculation tax on top of their property tax.

To help us see clearly, here are provisions of the BC’s speculation tax on real estate in bullets:

  • The tax applies to speculative properties on certain parts of the province

    According to the website, the tax will only be enforced to properties within the largest urban centres: Metro Vancouver, Capital Regional District (excluding the Gulf Islands and Juan de Fuca), Kelowna and West Kelowna, Nanaimo Lantzville, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and Mission.

  • The tax applies to all speculators—foreign, Canadian, and British Columbian

    If you’re a native or a foreigner who owns property within the aforementioned British Columbian urban centres, you are expected to pay the tax. It doesn’t matter if it’s a family vacation house, or it wasn’t bought for speculator purposes. As long as it sits idle, it has to be freed for rental for at least six months a year, or the speculation tax will apply.

  • Taxes will apply on houses that are vacant and valued more than $400,000

    The 0.5% speculation tax will be based on the total value of your vacant or secondary properties. According to the Macleans website, there is also tax credit given for those who declare their BC income, but this is still unclear.

  • Special exemptions are provided

    According to the BC website, if the owner resides in a hospital or undergoing long-term care in a supportive care facility; temporarily absent because of work; or deceased, then the speculative tax exemption may apply. This also includes estates that are being administered.

The Flipside of the BC’s Speculation Tax on Real Estate

With the introduction of new policies come critics and sceptics; this does not mean they’re not welcome, though. These are few of the issues brought to the table by sceptics of the new tax, mainly from BC property developers.

  • The BC’s speculation tax on real estate does not solve the housing crisis

    For the ultra-rich, as pointed out in a Macleans article, 0.5% is a small sacrifice to pay to build up property and keep them vacant. In fact, the speculation tax will only most likely burden middle-class BC and non-BC residents from the property they are keeping for their families.

  • What the housing crisis is to reduce the cost to build

    According to Daniel Greenhalgh of ENM Construction Management, the speculation tax will not help lower housing and rental prices by freeing up more housing stock. What would help is for government to reduce the cost in building more houses.

The many issues that surround the BC’s speculation tax on real estate are far from over, but it helps for us to keep tabs on the pros and cons that may affect you and your family.

Reminders before You Use or Buy a Sauna

Saunas have been around as long as acupuncture, yoga, and deep muscle massage. These old methods for preventing or treating illnesses are practically traditions that have been passed on to us from earlier civilizations. As for the health benefits of sauna, they’re a tale as old as time that had repeatedly been touted, and you might even be playing around the idea to buy a sauna.

Entering “sauna health benefits” in Google yields to approximate 13.6 billion results—that’s 13 billion studies, articles, and even testimonials from all over the world. You can say that these benefits (i.e., healthier heart, chronic pain relief, muscle relaxation) far outweigh the money that a home sauna may cost you. However, how do you maximize your home sauna experience and benefits?

Tips and Reminders to Make the Most Out of Your Sauna Bath

Sitting in a sauna for around 30 minutes is not enough. Here are tips and reminders you need to know, whether you’re still about to buy a sauna or already own one, to make sure you’ll receive only the goodness it promises.

  • Hydrate before and after. One of the health benefits of saunas is they help you flush out the toxins and undesirables in your body by increasing your body temperature and sweating them out. This means that you lose a lot of water in the short time you spend inside the sauna. Drink 8 to 16 ounces of water before and after you bathe in your sauna to avoid dehydration.
  • Brush, scratch, tap. To help your pores open up more quickly inside the sauna, you have to brush, scratch, or tap your skin lightly. The dilation of your pores helps you sweat much quickly, bidding au revoir to your cancer- and illness-inducing body toxins.
  • Avoid the booze. Don’t let this throw you off your excitement to buy a sauna. Don’t worry; it’s not for eternity. Because alcohol induces dehydration, you have to avoid it at least a day before you enter the sauna. Aside from alcohol, avoid other medications that might inhibit perspiration or cause dehydration. You can consult your physician about this.
  • Watch for your heat tolerance. The maximum time frame for staying in a sauna is 30 minutes. However, you don’t have to stay that long inside. You need to pay attention to your tolerance on heat and build on it. You may start using your sauna for 15 minutes for the first time, then gradually lengthen the time of your successive sauna baths.
  • Take a cold shower. Plunging under cold water might seem daunting, especially after immersing in the sauna for health benefits. Don’t be afraid though! It’s imperative to take a cold shower to close up your pores and help your blood flow back to your organs. Doing this reinforces your immune system. It is essential to take note, however, that along with the home sauna cost, you might want to invest in showerhead filters. This is because your skin is more likely to absorb minerals from the water after a sauna session.

The Importance of Informed Sauna Usage

You might be raring to finally buy that sauna and enjoy the myriad of health benefits a sauna bath offers. It is vital that you go into it fully informed to maximize your investment, experience, and benefits. Read up, consult with your physician, and ask your friends who had taken the sauna plunge. You won’t regret it!

Pain and Gains of Letting Go CPAP Nasal Masks

Suppose that Adrian is a 56 years old patient who has been suffering from sleep apnea for almost two years now. For the same length of time, he has learned to bear with terrible nights that made him suffer because of his uncomfortable CPAP nasal masks. He always wakes up in the middle of his sleep just to find out that there’s been air leakage in his CPAP, or was simply awaken by the pain brought by the straps that have to cling on to secure his CPAP.

Adrian just thought that maybe this is how it is, maybe there’s not much joy left anymore once you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and have to go through CPAP therapy. So he went on with his miserable nights and just got used to it.

Learning to Embrace the Pain

For most people who undergo certain therapy because of health conditions, be it sleep apnea or another story, they might get the impression that their diagnosis automatically puts them in a life outside normalcy – the one that deals with little to extreme uncomfortable and painful treatments that are supposed to make them better. It’s like saying “That’s it, I’m sick. I just have to get used to these treatments because there’s not much we can really do”.

More than the bad atmosphere of this pessimism that these people naturally gets, such perception can make them stick to  their ‘usual’ ways even if there have been ways to eliminate the inconveniences they could be experiencing at the moment. The concept of ‘learned helplessness’ can come into play to make the patients believe that the painful treatments will suffice because they are out of strength to try something that might be better.

Shift for Convenience

Shifting to better treatments for convenience could be out of here. Adrian will sure get rid of the pain he experiences because of his CPAP nasal mask straps if he will try devices that have no straps, no masks, and no headgears. He might have been so surprised that such device existed when he looked it up in the internet. In fact, he even considered acquiring it because it is lightweight, seems easier to use, and can definitely make him sleep like a baby. But what could be holding him back?

Is It Worth the Investment?

Having been able to bear his situation for two years, Adrian was thinking that maybe he can go on just like that, and buying a new CPAP device might not be worth the penny. This is the part where he could go wrong because investing for better health and convenience has always been worth it! Adrian can simply browse through the testimonials made by the users of newer CPAP device technologies. He can also try to look up the undisputable benefits of having sound sleep.

Are There No Caveats?

The only caveat obvious in investing in new and more comfortable CPAP device is the penny you spend on it, but that does not mean so much when compared to your gains. Besides this, reasons to break free from your traditional CPAP nasal masks are shouting to be noticed. Stop holding on to what you got used to, and revolutionize your sleep apnea treatments. And hey, do you know what else can you do to revolutionize? Spread this word about the latest CPAP device to a friend today!

Ask your Orange County LASIK Surgeon: Am I Qualified for a Treatment?

Thick- or wire-framed glasses, even contact lenses, are all over today’s pop culture tastes and trends. We see famous personalities and social media influencers accentuate their thick coats, branded shirts, and leggings with fake Harry Potter or Mary Poppins spectacles. They certainly look good. However, if you are one of the people who are stuck with glasses because of necessity instead of fashion emergencies, glasses and contact lenses can sometimes be too much of a hassle.

If you’re tired of squinting without your glasses, of astigmatism-induced headaches, of getting your lenses adjusted every six months, it might be time for you to see a Lasik surgeon in Orange County.

Before Looking for an Orange County Lasik Surgeon

Lasik is performed to reshape your cornea, the clear film over your iris, the colored part of the eye, to allow it to focus light into your retina more accurately. It is a fairly new treatment, but had been proven to successfully treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and, contrary to popular opinion, astigmatism.

Maybe your heart’s aflutter and your eyes are sparkling at this opportunity to get back to or experience 20/20 vision. Before you look for the best Lasik surgeon in Orange County, consider the following criteria for Lasik treatment patients and see if you’re qualified.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration details these factors that may mean Lasik surgery isn’t for you.

  • You’re uncomfortable in taking risks

    . Despite the high success rate of Lasik surgeries over the years, complications or side effects may still be unavoidable. You must be ready for these possibilities; you can ask your Lasik surgeon to discuss the risks and your options.

  • You are under 18 years old.

    There is no FDA-approved laser technology yet for those under eighteen years old.

  • You have thin corneas or overly-large pupils.

    This could be verified through certain tests. If you have thinner corneas, the risks for blindness after the procedure are higher. On the other hand, overly-large pupils increase the risks of experiencing side-effects like halos, glares, and starbursts in low-light after the procedure. You may consult your Lasik surgeon in Orange County about these.

  • You have refractive instability.

    This is brought about by a change in your glasses or contact prescriptions in the past year, fluctuating hormones caused by diseases like diabetes, pregnancy or breastfeeding, and medications that may cause vision fluctuations. FDA also says that people in their early 20s and younger are prone to this.

  • You have a condition or you’re on medications that may affect wound healing.

    Some conditions like diabetes or auto-immune diseases may keep your eyes from healing properly after the Lasik procedure.

  • You have dry eyes.

    This condition doesn’t immediately disqualify you from the treatment. However, this should be evaluated by your surgeon as Lasik surgeries tend to worsen this condition.

Through this list, you can readily know if a LASIK treatment is suited for you. It is wise to still consult a Lasik surgeon to clear out any doubts or questions you may have. Your Lasik surgeon in Orange County can further inform and enable you to make an informed decision regarding LASIK.

Following The Movement Toward Green Energy

Last year was a triumph for renewable energy: a recent study saw that solar energy was the fastest-growing energy source over the past year, outpacing the growth of traditional energy sources, such as coal and fuel. This growth is mainly driven by falling prices and favorable government policies. The unprecedented growth rate led experts to foresee a new era wherein renewable energy will become the new norm.

Where do businesses fit into the big picture? Years ago, businesses would only concern themselves with energy supplies only when they are making sure that these make as little impact to their bottom line as possible. Businesses, however, are now beginning to see the opportunities of switching to renewable sources that goes beyond their bottom line.

The Opportunities

Consumers are becoming more conscious of their buying decisions, and are willing to go lengths to buy sustainable and energy-efficient products to support their lifestyle. This makes brands and businesses with a thrust on sustainability and energy efficiency all the more appealing to the consumers. A survey about hotels found that nearly half of their guests consider sustainability and energy use as important.

Apart from a better brand appeal, following the movement toward renewable energy can also ensure better business resilience. A study from the Carbon Trust discovered that in having the ability to reduce their energy costs by maximizing their energy efficiency, businesses can experience a significant growth on their revenues.

The Growth of a Green Economy

Around the world, green energy is becoming the main driver of business growth. Other than solar power, businesses are also looking into the use of wind power and geothermal energy. For these renewable energy sources, opportunities are plenty.

Through the advancement of new turbine technology, not to mention the development of a more efficient supply chain, wind power is becoming cost-competitive and at par with traditional sources, such as coal and natural gas. Geothermal sites, on the other hand, hold the potential of powering numerous countries, though concerns over safety might require additional investments toward research and development.

These opportunities are also opening doors for job creation. Green jobs, or jobs coming from companies that supply environmentally friendly products or services, are growing at a steady pace. In fact, green jobs are seen as one of the fastest-growing careers of the next decade.

One might think that renewable energy merely concerns consumers. On the contrary, renewable energy provides businesses with countless opportunities to grow their revenues while playing their part in saving the planet.