Building project tips that save time and reduce mistakes

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Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 8:00 pm

(ARA) - AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge, recently acquired a piece of land on which to build a race shop to work on his cars and store his equipment in the offseason. The project has been a learning experience for Allmendinger about the decisions and key steps that are an important part of any endeavor that requires digging. From planning the structure to installing septic and well lines to clearing the ground for digging, Allmendinger has a few tips for others who are planning digging projects.

Have a set plan

Before opening the toolbox, make sure you know your overall plan for the project. You'll need to make sure you have a structurally sound design, the correct building materials, and proper funding. It's important to avoid realizing that you've forgotten a step or done something incorrectly when you're already most of the way through a project. Seemingly minor details are the difference between a successful and failed project.

"Just like on the track, proper preparation is the key to success," says Allmendinger. "While building our race shop, we're making sure we know the specific plan for every step of the way. Since the planning phase is so important, we made sure to work with and listen to the advice of professionals here - there's a reason they're the experts and I drive a race car!"

Call 811 before you dig

There is a complex network of pipelines, wires and cables buried underground. Hitting an underground facility when you're digging and knocking out power or gas to your entire neighborhood can cause a lot of problems. For this reason, it's important to call 811 before doing ANY digging.

A quick and easy call to 811 will connect you with a local One Call Center operator who will take down information about your dig location and notify the underground facility operators to contact you so they can mark the approximate location of underground utilities such as natural gas and oil pipelines below your project. Once the lines are marked, you can begin to dig, but always dig with care.

"Calling 811 before you do any kind of digging is a vital step, no matter how big or small the project," says Allmendinger. "When I'm driving, we take the same steps to prepare the car whether we're running a full race or just a few laps at practice. Similarly, it's important to call 811 whether you're undertaking a major dig, or just doing a small project like planting shrubs."

Take the time to do it right

Sometimes, people undertaking building projects try to rush to see the final product, but it's worth taking the time to get each detail correct.

"Everyone knows I'm all about being fast," says Allmendinger. "But building projects aren't a race. By taking our time and working carefully, we're ensuring the race shop turns out the way we envision it."

Digging and building projects aren't always easy, but by heeding these tips, Allmendinger is well on his way to turning an empty plot of land into a state-of-the-art race shop. When you have a set plan, call 811, and take the time to do your project correctly, you too can make sure your building project is a safe, smooth and successful experience.

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