Building your dream home is one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do, as is renovating for additional space, but all this excitement has plenty of responsibility. Employing the best design and build company for you and your job is a very important decision. That decision will determine the quality of craftsmanship and will minimise psychological strain and unexpected costs. Bringing in the ideal contractor early on in the design procedure is among the most essential ingredients in staying on budget and on schedule during construction.
- Get referrals
Talk with people you trust and know. Your architect is an obvious source, but also talk with family, friends, neighbours, attorneys, realtors and others who have built projects like yours.
Read professional listings to find general contractors in your area. Check out their testimonials and browse photos in their portfolios to determine how their work lines up with the scope of your job. You can even message them to get a dialogue going.
Are there recently finished or under-construction jobs locally? Ask the owners about their contractor and the working relationship they have with them.
- Verify licences
Ensure that your contractor candidates have a license to construct and are in good standing with the appropriate building authorities. Request to see every contractor’s license and certificate of insurance.
Having a suitable licence demonstrates a business’s best practices direction, but hiring a builder with a license will also protect you. Worker’s compensation insurance is a contractor’s responsibility, not a home owner’s, but that is not true if a contractor does not hold a license or doesn’t carry appropriate insurance.
- View recent work
After taking a look at a contractor’s portfolio, ask to see a few projects similar in size and style to yours. Try to check out one which was recently finished, one that is under construction and one finished five to ten years back. Answer these questions.
- Does the job carry a guarantee, and were any problems fixed?
- How does the most recent construction site look?
- Have the older projects stood the test of time?
- Check references
Request a list of references. Privately, discuss with previous clients their experiences working with the builder. Ask them the following questions.
- Was it a nice working relationship?
- Did they and the contractor communicate well?
- Was the builder honest and fair?
- Was the job completed on schedule and within budget?
- Were there additional costs or surprises?
- How were issues handled?
- How was the quality of craftsmanship and follow up?
- Understand the contract
Choose the contractor you would like to hire and, although your plans are in the permit-review procedure, discuss the different sorts of contracts offered and ask for you to review. Then…
- Ask for upgrades to the building bid if plans change for any reason.
- Don’t sign the contract before your licenses are accepted and all costs have been finalised.
- Take note that there are always unknowns in the building process that create change orders and extra expenses. This is normal. Expect it. Allow approximately five to eight percent of your total budget for these extras. With good planning, design and management, the costs can be minimised.
With appropriate planning and research, you’ll find the perfect contractor for your design and build. Invest the time and bear in mind that spending a couple of additional dollars in the start can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.