10 Questions to Ask Contractors

10 Oct

10 Questions to Ask Contractors

Homeowners beginning their very first remodeling project need to make their way through what may be an overwhelming quantity of advice and choice making. One of the very first and most crucial decisions is picking an architect or architect to design the project and a general contractor to construct it. Homeowners often interview potential contractors but are at a loss for what to ask aside from the obvious questions regarding licenses, bonds and insurance. Here are a few more questions to assist you with your selection.

1. How is your business organised? General contracting companies can be coordinated in a number of ways. Knowing who owns the company and who is assigned to jobs will give you an idea of the organization’s capacity to take care of paperwork, handle your project and provide you with the support you expect.

2. Who from your company will probably be in my home every day? This might be a business owner for a few hours or the whole day, or even a lead carpenter or superintendent full period, or a lead carpenter plus a project supervisor for many hours a week. Knowing staffing will allow you to get a handle on how job security is going to be managed and how much care your project will get from staff in the jobsite and in top management. It’ll also help you realize the skill level of those involved.

Craig O’Connell Architecture

3. How can you handle scheduling? This is an open-ended query which may cover everything from the way in which the contractor schedules staff and subcontractors to how a schedule is communicated to you. Many contractors use a task-based schedule with a beginning and end date to schedule not just your project, but the project that is scheduled after yours. Having a copy of this will help establish expectations regarding sequencing and help you recognize when material decisions will need to be made.

4. Who will communicate with me once the project starts? In some businesses the same person who makes the initial visit and quotes that your project is, in addition, the man who performs the work. In others there may be independent salespeople, estimators, project managers, superintendents and a crew of carpenters who execute the work onsite. Knowing how information about your project is handed off from one worker to another or kept track of by a single worker or owner is vital. Know how the business works so that you may compare it to others and choose the one whose system best aligns with your requirements.

5. Is my project the kind you like to do? This really is a great question that not a lot of men and women ask. The answer will tell you if your project is larger or smaller than typical for your company and if it has procedures in place to handle your project well. Management of kitchen and bath projects differs than management of different endeavors. Some companies specialize just in kitchens and bathrooms, and a few are put up for projects of all sizes. Knowing you’ll get whole care from the contractor for your project — whatever the dimensions — is essential.

Forward Design Build

6. Deal-breaker queries: Will you allow me to do part of the work? Can you leave the bath unfinished? Will you allow me to supply all of the materials?

If you want any of these or other items which don’t depart the contractor in charge of the substances and equipped to complete the project completely, make sure that you discuss it ahead. Many contractors will take on projects only for they do all of the work from start to finish, but a few are more flexible. Go down this path very carefully so you are clear about what the builder is and is not finishing.

7. What should you subcontract? Things vary by country, but usually a licensed subcontractor does work which is limited to one or two trades, while general contractors may have their own staffs and subcontract out to other businesses for some work. Knowing what work the contractor will perform her or his own forces and also subcontractors will give you a feeling of how the builder runs the business and the skills the employees will bring to your project. Check with your state licensing board for specifics about builder licenses in your area.

Icon Developments Ltd

8. How many projects do you have going at one time? Generally, the more employees a business has, the longer projects it’s going to be able to run simultaneously. Asking this question will open up a conversation about the number of employees the company has and how multiple ongoing projects are managed. A followup question is, Will the person assigned to handle your project be handling different projects at precisely the same time?

9. What can I expect in the end of the project in the means of paperwork and lien releases? The last paperwork generally does include lien releases, final permit sign-offs and a few information about guarantees. It can also have as-built drawings showing mechanical places, photographs of the inside of the house before insulation is installed, manuals for installed equipment and a complete list of subcontractors on the project. Ask about this in advance so that you know what you are going to receive and if you will need to track something down or document something.

10. Do you have any concerns about what we’ve intended, or believe something may be a problem once we begin? This query will give you immediate feedback regarding the feasibility of what you wish to do, and if there are any areas of the project which are obvious unknowns with price tags that cannot be easily estimated. Contractors may home in on queries regarding your current home and structural system or have some helpful comments about design. In any event, it is going to yield helpful information about what to expect as you move forward.

Tips from contractors themselves
Things to look for in a contractor’s contract
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