Hiring a builder’s association member makes good sense. Your home is probably your biggest investment. Poor quality work can reduce the return on your invested dollars. A reputable contractor provides the following services:
- Is responsible for all phases of the job from start to finish – planning, designing, labor, materials and scheduling
- Coordinates all work to avoid costly and inconvenient delays
- Obtains high quality materials and labor, sometimes at lower prices than you would pay because of volume and knowledge of the marketplace
- Performs work according to specifications
- Hires competent workers and subcontractors
- Knows what products provide lasting satisfaction
- Is familiar with design options, building codes and construction practices
- Obtains all necessary permits
- Arranges for required inspections
- Complies with social security, workers’ compensation and other local, state and national regulations that protect the consumer
Without a reputable contractor working on your behalf, you would have to assume the above listed responsibilities and financial obligations.
Beware these warning signs could signal possible trouble ahead:
- You cannot verify the name, address, telephone number or credentials listed in the contract.
- The salesperson tries to pressure you into signing a contract by using scare tactics, threats or intimidation
- Although reputable builders sometimes offer special discounts for advertising purposes, watch out for contractors who offer unusually low prices in exchange for advertising. Protect yourself by asking the contractor for a list of previous clients who have been offered the special rate in exchange for advertising considerations. Call the references and ask them if they received the promised quality workmanship and special rate.
- The contractor does not comply with your request for references or the references have some reservations about the contractor.
- You are unable to verify that the contractor is insured.
The Consumer’s Role In Construction
As a homeowner you help ensure a project goes smoothly when you:
- Designate one person to be the contact person with the contractor
- Keep informed of the job’s progress and answer questions as they arise
- Make sure that all changes to the original contract are in writing and specify cost. Verbal change orders can be very costly, cause delays and create misunderstandings
- Plan your project carefully in order to avoid unnecessary delays
Your contract should be easily understood and detailed. It should clearly spell out the responsibilities and obligations of both parties and should be based on complete plans or specifications prepared by reputable contractors, architects or designers. The contract should specify:
- Quality and quantity of materials
- Styles and brand names of products
- A firm price for the work and a payment schedule
- Whether there is a cancellation penalty
- Any items of work that will not be performed by the contractor
Read your contract carefully and ask questions.