Any construction may turn out be the joy you anticipate or an eternal hell, depending on the contractor. Much like servicing your car, or even investing your money, it is hard to weed out the good from the bad if you yourself do not understand the industry. Paradoxically, it is the very nature of our lack of knowledge about the industry that necessitates trusting someone else to do it. Construction and renovation costs a great deal and taking the time to suss out the contractor is very important. You are not insulting the contractor by asking for references and indeed, any great contractor is proud of the work they have done and will be delighted to give you references, and answer the questions you ask.
Establishing your budget, a clear idea of the result you want, and who to consult, are important before launching yourself into your new project.
Hiring the right contractor will be the focus of this narrative. Contractors will be your best friend during any renovation you plan on doing. But because the numbers of construction firms are increasing, it is not easy to identify which contractor will best fit your needs. Which among the pool of contractors is the best choice for house or bathroom renovation? More importantly, how do you differentiate between the fly-by-night chancer, and a solid and knowledgeable company that will deliver your dream vision?
We understand that, so we listed below some questions that you need to ask before hiring contractors.
How long have you been doing construction?
This question will address the “experience” aspect of the contractors. Generally, the more years they have been in the biz doing house reconstruction, the more likely they will be able to
- Deliver on time
- Problem- solve any hidden challenges (and believe me… these pop up frequently)
- Keep within the budget
- Supply you with references
- Give you exactly what you have asked for, plus offer great ideas for even more workable solutions
Do you have insurance?
Construction projects are prone to many accidents. If the house reconstruction encounters problems like damaging water pipes or hitting electric lines, you will not have to shoulder the damages. Ask if they are insured against these accidents, as well as being covered for the possibility of any injuries happening on your property.
How long will the project take?
Of course, a definitive answer is difficult to give, particularly if the house reconstruction is motivated by underlying damages that may pose future problems. Also, any good contractor has other projects that will need to be juggled alongside your plan, and this may delay the fulfillment of your own project. Weather, for example, may delay necessary drying time of paint and primer and any outdoor work will cease in a downpour. These are unforeseen challenges that have to be taken into consideration. Nevertheless, an estimated time from the contractor is essential for calculating the costs it will incur and the urgency you want to meet. Providing a time-frame is a reflection of a contractor’s experience in the field. It must be kept in mind when hiring contractors. Be aware that if it seems too good to be true, it very often is, and this may differentiate the experienced contractor, from the inexperienced.
Will you need subcontractors to accomplish this job?
Some construction companies may not have all the skilled workers needed for your house re-modelling project needs. This is where subcontracting enters. This is common practice and should not pose a problem. It is the contractor’s responsibility to monitor the quality of work the subcontracted partners produce.
How much will this project cost?
This is the greatest challenge because the desire to go for the cheapest quote can be overwhelming. But cheap is not necessarily better and may end up costing you more in the end. Generally, contractors do not charge to quote, but on very big jobs, it is not unreasonable for there to be a small fee for a detailed quote. It is well worth paying the small fee. Getting 3 detailed quotes and paying the small fees charged, will put your mind at ease, especially if all three are fairly similar on their bottom line. A quote that comes in well below the others is definitely to be avoided. If you have budget constraints, a good contractor will also be able to section your construction work so that your budget can catch up.
Can you give me testimonials?
Always ask for these, and take the trouble to follow through. A professional contractor should have many satisfied clients who will be able to reassure you.
Are you a member of any building regulatory bodies?
As with any profession, contractors should keep up to date with regulatory bodies, as well as up-to-date building practices.
To ensure you get the end result you envision, have a clear idea of what you are wanting. If possible, have pictures, colours and finishes you can show the contractor. Take the time to cruise the internet, looking for what you like. This will help the contractor present an end result that you will love.
Clear communication is very helpful when deciding on a contractor. You should be able to air any concerns you may have, and have it taken seriously as well as answered clearly. Bear in mind that a blow -by-blow account of each step of your renovation is not reasonable to expect from your contractor, in the same way a surgeon will not give you minute details of a heart bypass. Nevertheless, finding a contractor you can talk to and who is accessible, is important.
Have fun gathering any ideas and pictures you may want for your dream home and feel free to contact us for a quote… or just some fresh ideas