Friday, September 30, 2011

Questions to Ask Your Builder

 Questions to Ask Your Builder In our everyday lives, it is interesting to note that we spend approximately 90 percent of our time indoors. Of that time, around 65 percent of it is spent inside our homes. Our home is therefore a vital place in our lives, being our supporting home-base and where we enjoy special moments with loved ones.

In addition, your home is your biggest financial asset and you don't want to take risks with that. So, given its importance, would you knowingly hire an unreliable contractor to build, renovate or refurbish your home?
Obviously not, I hear you say, but how would you know?
Finding a suitable contractor is not always easy. There are a vast number of contractors our there - from the great to the bad and everything in between. It is like attempting to search for a good book in a huge library. To help you find the book, the librarian may ask you many questions to clarify what you're looking for. The same help is often needed in searching for the right contractor for your requirements. Bellow, we suggest a set of key questions you should ask before selecting a contractor:
1. How long has the contractor been in business building / renovating homes?
2. What type of in-house staff does the contractor use? e.g. in-house carpenters, painters, labourers, etc, or
3. Who are the sub-contractors they use - such as plumbers, electricians, etc.?
4. Does a project manager oversee the project? How many hours per day are they there supervising it?
5. How busy is the contractor and how many jobs do they have on the go at once?
6. How many homes does the contractor build a year?
7. How often is an architect involved?
8. How does the contractor organise the scheduling and product verification on a project?
9. Is the contractor receptive to a cost of materials / labour plus a fixed contractor fee contract? Would back-up invoices be available?
10. How does the contractor handle changes to orders? Approval process, fees, etc.
11. How often does the contractor invoice? (Monthly, bi-monthly, etc.)
12. When getting subcontractor quotes for a project, how many quotes will there be per trade?
13. Does the contractor provide an owner's manual at the completion of the project? (Manufacturer's warranties, product information, sub-contractor contact information, etc.)
14. Why is the contractor interested in building your home? How is the contractor qualified to build this home?
15. Has the contractor built any homes similar to this one?
16. How long does the contractor expect a home like this might take to build?
17. How does the contractor like working with an architect?
18. Can the contractor provide a reference list?
19. What insurances does the contractor carry?
20. Has the contractor filed for bankruptcy in the last ten years?
21. Has the contractor been involved in any lawsuits in the last five years?
Although this is not a definitive list of things to consider, it serves as a general guide to help you judge a potential contractor. If you get clear, immediate and thoughtful responses to all your above questions, then you have most probably found the right contractor for your project.

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