It is reasonable to expect something to go a bit pear-shaped on a major construction project. Everything from a worker getting sick to a part not coming in when it should to weather delays can throw off the schedule. The good news is, there are ways to make a project just a bit easier and more predictable. Consider these seven tips:
1. Hire a Design Professional
If the budget allows, hire a design professional. When working with Alair Homes Arlington, your general contractor serves as your construction and design professional. An experienced designer helps a homeowner pick the right materials and choose designs that complement each other. This makes it easier and more cost effective to bring their vision to life.
2. Be Careful About DIY Jobs
Some homeowners have the skills to do at least part of the construction job themselves, whether that includes painting or installing a tile or hardwood floor. This saves money. However, if the homeowner has any doubts about their proficiency in some aspect of the project, they should leave it to the professionals.
Even if you believe your skill is solid enough to get the job done, consider the time and energy investment necessary to get the job done. Also realize that professional general contractors often have the ability to secure lower costs on materials. While you may save money on labor by doing it yourself, the increase in materials costs could offset any savings and mean you have to spend more time on the jobsite.
3. Privilege Recommendations Over Referrals
Recommendations come from people who have actually worked with a prospective contractor, such as friends, neighbors and real estate or homeowner’s insurance agents. Referrals are basically advertisements that can be posted on billboards, though some more serious referrals can be found online.
When possible, know the people you are getting referrals from. If this is not possible, ask the general contractors you interview for references. Then, contact those references and verify the quality of work. It is also helpful to look at a gallery of past projects. If you can, take a look at these in person to see if they live up to your standards.
4. Check the Estimates
The homeowner should pay close attention to estimates given by the contractors on their list. A breakdown of an estimate tells you much about the contractor’s professionalism and expertise. The homeowner’s responsibility is to make sure that the same job is sent out for bid to all the contractors on their list.
If you suspect that each contractor has their own idea of what the job entails, they should break the job down, and send out the components separately. It is also a good idea to send the contractors pictures of what you want if at all possible.
5. Put Everything in Writing
Though a well-drawn up contract cannot turn a bad contractor into a good one, it can keep misunderstandings to a minimum. Start with the basics of names, job descriptions, addresses, copies of licenses and insurances, start and completion dates. Also, add a specification, which lists paint colors, species of wood for the flooring, types of tile for the bathroom and anything else that helps avoid misunderstandings.
6. Do Not Volunteer
If the homeowner has chosen to do a part of the job themselves, they should not volunteer to help the contractor do part of theirs. This only slows the job down and can wreck the relationship between the homeowner and the contractor. A good contractor knows what they are doing. Trust their professional expertise to get the job done right.
7. Follow the Building Codes
A homeowner can change their mind when it comes to the color of the paint they want in the master bedroom, but local building codes are not easy to change. If the inspector shows up at the site and sees that something is wrong, the project stops until that item is addressed. One good idea is to take the preliminary plans for the construction to the town’s building or housing department, and let a professional take a look at them. It is also a good idea to ask if the work needs a permit. A big job certainly does, but some smaller ones might not.
Hiring a qualified general contractor like Alair Homes Arlington helps you to avoid this. We pull all permits for our clients and maintain extensive knowledge about building codes and inspection expectations.
Construction projects are sometimes a bit unpredictable, but it is possible to manage them more efficiently and avoid common mistakes. Discuss these items with your general contractor, and keep the lines of communication open throughout construction. Doing this will help you to enjoy the project more and feel a higher level of satisfaction once it is complete.