10 Things to Ask Your Contractor Before You Begin Your Job

Remodeling or building a new home is a large financial and emotional investment. Additionally, it may be a large investment of your time if you want to be closely engaged in the decision-making. Knowing what to expect before the project gets started will help you better prepare for the process. Here are 10 questions you should always ask your contractor before starting a home remodeling project.

1. What is our schedule? A schedule is more than only a start and finish date. Possessing a schedule that summarizes tasks and time will give you a big-picture view of sequencing and deadlines for things such as countertops and tile. It will also supply you with a benchmark so you understand if things are slipping by a day or two.

With little jobs such as kitchens and bathrooms, schedule is all. The cupboard lead time determines the start date and sub-trades will need to be scheduled in quick succession, as an example. Don’t start without a schedule that tells you exactly what days and times employees are going to be on site.

2. Who will be here daily? Based on the size and structure of the company you hire, the answer could fluctuate widely. Most remodelers utilize a lead carpenter system, where a staff member (sometimes known as a superintendent) is responsible for day-to-day work on site, and often swings a hammer also. Consult your contractor guide questions concerning who will be responsible for locking and opening up, who will supervise subcontractors on site and that to phone on a daily basis with any questions.

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3. How are you going to protect my property? This is a conversation best had before demolition, not following you come home and find dust all around the house. There are a range of dust-containment steps which can be obtained, and talking about it ahead of time will provide you will a very clear idea of how the construction area will be cordoned off from the remainder of your house and how you’re going to have the ability to move throughout your residence.

There is also the problem of stuff — all of the books, furniture, curtains, delicate vases and paintings on the wall. It’s helpful to remove all of them from the construction zone. Including anything hung on walls or sitting on shelves in adjacent rooms, because they can shake loose from persistent hammering. Should you leave them as-is, it will cost to get them moved and moved back to keep them from their way, and you risk hurt in the process. It’s better to move it all at once and understand it’s safe and sound.

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4. How are you going to communicate with me? With each manner of electronic communication at your fingertips, you might have some ideas about how you’d like to receive information regarding your project. Your builder probably has specific means he or she enjoys to communicate, also — daily mails, cloud-based schedules or perhaps only phone calls. Make sure to understand how you will be contacted and receive information. In case the contractor’s format does not give you exactly what you think you’ll want, agree to a method and format so you’re not in remodeling limbo on a daily basis. Weekly meetings at a specific time are an effective way to ensure you find out your builder in person to get your questions answered.

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5. What part of my project concerns you? There is always something unfamiliar about a project, or an area that is most likely to activate an immediate change order. Odds are, your builder knows what that is. Talking about it upfront and conducting some worst-case-scenario numbers or doing some early, selective demolition to acquire more information might be the perfect way to get a handle on what could be ahead.

6. What’s going to occur if there is a change order? Change orders are easily handled on your construction contract. A common way to document change orders is in writing, where the change in scope of work and the price are noted and signed with the client and builder. Some contracts also notice the change in schedule, if applicable. Make sure you have a plan in place to document the unexpected and expected changes that occur on the way.

7. How are you going to allow me know I want to make a decision? There are many ways to arrange a list of decisions — from spreadsheets, to lists, to notes on a calendar. But each one of these methods revolve around precisely the exact same result: giving you clear direction about what and if you want to make a decision on something. Asking for a list and deadlines will help you keep organized and ensure you are able to shop for materials and make decisions in time to meet your contractor’s schedule.

8. How do I reach you? Knowing how to accomplish your contractor on an emergency basis is just as important as your contractor being able to reach you. Exchange all of your numbers — work, landline and cell — so that calling each other will not be a crisis in itself.

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9. When do I want to be available to fulfill? Even if you set up a regular weekly meeting, there can still be necessary additional meetings. We usually schedule an electrical walk-through on the afternoon the electrician places boxes and can lights so that everybody can review their placement and function before wires are conducted. Another vital evening is when the tile-setter functions online design. There are a range of methods to set tile, and using an on-site meeting is the ideal way to make these decisions. Additionally, it is possible to have your architect or designer attend those meetings in your place.

10. When the project is finished what kind of documentation will I receive? Contracts frequently call out end-of-project paperwork — lien releases, marked-up programs with as-builts on plumbing and other utilities, copies of inspection reports, etc.. However there might be additional items you will discover invaluable: a full set of mechanical photographs before insulation is installed, the operating manuals for set up equipment (along with a personal lesson in their operation if you don’t know the fundamentals), a list of subcontractors and contact data, care for matters such as countertops and tile along with a well-marked electric panel. Confirming you will obtain these things before getting started will help ensure that you finish the project including all the information you want.

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