Taking on a home remodeling project is a major commitment. You’re investing a lot of time, money and energy into creating the perfect space for you and your family. With such a big decision, it is no surprise that people often have many questions along the way. Interviewing General Contractors is a very important step in choosing who to work with. It’s about more than the final product a contractor provides, it’s also about the experience along the way. Here are some frequently asked questions that we often hear during initial phone calls with prospective clients, as well as some questions you should be asking during the contractor vetting process.
Are you licensed and insured?
This may be the most important question you should be asking any contractor or trade person. Before you commit to working with anyone you should verify that they are licensed, insured and up to date on their L&I. You can check all of this information under “Verify a Contractor” on the L&I website.
Better Builders is licensed and insured, and we always stay on top of all other compliance items. Additionally, all our field staff get CPR certified and hold the Lead Based Paint certification through the Washington Department of Commerce.
How much will it cost?
Depending on the “size” of your project, Better Builders will issue one of two construction agreements. A T&M agreement is issued for “smaller” jobs or jobs with miscellaneous items. These agreements often have an estimated cost, but ultimately you pay by the hour, plus materials and any subcontractors costs. The other type of agreement we issue is a Fixed Price agreement. In these agreements you are given a hard number and that is what you pay, pending change orders requested by you.
Do your agreements cover contingencies?
Any good contractor should account for contingencies in their construction agreements. This should be an allowance built into the budget to set aside for unforeseeable costs. Having no allowance for contingency is how a project budget can easily spiral out of control when something unpredictable happens. And if the contingency isn’t used, it should be returned at the end of the project.
Do you offer a warranty?
A good contractor should have enough confidence in their craftsmanship to warranty their work. Better Builders offers a 5-year warranty on our craftsmanship.
Will I need a Permit?
What kind of permit you need, if you need one at all, varies by the specific details of any given construction remodeling job. If your project requires permitting, we can help with that process.
Do I need a Designer?
Whether you need someone to help with actually designing your space or not, we often recommend engaging with a designer either way. Many remodels involve making hundreds of decisions, which can get overwhelming quickly. It’s nice to work with a designer who can help keep track of all of your sections and guide the process to make sure you don’t forget anything.
We also often engage with a designer no matter what to get formal plans drawn up for a project, But, for “simple” jobs a designer is not required.
Better builders is a full service design build firm, so we are happy to help you through the design process, or work with an outside designer of your choice.
Will I need to move out?
In most scenarios, no you do not need to move out! Construction is inherently a disruptive service, but we try to be as accommodating as possible. For more information on how we make living through construction possible, read our blog post “8 Things to Consider When Living on Site During a Home Renovation”.
What are your working hours?
Our crew typically work on site from 8am to 4pm, Monday through Friday. However, the appropriate working hours are discussed with the client during the on-site handoff prior to construction beginning. Some clients allow work to begin as early as 7:30am, but sites always stop work between 4 and 5 pm at the latest.
We also have staff in the office from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday.
Will someone be on site every day?
In most cases, yes. Whether it is the Project Manager or the Lead Carpenter/Superintendent, someone from Better Builders tries to check-in on-site each working day.
What work do you sub out?
Better Builders in house labor consists of carpentry experts. Skilled trade work like electrical, plumbing, HVAC, painting, concrete work, etc. we sub out to our trusted network of vendors and trade partners.