Hiring a decent general contractor can be a lengthy and tricky process, and for a reason. The responsibilities of a general contractor are many, and taking these responsibilities seriously requires untold knowledge, skill, and diplomacy. Being a general contractor is a difficult job, and doing it right an even more difficult one. If you are looking for more tips, check out General Contractor-Dad’s Home Services
If you are in the process of hiring a general contractor – or currently managing one – here is a list of the things for which they should take full responsibility. Remember, a contractor is there to make life easier for you, and should be more than qualified to handle a renovation or new construction project from start to finish. If they can’t, you’ve hired the wrong person.
Good general contractors should:
Liaise with architects/designers. Typically a general contractor will meet with the architect or designer way in advance of the project start, and discuss and review what will take place. If there are any problems, the architect may look to the contractor for workable solutions, as they should have a full working knowledge of the property and what needs to be done.
Come up with original ideas of their own, but respect your decisions. It’s always a blessing to have a contractor who can suggest unusual and interesting ways of doing things, especially if they are innovative or economical. But it’s a fine line between coming up with new ideas, and respecting the homeowner’s decisions. You want someone who can suggest alternative ways of doing things, but who ultimately understands that it’s your house and your taste, and that you’re the one who’s paying them those huge wads of cash at the end of the day, not the other way around!
Get the bids going. Your contractor should have a trusted coven of sub-contractors in all areas – plumping, electrics etc – and should be able to provide you with a variety of bids. Be wary of someone who fobs you off, saying that good ole’ Stan will take care of everything. Insist on getting at least two or three written bids for every job, and evaluate them accordingly.
Coordinate sub-contractors with specific specialties. Don’t let things slow down when you cannot find the right person for the job. A good general contractor should have enough people on hand to ensure that you ever find yourself postponing work while waiting for someone to show up. If he or she fails to have the right contacts, maybe you have failed getting the right general contractor.
Provide all the labor you need. Getting the right people to do the job is all-important. Someone who doesn’t know who you need – and where to find them – could increase the risk that your project doesn’t run according to schedule.
Answer all your questions, pleasantly and knowledgeably. And if unable to answer them, should be able to get the answer you need from someone else quickly and efficiently. Provide alternative ways of doing things. When things begin to wrong, or simply not as previously anticipated, it’s no good if your contractor simply wrings his hands and moans. You need someone who can find a quick fix to a problem, who thinks in terms of solutions, not stoppages.
Understand when it’s time to call in a sub-contractor. Your contractor should be au fait with all types of building work, and should know the order in which certain processes should be carried out. This means they’ll know when – and if – it’s appropriate to call in sub-contractors, and won’t waste your time, or money, by calling them in too early or too late.
Arrange for permits and inspections. City permits are required for many projects, and your contractor should know when one is required or not – and how to get one. You don’t want to waste time on a novice who hems and haws about what to do, or who says you don’t need a permit when you do. Or vice versa.
Building your dream home can quickly turn into a nightmare if you hire the wrong person, or if you expect to save money and do it all yourself. Hiring the right contractor, who takes his or her responsibilities seriously, can save you both time and money. Do your homework beforehand, and make sure you get the right person for the job.