Building a home requires a lot of expertise, knowledge, precision and skill. Licensed contractors are aware of the best materials and building standards to keep your home safe, comfortable, durable and beautiful.
A contractor works in his or her area of expertise on a daily basis. This makes them far more efficient and effective than someone who only does these tasks occasionally or for a hobby.
Licensed and Insured
Each year, New York residents spend over a billion dollars on home improvements. From the simple remodeling of a bathroom or kitchen to a million dollar “gut” rehabilitation, these projects add value and beauty to our neighborhoods. However, with so many contractors and subcontractors working on these projects, it is important to ensure that all involved are licensed and insured. This is especially true for general contractors who oversee the construction of larger projects.
A building contractor is a professional who enters into a primary contract with the owner of a property to perform skilled labor and manage all the other professionals that will be working on the project. They must be licensed to do so by the state and their city or municipality. They also must be insured so that they can pay for damages or costs incurred by the client due to work done that is substandard.
The building contractor will find, solicit bids from and schedule all the subcontractors needed to complete the project. This includes plumbers, electricians, painters and roofers. The building contractor is responsible for the quality of work performed and the conduct of all the subcontractors. The building contractor must meet with code inspectors, obtain permits, order materials, meet with homeowner’s association representatives and oversee the construction.
Hiring a qualified, experienced and licensed building contractor is important. While unlicensed contractors do occasionally get jobs, it is usually much more difficult for them to pull off a scam when working on a large project where they are expected to provide proof of insurance and workers’ compensation coverage.
Licensed contractors will be able to supply you with copies of their license and certificate of insurance. Additionally, they should be able to show you their portfolio of previous projects. This will give you a sense of their abilities and how well they will be able to work with other professionals on your project.
A good building contractor will be fiscally responsible and not have any credit problems that could interfere with getting payments from the owner of the property or other contractors on the project. One way to check this is to search Levelset’s Contractor Profiles, which include important information such as payment problems, past liens, reviews and more.
The building industry has survived on word-of-mouth marketing for centuries, and it’s still a very valuable tool to help you find a reliable contractor. When choosing a builder, it’s important to request a list of past clients that you can call and talk with to gauge their satisfaction level with the project. This will give you a good idea about the contractor’s quality of work and professionalism.
When you call the references, be prepared with a list of questions to ask them. This will allow you to compare each reference’s answers and make a more informed decision. You should also ask about the timeline of their project and if there were any unexpected costs or delays.
Another question to ask is how responsive the builder was to any problems that arose during construction. A professional should be able to address any issues with ease and grace, and they should be willing to provide solutions that are in the best interest of their client. A builder that gets defensive or uncomfortable with your questions is not a good fit for you.
Also ask the builder about any warranty work they provided after the project was completed. This will help you determine if they are easy to work with or not. If the builder did not address any issues that arose or if they did not follow through with the warranty work as promised, it may be time to move on to another option.
You can also ask the builder for a list of long-time material suppliers that they work with. This will give you a better idea of their financial stability, which is an important consideration since many contractors are unable to complete projects if they can’t pay their suppliers.
Lastly, you can visit some of the builds that the contractor has done in the past. This will give you a feel for their workmanship and style, as well as an idea of how the homes look in person. This will be especially helpful if you’re trying to decide between two builders that have similar styles or work in the same neighborhoods.
A building contractor with years of experience will be able to deliver high-quality results on time and budget. They should be able to demonstrate this by providing you with a strong portfolio of completed projects, positive feedback from previous clients and reasonable contract package prices. They should also be able to provide you with a detailed breakdown of costs for the entire project, including labour and materials.
Some building contractors specialize in a particular aspect of construction, such as flooring or wiring. These specialists are often subcontractors that are hired by an overseeing general contractor to handle a specific portion of a large job. They are able to handle the more complicated processes of building construction since they have been trained in these specific areas.
Some homeowners may choose to act as their own general contractor (GC) rather than hire a professional. While this is an option, it should only be considered if you have the time, money and management skills to take on such a large project. You must also ensure that you have sufficient liability insurance coverage in case something goes wrong on the job site. In addition, you will need to understand CDM regulations and ensure that all workers are properly qualified for their roles on the job.
The building process requires a lot of communication between you and your contractor. If you are not communicating effectively, problems may arise on the project that can slow progress. Taking the time to plan your communications strategy can help prevent misunderstandings that can lead to costly mistakes.
For example, it is important to keep written records of any conversations that take place during a project so that if a dispute or question arises later on, you can refer back to these records. This can be done by using email, text or even taking notes in person during meetings.
Another crucial aspect of communication is listening carefully to the homeowner’s needs and concerns. This is an opportunity to show that you are invested in the project and that you are knowledgeable about the construction process. It is also a chance to build trust and credibility with the homeowner.
In addition, be sure to avoid using jargon or abbreviations in your communications. This can make it difficult for others to understand what you mean and could cause a misunderstanding or miscommunication. Use descriptive language and always confirm with your colleagues that they have understood what you’ve said. This is especially important when communicating via text, email or other digital means of communication.
A final piece of advice is to set up clear communication standards for the preferred methods of reporting and communicating during a project. This will help ensure that all parties are on the same page regarding what’s expected and how often updates are going to be delivered. It’s a good idea to establish backup methods as well, in case the primary ones become disrupted for any reason, such as weather or financial issues.
Lastly, it’s important to be transparent and honest with the homeowners about any cost-related issues that come up during the project. This includes sharing information about change orders, which can add up to a substantial amount of the overall contract value. Be sure to explain clearly and thoroughly why these changes are necessary and how they will be handled.