They say that “the devil is in the details” and when dealing with renovations, this saying could not be more true appropriate. Here are 10 tips to help prevent expensive contractor mistakes!
1. When making a contract with the builder – always make sure you include in a time frame / deadline for work completion and a delay clause (the contractor will pay you or deduct from his final bill for each day of delay). Keep in mind, if you plan to do a full/nearly full home renovation, you may need to move to temporary quarters until the work is finished. Delays in work completion translates into extra rental expenses.
2. Construction waste removal – all waste removal must be done in a legally approved method. Make sure the contractor is contractually responsible for this service. Too many people and contractors try to cut costs and dump the construction waste in open fields – this is illegal, dirty and creates an eyesore! Don’t be part of this problem!
3. Always verify what is included in the contractor’s price and GET THE PRICE AND PARTICULARS IN WRITING. Make sure the building materials are of the best quality and are listed BY NAME in the quote. Get at least two price quotes and compare; but don’t compare “peanuts to apples”, this means the work, materials and project must be identical in order to make a true comparison.
4. Do your homework, check recommendations and the actual work of the contractor. Ask other professionals in the industry, such as interior designers, electricians plumbers and anyone who has worked on projects with him.
5. If you are planning to spend many thousands of shekels (sometimes hundreds of thousands) on a building project, budget professional planning and consulting services with a licensed interior designer/architect/project manager, as well. Having an advocate, in the guise of an interior designer, on your side enables you to get a second opinion and explain why something can or cannot be done. This service is not a luxury, it is an insurance policy. You need someone “on your side” who will ensure you get the house of your dreams, keep your budget and schedule in line and can translate your wishes into “contractor’s language”.
6. Make sure the contractor fully understands the project: what you want, why you want it and where you want it. Make sure there is a detailed sketch of the project and that both you and the contractor are “on the same page”.
7. When installing a new kitchen the biggest question is always: do I order a kitchen through a kitchen design company or hire a private carpenter? A company may be more expensive but you also have (or at least should have) a warranty and a bank guarantee the kitchen will be delivered as promised. A private carpenter can be slightly cheaper, friendlier and provide complete kitchen customization. The main disadvantage with a carpenter is there are no warranties or guarantees. Kitchens are an expensive proposition – take your time to consider all your options before beginning a kitchen project.
8. Work with a certified electrician. Electrical work is expensive! Before you start any project consider your requirements for the room/area for the near and the not-so-near future. Think about where you want to hang light fixtures and add electric outlets before the builder begins the dirty work of cutting into walls, then plastering and so on.
9. One of the most difficult issues to deal with is not the noise, the inconvenience or the mess, it is the BUDGET. On one hand you want to ensure you get everything (almost everything) on your remodeling list and at the highest standard of product and work, yet on the other hand you want to pay the least amount you can. Cutting corners may be good when you prepare a sandwich – it doesn’t work with remodeling projects. Invest the time and effort in understanding how much the project you are planning should reasonably cost. If you can’t afford it now – wait, save up money and then begin the project.
10. Once a project is near completion and after it is – for all purposes – completed – there will always be a few touch ups and small fixes the contractor will need to do. Make sure there is a clause in the contract dealing with this issue, including any payment issues, time schedule for these fixes and the like. This is exactly the point at which many contractors fail and the issue that leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many customers. Try to avoid it at the onset of your project!
Want to really understand what a renovation/remodeling job will mean for you and your home? Contact me today for an eye-opening pre-renovation consultation.
Yael Diamond, Interior Designer and Project Manager, specializes in consulting, planning and designing private residences, elite apartments, offices, and public business. You can follow Yael on www.facebook.com/yaeldiamondesigns.