Choosing the Right Contractor TIPS

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Choosing the right Contractor Tips - Home renovation projects can be a lot of fun. They can update the appearance of your home or simply provide additional space. Once the decision to extend or renovate your home has been made, it is time to select the design and a builder.

There are two ways of going about this. The first is to approach an architect, building designer, or draftsperson to design your extensions/renovations to your requirements. Then approach builders for a quote.

On the other hand, you could engage a builder to design and construct your additions or changes. Most builders offer an initial on-site obligation free consultation and quote. Keep in mind, designs will vary from builder to builder, and some builders may specialize in different building types. Your initial discussion with your builder should include your budget and requirements. Then the builder will advise you of an individual design, to blend in with the current surroundings.

Verify that your builder is licensed and ask to see his/her license number. Always ask the builder for references and previous clients’ names and telephone numbers, so that you may get an insight in to the builder. Some builders may even provide display homes, so that you may be able to inspect the quality of their work. Also inquire about guarantees, and if the builder can meet your time schedules. If plans and permits are required, ask the builder whose responsibility it is to obtain them.

Choosing a Contractor

Working with a Builder

Before a builder can provide a firm price, a range of documentation is required. This can include working drawings, specifications, and engineer's computations. If the price is agreeable, then the contract will be produced.

The contract deals with payment conditions and the builders and owner requirements. If the documentation is not complete and not all items are included, do not sign your contract until the relevant information has been included.

Check that your builder is licensed and ask to see his or her license number. Also, be aware that builders, who perform work over the value of $5,000, require indemnity insurance. Building Indemnity insurance insures you against the builder’s failure to complete work, or on a statutory warranty through death, insolvency, and disappearance.

Plan and design changes raise the Price

Extensions and renovations are designed on an individual basis, depending on your requirements. All plans should show the floor layout, elevations, and cross sections through the area where the work is taking place. The dimension on the plan should be clear and legible. Note that the dimensions on the plans will take the precedent over the line drawing, which is to show the design of the project only. If the plans are altered, for example, you decide to change the location of a wall, or you add an extra room, that particular plan will then be recosted.

The price that builders quote will include the total estimate to complete the job. This figure can usually be itemized, if requested. Make sure you get detail on the building supplies that are going to be used.

What can sometimes occur is that you will like the plans from a builder, but their price may be out of your budget. Be careful about taking these plans to other builders for a quote. Unless you have written permission from the builder to use those drawings you may find yourself in a costly legal situation, as you have infringed on the builders copyright to those plans.

Financing your new Addition

If you need to obtain finance to extend or renovate your home, shopping around for the best price and interest rates are a necessity. Some builders offer competitive finance packages, including tailored loans and deferred payment plans.

At the initial meeting with the lender you choose, talk to them about payment requirements. The builder must complete a certain number of items at each stage. The lender may have stipulations that before money is released, an officer of their institution may do inspections or valuations. This could hold up the payment process. Discuss this with your builder so that the payment time can be adjusted accordingly and you do not incur penalties for late payment. The lender will only allow you to borrow what the value of the contract is and no more.

Pay particular attention to items listed in the contract and or specifications that have been placed under the heading "Prime Cost" or "Provisional Sums". These items have the potential to increase or decrease in price. Before signing the contract, go into depth with the builder and your lending institution so that you understand these sections fully.

During construction, the owner or the builder is allowed to vary the contract. This must be in the form of variations, which must clearly state the work to be carried out under the variation, cost, and whether there will be any delays to the project. Both parties must sign the variation before the builder proceeds. If the variation includes additional costs, then the builder may request proof that you are able to pay. Only vary the contract if it's within your budget.

Remember, you have a contract with the builder and a contract with the lender.

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