After Hiring a Contractor

Once you’ve hired your contractor, it is imperative that you take necessary precautions in order to protect yourself and your investments. There are documents that need to be saved, contracts that need to be signed, and plans that need to be made.

Before any work begins, make sure you have a complete and accurate set of contract documents. You should include in this set a complete set of plans showing exactly what you are going to build. You need to engage the services of a licensed architect or engineer to prepare these or at least review them to ensure their accuracy and completeness.

The next set of documents needed is a complete set of specifications relating to the plans drawn. These should be prepared or reviewed by an architect or engineer.

Finally, retain a detailed contract with a set of general and accepted conditions and specifications. You may wish to have your attorney prepare these or review them prior to your signature. No work should be allowed until all documents are completed to your architect’s, your attorney’s or your satisfaction.

Ask your contractor about inconveniences that may occur and plan for them. If a building permit is required for the job, be sure the contractor obtains it before the work starts and that it is posted at the job site. Do not pull or obtain the building permit yourself.

Keep a File of All Documents

Your file should include: a signed contract and any signed change orders, a list of all subcontractors and suppliers with contact information, the plans and specifications, the copies of building permits and inspections, any cancelled checks and records of payments, a record of all work performed and time on the job, those delivery receipts for materials from suppliers, and finally any lien releases from materials suppliers and subcontractors.

When you receive lien releases from subcontractors or materials suppliers, check them against your records. Your paperwork will help you determine who has and has not been paid.

Make Sure All Changes are in Writing

Changes are going to cost extra, especially once building has begun, so plan carefully and keep changes to an absolute minimum. If you must make change orders to original specifications they should be in writing and signed by both you and the contractor.

Proper Planning is Crucial

For considerably less than a new home, careful planning of improvement projects will enable you to update your home, increase the value of your investment and customize your living space. As part of the planning process, look over your property carefully. What repairs are needed? What improvements would you like to make? Think ahead and determine your future needs. Professional remodeling contractors can help you in your planning by outlining options and discussing the improvements you can make within your budget. Be sure to review your homeowner’s insurance policy and make adjustments for the added value of the work being done.

Remember Both Design and Function

Design and function should be in the forefront of your mind as you’re thinking of adding a room or converting an existing room. When planning a larger, more complicated project, give thought to details such as, intended use of the space, flow of the space, where you want electrical outlets, telephone jacks and cable hook-ups located, the type of lighting required, your current and future storage needs and whether you want to include luxury items.

A professional remodeling contractor or design service should be consulted about design and function of any remodeling project. He or she can also help you with time and money-saving hints.