The outcome of your dream home or the quality of construction or renovation project rests in the hands of a skilled contractor. If you want a job well done, you should choose a contractor with adequate experience and professional competence to perform the project. Unfortunately, it’s hard to say from the get-go. It should be part of your due diligence as one of the contracting parties to conduct basic inquiries and background checks before engaging.
To give you an idea of what questions to ask, here are eight vital and critical questions that you can use when meeting a potential contractor:
Question #1: How long have you been operating?
This one is a trick question. The answer that you want to hear is the number of contracts they’ve accomplished in a span of years, as well as any relevant references to back them up. Yes, the contractor might say, “We’ve been in business for X years.” However, that’s just a number, and it doesn’t give credit to their work and skill.
The best answer for this would go like this: “We’ve been in business for X years, and in that span of time, we’ve secured 15 contracts.”
Question #2: Are you a licensed contractor?
Asking for a license is part of your due diligence. You don’t want to hire a contractor without a license because it can put you into a lot of trouble. Say you hired a contractor to build a wall in between your lawn and the neighbor’s lawn. Upon checking, you found out that the contractor left a big hole in the wall.
You tried contacting the contractor, but they’ve gone AWOL. If these contractors are unlicensed, you can’t go after them. But if it’s a licensed contractor, there’s a chance to recover damages or ask them to fulfill the contract’s specifications.
Question #3: Do you have insurance policies? If yes, what are they?
Aside from a license, insurance is also an important thing to consider. There are two types of insurance you should expect from the contractor: general liability insurance and workman’s compensation insurance. If the contractor hits a water pipe during construction, you’re assured that the general liability insurance will pay for that accident.
What if a worker fell from the roof and ended in the ICU? Two scenarios can arise. If the contractor has workman’s compensation, then you’re protected. If the other way around, you’ll be the one paying for that worker’s hospital bills.
Question #4: What are the items in the contract?
Here are the essential items or clauses to check in a standard contract:
- Definition of the contracting parties
- An anticipated time frame of the project
- Required materials to complete the project
- Cost of the contract
- Termination clause
- Schedule of payments
- Responsibilities of the contracting parties
The list above is non-exhaustive. You and the construction agency can agree on other terms.
Question #5: How familiar are you with building permits?
When you ask about building permits, observe if the contractor has experience getting building permits in the county or state where the construction will happen. Familiarization with these permits makes the construction process smoother since you don’t have to meddle with bureaucracy if something bad happens.
Moreover, familiarization with building codes and state laws is another thing to consider. Every state imposes special laws about buildings. More so, homeowner’s associations also impose rules regarding house color, positioning of the gate, and so on.
Question #6: What’s your estimated project period?
This question is highly subjective, but it is likewise not a trick question. There is no correct or wrong answer either. When asking about this, put in mind the deadline you want to set. However, don’t push the contractor to finish building a house in less than a month. Give enough leeway so that the contractor can do his best.
Question #7: Are you amenable to signing a “time and materials” contract for unexpected situations?
There are unforeseen events that may arise during the construction period. For example, you signed a contract in January 2020. After three months of construction, the COVID-19 virus erupted and reached a pandemic level. Your state declared a stay-at-home order, and your contractor ordered the workers to stop construction.
When restrictions eased, they came back to the construction site only to perform minor repairs and extended project period? Who will pay for these additional costs? With a time and materials contract, you are assured that these situations are covered should “unexpected” emergencies arise.
Question #8: Will there be an on-site project manager?
You would want to hear an answer like this, “John Doe will regularly visit the site twice a week. He’ll do a check on Mondays and a surprise visit anytime within the week.” However, don’t expect a project manager to always stay there.
Apricus is the Trusted Contractor in the Senior Living Space
Are you planning to hire a construction agency for your senior living facility? Apricus Senior Living is a construction and consultancy firm specializing in assisted living facilities and senior homes. With more than 100 years of combined experience, we have built and helped various clients design and construct senior-friendly structures.
Let’s talk about your plans today. Call us now at 386-256-2015 to get started.