1. Find Out What Projects They’ve Done
There are lots of renovation contractors out there, but not all of them have built a house or worked on the specific type of project you’re looking to complete. Some contractors have just done tiling, roofing or plastering work but have never managed an entire large scale renovation project. Even if they’ve managed a large scale project, it could be to renovate a commercial lot and not a house, where the experience and circumstances might be different. They might’ve built a mannequin display but may not have extended a kitchen. A good contractor would be able to anticipate issues specific to the type of renovation being done e.g. kitchen renovation vs an office renovation. So choose someone who has experience in the specific type of house renovation you’re looking to carry out.
Ask them about their previous projects and their roles with respect to those projects. Many contractors have photographs of their past work. Some are also happy for you to visit their project sites or renovation company office. Kaodim contractors are highly encouraged to include photographs of their previous work in their profiles and to also let you know if they have any ongoing projects you can visit on site. Maybe you can bring your dad along with you as he probably would know a thing or two about renovation and stuff to look out for.
2. Have A Detailed Contract In Place
Many contractors and homeowners don’t have written contracts in place before they begin work. Understandably, contracts seem complicated, time consuming and expensive to prepare. However if the value of the job is large, the stakes are high when there is a dispute- and you should always be prepared for the likelihood of a dispute, no matter how fantastic the relationship with your contractor may be at the outset.
Having a written agreement allows both parties to properly frame the context of the dispute avoiding a “my word against his” situation which invariably might result in a coin toss when it comes to the final decision by any court or tribunal.
Get a friend who’s a lawyer to help you prepare a simple contract. You can start with templates that are readily available on the internet. Generally, the contract should cover costs, brands of items being installed, approximate start and finish dates, and the complete set of drawings being used with written specifications. Try to think of everything and include it into the contract. It’s important that both you and your contractors are aligned with your expectations. The written contract acts as that definitive reference point on both your expectations. This mitigates surprises later on.
3. Get To Know Your Contractor’s Team
As you might have read in our article titled “Are Contractors Always Ripping You Off?”
we explained how, say, a renovation contractor will assemble his team of workers and subcontractors. For example, he’ll get an electrician for the wiring works and a wetworks contractor for cementing and tiling. You should find out what works he’s subcontracting and which contractors he’s giving those works to. Carry out the necessary background checks on experience and skill of the subcontractors. For the kitchen remodeler, find out why your main contractor has gone with a particular cabinetry expert as opposed to someone else? If you think you would prefer someone else to carry out the kitchen cabinetry works then you can carve that part out of the main scope of work.
4. Lay Down House Rules
Contractors will be inside your home most times when you’re not there. It’s important that you lay down the ground rules such as their strict working hours, which bathroom they should use, types of construction equipment they should not be using, covering furniture, setting up partitions in the home or laying out a mat over your floor so it doesn’t get scratched. Tell them what the rules are but be polite about them. Also understand that if you tell your contractor he can only work half a day for a month, that would invariably delay completion of the project. Therefore you should also be reasonable in your expectations and demands. Contractors carry out hard labour, which you won’t necessarily carry out on your own. But they are also people, just like everyone else.
5. You Need To Help Out Too
If they need you to remove stuff from a room in order to carry out works in there you’ll have to make arrangements to do it so you can make their job easier and quicker. If you expect the contractor to remove things then you should allocate responsibilities if anything breaks.
There are lots of other things that go into a house renovation, some slightly more technical and complicated like variation orders or liquidated and ascertained damages to name a few. As you build new relationships with contractors on Kaodim
or elsewhere, we hope to be there for you with guidance, advice, tips or anything else you might need to help your in your relationship with contractors and other professionals.