Oct 30, 2010

Contractor courtesies

So, you're hiring a contractor for a large scale remodel, what should you expect? 

Every contractor that works in your home should be licensed, bonded and insured. When they present a proposal or contract to sign, that information should be contained within.  You should verify the accuracy of the information.  Every contractor should respect your home, the contents, your privacy and take steps to ensure that you feel that they DO. Since you will be experiencing some degree of upheaval, they should provide suggestions on how to get through the demolition and construction, and be sensitive to your situtation. Here are some general things to address and some common courtesies that all contractors should extend for the duration of your project:

Get it in writing. From the cost, to the duration, to corrective action, to changes, to payments, have them put it into a written contract.

Create groundrules. For entry to your home, cleaning up, progress and problem-solving meetings etc,. you should establish parameters at the start of your project. Will you be home? Should they have keys? How do issues get resolved? 

Be on time. What is the work scehdule?  If there is a delay, you should know about it.

Be attentive. There should not be distractions like personal and non-urgent phone calls, loud radios and yelling amongst the crew. When you are there, your questions and concerns should be their focus.

Be clean:  Demonstrate respect your home by cleaning up at the end of each day. Wearing shoe covers if flooring is involved, and washing hands to reduce soil or germ transfer.

Be presentable. If supervisors move from project to project, they should be presentable when working in your home. A simple change of shirts demonstrates respect for you.

Protect surfaces. When tools and equipment are used, a drop cloth should be placed under them, regardless of whether they are on a floor or counter.

Check work done. At the end of the day, review what has been done and that it was done correctly. Your contractor should be involved in multiple work-week reviews to ensure that you move forward and do not repeatedly re-do work.
Punch it. Create 'punch lists' periodically and present them during reviews. These lists address things you feel are not complete or need to be corrected. A written list is better than a verbal one.

The more planning you do up-front, the more easily your project can be managed. You are embarking on this path to make a life-altering change and to enjoy your home.