Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Building an Addition – Treat Yourself to a True Professional

Make sure Your Contractor isn’t Naughty but Nice. 
Use our List and Check it Twice!, collage by
Image Collage by Wo-Built: Make sure Your Contractor isn’t Naughty but Nice.;
Use our List and Check it Twice! @wobuilt
Images Credit: MS Office ClipArt: Contractor Pointing, Santa with Christmas List.
Five Things that make a Contractor not Naughty but Nice

Building an addition is no joke. Whether it’s a single-dwelling home, multi-story apartment building, small office, business, or any building at all—no matter where or what it’s being used for—needs the keen eye, sound advice, and proven track record of a professional contractor.

Five things a True Professional Contractor Offers:
  • 1. Experience.
  • 2. References.
  • 3. Consultation.
  • 4. Execution.
  • 5. Integrity.

1. Experience. The contractor should have worked on comparable new builds, additions or major renovations, and be able to explain why their experience is relevant (be weary if all you can get out of a contractor are unsubstantiated claims like “oh sure, we can do that,” and “no problem”).

2. References. The contractor should willingly offer you names and numbers of past clients. Use them. Remember that industry accreditations don’t mean too much these days: contractors pay to get them.

3. Consultation. The right contractor will have a roster of designers, architects, engineers and other professionals on-hand or standing by to look at your project, offer important guidance, advice and related expertise.

4. Execution. The best contractors will give you a realistic estimate and project plan — including contingency plans and built-in cushions for inevitable cost-overruns — and have licensed and accredited tradespeople on-site and performing key tasks. They also visit the site regularly.

5. Integrity. It’s no cliché: the best contractors are nice, not naughty. Integrity makes the difference between an enjoyable and exciting building experience and a potential nightmare. It’s the quality which gives the other four items in this list real teeth.

Stuff happens during renovations of homes: all sorts of problems are discovered behind walls, under floorboards, in the attic, etc. Any contractor who fails to acknowledge these possibilities or does not account for them in their estimate are misquoting on your project. It’s a red flag, plain and simple.

Integrity is so key, because a half-baked contractor, will likely cut corners, fudge inspections, use “cheap” (read: unqualified) labour, and dozens of other tricks and tactics to maximize their profits while appearing to come in “on time and on budget.”

More likely, they will spring unforeseen challenges, problems, regulations, etc. on you, holding you over a barrel with a half-finished project, and start bleeding you dry with unforeseen and unplanned for extra expenses, at the end of the day delivering a sub-par result. But at what price?

Today in Paloma, Italy, four people paid the ultimate price—with their lives.

Image: "Firefighters clear rubble after two buildings collapsed overnight, in Palermo, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012…Survivors said a top floor had been added illegally onto one of the buildings recently." 
(AP Photo/Francesco Baiamonte, Lapresse) 

If this is not reason enough to think twice before cutting corners on your next building project (starting by choosing the smooth-talking contractor with the “too good to be true” quote), maybe Wikipedia’s partial “List of structural failures and collapses” might help.

Don’t let history repeat itself on your next building project. Give yourself the gift of peace of mind. Get a professional contractor to do the work right the first time.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

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