General contractors may just have one of the most critical jobs on a worksite. Not only do they need to manage the build and coordinate all the trades, but they also have to stay in constant communication with anxious homeowners many of whom may be experiencing their first-ever renovation project.
That is a lot of trust to place on one individual or company and that is why choosing the right general contractor is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when embarking on a large renovation project.
So, before you commit, make sure to interview at least a few general contractors around Langley and the Lower Mainland, here are a few questions to ask.
- What is Your Experience with Similar Jobs?
You may be surprised to hear this, but not all general contractors are as general as you think. Some focus on specific areas and rarely venture out of that comfort zone. For example, a general contractor might have a lot of experience with kitchen renovations but may have never built a garage. It is a nuanced detail, but one that may come back to haunt you later.
- What is Your Availability?
Demand for general contractors in Langley has reached unprecedented levels on the heels of an extremely hot housing market. When you’re interviewing contractors, you might be surprised to learn that they have several projects on the go and are booking for months, if not more, down the line.
While popularity certainly speaks volumes about the skill of a particular general contractor, you want someone who will have the ability to give your project the time and attention it deserves. If a contractor (by extension their trades) is stretched too thin, it will affect your timeline, bottom line, and renovation quality.
- Will You Be Taking Care of Permits?
If you are undertaking any work that requires a permit, make sure you discuss who is responsible for obtaining the permits. Most homeowners simply assume that their general contractors will take care of permits, but you may be in for an unfortunate surprise if you don’t ask. For example, you could discover that permits were never pulled or applied for well after work was already underway thereby leading to significant delays.
- Who is Responsible for Site Clean-Up?
Construction results in massive amounts of construction debris and someone need to be in charge of keeping the job site, i.e., your property to be clean and safe. General contractors are not always onsite and they often meet with trades at one project and move on to other renovations they manage.
However, you have a right to a clean space, and responsibility for a clean worksite is a small detail that should be hammered out before a project starts.
- How and When do You Expect to Receive Payment?
Renovations are expensive and knowing when payments are due helps with budget planning and gives you security in knowing you have a degree of control over the project. Full payment is rarely asked for upfront, and if it were, that should be viewed as a massive red flag. Contracts can vary, but a typical payment schedule might include a 25% deposit, 50% at an agreed-upon mid-point, and 25% after the final inspection.