TODAY, THE COMPETITION IS STRONGER THAN EVER IN THE CONSTRUCTION IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY. You need to have an understanding that the quality you are expecting and the cost you are willing to pay are typically not on the same path.
The decision to move forward with your construction project, is one of the most important and life changing events that you will ever do.
So with that being said –
Without proper knowledge and an understanding when requesting bids, you must be ready and willing to know that you will receive numbers that are all over the place and truly will never know what the true number is for the work that you are expecting. It is best stated that when requesting bids that they all be similar (Apples to Apples)
Here are some items that you should consider and or already have in place when requesting bids. These guidelines are supported by both the State Contractors Board and the Department of Consumer Affairs:
Have a “WISH LIST”
This applies to all items of a finish details such as cabinetry, appliances, floor and counter materials, lighting, etc. This will assist everyone in getting you closer to what you would like to see as the finished project
Have a “Standard of the Finish Quality”
This applies to the quality of the workmanship that you are expecting. This should apply starting at the rough stages, as they will have an effect on the finish applications. You should also be made aware of industry standards and how they apply as well
Have a Time Frame (Schedule)
Understand when you want to start and expect to finish your project. Be sure to allow for delays caused by changes to the plans, discoveries, weather, custom ordered finishes, etc. What are the days and hours of construction operations, and how will weather and holidays will be dealt withHave a complete set of plans
If possible an approved set that is RTI (Ready To Issue) permits. Incomplete plans will have a negative effect on the final numbers. When we say complete, we mean as much information as possible on every page. Leave nothing to the imagination – If you don’t do this then be ready to pay more down the road as the project progresses
Make sure that you have done your homework when you are ready to hire the GC (General Contractor)
This is the second most important choice with regard to your project. The first is your choice for your architect. It is very important that you are comfortable with them. Make sure they listen to you and are reliable, that their abilities to act in and on your best interest are what you are looking for. Make sure that you can reach them when needed and that they are not over burdened with too many other projects at the same time. Any mistakes at this point can have a negative effect on your project
Be open to suggestions from “YOUR TEAM”
Remember that they are there to assist you and for the most part have already acted on similar applications. They are there to assist you in getting what you want or as close as possible within your budget
Do your level best to make all decisions prior to the start of the project
The more you have decided on, the easier the project will go. If something does arise during construction, then make sure you deal with it timely before moving on. Delays will only have negative repercussions
Have several pre construction meetings scheduled
These meetings should be with your architect, your structural engineer, your interior designer if you have one and of course with the general contractor prior to moving forward with the project to answer any questions a head of time. A clear path is easier to follow, than just heading out blindly into the unknown as no plans are perfect
Have a “projected” budget in place
Allow for any discoveries and or changes to the plans. (This is typically a percentage of between 10% – 20% over and above the projected cost to construct)
Make sure that not only YOU, but the rest of “Your Team” can work together
This is important to make sure your team can work together as a TEAM. Remember that your general contractor is your point person. They are your ears and eyes for the project, and speak for you. Friction is the number one cause for a project to go sour
Make sure that the “TEAM” has job site meetings
Once the project begins, it is highly recommended that site meetings take place either, weekly, by monthly and not less than monthly to address and answer questions timely. A lack of communication will drag the project out and cause issues that will be harder to correct after the fact
Confirm that your contractor and all subcontractors are properly licensed and current as to their insurances (Liability & Workers Compensation). Furthermore, check the CSLB website at www.cslb.ca.gov to see if there are any negative actions against them. Better to be safe now than sorry later
Ask to meet with any or all of the subcontractors prior to any contracts or work being let out and performed on by them If you have any issues or concerns regarding them, then this is the time to speak up
Make sure that there is a Project Supervisor on the site and that you are comfortable with them
Ask the general contractor where they have included this item in their proposal. No supervision will have a major negative effect and you will and you will have no recourse but to stop the project as it gets out of control. Also ask the general contractor how many hours per day they have allowed for the project supervisor to be on site. If they are there less than four hours per day, then you should have concerns
Ask how the General Contractor is going to interact with you and your neighbors
Make sure you can reach both the general contractor and the project supervisor when needed. A lack of responsibility by them will only cause you issues and money
What kind of a contract are you signing
This can be one of several, so make sure you understand the differences. Typically there are the following: Fixed, Fixed with Set Allowances, Cost Plus, Open Book, Etc. Ask a head of time what the costs and fees will be on any changes to the original contract and EWO’s (Extra Work Orders). Also, it is very important to know and understand regarding payments and when they will have to be made. Delays in making payments will only delay the project moving forward, and may cause negative actions on quality
Make sure that all requests are in writing and expect the same from everyone
By putting it in writing will protect everyone from making false statements or what is known as a he said / she said position, or I never said that
Make sure that your receive releases when making payments
It is required by state business codes, that you receive both conditional and un-conditional releases when making a payment. These are there to protect you.They show proof that you did make a payment against an invoice and that the payment has been applied against your project and not that of another project. Lastly, when requesting references always remember that – No one will ever submit a negative client or project.
Always ask to see the most current projects, and also ask to speak to the subcontractors and suppliers.
We here at Newday appreciate that you took the time to contact us and for allowing us the opportunity to be of assistance.
We look forward to working with you and your team.
Please feel free to contact us as required.