Saturday, July 20, 2013

Building in phases By Kaile Warren

Often times when I watch television news try to inform people of how best to hire a contractor, I think about how their advice is so eighties. Not that it is bad advice, just that the advice has not changed in 30 years or so. Thus, said advice is very dated and lacks the sophistication needed to deal with today’s contractors.

Selecting a contractor to work in and or on your home is a very personal decision. Said decision will affect your home, safety and financial well-being. When dealing with contractors, you want to at least be on equal footing with them. Ideally, you want to hold a slight upper-hand in the transaction.

When you have a project to be done on your home, I propose that you divide the project into reasonable “phases.” For example; if building an addition, divide the project into 3-phases; site work/foundation, framing/roofing and completion. Then, bid the project out as a complete package to insure you receive the best price possible.

Tell the contractor you select that you are going to divide the project into three phases, and with the successful completion of each phase, the relationship will advance to the next phase.

The theory behind this approach is that rather than being married to a contractor via an expensive single contract, you have phased in the project. Thus you have also phased in your relationship with the contractor. Say your overall project cost is $100,000. Under a typical arrangement, you are married to your contractor for $100,000 without having ever worked with him/her before.

By phasing the project, you are able to see how timely, clean and professional the contractor works. You also get to see that the contractor communicates with you with respect and in a timely manner. If all goes well in phase one, advance to phase two, and so on. If there are problems, you will not have a $100,000 problem; your problem will be limited to the associated cost of the particular phase the issue surfaced with.

If the contractor does not want to phase the project, move on.

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