Seven Contractor Selection Tips

Hiring a contractor is probably the second most important decision after your architect. The choice will determine the quality of craftsmanship and the timely completion of the project within budget. You will be depending on them to control your large investment wisely. Some contractors may use only the most skilled craftspeople, while others may depend on day laborers for the same job. The result is differing strengths, quality, and price. Consult your architect to help form a list of potential candidates, and then begin initial interviews. Ask consistent questions for an apple-to-apples comparison.

Some highlights from our contractor interview questions are: 1) Who would be directly supervising the project and what is their background? 2) What type of contract and pricing structure do you normally work with (fixed-price, cost-plus, guaranteed maximum)? Each has pros and cons depending on your project. 3) What type and size projects do you typically work with? Provide a range of typical budgets. 4) How do you help manage and track pricing through construction to avoid significant cost escalation? 5) How many projects do you take on at one time and what is your track record for coming in on budget? 6) How often do you supervise projects on site? All day, part of the day, every few days? 7) How does this project fit within the goals of your company?

Selection Criteria: 1) Have they built this type of work before? 2) Do they have a solid reputation and personal references (for last 3 completed projects)? 3) Are they available to build this project? 4) Is their workload balanced for their size or are they overcommitted? 5) Are their sub-contractors consistent from project to project? 6) Are they thorough and do they communicate clearly? 7) After touring some of their completed projects, do you like the quality of craftsmanship you see?

We normally guide our clients through the selection and interview process, and stay involved on a weekly basis throughout construction. With proper planning and research, your project is more likely to be done well, on time, and within budget.

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