If you are planning on a home remodel, one of your first steps is to bring in a construction contractor to help you complete the job. The following are a three questions you must ask before hiring a contractor.
#1: Are You Licensed and Insured?
The first question you should ask any contractor that you are considering for the job is if they have proof of their licensing and insurance. If there are any issues during construction, your best chances for recourse are with contractors that are properly covered and licensed to work in your state. The contractor's liability insurance protects you, the homeowner, in the event property damage occurs due to the work the contractor is completing. If the contractor is uninsured, they may not be able to afford to cover the damage out of pocket.
Further, you want to make sure the contractor also has coverage for their own workers in the event a worker is injured on your property. Otherwise, it is possible for the worker to sue your homeowner's insurance in the event of an injury.
#2: Is There a Guarantee or Warranty for the Work and Materials?
A guarantee covers the work, while a warranty covers the materials used. A contractor should provide a guarantee in writing that details exactly what is covered. Generally, the coverage will be for matters of craftsmanship over a set period of time. For example, if your new wall plaster cracks within the first 2 years of installation, it may be covered under a contractor's guarantee.
Warranties are often offered by the manufacturer of the material, although some contractors also provide an extended warranty on top of the manufacturer's offering. A warranty will cover defects in the actual material, but it won't usually cover installation mistakes.
#3: Who Completes and Oversees the Actual Work?
You don't want an absent contractor. It isn't uncommon for contractors to bring in outside crews to do the actual work. Just make sure that the contractor already has a working relationship with these crews and can fully vouch for their quality and work ethic in completing the job within the quoted window.
It's also important that your contractor will be active on the work site. Avoid those that hire the crews but only show up to oversee the work when there is a problem or scheduled inspection. Your contractor or a direct job foreman under their employee should be onsite every day that work is being done. They may not stay on site for the whole day, but they should check in at least twice -- once at the beginning of the workday and again later in the day to make sure everything is progressing as planned.
For more help, contact a construction contractor in your area.