April 14, 2016

10 Things You Should Know Before Hiring A Contractor

AnnBritt Newey, an interior designer and founder of ABN Design, brings us her advice on what to know before hiring your contractor.

by New York Spaces


By AnnBritt Newey, Founder of ABN Design

AnnBritt Newey.

1) Find Out the Contractor's Specialty.

A high-end, luxury residential builder is yards away from a commercial contractor.

2) Reviews and References

Review the contractor's portfolio and follow up with their references. Confirm that the contractor has successfully completed similar work. Ask to see a previous job in person.

3) Ensure the size of the construction company is compatible with the scale of your project.

If you approach a large construction company, a smaller project may be overlooked, but you also don't want a large-scale project to overwhelm your contractor. In both cases, the time and quality may be compromised.

4) Contractor Availability

Confirm that the contractor is available and is not too tied up in other projects. You do not want to be "squeezed-in" between other jobs.

5) Bid the Project Out

Bid the project out to three different contractors. This will allow you to notice any alarming numbers and confirm that the general conditions, insurance fees, and deposit amounts are standard.

6) Understand the Company's Structure

Research and understand the structure of the company and its staff. It is important to determine what trades are done in-house and which ones are subcontracted out. You want to be sure the contractor can quickly add labor to your project without compromising the schedule. Get to know the office staff. You want to make sure they will be taking care of the paperwork and are available to answer billing questions easily.

7) Meet the site's super and ask questions about his/her experience.

That individual will be at your project daily and you need to make sure you are on the same page.

8) Investigate the type of contract you would like to use.

If you have a comprehensive bid with a complete set of drawings that you are happy with, a contract based on a lump sum will probably be your best bet. The contract should outline and identify everything regarding the drawings, change-order procedures, and the start and finish dates. If you have a variety of "unknown" elements in your project, the best solution is to work on a "cost of the work plus a fee" basis. AIA has standard contracts that outline all the parameters.

9) Weekly Meetings

Ensure your contractor will be willing to have weekly meetings with you to review the site conditions, progress, and any changes. It is important to stay in constant communication.

10) Project End

Review the standards and procedures for handling the punch list items.

AnnBritt Newey is the founder of ABN Design Inc. and a member of the ASID. With a clear foundation in fine European antiques, Newey seamlessly bridges the gap between old and new. She has been designing sophisticated, architecturally detailed interiors in New York City for over a decade.

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