Appointing a building contractor

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Appointing a building contractor. Whether your building a new home, renovating an existing house, or doing home improvements to properties, appointing a building contractor involves considerable planning and has large financial implications to all involved. It is therefore extremely important to appoint a building contractor who has the neccesary background, expertise and a good track record.

When appointing a building contractor you may want to consider the following suggestions:

1. Do not accept the lowest tender just because of the price!
– Ask at least three (3) contractors to quote on the work you want done.
– Stipulate what detail you want specified in the tender and compare the tenders to ensure that the contractors have priced all items and then evaluate the tenders.
– Compare all prices against each other to evaluate why one tender is cheaper than the other.
– Request the contractor to specify in his tender, in detail, what materials are to be used and where, in order to avoid disputes later.
– Contractors may price some items provisionally in order for you to choose from other related products, or if they are unsure of the quantities.
– Make sure that tenders allow for the same provisional quantities and products.
– Carefully examine the tender, and award the tender based on specifications, not only on the price.

2. Read the contract
– Read the contract and make sure of your obligations before signing it.
– Be careful for biased wording in the contract.
– Do not sign any documentation until you formally award the tender to a specific contractor.
– The contract must be properly understood and signed by both parties.

3. Check the contractors references before awarding the tender
– Ask for references and follow them up by phone, or go and see the work that was previously carried out.
– Check whether the quality suits you and find out how the contractor treated his clients before signing, also ask them of the after sales service they received, if any was needed.

4. Do not pay deposits without security
– It is common for contractors to request large deposits up front.

5. Do not pay whenever the contractor request payment
– Payments should be scheduled in the contract and paid accordingly, on receipt of a invoice. Keep record of all payments.

6. Keep records and do not negotiate in good faith without documentation.
– A full written record of all decisions taken between yourself and the contractor should be kept. Dates and pricing (where applicable) should always be mentioned.
– It is normal for decisions to be taken during the contract to change original specifications.
– Before the contractor implements any changes, make sure he has given a price (additional cost or saving) for the change, and be sure that you keep records of all the additional costs, as these extras can mount up in value and influence your budget.

7. Do not accept poor workmanship
– If you are unhappy with any aspect or quality of any portion of the work, inform the contractor as soon as possible as certain aspects may be difficult or impossible to rectify later.
– Insist that mistakes are rectified before final payments are made.

Appointing a building contractor is the make or break decision for any building project

August 28, 2013 |
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