At Tice Construction we understand that building a new home, adding new living space or remodeling existing space is one of the most important investments you’ll make in your lifetime. There are several elements to consider which will determine the outcome of your project. The selection of a project designer and a custom builder is important and involves so many complexities.
Often times, it can be difficult to discern what you’re really getting for your investment. Looking at price in isolation of other important factors can be deceiving. Professional design, material specifications, service before, during and after the project as well as what kind of experience you’ll have, are all critical elements in assessing overall value.
How do you go about qualifying a reliable company to do the job and how will you make sure that they will be around in the future to warrantee the work and service you in the future. Once you’ve found a good company it’s nice to maintain a long-term relationship so that you don’t have to keep trying new companies each time you have a new project.
Selecting a contractor…
Included here are some questions from the National Association of Home Builders brochure "How to choose a contractor"
- Does the contractor have an office/showroom or place of business out of the home?
- Can you always contact him, is there someone at the office to answer your questions or direct your call?
- Does the contractor have an established, written OSHA safety program?
- Does the contractor have a good method to provide design?
- Does the contractor have banking affiliations to provide financing?
- How many projects per year does the contractor do?
- Insurance limits?
- Does the company encourage education of its employees?
- Does the contractor have and Internet web site and or e-mail?
- Are the contractors systems computerized?
- Does the contractor belong to both local and national building
- Will the company provide a list of references?
- Does the company have an established quality procedures manual?
- Does the company provide a written warrantee?
- Does the company have anything in writing that explains their construction process?
The price may be right, but is the contractor?
Copyright 2002 The State Journal-Register
The State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL)...04/11/2002
STEVE LUSK COPLEY NEWS SERVICE
If you needed heart surgery, would you consider asking three surgeons to submit bids and then go with the lowest one? Of course not. However, many homeowners think nothing of shelling out tens of thousands of dollars to a remodeler they've selected based solely on price.
Granted, a remodeling project is not a life-or-death operation, but it could have a definite effect on a family's well being and financial health. It only stands to reason, therefore, that many factors in addition to price need to be consider before a contractor is selected for a particular project. A common approach to the selection process is to solicit bids from three different remodelers. The homeowner typically will throw out the high and low bids and accept the middle one, confident he's minimized his risk by dropping the two extremes. The selection is driven by price alone. As an afterthought, the homeowner may or may not check the remodeler's reputation, references and insurance and licensing documentation.
A job interview doesn't begin with salary negotiations, so why should hiring a contractor be any different? Before you discuss compensation, you want to be sure you have a qualified applicant.
One of the first things to check is references. It's important that you talk to people who have hired the remodeler you're considering to do jobs similar to yours. A beautifully remodeled kitchen or bath sheds little light on the remodeler's ability to add a second story to your home. You'll want to ask the references if they had any problems with quality, payment schedule, employees or completion time. The most telling question you can ask someone is, "Would you hire this contractor again?" Some people will be hesitant to make negative comments, but the enthusiasm with which this question is answered usually can tell you everything you need to know.
After you've talked with the reference, take a look at the completed project. Check the quality of the craftsmanship and materials, overall aesthetics and creativity, and how the project blends in with the rest of the home.
Also, verify the remodeler's licensing and insurance. If you hire a remodeler who doesn't carry workers' compensation and one of his employees falls off your roof, you could be liable for the medical bills and lost wages.
One indication of a professional remodeler is membership in a national trade association such as the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelors Council. A fly-by-night outfit intent on ripping off people is not going to leave a paper trail by joining a professional trade association.
Another indication of professionalism is the type of warranty offered. Most remodelers offer some sort of a warranty. But remember, a warranty is only as good as the company backing it.
Once you have done your homework and feel confident the remodeler has a proven track record of quality and service, then it's time to discuss the project's details and price.
As with most hiring decisions, the choice in the end may very well be determined by the one with whom you feel the most comfortable and best able to communicate. The remodeler will be spending many hours in your home, so it's important that you feel comfortable with him from the outset. You also should be able to work well together, combining your ideas and his expertise to turn the vision into a final product.
Remember, when you are purchasing a new car, you're getting a product that you can see, touch and take for a test drive. But with a remodeling project, you won't know what the finished product will look like until well after the contract is signed.
This is why bid shopping works for automobiles but not for remodeling projects. There can be many reasons for a lowball bid, including shoddy materials, poor craftsmanship, inadequate safety precautions and lack of insurance and licensing. Or, the bid may just be from an inexperienced remodeler who's never done a job like yours before.
Content Provider: HousingZone
Copyright c 2002 Reed Business Information, A Division of Reed Elsevier, Inc.
A good test of whether a builder is reliable, knowledgeable about all aspects of the business and will be around to service their customers is to check their professional affiliations. Companies that are actively involved in local and national associations and the education they provide have staff that are more informed in all areas of construction and the information they have is much more representative of the latest industry trends. These building companies invest in their associations to become better at what they do and that shows a commitment to their clients, which is, what you, as a homeowner should look for.
Tice Construction is an active member of all of the major building associations, which include the following:
National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
This is the largest of all residential construction associations and offers national conventions, round tables, a library of publications, education & professional certifications, Leadership councils and the like for both building and remodeling companies.
Remodeler 20 Clubs
These are organizations comprised of NAHB members. Each Remodeler 20 club consists of 20 top remodeling companies from across the nation who come together once a year to compare business systems for customer service, building methods, client retention, quality control programs and the like. It gives top companies a chance to see how other top, non-competing companies around the country of similar size and company structure, run their business and service their clients. Each year a different member company hosts the club at different location where current trends and technologies in the remodeling industry are analyzed and discussed. Many members of this organization are national award winners and are often featured in top industry magazines like; Builder Magazine, Remodeling Magazine, Qualified Remodeler, Qualified Builder and The Journal of Light Construction.
Wisconsin Builders Association (WBA)
Northland Area Builders Association (NABA)
This is the local association branch of the State and National associations that is based in Hayward, Wisconsin. Local meetings are held 6-8 times per year featuring guest speakers from different facets of the construction business. This organization focuses on local issues with input from state and national associations.
National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI)
This is the National association that is similar to the NAHB but with an emphasis on remodeling, they are also sponsors to National conventions that provide a large array of educational courses, professional certifications and national awards.
Yearly, the national educational seminars that members of our staff attend include: The National Remodelers Show, The National Builders Show, The Remodeling Leadership Council and The National I-Housing Conference.