How does Timber Home Living magazine successfully outline a contractor-client relationship? We’ve captured it here.
The builder/client relationship concerning modular post beam / log timber home building can be tenuous or it can be enjoyable. We found a super informative article <http://www.timberhomeliving.com/6_tips_for_working_with_contractors/articles/3085> , published in the December, 2010 issue of Timber Home Living <http://www.timberhomeliving.com/> magazine, which outlines how to achieve a symbiotic relationship with your contractor. You have to feel comfortable with your contractor. But how do you actually achieve that? There are numerous references on the web; one of our favorites is the Timber Frame Business Council <http://www.timberframe.org/timber-frame-engineer.html> . It offers a great overview of building and directing this important relationship.
Additionally, Timber Home Living’s Dec. 2010 issue outlines some key advice. Here is an excerpt from the article:
1. Find the right contractor. It might seem like common sense, but many homeowners don’t take the time to carefully interview and evaluate potential general contractors. Don’t take lightly the task of selecting the person who will be working closely with you for months.
Before signing on with a contractor, check out other homes they have built. The article advises that you spend a day with a contractor “to see what kind of person he is.” Visit the builder’s different job sites and take note of the condition of the work area and observe the crew: Are they busy working or just standing around? Be sure to inquire if the builder has the correct classifications for insurance and liability purposes.
2. Understand what you’re getting from your any pre-made kits and what the contractor will provide. Knowing up front what additional expenses may be required will alleviate frustration as the building process moves forward. Additionally, consumers will be less likely to feel that the contractor is arbitrarily stacking on unnecessary charges as the process moves forward.
3. Sign the dotted line after you read the fine print. The contract also should address the contractor’s payment schedule. Being detailed may save frustrations in the long run.
4. Define your expectations for involvement. Most general contractors are willing to cooperate with clients who want to tackle parts of the project themselves, such as applying the chinking or painting the interior walls. Let the GC know your plans before the building process begins. “The log home customer typically has the desire to do some things on their own,” Liskey says. While some clients may not want to do any of the work on their home, most have opinions about minor details, such as where electrical outlets should be placed. Making appointments with the GC or visiting the job site on a regular basis will ensure that you have the opportunity to voice your opinions before the work is done.
5. Don’t forget the budget. Many homeowner horror stories emerge from a building project that skyrockets from the original estimate. This isn’t always the contractor’s fault, however. The contract should specify the budgeted amount for items such as showers and tubs, light fixtures, and appliances. Keep that figure in mind when the contractor sends you out to select these items. Every dollar over the allotted amount will add to your purchase price.
6. Avoid communication breakdown. All of these suggestions boil down to one fact: Communication is key. Before the building project begins, talk to your GC about what you want in the house, how involved you intend to be and what decisions he or she can make for you.
While it’s good to be involved with the day-to-day decisions, don’t play the role of “armchair builder.” Know when it’s appropriate to back off and let the GC you hired do his or her job. Hopefully, you selected someone who’s got your best interests in mind. Amen, and thank you to Timber Home Living Magazine for a super informative and useful article.