Don’t Pay Yet – 7 Things to Consider Before Making the Final Payment
The last nail has been driven. The last coat of paint has been added. All of the light switch plates are there. Or are they?
You have hired the professionals to get the job done that you want to do, and it appears as though everything is in place. Before making the final payment, here are a few things to consider:
- Go back to the original plan. Can you see evidence in the final construction that the top 5 things you wanted to accomplish have been performed? What about the 5 desirable but optional things… what is the status of those?
- Schedule a meeting with the Architect to perform what is commonly referred to as a ‘walk through’. He will be able to create what is called a ‘punch list’ of items that may still be remaining to be accomplished – things that you may overlook but that he may catch due to training and experience. Some things may obviously need repair or replacement. Other things may be not so obvious, but make a significant difference. Since the Architect is the creator of the drawn instructions for the work to be completed, he would be the objective set of eyes that would be able to scour the construction to make sure that the plans shown in the construction documents have been accomplished.
- Make sure that the performance of the ‘punch list’ items that you and the architect have created is the source of the General Contractor’s final payment. This final payment should be sizable enough so that finishing the performance of the job is an incentive for the General Contractor to be paid.
- You should have a contingency fund for various things that are not obvious consumables but that are necessary or even functionally important as supporting elements. As an example, you may now have a new washer and dryer upstairs, but do you have space or a need for a laundry hamper?
- Be sure to get any pamphlets or manuals from the contractor or sub for the new appliances you may have in place; now is the time to be determining maintenance schedules as well as having warranty information in place. Murphy’s law, as you have been able to find out by now, applies to buildings and construction as well.
- Should any difficulties arise, the first person to call will be the last person who had any direct interaction with the item or equipment in question. The Contractor’s warranty is for a year for all labor that was required to complete the job. Manufacturer’s warranties vary. The Architect’s statute of limitations is seven years related to design defects of the house or addition.
- Realize too that all parties involve, if reputable, want additional work. Positive references from clients cause the workers’ reputations to grow, thereby facilitating new jobs. If you are not happy with some aspect of the performance of any of your team, feel free to tell them so that they may have the opportunity to remedy the situation and insure that you are happy with the final product.
It is only BEFORE you make the final payment that you have any capability of insuring that the project is exactly what you want it to be. Following the above seven steps can insure that your dream doesn’t become a nightmare.