Five Helpful Hints When Constructing Your House

We live in a world where things break. This blog post will describe five ways to avoid headaches that come when the ‘breaking point’ was that of insufficient planning.

In considering any major work being done on a house, it’s best if you don’t already live here. But, most people who are considering work to their existing house are, well, already there. Here are a few points to remember during the construction process:

  1. Consider the contract you will have with the General Contractor. The payments should be at regular enough intervals for him to be able to pay for the materials and labor, but at no point should you pay the entire amount in advance. The payments serve as an incentive to get the job done well, and if he has been paid all before the work has begun, there is no incentive for him to begin the work. People have been taken to the cleaners when they neglect this simple rule.
  2. It is your house. You have employed professionals. You have done your homework. You have taken every possible step to insure that the work goes as smoothly as possible, and then the G.C.’s sub hits a gas main. Oops! Or, construction has started and you see that a wall is not where you thought it should be. What do you do? Well, what you shouldn’t do is assume that the professionals you have hired are all working according to the plan, will catch the mistake, and all will be well. Ask questions. It is possible for subs or contractors to misread plans. It is also possible for the architect to make a mistake on the drawings. And, cautiously enough, it is possible that you have made a mistake. Perhaps some of the things that the Building and Safety department plan checker required to change were mentioned to you. Perhaps they weren’t. The whole point is that you, the home owner, need to ask. If any of the parties, in realizing that a mistake was made, comes to that conclusion, the right thing would be for the person to admit what they did and to take steps to remedy the situation.
  3. Request that work be limited to working hours and that dust and noise is minimized. If you don’t want the workers to be using your toilets, you need to make sure that the Architect has added that into the plans so that you won’t have to correct the workers during their work. Additionally, if you do not want music blaring throughout the day, make sure that you have communicated that to the General Contractor.
  4. Have the right insurances. If a sub trips and falls and breaks something (an arm or a leg), did you realize that he could sue you? If you don’t have a general liability policy for your house during this time, prudence would require that you take a policy out so that your risk is minimized. Does the general contractor currently have in force the workers compensation insurance he is required to have? As the owner, you have the ultimate responsibility for the project.
  5. If at all possible, take a vacation or hire a responsible party to oversee the work, or add it to the Architect’s role as an additional service. Although the project is yours, you hired the professionals to do the things that you are not skilled to do. If you hire the Architect to also be your Construction Manager, you insure that the party who has been with you from the beginning is insuring that what he has drawn actually gets built. Take advantage of the opportunity to utilize the professional services available.

By keeping these things in mind, you will avoid at least five areas of potential headaches.

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