How to Choose a Contractor for Building a Structure

A general contractor is a professional builder, licensed by the state, whose responsibility is the actually building of a structure. Contractors normally employ a number of laborers and craftsmen, such as carpenters and arrange for other work, such as plumbing and wiring, to be done by subcontractors on a project-by-project base.

If your architect is monitoring the construction of your addition, he or she will be instrumental in hiring the general contractor to do the work (subject, of course, to your approval). If you are to supervise the work, you’ll have to find the contractor yourself.

Finding a Contractor

You can get the names of contractor firm from architects and building designers, from friends, from trade associations, or from material suppliers. Call the firms you’ve been referred to and ask for the names of some of their past clients; then talk to those clients about the contractors and arrange to see their work.

Contractor Building How to Choose a Contractor for Building a Structure

On the basis of that procedure, select two or three promising firms. Ask them for names of material suppliers and subcontractors and bank and credit references; check these to learn the financial condition of the firm. Contractors are accustomed to providing such information and should give you these references willingly. You can also call your local Better Business Bureau to find out if there have been any complaints filed against a contractor.

In addition, verify the validity of contractor’s licenses with the state licensing agency, and check their public liability and property damage insurance with their insurance carriers.

How to get contractor bids

Submit your plans and specifications to two or three contractors for bids. The list of specifications should be as detailed as possible, including all materials, model numbers, types of fixtures, colors, paints and stains, electrical switch covers, moldings, doorknobs, and so forth.

You may not always choose the least expensive bid; you may be willing to pay more for certain pluses, such as higher-quality workmanship or a more amicable relationship with the contractor. Even so, bids are the chief consideration for most homeowners.

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