Working With Contractors - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of New Home Construction

Home Reovation

By Jill Philips

To ensure a good experience when working with contractors during new home construction, there are several things that must be done.

Shop around for contractors
Accept bids from different contractors and make appointments to speak with them, this will give you a feel for someone that you will have to deal with quite a bit. Ask friends and relatives to give you referrals for contractors that have performed well. Once a decision is made, it is advised all the time but surprisingly enough a lot of people do not follow through with getting everything in writing. The estimate is the first document you should receive from your contractor. The estimate is an approximation of costs and time involved with the task. Of course approximation is the key word. An estimate provides an educated idea of how much something will cost to accomplish and how much time it will take to complete the job, but it does not account for unforeseen events (like bad weather during an outside project) but it will give a relatively good idea of how much you will pay for something. Keep the lines of communication open. Speak to your contractor, stop by and check on the work to be sure that things are getting done the way it was agreed upon. Communication is key to insuring that misunderstandings are minimal. Working with contractors in new home construction can be a good experience if certain precautions are taken.

The Bad
Unfortunately not all experiences are good with contractors and new home construction. Sometimes the experiences are insignificantly bad, meaning no long term damage, maybe just the flooring color is off. Sometimes the damage is long term and literally can run into thousands of dollars trying to correct. Shoddy work is the number one reason people report being dissatisfied with their contractor. It is almost impossible to predict if a contractor is going to perform as planned or as promised, but if the advise above is followed it will greatly raise the odds that the work will be performed as planned and promised. When the experience initially seems to be going bad (this is assuming communication is open and progress has been checked on) talk to the contractor and express the concerns. The contractor may be able to fix what is wrong. Each situation is different and a real need to step back and asses the problem arises. Being emotional interferes with effectiveness, so stay calm speak calmly and document in writing what the problem is. Give clear instructions to the contractor what is expected and a clear time frame to make the corrections.

The Ugly
The worst case scenario is that the contractor botches things up beyond his scope and ability. The contractor has received both written and oral instruction listing the corrections and the time frame and has not been able to or flat out is unwilling to make the necessary corrections. It is time to fire the contractor and start a lawsuit.

Jill Philips operates the popular house plan superstore where she helps families find the perfect French country house plans. Shop online today at for the top-rated home designs and let us know how we can help!

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