CONTRACTING & CONTRACTORS
If your project involves several different trades such as masonry, hardscape, framing, electrical, plumbing, etc., it is frequently a good idea to hire a general contractor. The job of a general contractor is to be responsible for the entire scope of work. The contractor, his project manager, or job foreman should be the one go-to person as the construction progresses. A general contractor also coordinates all trades and work, and holds the ultimate responsibility for the entire project. Always attempt to think through your project completely to avoid potentially costly change orders.
When hiring a professional, no matter what type, always interview at least two. More than three muddies the water and wastes time for both parties. You should feel a comfortable chemistry with the potential service professional. However, no matter how comfortable you feel, always ask for credentials, experience, references, licenses, insurance and documentation. Check on-line reviews, ratings and listings with organizations such as the Better Business Bureau, the state Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, or other governing authorities. Contracts should be clear, specific, and ideally, itemized. Detailed warranty or guarantee information should be provided. A down payment or service retainer is customary in the industry; however, final payment should not be made before project inspection and punch list completion.
Each type of service has a place depending on the complexity of your project. Successful project completion is the result of good communication among all parties. The customer, designer, and contractor each plays a vital role, and should be responsive to each other through good listening and teamwork. Outstanding results will be the direct outcome of the careful thought, planning, and efforts spent creating your specific project. The entire project is based on and built according to the design. Therefore, the time and dollars invested in the planning process and preparation of project drawings will more than pay off in the end.