Archive for Sunday, May 12, 2002

Best to build bridges with your contractor

May 12, 2002

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Sometimes the most daunting task of remodeling a home isn't finding the money to pay for it all, it's all the hassles with contractors afterward.

Of course, just getting to construction can be a formidable task. That's where advice from the Remodeling Council comes in handy. It's an offshoot of the National Association of Home Builders, a trade group.

Here's some of what the council suggests mixed in with my own experience dealing with dozens of remodeling companies in the past 20 years.

Talk with your contractor. Not just a few words here and there (which most contractors envision as "communication" since they're more versed in the construction business). Develop real lines of communication. Often this means:

Establish the person and phone number of someone to talk with if there's an emergency outside of construction hours that will affect construction.

Create a place in your home in which messages can be left.

Ask whether the contractor intends to put a sign in your front yard. Do you want one there? Will the contractor shave off some of his price if he's allowed to put it there? How long? What size? While you may not like a sign there, having one in your yard may make it easier for subcontractors and suppliers to find your home.

Will there be any areas of your home that you want off-limits to contractors?

Establish a part of your home or yard in which materials for the remodel can be stored.

If your home has an alarm system, will you need to turn it on when you're not there? Is there a code or key the workers can use?

What arrangements should be made for pets? Do they need to stay in the home? Who will take care of them?

Will the remodeler remove the trash the project creates or do you have to?

What hours will the workmen observe?

Will you need to be out of your home part or all of the time during the project?

Designate what bathroom facilities in your home will be available to workmen.

Will you permit workers to smoke on the construction site?

What about workmen playing their radios during the project? (Be considerate of your neighbors.)

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