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by John Edwards Contracting Inc.
As the great Ron Swanson once said “I don’t want to paint with a broad brush here, but every single contractor in the world is a miserable, incompetent thief.” As this is my humble profession, I chose not to completely agree with that statement, but I will admit that at times, building or renovating a house can be a nightmare for everyone involved, if the venture is inadequately prepared. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help make the experience as painless as possible and reduce surprises (surprises in construction are never good.)
1. Hire an architect or a designer (or both.) No doubt you’re artistically gifted, have great taste and recently downloaded a free computer-aided-drawing program – trust me, you don’t have a clue what you’re doing. Dealing with these professionals also creates a buffer between you and the contractor, which works to everyone’s mutual benefit.
2. Make sure your contractor is insured. And if you’re renovating, make sure your house is insured. Medical insurance might not be a bad idea too.
3. Never make any assumptions. Your contractor should be working off of a scope of work supplied by the architect/designer. If it’s not listed, it’s not included in the cost.
4. When possible, source your building material and finishings locally. Importing these items opens you up to the fresh hell of dealing with Bajan customs’ officers, shipping delays and purchases that have either been damaged or mysteriously disappear. All of these cause delays, and delays create additional costs.
5. Most architects consult with structural engineers, most designers do not. That really annoying wall that is throwing off the balance of the house’s Feng Shui, or having a adverse effect of the “flow” of the living room, might be structurally significant. When using a designer, and for your own peace-of-mind, ask for structural drawings.
6. Your project will cost more than you’ve planned. It is inevitable. To minimize the extent of these additional costs try to stick to the original scope of works as closely as possible. And when there are modifications or alterations to the scope, have your contractor quote you for these changes before they are undertaken. Unless you like surprises.
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