A General Contractor (GC) takes full responsibility in ensuring a renovation or custom home build is completed on time, on budget and to the level of quality their client expects. Whether you’re looking to build your dream home or remodel a section of your home, knowing what to expect from your GC before the project gets started is key to success. You can better prepare yourself by choosing a contractor whom you trust and can rely on for the entirety of the project.
Determining who the right contractor is for you can be overwhelming; you may be torn between choosing someone who was referred to you or someone whose ad you saw on television. However, there are different reasons people choose to work with one GC over another and what may be right for one person may not fit the needs of someone else. When choosing a GC, you should ask yourself the following questions to help you make the best choice for your next home project:
- Is the GC protecting my investment?
With such a large investment being made in your home, it is important to ensure that the company you have chosen is highly qualified so that your asset is well looked after. Insurance is a good start – does your GC have liability insurance to cover the cost of your home? Does your GC have WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board) coverage, which will protect you and your home should there be an accident on the job site?
Taking a look at the company’s warranty program will also shed some light on what steps the GC will have taken to protect your investment.
- Does the GC provide a detailed scope of the work they plan to complete?
A contractor should provide you with a detailed scope of work that follows the Ontario Building Code. This will allow you to see what exactly will be done and what to expect from the project so that there are no surprises.
Having this detailed scope also allows you to assess if the investment amount reflects the amount of work outlined and can provide insight into the level of knowledge and professionalism the contractor holds.
- Is the GC honoring my budget?
A budget outlines the amount that you are expecting to invest to acquire the home you’ve always wanted. This budget should be realistic and accessible based on what you desire for your home. Work with the GC to set realistic budgets so that both your expectations and the GC’s align, further simplifying and avoiding any unexpected costs.
- Is the GC setting a realistic timeline?
Do you know how long the project will take? Does the timeline seem reasonable to you based on the scope of work? This item may be quite important if you are required to rent or maintain two homes during the project, or have an otherwise important deadline with which the project needs to correspond with.
- Will the GC provide me with a reasonable payment schedule?
Remember, your GC is not in the business of finance, so you shouldn’t expect your GC to finance your renovation for you. On the other hand, you shouldn’t be expected to pay too much before the work is done. You should feel comfortable enough to discuss with your GC and develop the most suitable payment plan that works for both parties involved.
- Is the GC professional?
Being professional can mean different things to different people. Cleanliness, mannerism, style of work, and the ways in which they deal with unexpected circumstances are all areas of professionalism you should look for when choosing a GC. Ask yourself, what are their standards and do they hold themselves accountable for their work and their actions? Looking in these areas will give you a better sense of how the GC and their team will act on the job and may even provide insight into their quality of work.
- What is the method of communication between my GC and myself?
Your GC and their employees should be your only source of contact. You should not be expected to deal with any questions or concerns from a subcontractor. Knowing that this is your one point of contact will simplify the process and allow you to express concerns or questions to one source, rather than many.
The above expectations and any others you may have should be shared with your GC. When doing your due diligence with selecting a GC, it may also be helpful to speak with their previous clients and bring forth the expectations that are most important to you.
Remember, the most successful renovations are all based around open communication and trust.
Are there any additional areas or expectations that you’ve considered or brought up when choosing a General Contractor? If so, we’d love to hear your feedback.