Why You Should Interview Potential Contractors
Are you considering hiring a contractor to build your own custom home? If this is your first time working with a home builder, it can be easy to feel intimidated by the process. After all, you want to be sure you pick someone you can trust to bring your dream home into reality and within budget.
The key to choosing the right construction company is to ask lots of questions to ensure you are confident and comfortable with their proposal, processes and communication methods.
Make sure you compare what is being offered by speaking with different home builders before you make a decision. A reputable construction company won’t mind answering questions about how everything will work – after all, they want you to be happy throughout the build.
Understanding how your chosen company will deal with your budget, unexpected expenses, or changes is important so you know your needs and wishes will be heard throughout the entire process.
Read on to see why it’s important to interview potential contractors and the top 10 questions we recommend you ask any home builder before signing a contract.
Why is it Important to Interview Potential Home Builders?
The Canadian Homebuilder’s Association recommends that you interview prospective contractors even if they have been endorsed by someone you know.
When you choose a construction company, look for one that:
- Makes you feel comfortable and confident in their ability to complete the job.
- Has a strong history of building in your area.
- Provides a detailed plan and budget before starting work.
- Communicates well, especially if there is a change or issue to be discussed.
In addition to the recommended questions below, you may wish to complete this CHBA contractor interview worksheet, which will help you compare businesses at a glance.
10 Questions to Ask a Home Builder Before You Hire Them
1. How long have you been in business?
Choose an experienced builder familiar with local neighbourhoods, bylaws, permitting rules, landscapes, and topography. You can be confident that they have ‘been there and done it’ before and will use their local knowledge to complete your build.
2. What type of construction & renovations do you specialize in?
If you want a custom home, don’t choose an industrial contractor. Ensure you find a builder who is experienced in building custom homes and has previously built homes in the style or styles you prefer.
3. How will you staff and manage the project?
Understanding how the home building company will manage your project is important. Be sure to ask:
- How many people are on your team?
- Who will be my primary contact? What happens if they are sick?
- Do you do the work yourself, contract out to sub-contractors or do the contractors work for you? How do you maintain/confirm the quality of contractors?
- Who do I call if I have concerns?
4. Do you have a warranty, and what does it cover? Do I call you or the subcontractor if I have warranty issues?
In British Columbia, all builders must offer warranty insurance on new home builds that provides coverage of 2 years on labour and materials, 5 years on the building envelope, and 10 years on the structure.
Your construction company should be your first call if you have any warranty-covered issues with your new home. At LIDA Construction, we offer a 2-5-10 warranty plus check-ins at 3, 6 and 12 months to ensure satisfaction.
5. Do you have WCB and commercial liability insurance coverage?
It is essential to confirm the contractor has insurance and workers’ compensation coverage in case of an accident on the building site. If they don’t, you could be liable as owner of the land should damage or injury occur.
6. Will your proposal include a written estimate, contract and warranty?
Before signing any contract, you should receive a complete proposal to consider. Ensure this proposal reflects everything the builder told you during your interview. A good proposal should include:
- Scope of work
- Estimated cost and payment schedule
- Start and end dates
- Warranty information, including contact details
- Process for ongoing communication and issue resolution throughout the project
7. Will you take out the building permit(s)?
Look for a contractor who will deal with all required permits for the project. They have greater knowledge of the permits needed and when to apply for them. As permit holders, they will also be held accountable for meeting the conditions of the permit.
8. What are the terms of payment?
Ask the contractor to explain how and when payments will be required for the project. This is important depending on how you plan to finance your build. Some lenders will release funds at key stages of the build. Ensure you are clear whether your lender’s schedule and your builder’s requirements are compatible.
Look for a builder that shares budget details throughout the project. At LIDA, we update our clients bi-weekly on their budgets so they can see exactly where funds are being spent.
9. Can I review some of your previous projects and contact previous clients?
Any good home builder will be happy to share details of previous builds and offer to connect you with former clients. Ask previous customers about their experience with the contractor, how they communicated and how any issues were dealt with. This is the best way to find out how a company works.
10. How long will my build/renovation take, and what are the influencing factors to the build time?
While most companies will give you a build time estimate based on the required work, outside factors such as weather and permit delays can impact predicted timelines. Ask how your home builder will deal with any delays.
At LIDA, We’re Happy to Answer Your Questions
At LIDA Construction, our relationship with clients is the most critical part of any custom home build or renovation. We aim to be completely transparent with what we are doing and keep the client informed and involved throughout the process.
The LIDA Construction Proven Process is the foundation of our custom home and remodelling experience. This guided program ensures we communicate with our clients from the initial planning stages throughout construction and provide continuing support for many years to come.
If you are considering hiring a home builder for your dream custom home project, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be delighted to answer all your questions, show you samples of our work and share client testimonials.
Let us help you get started on the road to a brand-new home today.