Building Tips to Avoid Disaster
As New York and Vermont home builders we are proud to share our years of experience with you. Building a new home is one of the most creative satisfying experiences you will undertake. It is important to choose a company that has a history of success, is financially sound, has versatile building experience and one that will provide you with excellent customer service. The McKernon Group has been building in Vermont and New York since 1987. We have constructed a wide range of homes that are created with new technology and time proven master builder skills. We are known for building quality homes with an emphasis on energy efficiency. Here are few items to consider before signing a contract with any home builders:
Ten Steps to Avoid Disaster (and Protect Your Savings) in Your Upcoming Construction Project
- Carefully check the credentials of your contractor. Be sure they have a history of the type of work you are considering, the resources, and the time available to complete your project on schedule. Ask for references!
- Ask to meet your project manager. Will you be compatible? The Project Manager will guide you from start to finish so ensure that you can work with this person from a compatibility perspective.
- Have a thorough understanding of the scope of work. Leave nothing to the fertile imagination of your contractor. Be sure the contract is tied directly to the scope of work.
- Be honest and “up front” with your contractor about your budget. If you have chosen a reliable contractor, he will not escalate the cost, but instead tell you what you can do within your budget. If you understate the financial resources you have available, you are likely to end up with a job that is less than you expected.
- Spend whatever time is necessary to research products and energy saving technologies that will achieve your goals. It is likely that you will live with them for a significant portion of your lifetime.
- Review the various options for payment of work. Some projects are more appropriate for a “time and material” contract, others for a lump sum. What is good for one is not good for all. Plan carefully to meet the obligations of a deposit and progress payments. Nothing will slow your job down quicker than failing to meet these deadlines!
- The punch list (large and small items remaining after the job is substantially complete) is often a sticking point and a bone of contention between owner and contractor. A complete and detailed scope of work combined with a conscientious construction crew will go a long way to avoiding a tedious punch list.
- Minimize allowances. A lazy contractor will not go the extra mile to provide an exact price for a particular item and instead assign a “rough” number to it. That number is invariably well below the real value and misleads the owner.
- Have a clear agreement with your Vermont home builder in the contract that no work of any substance will be undertaken without your written approval. This is the cause of many “he said- she said” disputes that end up in litigation!
- Allow in your financial planning a reserve for unforeseen contingencies. No amount of preparation can avoid the hidden pipe in the wall of a renovation project or a change of mind needing the higher priced kitchen faucet. A typical amount might be either 5% or 10% of the contract amount. Whether you spend it or not, you will be happy that you planned for this reserve.
As upstate New York and Vermont Home Builders, we are very experienced working with all types of budgets. The importance of having a clear and concise work plan within a detailed budget cannot be over-stated.