Here we have assembled some of the most common questions we receive.
Click on a question below to reveal the answer.
Permits are required for certain types of work. If a building permit is required, we will get one. This insures that inspections will be made of the work performed, which is especially important for plumbing, electrical and structural work. It may also be important when selling the home to have a record of inspections.
Yes, of course. However, you should keep in mind that it is sometimes difficult to evaluate a product that is sold on line for quality, durability and reliability. We can always recommend products that meet these criteria.
Planning and coordination of workers is essential for timely completion of your project. Steve Kunkel Master Builders will create, and work from, a schedule for your project that will complete the project in the shortest possible time. You will receive a copy of that schedule. There may be a few days when work cannot be performed while waiting for granite to be fabricated, drywall mud to dry, or wood floor finish to cure. Otherwise you can expect work to be done each day.
Extras and changes will be handled with a “Change Order” form that itemizes the costs for any extras or changes that come up during the project. Your approval is necessary before we go forward with any work of this kind.
The biggest part of cost over-runs come from changes and additions after the construction phase begins. Most of these costs can be avoided with the proper amount of time spent on planning and design. There are always a few unforeseen problems in remodeling work, but we can usually limit this cost to less than 5% of the total project cost.
First of all you should not feel any pressure to move faster than you feel comfortable in going with respect to getting the project moving, either in the design phase or getting to the starting line of the construction phase. Next, you should get all your questions answered about the contractor’s PROCESS. How does it all happen; design, specifications, permits, cost estimates…get all your questions answered. The contractor should have a well organized system for paying the bills for your project. You should expect the contractor to provide a fair, detailed and comprehensive construction contract that describes how the project will be managed with respect to scope of work, price, start and completion dates, payments, communication, allowances, disputes, cleanup work, punchlist work and warranty coverage. Ask to see this contract in the very early stages of your engagement.
Our goal is to create a construction schedule that goes fast enough so that there are no “down days” yet slow enough to be under control and incorporate any minor changes that may come up. We usually finish all of our projects within a week of the projected ending time. An experienced contractor will generally do their best to buffer the schedule for unplanned delays. Here are several examples why schedules go beyond the original finish date:
Change orders For small additions or modifications to the original plans, last minute color changes for finishing materials or unforeseen structural problems, usually related to the building code or damage from water or insects.
Weather Sometimes weather prevents work from happening on time such as pouring concrete sidewalks and driveways, or roofing work.
Material delays Materials and equipment that arrive to the job and are damaged or is not what was ordered.
Only you, the customer, can decide if the price for your project is “fair”. Unfortunately deciding if the price was fair often depends on the outcome. If the project gets done on time with the quality of workmanship you expected for the price you paid, then you the price you paid is fair. This is why it is vitally important to engage with a design/build contractor with a reputation for completing jobs on time and on budget. If you are trying to decide if whether the price is fair before the job begins, if you think the price is reasonable for the work described by the plans, scope of work and specifications then the price is fair.
Even though you may be skilled at managing projects, remodeling projects require a lot more time that people think. And the best contractors have developed long standing relationships with workers, subcontractors and suppliers that make all phases of the project blend together well, something that will an uphill push for most homeowners.
Even if your project seems small, any time you intend to modify the structure of your home, it is best is to get the services of a good home remodeling contractor. Your choice of contractors will have a big impact on the results you get. Before hiring a contractor, check out the company’s web site. Always check out a contractor you are considering with your local and state consumer protection officials such as Localloop.com and the State Attorney General’s Office. Ask the contractor for customer references for projects similar to yours. Ask for their credentials and a copy of the contractor’s current insurance certificates and licenses.
First and foremost is to be sure they have a tried and proven system or process for managing your project from the first meeting all the way to the end. Ask to see examples of plans, estimates and other paperwork from previous projects so you can see how the system works. Ask to see examples of their work. Review the construction contract to be sure that all guarantees, warranties and promises are made in writing. Make sure you have a written contract, to ensure that everyone is clear of what is to be done, how much it will cost, and a schedule for completion.