The New York Times recently published an article all about renovation nightmares and problems with contractors. It unfortunately painted a negative image on the remodeling process and focused mainly on legal and financial reparations after a project was completed. There is so much more that could have been written stating facts of how to ensure a positive remodeling experience.
There are multiple steps that can be taken in order to find a reputable contractor such as:
• Check local NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) memberships or other professional organizations
• Is the contractor insured? If so, for how much?
• Consider Design-Build (“one stop shopping”) firms instead of hiring a separate Architect, Interior Designer and Contractor
• Ask about the contractor’s process and business practices
When looking around for design firms or general contracting companies, one can simply begin by contacting professional associations to obtain lists of their members. NARI is the largest association in the remodeling field. NARI members, such as us, are dedicated to high standards and stay up-to-date on best practices, new technologies and innovative products. A company focused on these things means that the outcome of their remodels will be significantly better than those who are not.
Another strong tactic when considering a remodel is to choose a Design-Build firm. They work with clients from the onset of design through the completion of construction, eliminating many opportunities for miscommunication and missed expectations. The Design-Build process also enables clients to move seamlessly from Design into Production. No more spending weeks or months hunting for a contractor only to subsequently find out that they don’t understand how to achieve your vision.
When talking to potential firms, ask about problems that have occurred during their projects. The test of a really good builder is how he or she handles unforeseen problems. Were they up front in telling the homeowner about the situation? Did they have solutions to proactively propose? How do they work with you on your selected fixtures and other products? If you’re working with a Design-Build firm, the selections and finishes will be part of their process. The more decisions you’ve made before construction begins, the less likely work will be interrupted by the need for immediate decisions in the midst of your already busy life.
Ask any and all questions that occur to you! If you do your homework before hiring a contractor, you’ll be less likely to experience a “renovation nightmare”.