If you are employing a main contractor to oversee the whole construction works they should bring in specialist sub-contractors to work on the project in the key areas. If you are project managing ensure you find the right person for the task and if needed check they have the correct qualifications, experience and insurance.
7 – Never pay upfront
I am still surprised when I hear people are paying their builders before they have completed the work. Never, ever pay for the work until it is completed and you are happy with it. If you pay them beforehand they have no incentive to finish the work and you leave yourself at risk of the project dragging on for much longer as the builder is on other jobs. If a builder asks for money upfront, politely decline and find another who won’t.
On larger projects you can arrange a staged payment with the builder. This normally involves paying for the percentage of works completed at the end of each month. Make sure if the builder is asking for 50% of the money that they have completed 50% of the work. This sometimes can be unclear, ask your Architect to confirm that they agree with the amount of work completed in respect to the valuation from the builder.
8 – Retention
If you are undertaking a larger project you can normally include a retention as part of the contract. This specifies a small percentage of the building costs that you retain throughout the stage payments and release at the end of the project or a few months afterwards.
The percentage is often around 3-5% and covers minor issues that need rectifying once the main building works have been completed. This can be anything from faulty electrics to correcting substandard finishes etc.
9 – Insurance
Ask your builder to confirm the amount of public liability insurance they hold. This insurance will protect the builder against injury or death of third party persons, or damage to third party property, from incidents arising relating to the building works. For example, if a passerby was to be struck by a falling brick when walking past the site, the builder might be held liable for compensation and legal fees. The same would apply if an item hits a car or other property. If the builder was not insured the client / property owner could be liable for any claim so it is all ways prudent to check.
10 – Communication
Good communication between the client, builder and Architect is key to a smooth running project. If you are ever unsure on anything always ask, do not presume one thing as others may have presumed something different. If you notice something you believe to be an issue mention it straight away. It may be nothing but best to get it clarified and not run the risk of the problem getting bigger.
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