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Some Things Your Commercial Contractor Won’t Tell You

Some Things Your Commercial Contractor Won’t Tell You

Posted by Best Access Doors on 3rd Jun 2020

Some Things Your Commercial Contractor Won’t Tell You

Renovation and new construction projects start as a dream-- high-quality work done on time and within budget with just teeny tiny friction between you as the owner and the contractor. However, there can be other times that a project has many mistakes, delays, and even frayed nerves. Hiring a commercial contractor that you can genuinely trust is essential during any commercial construction project. Unfortunately, if you think that getting a professional contractor means you can delegate everything to him and they'll take care of it, then that's where you're wrong. It is a disaster just waiting to happen because a construction project isn't just a task to delegate-- it is a task to manage.

So, if you've finally hired a contractor for your renovation or new construction project and you've done your homework, checked references, and even have a written contract already, it's now time that you ask the right questions upfront, in the middle, and through the end. Because no matter what happens on the project, you will be the one who needs to tie its ends once everything is complete, so demand nothing less than excellence. You probably already think that it's easy now, and you can leave everything up to your contractor. Well, that's where you are wrong! Keep in mind that even the most reputable contractors may not even remember warning you of the construction process's possible pitfalls. Worse, an unscrupulous and dishonest contractor might also deliberately conceal them to disadvantage you at the end.

It would be best to prepare yourself for your next big project by looking at these ten things that your contractor won't tell you (you need to know before you start a project!)

1. Paperwork is Your Responsibility, Not the Contractor’s

Any construction project requires paperwork such as permits and licenses. Here's what you don't know, and you probably won't know if your contractor won't tell you-- when it comes to all the paperwork associated with permits and inspections for your construction project, it's your job and not the contractor's job. Most cities and states require building permits, checks, and even approvals for plumbing and electrical in building projects. Moreover, an architectural review board or homeowner association's approval may also be a requirement in exterior work. You must also make follow-ups after you complete a job to get a valid certificate of occupancy issued for all the work done.

2. Checking the Insurance

Your contractor won't probably offer up insurance certificates unless you ask them for valid and legal documents. Note that a contractor should always carry general liability insurance covering property damage and injuries that workers might sustain on the job. If the contractor for the job hires workers, they must also include the workers' compensation insurance. As a homeowner or commercial space owner, you could wind up footing the bill yourself in the event of accidents or injuries.

3. Experience Matters

Detailed information on experience is another thing that your contractor probably won't tell you-- some contractors will bid on a job even if it is not within their area of expertise. Before signing a contract, you need to determine your contractor's experience on a project that's similar to yours. For example, ask the contractor how many similar projects he has completed in his career. No one wants to wind up, spending extra time and money on a prolonged project just because the contractor lacks experience in the same kind of work. You have to be careful about the contractor you plan to hire because you would always want the job to go as smoothly as possible.

4. Inquire About Lien Waivers and Subcontractors

Do you have any idea what a lien waiver is? A lien waiver is a type of receipt for payment of services and materials. It ensures that all subcontractors and suppliers are fully-paid and that there is no imposition of liens on your property. Another thing that you should also do is to ensure that the contractor has paid all subcontractors in full before you deliver your final payment for the job.

5. Even Remodeling is Messy

If you think that the best contractors will not make any mess on their job, we're sorry to tell you that you're wrong. Even the best contractors (with experiences on almost all projects) will kick around many dust, debris, and noise. It is only natural because that's all part of the remodeling job. To minimize the inconvenience and the health hazards of waste, you can ask your contractor to "fence off" the construction area using heavy-dutyplastic and run air filters while the project is ongoing. However, it will be a different thing if you can't abide the sound of hammers and saws-- you might have to vacate the premises during the day. 

6. Always Expect the Unexpected

When it comes to remodeling or renovation projects, even the best-laid ones can go astray once the demolition of walls and tearing up of floors start. We'll never even know what they're reasons are for doing that. The most straightforward job can become complicated by irregular framing, substandard plumbing, bad electrical wiring, or even just asbestos. Before you move forward with your project, it is vital that you discuss the possible roadblocks and how to solve them with your contractor. Once done, you have to make some room for these issues in your timeline and budget to ensure that you are ready for the little surprises that will happen along the way. 

7. Avoid Issuing Change Orders

Always beware of dodgy contractors who make their money on change orders. They will give a low bid at the beginning and then, later on, will nickel and dime you on any changes that may come up. To prevent this kind of situation, you should spell out the work scope at the beginning of the project and avoid unnecessary changes during the job. If you need to make a change due to something unexpected, like lousy wiring or plumbing, you should expect to pay for a change order. 

8. Be a Material Witness

How can you make sure that you are getting what you paid for? If you're not expecting the materials used in your project, then you might be missing out. There are scam artists known for using defective materials when the contract calls for a different material or product. Also, beware of "discounted" products. These are typically substandard replacements, and you should always be sure to spell out all the materials in the contract.

9. Strictly Stick to Your Timeline

Ask your contractor to provide you with a valid timetable and then strictly stick to it. Build a financial incentive for finishing the work on or ahead of schedule. You should also include a penalty clause for substantial delays that may occur. Keep in mind that delays are often unavoidable in a construction project. So before you start anything, talk to your contractor about how they will handle unanticipated roadblocks. At the end of the project, always make a checklist of the things that you need finishing.

10. Collect Receipts

You probably don't know that many types of home improvements such as roofing, replacement windows, and siding, come with a warranty-- well, they do. However, for the warranty to be valid, it typically must be registered, and it's your responsibility to get receipts from the contractor and make sure that all warranties are registered.

11.Documentation When the Project Is Done

Lien releases, marked-up plans on plumbing and other utilities, copies of inspection reports, and many others, are often end-of-project paperwork. However, there may still be additional items that you find valuable. It may be a full set of mechanical photos before insulation, operating manuals from the installed equipment, a list of subcontractors and their contact info, care for countertops and tiles, and even a well-marked electrical panel. You can't wait for your contractor to offer these documents-- you should confirm that you will receive everything before you get started because this will help ensure that you will finish the project with all the information that you need.

Final Thoughts

Constructing a new building or remodeling is a huge financial (and emotional!) investment. It can also take up a lot of your time if you don't have it planned out accordingly. That's why it is crucial that you are closely involved in the decision-making, and you can always start by asking your contractor the right questions before you start. Remember that knowing what to expect before the project begins will help you prepare well for the construction process.

If you want to learn more ways and tips on improving your construction projects, you can browse through our blogs at You can also take a peek at some of the products that we sell, such as access doors and panels. If you ever plan on having us to supply you with them, we can guarantee you that all of our products are high-quality. 

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