Property Owners—-Simple Strategies for your Construction Project
By Lisa Wills, Law Offices of Lisa D. Wills
We have all heard stories about nightmare construction projects and contractors. These stories can scare off property owners who want to improve their property. There are some simple strategies that can help get your project off to a good start and attempt to avoid problems.
- Get referrals for contractors from people you trust
- Find the contractor for your project
- Get a detailed, written contract
- Obtain help supervising your project
Get Referrals for Contractors
For any type of construction project, there are many contractors who may tell you they can do the work. The challenge is to find the right contractor for you and for your project. Internet sources and reviews are not necessarily reliable. When you plan to spend hard earned dollars on your project, don’t you want to try to find the best contractor for the job who is dependable, has integrity, and does quality work?
It is wise to talk with trusted family, friends and colleagues and ask for referrals for contractors they know and have used. Your trusted advisers may be able to show you the work and give you valuable information about the contractor. The project architect or engineer may also be a good source of referrals.
Be Smart about Selecting a Contractor
There are many of ways to select a contractor. One way is to prequalify several reputable contractors who have solid skill in the trades related to your project to make sure they are available, are experienced in the work you want performed and have the crew needed for your project.
Get detailed, written bids for the work from at least three contractors. If possible, have your architect evaluate and compare the bids. Make sure you thoroughly interview the contractor and ask questions about the proposal. It is important to know that you can work with the contractor. Ask yourself if the potential contractor is someone you can communicate with and feel they are honest and have integrity.
Check that the contractor has a valid license and check the discipline history at https://www2.cslb.ca.gov/OnlineServices/CheckLicenseII/checklicense.aspx.
Ask for references. Compile a list of questions for the references. You will probably not get to talk to owners who were unhappy with the contractor’s work. Go look at other jobs the contractor has completed.
Get a Detailed, Written Construction Contract
The written construction contract contains the scope of work for your project and all of the important terms. A carefully crafted agreement can help minimize disputes, set expectations and is a guideline for the entire project. It is much easier to point to a contract term when there is an issue than argue about it and have the work stop. Key terms include total cost for the work, start and completion dates, and warranties. It is always wise to have a lawyer review the contract to make sure it includes essential provisions.
Obtain help Planning and Supervising your Construction Project
The goal for a project is that the contractor and owner work together well. Having professional help with the planning and supervision of your project can help to guide your project and minimize conflict. A lawyer can assist you with your contract and questions that arise which will help avoid expensive legal disputes.
To get assistance regarding your construction project, call us at (925) 463-9000 or send an email.
Lisa Wills of the Law Offices of Lisa D. Wills is a skilled construction law attorney in Pleasanton, CA helping owners and contractors benefit from her experience to legal complexities in their construction documents and projects. For questions concerning construction law, contact Lisa Wills by email or (925) 463-9000.