Construction projects can be stressful, we get it. We’ve put together this list of FAQs and resources in the hopes that it might help you get started.
What is my project going to cost?
We get this question all the time, and the short answer is “it depends.” Before embarking on a construction project, there are more unknowns than knowns. Do I need a soils report? Should I contact a septic engineer? What about Title 24? How much engineering will be required? Will the zoning allow what I want to do? Every project is different, and until we have enough information about what you want and what is possible, we believe that providing budgetary information would be doing you a disservice. With that said, we understand how important it is to get a rough idea of the budget range as early as possible. This is why the first step in our process is to team you up with a consultant on our staff who can confirm the feasibility of your project and do the least amount of work necessary to provide you with a reality test and a realistic preliminary budget.
In the meantime, we have found this Cost vs Value report published by Remodeling Magazine quite helpful for bench marking the cost of remodel projects in our geographic area. You’ll have to fill out some personal information to get the report, but we think it’s well worth it.
What can I expect if I sign on to work with you?
After our initial meeting, if it is a good fit, we will provide you with consulting services, taking just the steps necessary to confirm feasibility and do any research needed to be able to provide you with a preliminary budget so you can decide if/how to move forward. If you have existing plans, but preliminary budgetary information has proven over your limit, we can help you value engineer to get the costs down.
If you are in need of architecture and engineering services, we could bring in professionals from our sister company, Builders’ Studio of Sebastopol to join your project’s collaborative team while still remaining your main point of contact.
Once the design is complete and the permit is in hand, we will get to work programming your project – contracting with subs, gathering insurance certificates, scheduling work, ordering materials – all the while keeping you up-to-date with access to an online customer portal. In addition, we will send weekly updates via email detailing what was accomplished the prior week and looking forward to what to expect the next week.
Throughout your project, you can expect proactive and transparent communication, clear documentation and respectful interactions with our entire staff.
Why should I hire Thrive as my contractor?
Hiring a contractor is a very personal decision – you need to feel confident in your choice. Aside from the purchase of your property, a construction project is often the largest financial transaction you will enter into, so it makes sense that you have your eye on the bottom line. However, we believe that one should never underestimate the value of trust, communication and risk management. Whether you hire us or someone else, it is important that you do your due diligence when vetting a contractor – it could save you money and headaches throughout your project.
Here are just a few suggestions:
- Make sure the contractor is currently licensed with the CSLB and has valid Workers Compensation insurance.
- If the CSLB site indicates they are exempt from Workers Compensation, ask them if they will have a crew on your property. If they say “yes,” this is a red flag. Without Worker’s Compensation insurance, any one on their crew that gets hurts can come after you for compensation.
- Request a current certificate of General Liability insurance. As a rule, we advise that you not allow anyone to work on your site until they have provided a current General Liability insurance certificate which names you as Additional Insured and references the address of your property.
- Pay attention to how responsive they are. The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. If they don’t respond quickly and clearly to your calls and emails during the proposal phase, this will most likely continue through the construction phase.
- Pay close attention to the details included on the proposal. Sure, the bottom line might look great, but what exactly does it include? Does it include bringing utilities to the site? Adding a septic system? Does it meet Title 24? Are the counters laminate or stone? Are the floors hardwood or linoleum? As they say, the devil is in the details.
What questions should I be asking my contractor?
What is your specialty (new construction, kitchen & baths, remodels, etc.)?
Do you typically estimate “as-is” or do you offer value engineering services, risk/reward or obstacle/opportunity analysis for your clients?
What contract types do you typically use (fixed, t&m, cost-plus, etc.)?
How do we know what we are contracting for is what we are expecting to receive both in service and final product?
How do you invoice (how often, for what, how much information is shown, etc)?
How do you typically manage the selections process?
How many projects do you have going on at any given time? How are they managed?
Do you have liability and worker compensation insurance? Do you ensure that your subcontractors do, too?
Do you provide a schedule for the project before it starts? If so, how is it updated and provided throughout the project?
Can I or should I live in my house during the project?
How do you address changes during the project that are either due to unforeseen discovery or elective by client?
What are your final payment terms and how do you handle final punch list tasks?