When a client gets two bids and they are comparable in price? What should they then base their decision on?
Before selecting a contractor, make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured. All General Contractors are required by California law to be licensed, bonded and insured.
Getting multiple bids is a good idea as long as you provide the contractors with a very detailed scope of work. Without that, trying to compare apples to apples will be impossible. Plus, a bid doesn’t tell you equally important details such as reliability, abilities, and quality of work. Ask your contractor for references. Even better ask to see some of their past project work.
Another thing as a licensed General Contractor the State of California requires is very specific verbiage in our contracts, even specific font types and text sizes. If a bid doesn’t have that, buyer beware. A contract should spell out in detail exactly what is included in the scope of work and what is not. It should match at minimum in detail the scope of work provided.
Do you folks develop the schedule or the client? Can you give any tips or thoughts on this?
As the general contractor, we will develop the schedule with input from our clients. As for tips or thoughts…good communication is critical for setting a realistic and achievable schedule.
Any tips on staying on schedule?
Staying on schedule starts long before the project work starts. Spending time on the details during the planning stages of the project by identifying products and materials will dramatically help stay on schedule. It allows for products and materials with long order lead times to be ordered in advance and made available for installation when needed versus having to wait for them to arrive.
Spending the time on details will also help reduce the chances for costly Change Orders.
Tips on staying on budget?
Again, planning, details, and having all the right people on board from the start greatly helps with staying on budget. It is common for clients to hold back on the amount they can spend with hopes it will control the project bid cost, which it may, but usually it just reduces the scope of the project or eliminates options or opportunities. If you want to get the best bang for your buck it is best if the people helping design and plan your project have a clear understanding of the true budget available to work with.
Tips on how the client can relay their ideas to you?
Put everything on the table from the very beginning. Knowing what your goals are will help us in developing a strategy throughout the project and don’t be afraid to talk about new ideas and changes you want as you see the project progress forward. It is very common to have new ideas during construction. I always say, a great project evolves during the building process. People just see things differently once work has begun versus how they imagined it or compared to the project on paper. The important part is addressing these changes as early in the process as possible. This helps with controlling cost and staying on schedule.
Who typically buys the materials when building?
The Contractor and here is why. Gone are the days of building whatever you want as construction has become very sophisticated from just 10 - 15 years ago, especially with all the fires in recent years, along with very strict energy building codes. Construction today, requires very specific building products, products that meet these new code requirements. It is also not one size fits all anymore. For example, a different fire code requirement can apply on the same street depending if a house backs up to open space or another house or street. Contractors today, are in a lot of ways like doctors and teachers. They require continual education to keep up with all the new regulation and certification requirements. Contractors also have suppliers that carry these specialty items, items that are not found in the big box stores, many of which only sell to licensed contractors.
As far as materials like tile, lighting, and plumbing fixtures, these items are either purchased by the contractor, designer, or customer. With today’s strict building codes, it is important that the customer consult with an expert who has knowledge of these code requirements. For example, today’s electrical codes require a certain type of motion switch, lighting fixture, and venting in bathrooms while plumbing codes requires lower water usage toilets and shower heads. Consulting with an expert can save the customer money and avoid getting stuck with materials and fixtures that cannot be installed due to these code requirements.
Describe the value of having an interior designer on board as part of the team?
Not only is it a great idea, it is a smart idea, to have an interior designer as part of the team. They bring a wealth of knowledge, a walking product encyclopedia so to speak, with an understanding of what the current trends are and products available. Interior designers also help keep the client focused on the important issues, things that can cause construction delays.
Now, you want to drive yourself crazy let’s talk about paint colors. You think white is white and black is black, think again. There are thousands of whites and blacks to choose from, each having just of enough in color similarities as the other and just enough differences to drive you crazy trying to pick the perfect color. This is where your interior designer is invaluable, if for your own sanity alone. They have an incredible sense for which color(s) pulls all the other pieces in the room together to create a seamless bond.
People tend to get bogged down and struggle over a single item not seeing the whole picture. An interior designer is skilled at seeing the whole picture and how each piece compliments the others creating a cohesive look that is timeless. Simply put, they just know how to make a space make you feel good.
Having an interior designer and contractor part of your project from the start just makes sense, they are the perfect flavor combination that makes a project spectacular and successful!
Now, how do you feel about that new kitchen remodel? A little more comfortable, a little more excited? When you're ready to get the ball rolling, we're here to help! Not only will we help you pick the perfect white paint color, but we'll create a beautiful new space for you and your family to enjoy every day! No more dated cabinets, hardware or countertops…
Love, The Sisters