Home renovations can make for an exciting project to embark on however, they soon can become a nightmare if your contractor doesn’t meet your expectations…or agreed deliverables.
Sadly, more often than not, home projects bump into hiccups and depending on how your contractor reacts, they can potentially bring the project to a screeching halt. Whether you have already found yourself in this situation or are just planning to kick-start your project, these tips can help you salvage your contractor relationship, and help turn your project around!
The majority of issues between contractors and homeowners boil down to miscommunication and a lack of updates.
All too often contractors get wrapped up in the project details and fail to give proper notification of daily progress and setbacks to the homeowners. Although you might have discussed the details on your doorstep, don’t take it for granted that all details will be remembered later. There is nothing more clear than written communication which you can refer to later on. This will help you to make sure you haven’t forgotten to mention any detail to your contractor and equally will keep the contractor accountable for the tasks.
Pay attention during the tender process, to the clarity and frequency of communication from your potential contractor as this will provide a good indication of how they will behave during the project. A contractor that provides only a vague quote or that is unresponsive to calls or emails is unlikely to change their behaviour after winning the work.
When working on a home project, you may find yourself facing something that didn’t go according to plan. This can be the result of a genuine mistake, lack of planning, or events outside of anyone’s control. A good contractor will be able to handle such situations easily, dealing with anything important as it arises. It’s essential that you pay attention to all of your contractor’s updates that are given to you and ensure that you understand any implications. In terms of your response, it is one thing to be understanding of unforeseen circumstances and another to be pushed around by a contractor that is constantly delaying the finish of the project due to continuous issues. This is a delicate balance, but you do need to make it clear to your contractor that you expect professionalism and a course of action to get the project back on track.
One complaint, often heard, is when a contractor gets so wrapped up in the work that they forget what is set in their contract. The clearer and more thoughtful the scope of work in advance, the easier it will be for you to refer back to it and keep the contractor accountable later on. Make sure you take time when agreeing on the scope of work with your contractor to include all the nuances that might be involved during your project. A good contractor will have considered common exclusions and exceptions for you and will provide this information to you in advance. Ensure that you are clear on what is and isn’t included in your contract and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure. Whilst work is in progress, don’t forget to regularly revisit your scope of work to refresh your mind and ensure the delivered outcome matches the one agreed to with your contractor.
This is an important one! Many think that once the contract has been written and signed it can’t be changed. If your project has been so delayed that the original timeline is impossible to meet or there is a crucial change in scope needed, there’s no point in trying to hold your contractor to the original milestones. Instead of rushing the contractor and the team, which may lead to mistakes along the way, it may be better to move the goalposts and give your contractor time to deliver. This can result in better results and a better relationship. An experienced contractor will have an appropriate process in place to handle changes to your scope and timeline.
If your project has problems that seem tied to the workers on-site, you’ll need to bring their supervisors into the loop. Larger construction companies have key personnel who bid on the project and then a different team of people who deliver the work on site.
If that’s the case and you do experience problems, ask that the supervisor of your project visits the site to discuss your concerns and set things right. A responsible company will be keen to hear about any concerns you have and remedy the problems.
A reputable contractor will offer you a clearly defined set of milestone payments and retention as part of your contract.
If you’re in the middle of the project and considering tweaking the terms of the contract or adjusting milestones, one of the best things you can do to protect your interests is to stipulate that there will be a retention of final funds until all items are completed to your satisfaction.
The more concerns you have about your contractor, the more detail you should have on the payment terms, ensuring that all work is completed on the contractors’ side before all payments are made. Having said this, a request to withhold funds shouldn’t be your immediate response to the first hiccup the project may experience – After all, you want to maintain a positive relationship with your contractor, but you should ensure you have some leverage to protect yourself if things don’t go according to plan.
We hope this brief overview gave you a better idea of how you could manage your contractor in the event of a project that is not meeting your expectations. It is important to remember that one of the best ways to protect yourself is by carrying out thorough research before signing on the dotted line with your contractor. A significant project will likely mean your contractor is working in your home for a lengthy period of time and will involve large sums of money, so it’s critical that you feel confident with your choice of company. If you don’t have a positive experience with a contractor during the tender process, we would advise looking elsewhere, even if this means delaying the project or costs a little more. Ensure that you take a look at a contractor’s previous work and reviews from clients. This can give you a good first impression of the chosen contractor. You should also ask to speak to at least one previous client to get an understanding of their experience.
Finally, don’t part with any money until you have a clearly defined project scope and robust terms and conditions in place.
If you are considering a project on your home, get in touch with Castle Construction to discuss your ideas.