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Warning Signs to Look For Before Hiring a General Contractor (Part 1)

GCs who just do as they’re told, no vision and no design foresight

When remodeling, renovating or building from the ground up you have a few options. You can go gung-ho and do the DIY approach (not recommended unless you’re a professional with years of experience and/or the project is small and simple). You can hire an architect to create the blueprints and design and also oversee the construction. Or you can hire a general contractor (GC) to follow architectural designs and manage the project. There are also options that involve combinations of all three options.

When you hire a GC, you give them the design plans or talk through your vision and they do exactly what’s asked of them. Sounds like just what you need, right?

Well, it is and it isn’t. While it’s great to be able to hand over a job and know that the project will be completed exactly to specifications, there’s also a danger there. Look out for the warning signs. Crucial flaws that aren’t spotted during construction can lead to major delays and setbacks, as well as costing you more in the long run.

Think of it like a doctor going in for a complicated surgery. If that doctor simply followed the textbook and went off the hypothetical model, they might run into trouble working on an actual human patient with a body that is unique with its individual needs.

The same goes for your GC. If they simply do the job without paying attention to key design elements, they could miss some crucial details. Architecture and design is a careful and methodical balance of aesthetics and mechanics. In an ideal world, your GC will be able to be detail-oriented as well as well-versed in design plans – and can bridge the gap to ensure the plans are followed properly but also raises a flag if something seems awry in the actual building phase.

Everything in a renovation or construction project must be carefully plotted and implemented from design to build. The plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems must be accounted for in every step of the process, as well as the foundational and structural integrity of every room and every wall in your home. When you hire someone to complete a vital home project, they need to not only be able to complete this project but also tell you if there are any fatal flaws in the design that could become major issues as construction begins.

If you hire a GC with the practical knowledge and skills but without the ability to spot design flaws or worse, the willingness to speak up when they see any issues, your project could end up taking much longer than expected, not ending up how you wanted and costing you more than quoted.

We’re not here to bash general contractors. We love the GCs we work with and will always stand by our partnerships. But we’re here to look out for you. Unfortunately, there are too many GCs out there that just want to plug-and-chug and get the job done. Raising a hand when something isn’t quite just right becomes a time delay and a nuisance for everyone – but it also ensures the job is done properly.

Are you concerned about a project you’re working on with a GC? Talk to us and we can help you make an informed decision that’s right for you and be your advocate on-site during the building process. Worried that your redesign or renovation might be too complicated for a GC? We’re here to ensure your project is done properly the first time.

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