I began creating this checklist as a numbered list but then considered that each of the components will be more or less important to different individuals. As such, I recommend re-writing the list in the order that makes the most sense to you. Here it is:
- Experience- Whether the company is 40 years old or just registered last week, inquire about the experience of the people managing the project and performing the labor. A veteran who just launched a new company will likely know more about what they are doing than a rookie working at an old company. Also, confirm that they are experienced with the same type of work as you’re requesting. A kitchen and bath remodeling contractor can get in over their heads pretty quick trying to build a new home from scratch.
- Licensed- Denver offers 3 types of construction Licenses: A, B, and C. Class A license requires 7 years of verified experience, and a passing grade of the #F11 ICC Building Standard Test. Class B license requires 4 years, #F12 ICC test and Class C requires just 2 years of experience and a passing grade on the #F13 ICC. Don’t just as IF a contractor is licensed, inquire about what Class license they hold.
- Insured- Ask if the contractor carries GL insurance on their project and let them know you would like coverage confirmation prior to work starting. Uninsured contractors can probably bid your job lower but you’ll assume the risk if they damage your house or someone gets injured on the site.
- Communication- Find out up front how the contractor plans to communicate with you about your project. While some contractors prefer phone calls, texts, and emails, others will employ Construction Management software like BuilderTrend in order to organize schedules, document progress and communicate with clients. If you have a preference, make sure that your contractor can communicate in a way that works for you.
- Attention to detail- Ask your potential contractor what aspects they look for to verify their work is complete. Ask them to define the quality that they expect in their finishes and what remedy they will offer if the job falls short.
- Warranty- Construction is complicated, people make mistakes, and materials fail. Good contractors recognize this and will offer a strong warranty to stand behind their work.
- References- General Contractors who do good work should have no problem providing multiple references from previous clients. Talk to their references and ask them about the scope of their project, their budget, and timeline along with any other factors you think are important.
- Project photos- Most contractors provide a sample of their work portfolio online. If they can’t provide attractive photos of similar projects, you should probably keep looking.
- Industry Relationships- If your project will require an architect or interior designer, ask the GC which ones they prefer to work with.
- Permits work- While permitting construction projects can cost time and money, it is an important step that ensures that your project is done to building standards and will be safe.
- Clean work site- This aspect is something that goes overlooked but is a good way to understand the priorities of a contractor. A good contractor will require their workers to clean up the site at the end of the day. This attention to detail will usually show up in the final product in addition to creating a safer work space.
- Performs Punch-List- When a project comes to a finish, it’s important that your contractor is willing to listen to your feedback and correct anything that is short of the quality you expect. Ask what their punch-list process is and look to see that they’re focused on making sure you’re satisfied.
What are your thoughts? If there are areas you feel are important that we’ve missed, send us a message or leave a comment. If you’d like to discuss your Denver construction project with a general contractor who has high marks in each of these categories, you can schedule a consultation directly through my online calendar.