Choosing and hiring the right building contractor for your latest home project is no easy task.

The last thing you want to do is hire a cowboy builder or con artist, so you’ll need a way of vetting potential contractors until you feel confident and comfortable with your choice.

Asking builders the ten questions below will help you choose the right builder to create your new home.

1. Are you licensed and insured?

By law, all builders must have an up-to-date builder’s licence, as well as insurance. Although they may tell you that they are both licensed and insured, it’s always best to do your own research and find out. It’s also important that you know whether their licence allows them to practise the specific work you need done.

2. What is the projected timeline for this project?

While unexpected problems might arise as walls are removed or structures are built, an experienced contractor should be able to give you a projected time for the completion of the project. There are times when a project can’t be properly estimated due to hidden damage or additional work behind existing walls or floors. In this case, you should enter into a “time and materials” contract. 

3. What warranty do you offer, and what is the time period of this warranty?

A house is a very detailed piece of work executed by numerous workers. Your builder should anticipate that some problems will occur. As a result, he should have a plan in place to handle these problems. You will want to be assured that the builder will be available during the warranty period to correct any problems.

4. Could you give me the names of some people for whom you have done work so I can contact them?

Make sure you speak to them in case the builder has invented them.  Ask to see the work and forget about anyone who won’t show you the work they have done.  Ask to see some older work as well as a recent job since there will have been more time for faults to become apparent.

5. What is your background and how much experience do you have with this kind of work?”

Everybody deserves a break, but you don’t want your home to be a training ground for novice contractors.

It’s a very basic question, so don’t be shy about asking how long your contractor has been in the industry and how long they’ve run their company. Also, ask about their experience with the specific renovations you’re planning for your home.

6. Who will be supervising my property’s construction?

The supervisor is the most important component in producing a quality build. The supervisor’s past experience and duration at their current employment and his trade base should be known.

7. Do you work in the same area I’ll be building?

It seems simple, yet many people don’t ask this question. Your builder may not be interested in building somewhere where they have to travel. The builder may also have to hire sub-contractors he’s not familiar with and these people may not measure up to the standard you require.

Take Away

What you’re looking for is a builder you can work with, someone who is open to the idea of giving increased attention to the building enclosure and mechanical systems. The questions above should give you a good picture of the right builder for your dream home.