The most important step prior to selecting a general contractor is to familiarize oneself in the construction, language, and details needed in building a house. It is easier for both client and general contractor when there is a shared level of understanding in building the house.
When choosing a ‘general contractor’ (which is also known as ‘entrepreneur gnral’ in the French language), it is best to start from a group of four or more contractors. Solicit their bids and narrow each choice until you reach one. Make sure that the contractor chosen is competent, skilled, and professional.
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Understand that the most popular reason for a badly built house is not a bad plan but a bad contractor. There are different types of contractors. Knowing how to identify each will help one get the best one for the job.
Established General Contractor: These are skilled and reputable builders who are in an established company or partnership. They are often associated with high profile and prestigious building projects.
New Skilled Builders: These are general contractors who have recently just started building on their own. These general contractors have just started and would want to garner some positive reputation. These contractors most probably have worked under a builder before starting on their own.
Marginal New Contractors: these are builders that didn't really have any formal training yet are familiar with the intricacies of building a house. These kinds of contractors are best reserved for minor building projects as the quality output of their work is average at best.
It is easy to avoid choosing the wrong contractor for the project. Following these guidelines can weed out the good ones from the bad ones:
Real estate brokers, building suppliers, plumbers, and electricians are a good source of information in evaluating what kind of general contractor one is talking to.
Examine past projects done. As mentioned, new skilled builders usually started off under an established contractor. Check the projects they have done previously.
Interview with previous clients. Ask previous clients what their experience was with the general contractor. Was the builder professional? How quick did the contractor react to problems after the project has been done?
With careful evaluation and meticulous background checks, one can find the right general contractor for the building project in mind.