Homeowner Good Practices
Find out what services your contractor offers
Homeowners are often unaware that many professional contractors also provide design and planning services and can add a lot of value to the process of your build, especially if it is going to be a more complicated one. They may see opportunities for improving designs or offering alternate solutions if there are structural challenges. These services may save you money in the long run.
Don’t let a contractor start until you know the facts
Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Your contractor should be able to answer your questions about your building project so that you know what to expect. Ask them questions about how the work will be done and by whom. Ask them about the process of the build and what does the work entail. Ask them about who’s responsible for the clean up after the deck is built. You might want to know how the building process will affect your day-to-day living. Ask them any question that comes to your mind about the whole building process. However, do so before they begin the work. You should not let them begin until you are satisfied with their responses. Besides, once they begin the project, they will expect that they have answered your questions so that they can busy on doing what you hired them to do. With that in mind, the more you know upfront about the whole process, the less anxious you will be.
Take an active role throughout the project
Because it is your house and your investment, you will want to follow things closely. It is best to know what is going on at all times about the building process. Good communication and a good working relationship with your contractor will make for the best end results for both parties and should prevent any issues arising during and after the process. It is reasonable to expect regular updates, so ask for them. Make sure to go over the drawings for your deck to make sure you are getting what you want. Then monitor the progress of the project. Don’t leave these to happenstance. Discuss any decisions with your contractor.
Don’t expect to finish the project problem-free
This is especially true if you are building a large outdoor living space. The bigger the project, the more likely it is that you will run into unexpected problems and delays. There might be a big storm that delays the work for a few days, or there might be delays in special orders. Any number of other problems could occur. Don’t place blame. Some things are out of your control and that of your contractor. This makes it important to be flexible and understanding. Trusting your contractor and having a good rapport with them makes it easier to move beyond the problems and find a solution for them.
It is your job, as the homeowner, to decide what type of materials you want your deck to be made of and what type of finish you want to put on it. You are also the one who must choose the type of railings, end caps and stairs that you want. All the choices about your deck are your responsibility, and making these choices may take you some time. Set some time aside and do your research. Don’t wait until the last minute to decide what you want. In places where there is lots of construction going on, there might be significant delays in getting everything you want, especially if you have special orders for materials. And don’t forget that your contractor has built many outdoor spaces and has the experience that you may be lacking. Take full advantage of his knowledge and experience to help you find the best options.
Have enough money in reserve for extras that you might add to the project
In building an outdoor living space, there may be extras that you might want to add as the work progresses. This might include benches, tables or planters that match your deck. Or it might be a more expensive stain than you initially planned to use. You might want to add an extra set of steps. Any of these little things could add to the cost of your building project, so it is advisable to have a cash reserve to take care of any of these “additions” to your regular plans. This is the best time to get the little extras that will add to the future enjoyment of your outdoor living space. Besides, it is always a good rule of thumb to dedicate a certain percentage such as 10% over and above the projected cost of your build for unforeseen necessities.