Here are a few suggestions for avoiding trouble when dealing with a general building contractor:

  • Do not hire a contractor without checking him out thoroughly. References are vital. Visiting several projects he has previously built is a good idea.
  • Do not upset the contactor at the very beginning of the project. Invoices have to be paid on time.
  • Do not employ contractors with limited construction knowledge and experience. The contractor may not understand the plans and this could lead to costly mistakes in the project.
  • Avoid contractor demands for substantial amounts of money from the client prior to doing any work. We advise our clients never to pay more than 10% of any contract to get the project started.
  • Do not change any of the project specifications after the contract has been agreed without the prior consent of the house architect. This could lead to a problem that is not immediately apparent but could cause an expensive problem in the future.
  • Do not pay the building contractor too much money with each request for payment,  leaving you, the client, vulnerable to the contractor not finishing the job. The amount of work that is left could end up being more than the amount of money the contractor would collect if he finished the job.
  • Do not sign a contract with a contractor which the contractor drafted without reading it carefully or getting it checked over by your house architect.
  • Do not pay the contractor month after month without verifying that all necessary local authority inspections have been carried out.
  • Do not hire a building contractor for a job that the contractor considers a “small” job for him or where the company is a large company with substantial resources to spend years in court fighting a lawsuit. Look for a company that is neither too large nor too small to complete the project and who will want to finish the project correctly.

These are a few suggestions that need to be implemented on any construction project.  Hiring a house architect to provide guidance during construction could actually save the home-owner money in the long run.

An experienced house architect can bring years of knowledge to the construction process and prevent a homeowner from making costly mistakes due to inexperience.


The Role of the Home Architect

by mark on 22/05/2010

Building a New House or House Extension – The Role of the Home Architect

In addition to hiring a home architect for the production of house plans for a home improvement project or a new house, the architect can play a very useful role in protecting the owner from the risks involved in the construction process.

Besides being well-versed in the construction process, an experienced home architect knows the pitfalls of construction and has a working knowledge of property law.

An architect can make critical suggestions for protecting the homeowner from an unscrupulous or inexperienced contractor.

When a home architect is hired to provide services pre-construction, he/she will generally:

  • Visit the site, listen carefully to what the home owner is trying to achieve with a view to representing these wishes in a set of drawings or plans.
  • Once the drawings are prepared and agreed with the home owner, apply for planning permission (if required) and building regulation approval.
  • Following approval of the above, to review material and labour quotations from a building contractor.
  • Make periodic visits to the job to review the progress of the work.

The home architect hired for services during the construction phases will review the requests for payment from the building contractor on completion of each phase. He/she will make sure that what the client is receiving, accords with the house plans.

In addition, the architect can make sure that the contractor is not “front-loading” the schedule of materials and labour costs. ‘Front-loading’ means that the contractor is trying to discretely collect more money up front by stating that items which are to be installed first actually cost more than they do. For example, he will put in more money for the for the footings than the actual cost so that he can put more money in his pocket at the beginning of the job.

By providing these services during the construction phase, the architect will help the homeowner avoid a dispute with the general contractor or his sub-contractors. It is easier to avoid a dispute with contractor than to try to fix a dispute once it starts.


Welcome To Our New Website Site

May 7, 2010

Built by The Business Renegade – Mark Salmon. Mark says ‘I have known John for 20 years. I thought John deserved a website to show case his undoubted skills and expertise in property. I highly recommend his services.’

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