Ten Things To Ask Before Hiring Your Builder

Nothing is better than a newly renovated kitchen or living room addition, but the steps needed to get to your dream home can be daunting. There is so much to consider before taking on a renovation project. Assuming you’re not Chip and Joanna Gaines, one of the first things you’ll need to research is which builder to hire. Renovating your home can be one of the most significant financial decisions of your life, so you’ll want to ensure your project is in good hands before signing on the dotted line. When interviewing potential builders, here are a few things you must ask!

Can you show me samples of you work?

A successful contractor should be ready to show you photos of projects similar to your scope and budget. Only consider companies with a proven track record in remodeling the type of room you’re looking for. We have an extensive range of projects featured on our online portfolio, but if you’re looking for an example of something in particular, we’re happy to provide more photos.

When can we start construction?

Several factors drive a project start date. Most contractors have numerous active jobs at once, so your project is unlikely to begin immediately after signing a contract. At BLB, you will receive a concrete start date following our receipt of the building permit. When planning your project start date, we factor in: the current lead times for supplies related to your project, any work that requires seasonal agreeance (e.g., exterior painting, excavation, and concrete), and our current waitlist of scheduled projects.

What is your timetable from demo to completion?

Unlike what you see on HGTV, most renovation projects take longer than five commercial breaks. Depending on the scope of work, the project could take several weeks or months to complete. After signing a contract with us, your project manager will create a schedule and estimated completion date for your project. You can quickly review your updated project schedule anytime by accessing our construction software, CoConstruct.

BLB Design / Build lead carpenter framing a mudroom addition project in Newburyport, MA

What time will your crew start working?

Not a morning person? We get it. Construction often begins early and can last until the early evening. Our team works Monday – Friday from 7 am to 3:30 pm. This schedule might not mean you’ll have someone hammering at your home at 7 am daily, but it is something to consider when planning your renovation if you intend on living in the house during construction.

Who pays the medical bills if a worker is injured?

The employee will most likely be covered if your contractor has workers’ compensation insurance. However, you may have to pay the expenses if they do not. While we hope no serious injuries occur during your project, at BLB, we are fully insured, so you never need to worry about additional medical expenses.

What happens if my antique dog statue breaks?

General liability insurance ensures that you will likely get reimbursed if something breaks on your property during construction. Companies without insurance may only offer you a sincere apology. Again, BLB is fully insured, so if, god forbid, Lucky loses his tail in a tragic accident, our policy has you covered.

Can you stick to my budget?

If your wish list and budget are realistic and in sync, an experienced contractor should be able to give you what you want within budget. It does, however, always help to prioritize what is most important to you. That said, budgets and desires can change throughout the process. Work Orders are usually client-driven additions to the project outside the original scope of work. These often come in verbal or written requests to the lead carpenter or project manager. Work Orders can include, but are not limited to, adding work to an untouched area of the project, increasing the amount of tile work, or adding design details, such as trim work, wallpaper, additional light fixtures, etc. Change Orders are unforeseen additions to the project outside the original scope of work and outside of the homeowner’s and builder’s control that we must address to move forward. These might not be seen during the walkthrough or after the post-demo discovery phase.

Who is responsible for making product selections?

Knowing who is responsible for selecting products can be confusing. While we collaborate with our clients and assist with product selections, which may include tile, stone, flooring, hardware, and more, homeowners are encouraged to research their preferences and visit product showrooms when making decisions. Appliances and electrical fixtures are handled solely by the homeowner, but we are happy to assist with coordinating the delivery. All electrical fixtures and appliances must be on-site before the electrical and plumbing finish. BLB Design / Build will provide several selections for plumbing fixtures. We work with the homeowner on this selection because fixtures are required to meet Massachusetts’ code requirements. Retail stores such as Home Depot and Lowes carry select products which the MA plumbing code may not approve.

BLB Design / Build Owner, Ben, and Project Manager, Shelby, review plans for a second story addition project in Topsfield, MA

Photography by Freebird Photography

Do you offer a warranty?

You wouldn’t buy a car or stove without a warranty. A home renovation is no different! Reputable contractors will stand by their work, and that means offering a written warranty. At BLB, we typically provide a one-year warranty to our clients. Should any issues with your home arise in that time, we will cover them.

Can I see your references?

Just as checking references in the business world is essential, the same goes for your builder. Call at least three former clients to ask them about work habits, the project outcome, and, most importantly, whether they would hire the builder again. We are always happy to provide a list of former clients to speak with and can even arrange for you to walk through a completed project to see our work firsthand.

The team you choose to work on your home will be a part of your life for a while, so not only do you want to ensure that they produce quality work but also that they’re a good fit for you and your lifestyle. Again a home renovation is a significant investment, so it’s essential to research and ask as many questions as possible before committing to a company.

Is BLB the right fit for your home remodel? Connect with us today, and we’ll happily answer any additional questions!