What cost per square foot should I expect for a Room Addition?
This is a common question that's also difficult to answer, inasmuch as square footage cost is so subjective. We use this example (from an article by Dennis A Dixon); If we build you a building that is 2 ft. by 50 ft., the total square footage will be 100 square ft. You'll have 104 lineal ft. of wall for this 100 sq. ft. building, which has sheetrock, siding, paint, baseboard, etc.. The next building will be 10 ft. by 10 ft., which is still 100 square ft., but now we only have 40 lineal ft. of wall. The cost of the walls in the second building is less than half of the first building. This example notwithstanding, there are other factors such as countertop material, floor covering, and appliances, that determine the final price. The only way to accurately give you a price for a project, is to determine the needs of the client, and develop an estimate.
How do we establish a budget for my project?
People are usually reluctant to let us know what the budget they have in mind is. Actually, knowing the budget up front, as well as your project expectations, allows us to better design a project to fit the budget. Before you contact us, it would be helpful for you to have a list of what you want, in order of priority. Also, having a budget in mind, as well as the resources to finance your project, will be helpful, and time saving. A good source for an idea of what your particular remodel could cost, based on national averages, and researched by Remodeling Magazine, can be found at www.costvsvalue.com.
What sort of inconveniences can I expect?
Our concern is your convenience, and we will make every attempt to minimize the interruption in lifestyle during the course of construction. Some projects however, specifically kitchen remodels or second floor additions, will pose an inconvenience that will sometimes require that you be out of service for a short period of time. Sometimes an interruption of water or electrical service will be experienced as the needs of the new project are addressed, but we will let you know ahead of time so you'll be prepared.
What if a change in the Contract or Project Specifications is required?
The only time this becomes an issue, is when the client specifically desires an upgrade, change, or addition to the project specifications. Occasionally, a structural defect will present itself after the demolition is started and walls, floors, or ceilings are exposed - This is usually in the form of termites, dry-rot, or a code violation in the original construction of the home. We have specific guidelines in our contract that deals with these conditions. In all cases of a change or addition to a project however, it should be done in writing using a "Change Order" or an "Extra Work Order", which outlines the changes or extra work, the cost, and the terms of payment.
Do we use a Contract for the project?
Yes, we have a very comprehensive contract that is written in very plain and easy to read and understand language. It is not a typical stationary store proposal that normally doesn't have enough room to accurately describe a complex project. We have a "Construction Contract" and a "Description of Materials" that contains all of the information pertinent to your project. It will include the total cost of the project, the time frame of the project, and a payment schedule. Before signing, we will review these documents very thoroughly with you, so that every question or concern is addressed.
Is Insurance required?
General Liability Insurance, for damage to your home or property, is not required, but a Contractor MUST inform the homeowner that they do or do not carry General Liability Insurance. This will be in the form of a "Liability Insurance Disclosure Statement", required by the State Contractors License Board. We DO, and have ALWAYS, carried General Liability Insurance. Upon signing a Contract with us, you will receive a "Certificate of Insurance" from our Agent. Be sure that anyone that you contemplate tearing your home apart, has it as well.
Are Contractors required to be licensed?
In the state of California, Contractors are required to have a license if they perform any work or improvement to your home, valued at $500.00 or more, Labor AND Material included. If you deal with an unlicensed contractor, you may be putting your home at risk. There's valuable information at the CSLB website, http://www.cslb.ca.gov/, where you can find a considerable wealth of information, along with the ability to check on the status of a Contractor that you may be contemplating for your home improvement project. DO NOT take the word of the person you may be dealing with that the license number they give you is genuine. - Be sure the name and license number match. Our license number is 268157, and we have been licensed in California since 1971.
What is the risk to my home, by Contracting for improvements, and how can I protect myself?
Any one who contracts for improvements to your home, has a right, if not paid, to place a lien on your home, and subsequently, satisfy their claim by auctioning off your home for payment. One thing to know, is that even if you pay your General Contractor, and he does not pay his sub-contractors, they will still have a claim of lien against your home. Be sure to check the guidelines for paying your contractor at the CSLB web site; http://www.cslb.ca.gov/GeneralInformation/Library/GuidesAndPamphlets.asp .
What if I change my mind once I sign the contract?
By Federal Law, whenever you contract for improvements to your home or property, you must be provided (at the time of signing), a "Right to Rescind" or "Right to Cancel" form which states that you have signed a contract for an improvement to your property, and that you have three BUSINESS days to cancel the transaction, and be refunded all monies paid as a deposit for this transaction. You must receive two of these forms, one for your records, and the other to sign and send to the contractor if you change your mind.
How much money should I pay for as a deposit for my project?
California law limits the amount of money that a Contractor can get as a deposit for your project to $1,000.00 or 10% of the project total, whichever is LESS. Some Contractors would have you think that the standard is 10%. This is NOT the case, do not be fooled. Again, information about this can be found at the CSLB website, http://www.cslb.ca.gov/ .