Eliminate Surprises by Clearly Defining the Job

June 26, 2013

Photo of blue print planBuilding a new home is one of the most important investments a family will make. In many cases it represents the single largest financial investment. The home is designed and built to provide years of pleasure, comfort, and security. It is the physical manifestation of “family” and the place where celebration and joy are expressed and experienced. No wonder that when it comes to building a home, no one likes surprises. The document that spells out the detail and helps sets expectations for both the home builder and client is the contract. The contract is the road-map that defines the destination, describes the detail of how the project will proceed, and steers everyone clear of obstructions and delays. The contract is crafted so that it protects both builder and client, and clarifies everything about the job. It is organized into a number of sections, including information about the project location (address, lot number, etc.), permits, contractor insurance and licensing, and payment schedules. While all of these details are important, most builders find that if conflicts arise during construction, they’re usually caused by misunderstanding over the “who, what, and how” of the job, and an effective contract works to clarify these issues. Who makes the decisions? One very short but important section names the owners’ representative. This should be one person — for instance the husband or wife, but not both — who will act as the builder’s main contact for approvals and questions. Having one owner as the representative helps eliminate confusion and makes communication more efficient. What, exactly, is the client buying? The project description defines exactly what the homeowners will be getting for their investment. The more detail the better. Most contracts accomplish this by referencing the project plans and specifications. The plans are the visual description of the new home, and include floor plans, elevation drawings, and all electrical and mechanical systems. They should note who prepared them and when they were signed. The plans should include all necessary changes — for instance, from the building department and the zoning board. The specifications, or “specs,” are the written description of what will be done. They list all items that will be installed in the home: the carpet, flooring, door hardware and light fixtures in each room; the model numbers of kitchen appliances, furnaces, and water heaters; the brands and colors of paint and roof shingles. The project price is based in part on the specs, so clients should study these carefully to confirm that they understand what they are getting before signing the contract. The builder must listen. It is no coincidence that the most pleasant custom home building experience is a result of excellent plan and specification development.  The critical component in developing the ideal plans and specifications is thorough and clear communication. A home builder who is willing to listen closely is able to craft the construction documents to reflect their clients needs and wishes. [action] Estes Builders is an award-winning design build firm that specializes in custom homes in Western Washington. We have earned more than 130 customer testimonials and a reputation as Western Washington’s most trusted custom home builder. We build custom homes in Sequim, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Port Ludlow, Bainbridge Island, Kingston, Silverdale, Port Orchard and surrounding areas. Contact us for a FREE Project Analysis to discuss your project.]]>

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