Members of the Utah Valley Home Builders Association are expected to abide by a strict code of ethics and follow the highest professional standards. The UVHBA checks out potential members to protect the public.
Make sure the builder or remodeler has a good reputation with local banks and suppliers. Ask for bank, supplier, and trade references and call them.
- Does he/she pay his/her bills and are they paid on time?
- How is he/she to work with?
Get to know the way the builder does business. Find out how often you will be updated about the progress of your job.
Find out how long they have been in business. You want to make sure they will be around after the construction is complete to service any warranties.
- How long have they been working under the same company name? Many builders will change their name every few years, leaving behind a wake of destruction.
Make sure the builder/remodeler has sufficient workers compensation and general liability insurance. If not, you may be liable for any construction-related accidents on your premises. Make sure their insurance limits are adequate to meet or exceed your project.
Ask the builder/remodeler to provide you with names of previous customers. If they won’t, beware. If they do, ask the customers if they would hire the builder/remodeler again.
- What did you like about the builder?
- What could he/she have done better?
- How well did he/she communicate with you? Daily, weekly, monthly?
- Did you have access to your construction schedule? Did he/she follow it? - Did he/she follow up with his/her commitments? - Was his/her invoicing clear, concise and accurate, and did you understand them?
- How did the builder keep you updated on budgets? Did he/she surprise you with costs?
- How often was he/she on your job site? - Remodeling: Was his/her jobsite clean? Did he/she hire trade contractors that made you feel uncomfortable?
- Did the contractor answer his/her phone following project completion?
- Did he/she pay his/her trade contractors?
- Were you comfortable with the bid process and financial outcome of your project?
- Would you recommend him/her?
- If problems arose, how did the builder deal with them?
Ask if you can see the builder/remodeler's work, both completed and in progress. Check for quality of workmanship and materials.
- Is the jobsite clean?
- Does his/her work meet your expectations?
Do you feel you can easily communicate with the builder/remodeler? Remember you will be in close contact with them throughout the construction process and afterward as you live in your new home.
- How does he/she plan to communicate with you? Email, text, phone?
Make sure the builder/remodeler provides you with a complete and clearly written contract that reflects the level of quality you expect in the project. The contract will benefit both of you. If you are having a new home built, get and review a copy of the home warranty and homeowner manual, if applicable, as well. The contract should set up his/her role and your role.
- Does he/she specify budget and product budget clearly?
- Does it outline your rights with the Utah Lien Recovery Fund?
- Does it specify a warranty?
- Does it specify who pays for what?
- Does it specify your responsibility as the homeowner, and his/her responsibility as the contractor?
Be cautious of unusually low-priced bids. If the builder/remodeler is unable to pay for the materials and labor as the project proceeds, this may indicate a potential problem. Less expensive does not necessarily mean better. You will get what you pay for. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples when looking at two bids.
Interview more than one builder, but limit the number of builders you get bids from to three. The level of detail and care that will go into your estimate will usually be reflective of the chance that the builder has to win the bid. If you have too many builders look at the job, you may get several “junk bids” from builders who don’t believe they have a fighting chance to win the work. Remember also that each builder will likely have as many as 100 subcontractors or more look at your project — don’t waste everyone’s time by getting too many estimates.
- Remember, the real price is what you pay at the end of the project. A low bid does not guarantee a low price at the end of the project.
Verify that your remodeler is an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Renovator if you are planning work in a pre-1978 home that will disturb more than six square feet of painted surfaces inside the home and/or 20 square feet on the exterior paint surface of the home. Learn more about the EPA’s lead paint rule here.
What does the builder do to stay abreast of the latest technologies, products and government regulations? Remember, an up-to-date builder is a good builder.