The Construction Process

A pre-construction meeting is an important first step in any project. This is the time to go over any final details, including meeting schedules, how to stay in touch, introduction to lead crew members, and any final concerns.

Stay in contact with your contractor during the construction process. Try to maintain a middle ground between attention to the work-in-progress and breathing down the contractor's neck. Use your pre-arranged meetings to discuss progress, expectations, any problems or special arrangements, and to maintain open communication with your contractor.

The general contractor is the construction manager: the organizer, the scheduler, the supervisor of the crew and the sub-contractors, the party responsible to carry out the construction contract, and the main contact person. Problems and concerns about any part of the project should be communicated to the general contractor. The best communication is timely and in writing.

The contractor should provide you with a timetable for final decisions on any specifications not decided upon during the design process. For example, if the color of the carpet was not decided in advance, the contractor should provide you with a date by which the color needs to be selected. It is your responsibility to stay within that timetable.

PAYING THE CONTRACTOR ON TIME is one of the most important jobs of the client during the construction process. Cash flow is a major concern to all contractors. Their construction bids are based on the assumption that they will be able to pay their subcontractors and suppliers on a timely basis.

Part of the construction contract must be the timetable for payments. Most remodeling contracts include an advance of 10% to 30% of the construction price and a monthly draw. Take the initiative and ask the contractor before the end of the month when the draw request will be arriving. It is usually paid before the 10th of the month. The draw request should be based on the amount of work and material delivered and completed to date.

Quick payment is one of the best ways to assure continued good relations with your contractor.

And, a bit of praise and a box of donuts for the crew go a long way toward securing an ongoing positive relationship. But even in such a small gesture it is important to keep roles clear: don't supervise the crew and subs, that is the general contractors job!