Construction & building

How to Avoid House Contractor Rip-Offs

We have all heard some house contractor rip-offs. We talked with Jill, from Jilly Plumbing, she’s a close partner friend of ours, and a fellow blogger, she shares with us that some contractors take away thousands of dollars of deposit and disappear in thin air. Some home projects have dragged on for months or years with substandard work that had to be torn down and redone. Do your homework before choosing and hiring a contractor to avoid a rip-off if these stories scare you. These tips should help you avoid a house contractor rip-off. 

Perform a Background Check on the House Contractor

Please research the house contractor you are about to hire. Make sure that the company is reputable. Double-check and double-check again. Beyond just asking for recommendations from friends and neighbors, always dig deeper when finding a house contractor.

Have Everything in Writing

A written contract is vital when hiring a contractor. Maybe you are an honest person who believes in my word as my bond type of agreement. But let us face it, some people are not genuine. Verbal agreements do not supersede written contracts. Therefore, make sure that everything is in writing.

Do Not Pay Full Amounts

No honest contractor will ask you to pay the total amount upfront even before the job starts. Before the construction work begins, ask the general contractor to list all the subcontractors, their payments, and proof of payment. If they are unpaid, they might come to you for the unpaid wages.

Out of State Contractors

If you can avoid getting contractors out of state, please do so. That’s because tracing them will be difficult if they do a shoddy job or fail to complete the project.

Parting Shot

It’s not unusual for homeowners to get ripped off by rogue contractors. The nature of house construction is commonplace for rip-offs stories than you think. Follow the steps above to avoid entering into work contracts with unreliable and shady house contractors.…

Continue Reading
Construction & building

How to Choose a Construction Site for a New Home

Before you start constructing your new dream home, have you selected the construction site? Choosing the construction site can be straightforward. For example, if you already have land and hence no need for searching. However, if you have to select a construction site, be careful because your decision will be challenging to change once the house is complete.

Kind of Home

Before you even think of the construction site, you need to determine the kind of home you want. If you want privacy, you should go for sites that offer that, probably in some gated community. However, you can pick an open area if too much privacy is not a priority.


Check to see whether your construction site is easily accessible. Check whether there are roads. What kind of roads are available and are they good. You don’t want to build a house in a place your visitors will have problems reaching because of bad roads.


You are building a home, so you must ensure that your construction site has some critical facilities. These facilities include shopping, hospitals, schools, police stations, and religious facilities. Having these facilities near will make life easier for you. For example, you can rush to the nearby hospital in a medical emergency.

Look and Feel

Do you want to have your new home in a visually appealing environment with many plants and vegetation, or do you want an urban environment? Consider the look and feel of the site. Look at the appearance and general atmosphere. For example, does the area have so much noise pollution because of nearby industries? 

Take Away

Choosing a construction site for a new home should be a keen process. Take into account all relevant features of the site vis-à-vis the kind of home environment you would like to have.…

Continue Reading
Construction & building

How to Deal with Mistakes in Construction Bids

States have varying laws and rules for dealing with construction bid mistakes. Even your locality or construction agency, municipality, or country can have unique rules covering construction bid mistakes. Fact mistakes on a bid allow you to withdraw an offer without forfeiting the bond. Factual errors can be mathematical or clerical, including number transposition, typographic, and decimal points misplacement.

Clerical Errors

To withdraw a bid based on clerical errors, you must meet other criteria. For instance, its submission must have been in good faith with credible evidence proving errors with the different aspects of the paperwork. Also, you must prove that you notified the contractor about the mistake’s owner promptly.

Also, prove that it’s impossible for the contract’s enforcement by the owner because of the error, and relying on the bid can be detrimental.

Judgment Mistakes

Judgment mistakes include an inaccurate estimate of the materials and labor that a task requires. Misinterpreting a project’s specifications is also a judgment mistake. Unfortunately, a judgment error has little recourse if it is after bid opening.

That’s because you can’t withdraw the bid because of a judgment error at this time without a penalty. In this case, the lower bidder has no option but to forfeit their bid bond. And they can even have to pay the difference between the erroneous bid and the lowest bid. Whether it’s private or public work, you’re allowed to modify or withdraw your bid before the bid date.

Final Thoughts

Estimating construction work and submitting bids is stressful. Nobody wants to deal with bid withdrawal because of silly mistakes. Therefore, take your time to read bidding documents and understand their content. Also, seek clarification from the project owner or the architect before bidding. Also, attend the pre-bid meetings and double-check your calculations and figures. That way, you can avoid dealing with mistakes in construction bids.…

Continue Reading
Construction & building

Using Tablets and Smartphones in Construction Sites

A fellow friend of mine that owns GT Roofing & Construction, shares with me that he uses his iPad Pro for all his construction and roofing projects. You’ve probably seen foremen with powerful tablets and smartphones at different construction sites. This may have prompted you to ask, what are tablets and smartphones for at construction sites? Well, these devices are the same as the other tools that foremen use at building sites. 

Over the last decades, the construction industry has continued to embrace technology, Architect is among the construction aspects that technicians and engineers have focused on heavily. Using modern technology and devices like tablets, contractors, and engineers are scheduling their projects better and designing better. Here’s how tablets and smartphones are used on construction sites. 

Plan Viewing 

Foremen are using tablets and smartphones for plan viewing purposes. Using these devices, foremen are keeping their teams up-to-date with the most updated sheets. This ensures that nobody loses track of the on-site logistics because plans are readily available. 

Task Management 

With tablets and smartphones on-site, everybody is assigned duties and deadlines set with a single click. Progress updates can be viewed and priorities established from the job site. Scheduling and meetings are now effortless since everything is easily documented. 

Easy Tracking 

Tablets and smartphones make inspections and punch lists more simplified. That’s because these devices can be used to organize photos based on their location and trade. And, this can be done during a walkthrough. Since construction site data is stored in the cloud, reports can be assembled within minutes and sent faster. 

Boosting Productivity 

Only what can be measured can be improved. With the use of tablets and smartphones, time can be stamped and communications archived. This provides a more accurate picture of the reality on the ground. That way, focusing on areas that might make your budget or schedule slide becomes easier. 

The benefits of using tablets and smartphones in construction sites are unlimited and unmistakable. Therefore, check whether the contractor that you hire and their foreman uses these devices at the construction site to ensure smooth and efficient completion of your project. …

Continue Reading
Construction & building

Home Upgrades that Enhance Energy-Efficiency

When it comes to home construction and upgrades, most people look for green features that save on utility bills. Essentially, most buyers are willing to pay more upfront and save on utility costs. Here are some of the upgrades that can enhance the energy efficiency of a home.  

Old Toilets Replacement with Low-Flow Fixtures 

Toilet technology has been improving over the years. Low-flow toilets are currently a preference for most people. With these options, water moves more forcefully and at a low amount into the bowl whenever a person flushes the toilet. So, if you want to enhance the energy efficiency of your home, consider installing toilets with low-flow fixtures. 

Installation of Energy-Efficient Appliances 

When buying and installing appliances, go for those with an Energy Star sign. This certification indicates that these appliances lower energy consumption without compromising on performance. Energy-efficient appliances are the most essential and desirable home features today. They are preferred by almost 90% of moderate-income home buyers. 

Installation of Energy-Efficient Windows 

When buying a home with a tight economic background, most people look for energy-efficient windows. These include windows with triple-pane insulating glass and those with Low-E insulating glass. So, if you have a double-hung window, you can replace it with vinyl windows that are properly insulated. And you can recoup up to 74% of the costs when you resell the house. 

When it comes to the energy-efficiency standards for windows, the government sets the minimum standards. And these vary depending on the climate zone where a house is located. Therefore, shop wisely to find windows that meet the minimum requirements for your area. Essentially, energy-efficient windows should stop heat flow, block the heat from the sun, and allow a certain light amount to enter your home. 

Energy efficiency can be the determining factor when it comes to buying a home. Consider these upgrades if you want to enhance the energy efficiency of your home.…

Continue Reading
Construction & building

How to Choose the Best Building Materials

Whether you are constructing a production or custom home, you will always need different kinds of building materials to create the desired living spaces. Due to the endless options offered in the market today, choosing the right materials can be overwhelming. Nevertheless, the following are some of the main factors that you should consider when choosing building materials. 

Initial Costs and Life Expectancy 

Most people often tend to choose cheaper building materials as a means of cutting costs. The only problem is that the building materials will very low upfront costs usually need frequent repair and replacement, which would only make life expensive. Consider building materials with affordable initial costs and longer life expectancy. You may have to spend a bit more on the initial installations but, their longevity will save you the stress and financial strain of frequent replacement. 

Energy Efficiency 

Energy usually accounts for a greater share of every household’s expenditure. As such, it is also important that you also select building materials that will enable you to cut spending on electricity. Today, there are various energy-efficient building materials for windows, walls, roofing, and doors that you can install. The installation of the right materials will ensure proper heating and cooling throughout your home with huge energy savings. 

Ease of Maintenance 

Even the most durable building materials will require maintenance to keep them in good shape over time. Therefore, you should also look into the maintenance requirements for the materials. The best materials should be easy to maintain and even upgrade in case you may want to improve sections of the home in the future. 


The overall looks of the building materials should also align with the particular style of home and the statement that you wish to express therein. Besides, you can also choose aesthetics based on the environment around your home. Nevertheless, the choice of aesthetics mainly boils down to your tastes. 

Overall, the choice of building materials should depend on upfront costs, life expectancy, energy efficiency, ease of maintenance, and aesthetics. However, you also want to consider readily-available building materials that will not require complex logistics to procure.…

Continue Reading
Construction & building

How to Create an Effective Construction Project Timeline

The success of every construction project heavily relies on proper planning, without which the entire operation may be headed down the drains. You need an effective construction project timeline to ensure that things run according to plan. Any mistakes in the timeline could have dire consequences on the entire project. To avoid such disappointments, check out the following tips on how to create an effective construction project timeline. 

Outline the Work Breakdown Structure 

In developing a proper construction schedule, you should start by laying out all the tasks or activities that will be conducted during the project’s execution. Break down the responsibilities into smaller packages and allocate the tasks to your teams. That will enable you to easily formulate a timeline for each task based on the nature of work. 

Identify Priorities 

Of all the tasks outlined in the Work Breakdown Structure, you will find out that most of them depend on one another. That means some tasks must be completed to give a room or create the desired platform for other activities. Therefore, developing an effective construction project timeline requires you to identify the tasks that need prioritizing and those that can be handled simultaneously alongside others. 

Assess the Availability of Resources 

Your construction project can only go as planned if you have all the needed resources including finances, labor, and building materials. Resource constraints can impact delays and other shortcomings of the project. Thus, it is also important that you know the particular resources that will be available to develop a convenient schedule.  

Give Realistic Durations 

Based on the expected construction activities, prevailing weather and climatic conditions, resource availability, and your objectives, you should also assign reasonable start and finish dates for each task. Talk to your contractor for help on how to estimate the duration of each task. 

Developing a construction project timeline may not be a walk in the park, especially if you are planning a bigger project. However, the above ideas can enable you to easily avoid common mistakes and create proper schedules for different kinds of construction projects. …

Continue Reading
Construction & building

How to Ensure that COVID-19 Does Not Stop Your Construction Project

The construction industry is among the sectors that are facing many changes due to COVID-19. These changes are restricting how business used to be done before the pandemic. The shelter-in-place orders may have made your construction continue as an essential business. However, you still have to observe and maintain social distancing. But, some places are more restrictive when it comes to the construction type that is allowed. If you’re allowed to continue your construction project, here are tips to help you keep it moving.  


In the current times where things are always changing, the involved parties should maintain constant communication. Therefore, make sure that consultants, lenders, workers, and owners maintain communication via email and phone. Video conferencing can also be used to communicate without a physical meeting of the team. 


The full crew might not be present at the construction site all the time. However, inspections are important to ensure the progress of the construction project. Virtual walk-through inspections can particularly be effective during COVID-19 for regulatory and safety reasons. Regular inspections will enable you to ensure that your project remains on track. 


Some countries are experiencing delays in material supply due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, understand what and who is affected by the pandemic to ensure that delays in material supply won’t affect your project. 


Consider the way COVID-19 is affecting your country or location to determine whether it will impact your construction schedule. For instance, has the pandemic affected the availability of labor? Has COVID-19 affected the availability of inspectors? Consider such factors to come up with a more realistic schedule for your construction project. 


Costs, materials, schedules, and labor go hand in hand. That’s because most problems can affect the project cost significantly. The general conditions and delays can impact the budget. Insisting on a strict schedule can lead to contention. This can occasion additional overtime claims or even a premium pay. To avoid this, review your project carefully and identify every item that can affect the budget. This can be due to a labor shortage, regulatory workforce decrease, or material shortages. That means you should review your budget with the help of a consultant. 

Although COVID-19 could be temporary, things remain uncertain. Therefore, adapting quickly is very important when it comes to keeping your construction project going. Follow these tips to ensure that this pandemic doesn’t stop your project. Check out some tips and advice from other construction savvy blogs and businesses.

Continue Reading
Construction & building

How to Hire a Home Contractor

Building a house is one of the most exciting experiences of a lifetime. While many people dream of building their dream homes or commercial houses, not all these dreams see the light of day.

If you’re lucky enough to have what it takes to build a house, then you must ensure that you do it right. This entails getting the quality materials, obtaining the necessary permits, and, most importantly, hiring the right contractor. 

To ensure you don’t miss a step when hiring a contractor for your construction project, here is a simple guide to keep in mind when choosing a contractor. 

  1. Have a plan of what you want 

Before talking to a contractor, you must have an idea of what type of building you are looking to build. This way, the contractor will be able to review your project and find out whether they can take on the job. 

While the price shouldn’t be the primary concern, you should also have an estimate of how much money you’re looking to spend. This way, you’ll have an easy time narrowing down the list of potential contractors you can consider. 

Likewise, decide the type of contractor that you’re looking for. For instance, if you are looking to install or remodel features like windows, cabinets, or bathrooms, you should look for a specialty contractor that deals with that line of work

  1. Search for a contractor 

If you don’t have an idea of where to start your search, you should ask for referrals from family members, friends, and co-workers, especially those who have recently build or remodeled their homes. 

If that doesn’t work, you can find local contractors at the comfort of your home by simply doing a Google search. Simply type your specific need – “home contractors near me” or “home renovation contractors near me” or “bathroom contractors near me.” Just type your specific needs, and you’ll have a list of contractors to consider within seconds. 

You can also use contractors’ websites such as Angie’s List, Better Business Bureau, Houzz, Thumbtack, and Yelp that rank local home contractors. 

Since your aim is to find the best contractors, you can use all those steps and collect a list of at least 10-15 potential contractors. Remember, even after choosing a contractor, they may decline to work with you due to certain reasons. 

Compare the identified home contractors’ profiles

When deciding whether or not a contractor is right for you, there are a few aspects to keep in mind. It’s therefore important if you can schedule a consultation and discuss your needs. If possible, you should discuss your project face to face. 

To identify whether a contractor is right, you can ask for clarifications about their experience, credentials, and skills in the construction industry. Check and ask about their certificates, previous projects, insurance policies, permits, licenses, business names, former customers, current projects, years of operation, and much more. 

Ask about the price 

Another important aspect you can’t miss to ask about is the price. Depending on your research, you should be able to know whether an estimate a contractor gives is reasonable or not. You should avoid over-priced personnel as well as very cheap quotes – they are probably a scam or will end up doing a shoddy job. 

After you have met all the contractors, review their profiles, and decide which contractors you’ll work with. Schedule a second meeting, and if all goes well, hire them. 

Sign the contract 

Once you have identified the right contractor for your project, make sure you sign an agreement. The contract should highlight all the necessary features of the project, including payment schedule, insurance, start and completion time, worker’s compensation payments, duties and responsibilities of all parties, contracts sum, and much more. 

Continue Reading