Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Communicating with your Builder or Re-modeler

Communication is important in all relationships, and your relationship with your builder or re-modeler is no exception. Effective communication between client and builder will reduce concerns and stress before, during, and after the building process. Here are some tips for keeping the lines of communication open at key points.

When selecting a builder—The best time to explore your level of comfort with a builder’s communication style is while you are deciding on a builder. Builders who are effective communicators will share information openly, encourage your questions and provide satisfactory and prompt answers.

After you make a decision—Make sure you understand how you and your builder will discuss the project and its progress. Many builders encourage guided walk-throughs of the house at critical stages of construction, such as during structural framing, after electrical and plumbing rough-in, or before trim work. Also, find out how the builder feels about informal meetings, phone calls, and emails, and ask how quickly you can expect a response when you have a concern.

Schedule—The builder will present a detailed proposal (perhaps with a spreadsheet) that outlines the construction process.  Many builders will also use software to keep the client informed about the schedule. Use these tools work as a guide to gain a better understanding of the building process and ask clarifying questions. The construction schedule and other communication from your builder will also show deadlines for key decisions you must make, such as paint colors, lighting and plumbing fixtures, and flooring materials.

When working with change orders—An essential part of owner-builder communication is the change order, which is the builder’s procedure for making changes after construction begins. Few projects are completed without some changes along the way. Find out about this process before construction begins. 

Successful builders have systems in place for communicating effectively with their home-building clients before, during, and after construction. These systems have been developed over years with many clients and should be followed. At the same time, your needs, preferences, and comfort level matter. Once you have settled on a communication plan with your builder, stick with it! Good communication is a key to a predictable and sane building process that provides you and your family the home you desire and your family deserve.

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