Frequently Asked Questions

If you're embarking on a new project, we're willing to bet you have questions. Here is a list of our FAQs, but please don't hesitate to reach out if your question isn't answered below.

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What do I do if the bids / estimates for my project are over budget?

It may be necessary to adjust the scope of the project. Most contractors and design professionals will assist you with making these changes.

Can I be my own general contractor?

For many residential projects you can act as the General Contractor. When structural work, life safety, or commercial / public work is involved, a licensed construction supervisor with the proper insurances is required.

What is a “contingency” and why do I need one?

Most qualified contractors prefer to bid against other qualified contractors. If there are too many contractors bidding on a project, or unqualified bidders involved, winning a project starts to become a matter of luck rather than skill.

Do all projects need a building permit?

Not all projects will require a building permit, but it is always best to assume that it does. Your contractor, or local building official, can help you make this determination. 

What is a Change Order and who pays for it?

In construction, a change order is a component of the process whereby changes in the Scope of Work agreed to by the Owner, Contractor and Architect are implemented. A Change Order is work that is added to or deleted from the original scope of work of a contract, which alters the original contract amount or completion date. The most common causes for change orders to be created are:

  • The customer or contractor discovers obstacles or possible efficiencies that require them to deviate from the original plan
  • During the course of the project, additional features or options are perceived and requested

The contractor then typically generates a change order that describes the new work to be done, and the price to be paid for this new work. Once this change order is submitted and approved, it generally serves to alter the original contract such that the change order now becomes part of the contract. 

What is Design-Bid-Build?

This is the "traditional" approach to construction where a prequalified group of General Contractors will bid on a project by using a set of plans and specifications drawn by an Architect, Engineer, or Designer. Typically, the low bidder will win the project.

What is Construction Management?

A Construction Manager (CM) charges a fee for services, bids out the major subcontracts and manages the construction process from start to finish.  Typically, this is a more open-book style of managing a project where the CM is continuously working with the Owner, Architect, and other team members to develop the project. 

How do I find a good contractor?

The referral system is always the best.  Ask around, check references, view past projects, and interview.

What’s the worst way to save money on a construction project?

Reduce energy efficiency by lessening the quality of building components such as insulation, windows, doors, and mechanical systems.  

What’s the best way to save money on a construction project?

By controlling the scope of work.  Reducing the size of the project, while maintaining quality of work, can lead to savings.

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