Some things you cannot ignore and should ask your contractor are:
1. Detailed Estimate
What most contractors do is give an overall budget, including their fees or charges. But it is wise to ask them, for a detailed list of all heads of expenditure. This helps in two ways – first, you know what costs what, and you can increase the budget in one aspect if you want to with full knowledge, secondly, if you don’t want to go ahead with some part of the plan and want to change it to something else, you know exactly what you are saving and can incorporate that budget in the new plan, or save it altogether. The Detailed estimate also makes it easier to compare – stores, suppliers, or even contractors.
This is perhaps the most important part of the question list that you should ask your contractor. The time frame is important, it is good to compare it with others, and you will have an idea if they are making false promises or are realistic enough. Contractors are also legally bound to deliver in the mentioned time frame or else are subjected to penalties as per the clause.
3. Ask about their suppliers
It is important to ask about suppliers, as they are providing the raw material that will make the structure that you will call your home. You need to dig up what quality of materials his suppliers give and ask if you have the option of suggesting another one if you are really not pleased with the suppliers he recommends. It is also advisable to do a lot of research yourself about materials that would be used, and you can always ask your contractor if they are open sourcing materials from vendors or suppliers suggested by you. Are they giving sufficient .
4. Ask where does he hire his workforce from
Many seasoned contractors have their own team of labourers, foremen, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc. It is good if they have their own team, then you can trust their experience and expertise. If they just hire randomly from here and there, then it might be a problem, as the contractor himself might have no clue of their expertise and skills.
5. Ask about their experience
There is no harm in asking for previous reference work, as it would reflect the work they would do for you. You should make it a point to visit contractors’ previous projects and see how they are functioning after they are completed. It is advised to meet some of his former clients too, and ask them if he stuck to his time frame and budget, etc.
6. Does he plan for mishaps or unexpected things?
It is not uncommon that there might be some unexpected issues encountered at the construction site. In India, most labor is not insured and they don’t get a lot of safety measures to work with either. If by chance any accident happens then who will bear the responsibility and hospital costs. Apart from this, if there might be changes made, like something floor, or wall or door needs to replaced or re-made due to quality issue, then who would be responsible for it?
7. Who is going to do ‘clean-up’?
It is good to ask and stress before you give the job to someone if they would be responsible for cleaning up the site after work every day. Cleaning up keeps material safe and prevents accidents.
8. Ask about the payment schedule
Always ask if they have a fixed plan for payment schedule – like how much at what stage needs to be paid. And what would happen if you decide to part ways mid-project. Asking such questions will prepare you and your contractor to take the job at hand seriously, and you will also realise different aspects of construction that you might have not known before. Good research on your part and your involvement in the project are as important. The right choice will help you sail through this experience and keep your expenses within budget.