If you’ve just acquired a land plot and are now planning to build your own home or commercial property, one of the most important people you’re going to deal with in the next few months or even years is your building contractor. A contractor is a person who can either make or break your building project. With the right contractor your project can either turn out to be a great success, or die a slowly death when nothing goes as planned. Here are 5 red flags that should never be seen in a good building contractor – if you notice this behaviour, consider replacing the old contractor with a new, more trustworthy one.
Since you are paying a professional to do the job for you, you can expect respectful treatment and regular reports on how the construction is going and what is going to happen next. You have a right to know if there are any issues with the construction, any changes to be made, or new ideas that need implementation. Unfortunately, not every building contractor has communication skills good enough to deliver the information to the customer. If you’re noticing that the contractor is being intentionally vague, answers your questions with short answers, is annoyed at your requests, frequently misses and doesn’t return your calls, or keeps the details of the construction from you, you can always find a more open one.
Abuses alcohol or drugs
It’s one thing if your contractor likes to spend weekend nights in a night club surrounded by alcohol bottles, but if it happens on the construction site, it puts the safety of the construction and your integrity at risk. Drinking at the job is unacceptable for any profession, but when it comes to construction, it can trigger a whole series of accidents. Plus, a contractor doesn’t work alone – he has a staff of workers who can get under the contractor’s influence and start abusing substances at work too. Keep an eye for contractors and workers who show up to work inebriated to avoid safety violations and other issues.
Treats staff badly
Usually a customer hires only a contractor, who, in turn, hires the rest of the workers, which means that workers are mainly the contractor’s responsibility. However, you also need to pay attention to the way workers are treated at the construction site, because builders who are satisfied with their work conditions produce better work than the ones who are constantly mistreated. If your contractor yells at or even physically abuses workers, imposes fines and punishment on them, or makes them work overtime without paying extra, it’s your job as a customer to stop that kind of behaviour and bring the working conditions to a higher standard, so that everyone would feel safe and secure in their workplace.
Can’t solve problems
There are rare cases when the construction goes just as planned and nothing goes out of order. More often the construction process is rather volatile and needs constant attention from the responsible person – in your case it’s your contractor. However, sometimes customers find that their contractors are unable to do the job they were hired to do – the construction is going on too slowly or even stops altogether, the workers are unmotivated and lazy, there are health hazards on site, tools and equipment break down, and the construction is carried out with serious mistakes that can later affect the quality of the home. If your contractor fails to notice those problems, or even if he fails to take care after you’ve specifically pointed out the issues and asked to correct them, it means that it’s best to part ways with this contractor and look for a more capable one.
Theft in the workplace is one of the most serious and, unfortunately, most frequent problems with the construction. Of course, a contractor won’t rush out of the construction site carrying bags of building materials in his pockets. Instead he can order more building supplies than you originally agreed on, making you spend more money, and take the remaining supplies to his own home or resell them to other customers. There are no easy ways to avoid this issue, but you can try by including a detailed estimate of expenses into your contract and fine your contractor in case the estimate is exceeded without any reason.