For the past 11 years, Amy Koch and her family haven't been able to make the most of their all-glass, three-season sunroom.
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An itemized list / cost breakdown, more often than not is used against the contractor when it is shared with other builders who will then beat it.
Good contractors use good people, and good people cost more. Just the cost of having the appropriate insurance / bond can be the difference between winning a job or losing it ot a 'lower bid'.
It is the rule of three; there is Good, Cheap and Fast. You can have any two: Good and Cheap, won't be Fast; Good and Fast, won't be Cheap; Cheap and Fast, won't be Good!
When comparing bids, it isn't the cheapest or the 'nicest' person you should select. You should understand why there is a large price difference (it shows there are gaps in your design program or what you have asked for specifically, which means there may be arguments later). If most of the bids are in line, and one is way high or way low, you want to know why before dismissing or selecting them.
A price-only decision almost always costs more in the long run.
No. Heck no. Here's a good example. We very recently needed to find someone to install about 500 square feet of exotic wood flooring (we already have the materials). We contacted about 12-15 top-rated Angieslist contractors. Out of the few who did get back to us, we got 5 quotes, 2 of them were literally just over the phone. They "didn't feel it would be necessary to even see the space".
Here were the bids:
$4000 (sight unseen), $2800 (sight unseen), $2500, $1500, $1450
We didn't "share our budget for this". Why would we? We asked them to bid the job. That's it. All of them should be well-qualified and they are all highly rated. We were interested in how THEY value their time/resources - for an apples/apples job.
Do you still think that you should tell them about your budget? Your choice. From my standpoint it isn't their business. I'm asking them to bid on a project. Invariably I'll get some very high bids, medium bids and a few more reasonable ones - ALL from "highly rated contractors".
Herlonginc's answer stated that it is not the contractor's job to pay for materials and labor to do the job. I say baloney - a reputable, established contractor has the funds (or a business operations line of credit) to "carry" the job between interim or partial payments, each of which should be keyed to completion of distinct easily measured mileposts in the job, and for a homeowner I would say should be in not more than 20% increments for jobs exceeding a week or so. For shorter jobs, then an initial payment, 50% completion, and completion would be normal. His cost of carry funds is part of his cost of doing business, and is figured as part of his overhead.Bear in mind when he is buying materials and paying labor, his materials he typically pays for on a 10-30 day invoice, and his labor typically a week or two after they work, so he is not really "fronting" that much money if you are giving him weekly or biweekly interim payments, on a typical residential job.
If he does not have the funds to buy materials (excepting possibly deposit on special-order or luxury items, which still typically are 10-30 day invoiceable to him) and hire personnel then he is a fly-by-night operation, and he should not be bidding that size job. You should never (other than MAYBE an earnest deposit of not more than the LESSER of 10% or $5000) let the payments get ahead of the approved/inspected work progress - typically payment should be 10-20% BEHIND the progress, with at least 10% retained at the effective end of work until final inspections and completion of the final "punchlist".
That promotes rapid continuation of the work, discourages the all-too common nightmare of contractors taking on more work than they can handle so they leave your job for weeks or months to go work on someone else's job (frequently to start that someone else's new job so he can get the job), and does not leave you out a tremendous amount of cash if he does not finish and you have to hire another contractor to finish the job. Remember, if you have to hire a new contractor to finish the job, he will charge you a lot more than the original bid to finish someone else's unfinished mess.
This may seem cynical, but having started in the construction business about 50 years ago and seeing the shenanigans that a lot of contractors pull you cannot be too safe. You have to remember contractors are like any other people - I would say maybe 10% are outright crooks, another 25% or so will pull a fast one or overcharge if the opportunity presents itself, maybe 30% will do the work but not any better than they are forced to, about 25% are good conscientious reputable workmen, and the last 10% or so are really spectacular - conscientious, fair, and efficient craftsmen. This top 35% are the only ones you should have bidding in the first place. Therefore, only get bids from long-term reputable firms (so you shake out the marginal short-timers with less experience and also generally less ability to finish the job on budget and schedule), only those that have good RECENT references, and preferably with excellent word-of-mouth recommendation from people you know and trust. That way, you are starting right off with the cream of the crop, so hopefully whichever one bids low should be a good choice.
NEVER start with bids, then check the references of the low bidder - why even consider a vendor or contractor who you do not have faith in from the start ? Get references and short-list you possibles BEFORE you ask for bids.
Low bids - that is another matter - commonly the low bidder is NOT who you want, especially if he is significantly lower than several others, which might mean he is desperate for work, made a math error, or did not correctly figure the entire scope of work. You want a reasonable bid with someone you connect with and trust - that is worth a lot more in the success of the job than the absolute lowest bid.
Sunroom And Patio reviews in California
1. Windows and Doors: a. Frame walls with thermal ...MoreRead more of this review break framing. b. Install tempered LowE glass knee wall. c. Install 5500 Lifetime warranted windows. d. Install two insulated fiberglass doors with LowE tempered glass.
2. Flooring: a. Place 3/4-inch plywood over the existing Decking. b. Place a Radiant under the 3/4-inch plywood. This task was NOT COMPLETED. When it came time to install the plywood, I asked about the radiant and I was first told by BHI that a radiant and vapor were the same. Then, after I did some research and questioned what I was told, I was told by BHI that a radiant could not be installed because putting plywood with a radiant on top of the existing decking would not allow for the proper application of a radiant . This should have been identified from the onset since they boast about having 22 years experience.
3. Electrical: a. Install two interior electrical outlets. b. Install two exterior GFI outlets. c. Install two exterior security lights.
4. Wrap the already existing support posts with aluminum.
This task was NOT COMPETED. The subcontractor installing the windows for BHI was not informed by BHI of this requirement and he installed the windows without considering the wrapping of the posts. By the time this failure was noticed it would have taken removing all of the already installed windows to correct the oversight. So, instead of removing the windows BHI advised me that there were too many electrical outlets to cut around. Again, the number of outlets were known from the date I signed the contract and if this was not possible they should not have contracted to do it. They did, after the fact, offer some additional work as compensation. However, I terminated my relationship with BHI and hired another contractor to fix my leaks and he was able to wrap the outside of the posts with no issues. Either BHI mislead me from the beginning or they were unwilling to remove the windows to make it right so they manipulated the situation to avoid doing so. Based on BHI's guidance, I ended-up I purchased paneling, trim pieces, and other misc. materials to cover the inside of the posts at an additional cost of approximately $400.00 plus the cost of my time (approximately 40 hours) to mitigate something BHI was contracted to do. The follow-on contractor advised me he could have wrapped the insides of the post without any problems but by then it was too late I already had them covered with paneling.
In short, BHI did not wrap the posts as contracted because of a BHI screw-up that BHI later attempted to recover from with a fabrication. BHI did offer to do some other aluminum work as compensation but that is not the point. The situation was a total manipulation by BHI to save them the additional costs of removing the windows to correct their failure. 5. Wrap an already existing center beam with new wood.
6. Install HVAC supply and return lines. Prior to signing the contract with BHI I explained to BHI and all of the contractors I interviewed for the job that the project needed to be completed ASAP. This requirement was because, for legal reasons, the home had to be refinanced by 01 March 2015 and I was planning on moving into the home the middle of March 2015. All contractors, including BHI, estimated a realistic time for completion to be approximately 60 days with a maximum of 90 days and stated my time constraints would not be a problem. In fact when asked, I was specifically told by BHI’s Sales Representative prior to signing the contract that if there were no “problems” they could complete the project in as little as six weeks. Along with the work requirements as outlined above the contract also states the following: “The contractor agrees to use best effort to commence work approximately 10 days from the contract date and complete work approximately 90 days from the start.”
Along with their timeline guarantees, BHI also offered larger windows and a lifetime warranty. The larger windows, lifetime warranty, verbal timeline assurances, and contract language resulted in me being confident that BHI would complete the effort as discussed and within my timeline requirement.
During the month of November 2014 and most of December 2014, after paying BHI an initial installment of $5,000.00 or 32% of the total cost of the project, we waited patiently and on 17 December 2014 we finally received an email from BHI’s Engineer asking us to approve his Engineer Drawings. The next day I pointed-out to BHI the following issues with his drawings. Height of the knee wall was incorrect. Tempered glass was not required on left rear elevation window. East Door Deadlight width was not marked. Requested verification the East Door Deadlight width should be 10-inches. Overall measurements throughout the drawing were incorrect. By 19 March 2015 my sunroom was still not completed and we had to refinance as was discussed with BHI at contract signing. We could not proceed with the refinance because of the Notice of Commencement filed with the county. So, I approached BHI and asked that an addendum be added to the contract outlining the remaining work and that BHI guarantee the work will be completed within 30 days. In return I would pay them the final installment so they could close the Notice of Commencement so we could move forward with our refinance. BHI agreed but failed to complete the work within the 30 day period. Meaning with the additional 30 days BHI had six months to complete a job that should have taken 60 days. At one point when I was pressuring BHI to complete my sun room I was told by the owner "the more pressure I apply the longer it will take." I finally filed a charge dispute with my financial institution. After filing the dispute and providing the evidence to my financial institution, I was informed by my financial institution that they were positive I would the dispute. I did have follow-up discussions with BHI and the only resolution to the situation offered by BHI was for them to be allowed to continue with the project. Otherwise, I was informed by the owner that if I did not allow them to continue and the money was taken back he would file a on the property. In BHI's dispute response, BHI stated that all work had been completed which is absolutely not the case and is proven by the evidence. Furthermore, BHI references the county inspection as being completed thus verifying that all work has been completed. This is also not the case. The county inspector did nothing more than compare the engineer’s drawing against the porch, verified the correct number and types of doors and window were installed, and inspected the railing and stoop for fall risks. The inspector did not assess the quality of the work completed and did not pick-up a hose to ensure there were no water related issues. The inspector could not inspect the HVAC work as BHI choose, for whatever reason, to schedule the county inspection prior to installing the HVAC lines. Therefore, within BHI’s own dispute statement proof that not all work had been completed at the time of the inspection and that the statement is nothing more than an attempt to cover-up the actual events. Since the owner would not agree to voluntarily returning the money and allowing us to part ways, I dropped the dispute, for the sake of my girlfriend, due to the threat made by the owner. I finally contracted with another contractor to accomplish the following: Remove all windows and doors. Replace all bottom flashing with Z-flashing (BHI installed off-the-shelf roof flashing). Replace the incorrect 2” X 3” Patio Framing with the correct 3” X 2” Patio Framing. Reinstall all windows and doors. Wrap outside of posts with aluminum (BHI advised this could not be accomplished). Re-caulk entire porch inside and out. Clean-up of old Caulk inside and out. Install missing screen on window #1. Install missing plastic window stop on window #1. Install missing window installation caps and bumpers. Clean-up and repair of installation damages. One-year warranty. Additionally, my only option to resolve my HVAC cooling issues was to install a mini-split system at a cost of $3,200.00 and pay an additional $225.00 to have the supply and return lines installed by BHI capped-off. Throughout this entire ordeal I communicated with BHI via phone, email, and text. I re-arranged my schedule to make every effort to be home when I was told subcontractors would be there and they sometimes failed to show up or even call. It took BHI, based on when the HVAC work was attempted, over five months just to accomplish what they did when it should have taken at most three months to finish the project correctly. From the onset and prior to signing the contract, I was guaranteed by BHI they would complete all the required tasks within the time constraints I presented. That did not happen. Then BHI was given a second opportunity to correct the situation by signed an addendum stating they would complete the remaining work within 30 days. Again, that did not happen. Based on these missed timelines, broken promises, the chain of events as outlined above, BHI’s unprofessionalism, and BHI’s poor quality of workmanship, I terminated my relationship with BHI and obtained the professional services needed to fix BHI’s induced issues and complete my sun room.
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