Picking a foundation contractor is a critical issue that can cost or save you thousands of dollars when building your structure. There are very specific items you should have knowledge about to ensure that you are getting the best foundation for your structure. Some contractors may prefer that you did not know this information as it will reveal areas that their business is lacking. And let’s face it, in construction, as in life, not all things are created equal.
1. Square and Flat
Every item used to build your home in one way or another will be affected by the accuracy of your foundation. The terms square and flat refer to the exactness of the outside dimension of the foundation and the flatness of the slab itself. If you foundation is not constructed square and flat every trade that follows will have more work to fix a foundation that was not constructed properly. And added work to the following trades can result in extra charges to you for the work required to correct a foundation that was constructed poorly. Framing, trusses, cabinets, flooring, etc. will all be affected greatly by the foundation. To protect yourself from added expenses make sure your foundation contractor is willing to guarantee the accuracy of his work and fix any problems he may create for the following trades.
2. Slab on grade foundations in 15 days or less
Slab on grade foundations are completely flat foundations with no steps and or walls. This type of foundation should be completed within 15 working days or less when weather is permitting. Anything longer than 15 working days and you are spending more money than you should on carrying costs. Have your foundation contractor guarantee a timeline and make them stick to it. You can even try implementing a $100 per day penalty if they don’t finish during the specified time frame. Foundations with walls and steps will take more time depending on the complexity of the work.
3. One price for everything
The dirty little secret many contractors use is to quote a low price so their estimate is accepted. Then they will charge you for the equipment and material required to complete your foundation saying that it was not included in their original proposal. Every contractor quoting your foundation work should be including all of the items required to complete your foundation. Do not accept additional charges. You can use the checklist provided called “31 Items Your Foundation Contractor Should Include to Complete Your Foundation” as a guide to guarantee that you will not be billed for anything additional.
4. Suppliers are paid
Imagine that your foundation is complete and you have paid your foundation contractor for everything. Then within a month or two of your contractor getting paid you receive a letter or phone call from the concrete supplier stating that your contractor never paid for the concrete. This may sound unlikely but believe me, it happens, and more than you think. Especially today as more and more contractors are struggling to stay busy enough to pay their own bills. You must ensure that all material and labor is paid for before releasing your final payment to your contractor. You can use the enclosed Lien release forms to help protect yourself from this occurring. Another good idea is to check with your contractor’s suppliers before you hire them to see if they have accounts in good standing.
5. Licensed and Insured
State law requires that anyone who contracts to do construction work, must licensed by the Contractors State License Board in the license category in which the contractor is going to be working. In the case of your foundation this will require a C-8 License (Concrete). Go to http://www.cslb.ca.gov to check out every contractor you are considering. You can also verify the status of the contractor’s Workers Compensation insurance on the CSLB website. Be careful with this one. For you to be completely protected a contractor must carry Worker’s Comp. on every employee they hire to work at your home. Go to http://www.cslb.ca.gov to check out the extent of the Worker’s Comp. carried by each contractor. Time and time again we have found that our competitors are severely lacking in Worker’s Comp. compliance.
6. Highest quality materials
Your engineer will design your foundation to perform to a certain structural criteria for performance and for your safety. To achieve this result the engineer will specify the type, strength and design of the rebar and concrete that is used when building your structure. Generally this information is never verified by the building inspector when they are on site for an inspection. It is a good idea to check with your contractor to verify that the materials specified in the plan are the same as the materials being used to build your structure.
7. Experienced Staff
Do you really want a contractor to be experimenting when they construct your foundation? Custom foundation construction differs greatly from tract home construction and commercial construction. If you want the project done right you need to hire a foundation contractor that has many years of experience with the type of structure you are building. Check every contractor’s references and verify their experience.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope you found it useful. If you would like to know more about choosing a concrete contractor and get a lot of free resources, please visit my Temecula Concrete services website at http://www.precisionsetup.com/.