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Visiting the Jobsite Throughout the Construction Process
If you hired a builder or general contractor to oversee the construction of your new home, it is up to that person to ensure everything goes smoothly and is completed in a timely manner according to the building schedule. This does not mean that you, the homeowner, should go on with life and wait for your building professional to call and tell you when your new home is finished. Instead, if you live within a reasonable distance of the jobsite, you should make it a priority to visit the jobsite frequently and monitor progress. Before you head out to the construction site, review these helpful tips. They will help you prepare for your visits to the jobsite and ensure you are getting the most out of each trip.
1. Before construction begins, collect the following items and keep them in your car. They will come in handy during your frequent visits to the jobsite.
- Old shoes or boots - Construction sites are often muddy and covered with debris, especially when you first start building. There is no sense in ruining your dress shoes at the jobsite when you stop by on your way home from work to talk to the builder. It is not worth your time to stop at the jobsite if you cannot navigate it just because you do not have proper footwear. That old pair of shoes is just sitting in the closet anyway. Take them out and use them.
- Set of Construction Drawings - You should keep a set of construction drawings for yourself. It will be your "map" of the construction site. As you walk through the jobsite, refer to your blueprints to ensure your home is being built the way you expect it to be built. Refer to the construction drawings when you request onsite changes and note them on your blueprints.
- Notebook and Pen - Record any questions you may come up with while on the jobsite or even at home. Be sure to date your questions and concerns. After discussing your concerns with the contractor or builder, make a notation of when and what was discussed. You may need to reference these thoughts and discussions later.
- Flashlight - A great deal of time will pass from when you break ground to when the finished electric is installed. During that time, there will be many things you will need to take a closer look at and a flashlight will be essential.
- Tape Measure - While visiting the jobsite you may find that you want to know if a particular piece of furniture will fit along the family room wall or if another piece of furniture will clear the bedroom door. A tape measure will come in handy for all sorts of things at the construction site.
- List of Contact Names - Unexpected situations have been known to arise on the jobsite. You may find yourself in one of these situations. Keep a list of helpful contact names and phone numbers with you at all times. These contacts should include the builder, all subcontractors, the lending company and important emergency numbers such as the fire and police departments. You never know when you may need to contact any of these people.
- Building Schedule - A copy of the building schedule will serve as a quick reference of progress in construction as you visit the jobsite during the various stages of building. It will be essential when it comes time to schedule the closing date, hire a moving company, arrange meetings with the interior decorator or schedule utility hook-ups and deliveries for new furniture or appliances on your moving day.
- Folder, Envelope or Binder - This folder should contain copies of any necessary paperwork needed for the construction of your new home. These documents may include items such as building contracts, warranties, construction loan documents, list of contact names and building permits.
2. Visit the jobsite often. Do this on your own and with your builder or contractor. Your house will change daily as it progresses through the building stages. You do not necessarily have to stop by everyday, but maybe once a week is reasonable with your schedule. (As construction nears the final stages, you may find that it is necessary to visit the site more regularly.) While you are at the jobsite, pay close attention to details. Are the correct materials being used? Does the craftsmanship meet your expectations? Your visits should begin before clearing the lot and continue until you close on your new house. Are you getting what you are paying for?
- Before visiting the site when constructions crews are not present, contact the builder and let him know you may be visiting the site over the weekend or later in the evening. Ask if there are any areas that you should stay away from because construction is not finished and the area is unsafe. When you arrive at the site, take your time. Cover the home thoroughly inside and out. Make a list of any questions you have for the builder and subcontractors. Pay attention to all details and take good notes in your notebook so you can discuss any concerns with the builder later.
- When visiting the jobsite while the contractor and subcontractors are present, ask questions about things you do not understand or need clarified. Do not settle for less than a clear answer. Go over all your notes from your visits when the builder was not on site. Have the builder walk through the site with you explaining the progress so far. Ask about any construction delays and if the building schedule will need to be adjusted. Remember, you are paying this person to make sure the job is done right. It is his duty to address all of your concerns.
3. Talk with your builder frequently. If problems arise, note the builder's suggestions or solutions in your notebook for future reference. Make a notation of what subcontractor or building official is responsible for correcting the problem, who will be paying the additional costs and when the problem will be corrected. In the event that the contractor is working ahead of schedule, find out what adjustments you will need to make to the building schedule regarding the closing, utility hook-up and moving dates.
4. The next time you visit the building site, be sure to follow up with your builder on anything you might have discussed the last time. In the event of a problem, check to see if changes were made and the situation rectified.
These may not be the only things you need to think about before visiting the jobsite, but they should get you off to a good start.
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