- Knowledge of Construction. If your general contractor is not familiar with construction, he/she won’t know if the sub-contractors are doing a good job. Leaks in the roof, drafty doors and windows, interior leaks and shoddy work can all happen if a contractor doesn’t know what to look for. Be sure whoever you hire has a construction background and understands how quality work is done. Ask questions before you hire anybody.
- Good communication skills. Remember, this is the person who will become your voice. He/she will be communicating your vision and needs to everyone else who comes in to work on your home. They need to understand what you are looking for and then share that in a way that makes what you want happen.
- A solid group of sub-contractors. Most general contractors, who have been in business for a while, have a group of sub-contractors they work with on a regular basis. This means there is trust and knowledge of how and how quickly they work. Things generally run more smoothly when people have worked together before.
- Knowledge of necessary permits for the area. Every state and city has different rules and regulations regarding building and additions/expansions on homes. Some have to do with earthquake safety, such as in areas that run close to fault lines, some have to do with storm protection for coastal areas. If your home is not built to code, you could be forced to tear it down. Building within property lines is also critical. If you build over, you will at some point most likely be responsible for taking down all the hard work that went into building your home or addition.
- Ability to save you money without compromising materials. Some people think they can save money by acting as their own general contractor. This is similar to people picking up a camera and thinking they are a photographer.
Contractors are trained to know what to look for. Their job is to organize and know what types of materials work and how they work together. Their knowledge is invaluable when it comes to building a home. If you don’t have a construction background, you will probably save more money by letting a general contractor take over.