By Alexander Barthet

Construction can be awfully complicated – building and zoning regulations, labor shortages, financing hurdles, the process can quickly become overwhelming. But you can avoid the more common problems by just following a few, easy steps and steering clear of some often committed blunders.

  1. Doing it without a contractor. You may think you can tackle that remodeling job but you could quickly find yourself over your head, trying to do something that an experienced and qualified contractor will have done many times before.
  2. Doing it with an unlicensed contractor. Not all contractors are properly licensed, even if they tell you otherwise. And not being licensed means that contractor hasn’t been vetted by the proper regulatory authorities, and worse may have lost his/her license for a series of infractions.
  3. Doing it with the wrong contractor. Contractors have specific expertise, gained from doing work in particular areas, and doing that type of work often. Some are experienced residential contractors, others are commercial builders. Pick one whose background suits your project.
  4. Doing it without a permit. It may seem expedient and quick, but skipping the permit process also means you’ll miss out on a building inspector’s review of the work done.
  5. Doing it without a contract. Written contracts create a roadmap spelling out each party’s rights and obligations. You’ll want to know in advance what your contractor is supposed to do and when. Likewise the contractor will want to be assured when and how he or she will be paid.
  6. Doing it without a schedule. In addition to having a written contract, you’ll want a written and definite schedule, outlining when critical project milestones are to be met.
  7. Doing it without plans and specs. You’ll surely want to have the details of any project specified – sizes, colors, types, all make a difference and all need to be known in advance to be sure they’re compatible. Blueprints and specifications accomplish this.
  8. Doing it without insurance. There are few jobs more dangerous than those involving construction. Taking on a project without having insurance in place, and the right amount of it, is a very expensive gamble, and not one you should ever take on.
  9. Doing it on the cheap. Saving money and getting a good deal is surely important. But doing so at the cost of doing it right would be a huge mistake. One gets what one