What to Do When the Job Goes Wrong

by Jon Nunan

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Construction site problems are inevitable. No matter how good your renovation contractors are, a long and/or involved remodeling project is bound to have a few delays due to material availability, budget constraints and Mother Nature. Since construction site problems are going to be a part of any major remodeling project, it is important to understand how to deal with these issues without losing more time, money or trust in your renovation contractor.

Minimize Construction Site Problems: Hire the Right Contractor
The home improvement industry is enormous. While most contractors and remodeling companies are driven to provide the best service possible, in an industry this big, having a few companies that are less-than-impressive is unavoidable. Often, the biggest construction site problems are most easily avoided by simply hiring the right company for the job!

The more companies you interview before the project begins, the easier finding the right renovation contractor is going to be. Think about it: If you meet with only one company, you will have very little knowledge of who is out there, what is offered and what kind of service you can expect. If you interview 5 or 6 renovation contractors, you'll have a better idea of what your project should cost and what you should expect from a remodeling company. It will also be far more clear which of the contractors you interviewed will be a good fit for you and your situation.

Your Renovation Contractor Is NOT Always to Blame
Many of the problems that occur during building and remodeling are simply out of your contractor's control. The renovation contractor you hire has very little say in what materials his or her suppliers have in stock, what the weather is going to be like, and who calls in sick; blaming your contractor for such issues is not only unfair: it's counterproductive. Again, construction site problems are bound to appear at one point or another during a major project, but putting excessive blame (especially if he or she is not actually at fault) on your renovation contractor is a quick and direct path to poor results and a project that is full of hassle and bad feelings.

Your Renovation Contractor Should Be Held Accountable
That being said, there is certainly nothing wrong with expecting good service and good results for the money you put into a remodeling project! A good contractor will want you to be happy with the finished product so that you'll spread the word and bring in more business; if something goes wrong and you bring it to his or her attention in a respectful manner, a trustworthy contractor will be more than happy to work the problem out and bring the project back up to your standards.

Good Communication Is the Key to Successful Projects
The absolute best tool to minimize construction site problems, get the results you want, and keep you and your renovation contractor happy throughout the project is frequent and effective communication. Always have someone onsite (preferably the person in charge) that you feel comfortable talking with, and make it a point to talk to that person every day.

When the project begins, set up a meeting time that both you and your onsite contact person agree upon so you can discuss the progress made that day, your feelings about how the job is going, and any possible setbacks or delays he or she foresees in the near future. When you have a daily meeting set up, you'll have a place to respectfully air any possible grievances, your renovation contractor will have a place to explain any mistakes or delays (and a chance to tell you what they plan to do to fix/make up for them), and you'll both gain a better understanding of what the other requires for the job to be successful.

Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.