contracting Archives | Vancouver Architect

When working with a contractor, how do you avoid change orders, additional costs, and delays?

Question of the day, How to avoid change orders and delays in a construction project?

A successful project doesn’t start with a contractor, it starts with a good designer. No contractor can start a project without a good blueprint. The blueprints include architectural drawing, structural drawings, sometimes geotechnical reports and of course inter design drawings. 

A good architectural designer or the design studio will coordinate the entire process to make sure the process goes well.

A most common problem occurs when the client agrees with all drawings, but when it gets built, it doesn’t look like what they expected. This issue could be a result of several reasons which one of them would be the lack of ability to translate the blueprints. Many homeowners are not trained to read the blueprints and have difficulties envisioning the final product from the blueprint. 
The solution is that the architectural drawing should be accompanied by 3D visualization renderings as well as virtual reality presentations. Most of the advanced design firms should be able to provide these kinds of services. As of interior designer’s drawing should be followed by product samples so the client can see and touch the finishing material so there won’t be any surprises. 

But the most crucial part is the architectural designer’s job that should interview the homeowners and make sure they are satisfied and know what they really want. Many times the clients can not finalize their decision, which ends up to change orders is because they haven’t spent enough time deciding on the first stage of developing the design.

In a nutshell, to avoid change orders and delays or any possible problems with contractors, the smart homeowner should hire an experienced designer with the right tools. That comes with a higher price tag, but the value comes with it is incomparable.

Make sure to hire your architect/designer to overlook the project to reduce the headaches of change orders or delays. When the designer knows they are hooked to the end of the project, they will make sure to make better communication between the contractor, design and the client.

Please click on the link below to watch a video that helps you to get a better understanding of the process: www.myhomedesigner.com/lcc

Your house renovation contract checklist (Part 1)

Checklist of Items to include in the contract with your contractor:

Click the link above for PDF format.

Make sure the contract covers the following items:

Contractor Information

  • Contractor (company name)
  • Principle contact
  • Project manager
  • Address
  • Telephone (office/business and cell numbers) and Fax numbers
  • E-mail address and website

Owner Information

  • Owner(s) names
  • Address (include buzzer number if different than unit)
  • Telephone (office/business and cell numbers) and Fax numbers
  • E-mail ________________
  • Project address (if different from above)
  • Description of Work
  • Scope of work, details of materials, if any drawings are available refer to the drawing.
  • Include what the work does not include
  • Timing – list project milestones and the target date for completion
  • Terms of Payment
  • The Contract price is to be calculated as follows (select one):
    • Stipulated fixed cost basis (all inclusive) $__________________, plus applicable tax Payments shall be due and payable as outlined in the Payment Schedule.
    • Cost plus ______________% of cost, plus applicable tax Payments shall be due on a bi-weekly _______ or monthly ________ basis (check one).
    • Cost plus fixed fee of $_______________________, plus applicable tax
    • Payment Schedule
  • Changes in Work Utilities and Washroom Facilities
  • Warranty
  • Other Contractors
    • Who are they?
  • Owner reserves the right to allow separate contracts in connection with the Work or to do certain work by Owner’s own forces as specified in Description of Work.
  • Dispute Resolution
    The Owner and the Contractor agree that in the event of a dispute as to the interpretation of the Contract or the extent of the Work, the issues shall be submitted to arbitration as agreed to by both parties or under the province’s arbitration statute.
  • Default by Owner
  • Default by Contractor
  • Signatures

If the payment method is laid out based on stage of work, make sure each stage of the job has been achieved and inspected (according to local bylaws) before making the payment for that stage.

It is wise to hold back a percentage of the payment for a short period of time to make sure the final job meets your expectations. This is an arrangement between you and the contractor. If you have a good relationship with him this may not be necessary.

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