In all the years I have been in the remodeling business the biggest frustration I deal with is when homeowners select the wrong contactor for their specific need within the home. Most items you purchase in life can be seen and understood before you buy it, however, remodeling in all forms involves a certain degree of trust and faith in the person you hire to do the work you hope will get done. Finding and selecting the right contractor can be time consuming and stressful.
The following are my recommendations to 1. locate, 2. qualify and 3. work with a reputable Aging-in Place contractor in your area.
- Locate – your local remodeling council through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Follow this link http://www.nahb.org/directory.aspx?sectionID=667&directoryID=387 – fill out your zip code or city, the search radius (50 miles is the default) and lastly select CAPS certified. CAPS which stands for Certified Aging in Place Specialist are specially trained contractors who work with the special needs of the elderly and handicapped. Hopefully there will be several contractors in your area. You can be assured that these contractors are fully licensed, insured and up to date on the latest products and services for Aging-In Place Remodeling.
- Qualify- Next call these contractors and ask them specific questions about how they go about pricing, specifying and doing projects. In a nutshell – know how they run their projects by talking to several of their past customers on similar projects as yours. It’s a good idea to get a few bids but be aware that choosing the lowest price should not be the high priority here. The old saying “The bitter taste of poor quality remains much longer then the sweet taste of a low price”. Many homeowners have been duped by contractors that low ball their bid in order to win the job only knowing that they will change order the project once they start costing the homeowner more in the long run. This may sound obvious but make sure you select a contractor that you get along well with – remember you will be living with this person in your home during the length of the project. THe bottom line is communication is the key to a successful aging-in place remodel.
- Work- Once you select the contractor – make sure the communication continues – good contractors will have a preconstruction meeting just before work starts to confirm all work that will be done on the project. In addition, weekly status meetings (for larger projects) help to answer any ongoing questions and to help owners understand the flow of the project. Towards the end of the project you should have a walkthrough with the contractor to list any issues or work not completed to your satisfaction – this is commonly called a “punch list walk-through”.
Best of luck to all.