What types of projects do you do?
Our projects range from creating a custom entryway; remodeling a kitchen, bathroom or entire home; restoring a historical structure; or building a truly custom new home - and pretty much everything in between. No projects are too big or too small.
How far do you travel?
Our projects generally see us working along the CT River Valley and Shoreline towns, from Branford to Waterford and up to the Essex and Haddam areas. That being said, over the years, we have been involved in projects that took us to all corners of the state … even a new slope-side ski home in Southern Vermont!
How does this process begin?
Sometimes it’s as simple as a phone call to a good contractor. We pride ourselves on guiding our clients through every step of the process on projects both large and small. The size of your budget doesn’t matter, but designing a project to fit that budget does. It helps, from the outset, to have a clear sense of what your expectations are and what budget you have available to work with. However, if your plans aren’t that clear yet, at times thinking through that is part of the process as well. Don’t ever be afraid to ask questions, part of our job is to educate our clients as the process unfolds.
How do I get an estimate?
Simple, fill out our online contact form, or just call Rick … his cell phone is always on and he will answer the call directly. We will assess your project needs and set up a time to meet and discuss things in more detail at your home. This first meeting will, most times, lead to an initial ‘scope of work’ proposal which lays out generally the details of the project, services we’ll be providing and a ballpark budget number. You will find our cost estimates to be competitive with other high quality firms in the area.
Will I need to hire an architect or engineer?
This generally will be dependent on the size of your project. If you are unsure of where to turn, we can recommend one of the architects or engineers with whom we have worked in the past that will be a perfect fit for your job. It is best if, as the contractor, we are involved in the process from the beginning to lend our construction experience to the planning process. All design decisions will affect construction costs in the end.
How do I find an honest, quality contractor?
Your homework as a homeowner is key. Ask friends and neighbors who have had work done on their homes. Were they satisfied with the finished product? Ask the contractor for references from their recently completed jobs and follow up with each one. Did the process go smoothly? Did they show up when promised? Were the workers respectful and was the job site kept neat and orderly? Was the project completed on budget, and if not, what led to any cost overruns? Finally … would you use them again for a future project? It is also vitally important that you be sure a contractor is licensed and fully insured with both liability and workmen’s comp coverage. Be sure to ask for a copy of their license(s) and proof of insurance. If everything checks out, you found yourself a good contractor.
Drastic price differences between quotes may signal that inferior products or practices are being considered to get the numbers down. Also, the low bid contractor may not fully grasp the real scope of a project and the real costs of labor and materials to do the job correctly. Rest assured … an artificially low bid will most certainly lead to change orders and other “extras” from the start! Always ask a contractor to meet with you and explain their bid clearly, whether theirs was the high or low number … it’s amazing how many times you’ll find that different contractors seem to be looking at your project from totally different perspectives! This will directly affect costs and should explain the big price differences.
One of the best ways to prepare for the first meeting with an architect or contractor is to assemble a “wish list” for the project. This can include pictures from magazines or of other homes you’ve seen and a list of details you’d like to see in the completed project. In the case of a kitchen remodel, these details could include spice racks, baking pan storage, wine racks, professional-grade appliances, granite counters, etc.
If your home is in or near a saltwater environment, be sure that all exterior fasteners used are stainless steel. This includes any nails, screws or framing connectors that will be exposed to the salt air. Though less expensive, even galvanized fasteners will corrode and ultimately fail in very short order!
If your home was built before 1978, there may be lead paint present. The EPA requires, by law, that owners of such homes are informed of the potential hazards associated with disturbing surfaces containing lead during construction. Law also requires that all individuals and firms take classes to become certified as a “Lead Safe Renovator” … ask to see a copy of the contractor’s certificate.
Always ask for references and follow up with each one! Have a list of questions to ask and take good notes. If possible, ask to visit some of their completed projects. Check the BBB website to see if any complaints or judgments have been filed.
Before making a final decision as to which contractor you’re going to pick for the job, ask if it would be possible to visit a job in progress and meet the crew. These are the people you’ll be sharing your home with during the construction process. Does the contractor have a crew that works with them consistently, or does each new job come with new faces? A tried and true crew that works together day in and day out fosters a sense of pride and ownership that can’t be beat.