A: Typically, no. An estimate is not a binding contract, but a rough calculation of the cost of the project.
A: You'll need to do a bit of leg work, but the effort will pay off in many ways.
A: Permits are valid for a certain number of days from the date of issuance or from the date of the last inspection. The time length will vary between communities.
A: Generally, no. Home inspectors generally evaluate an existing home upon the sale or purchase of the property. Home inspectors evaluate readily accessible systems and components of a home. A building inspector evaluates the building project at various stages of construction to verify adherence to local building codes. Be aware that in some jurisdictions a certificate of occupancy, which allows you to move into the home, is given only after the home passes the final building inspection.
A: Typically, yes. The type of change and when the request occurs can greatly impact the ability to physically make the change, as well as the associated costs. Changes should be agreed to in writing with a "change order" noting what is to be changed as well as the costs.
A: Take a look at your contract. It should define how disputes are to be settled. If not, your only alternative may be to sue based on the contract you have.
A: Most builders do ask for a down payment, although the specific amount will depend on your contract agreement. Be very cautious about a builder who asks for the entire amount upfront. Some states even limit the amount that a builder can request. Contact your state or local consumer agency to find out what the law is in your area.
A: Construction started or completed without a permit is subject to investigation by the local inspection department to insure the project complies with all building codes. Additionally, court fines may be imposed for not getting the required permits before beginning work.
A: If a contractor or business is hired to work on your construction project and then you refuse to pay, the individual or business has the right to file a lien. The lien is a claim on your home. This means the contractors and suppliers could go to court to force you to sell your home to satisfy their unpaid bills from your project.
You may also receive a lien even though you have paid the general contractor in full for the project. If this happens, it may be because the general contractor did not pay a subcontractor or business, was slow in making payments or, possibly, closed up shop and filed for bankruptcy. Regardless of the reason, the individual or business has a legal right to be paid and can file claim on your property for the amount owed.
Making the homeowner pay twice for the work completed may seem unfair. But the homeowner, because he benefits from the improvements, is ultimately held responsibility for the debts. If you do end up paying twice - once to the general contractor and again to settle the lien - you have the right to file suit against the contractor to recover your costs.
A: A zoning permit often is used in some areas to mean or represent "building permit," requiring contractors, owners, owner's agents or tenants (with permission from the owner) to obtain a permit prior to beginning a building project.
A: The terms "erection," "construction," "moving," "conversion," "alteration," "remodeling" or "addition" are all common terms used to describe a building which is under construction.
A: The building inspection department, office of planning and zoning, or department of permits in your community will have a listing of permits and inspections related to building and zoning codes required for new construction or remodeling. Each community may have slightly different inspection criteria but they generally cover structural, electrical, mechanical and plumbing work. Building codes are constantly evolving and they can vary by state, county, city and town.
A: A contract is a document that clearly states the expectations, responsibilities and rights of the parties involved in a project. Remember, if it isn't in writing, it doesn't exist. As a starting point, consider including the points listed below as well as having the contract either written or reviewed by an attorney prior to signing:
A: Generally, contractors, owners, owner agent's or tenants (with permission from the owner) can obtain building permits. A general contractor often will obtain the permits covering the electrical, mechanical, and plumbing work in addition to the building permit, eliminating the need for any subcontractor to obtain a separate permit. Depending on the community codes, permits in addition to those listed may be required. Be cautious of a contractor who requires that the homeowner must obtain the necessary building permits. It may mean he isn't licensed to work in your area.
A: Generally, the homeowner is responsible for insurance. Depending on circumstances and the contractor used, the contractor may be required to supply this coverage.