Why are there always unexpected/additional cost to original contract when dealing with a Connecticut Home Improvement Contractor?

* The answer is simple "There should not be any additional cost dealing with any CT Remodeling or Ct Home Improvement Contractor ". However I'm sure my answer conflicts with either your own past experience or a friend's when dealing with any Ct Home Improvement Contractor or Ct Remodeling Company. There are 3 reasons a homeowner would understand and accept an additional cost to remodeling project. (1) Homeowner requested additional remodeling work. (2) To replace / remove / relocate items those were concealed / undetectable only after being exposed.

A Few examples: (a) rotten wood (b) Hidden pipes or wires (c) buried oil tank. There may be a third reason, however can't blame Home Improvement Contractor (3) Present House Infractions noticed by Inspectors when inspecting new remodeling project.

* Any other reason provided by Ct Home Improvement Contractor is truly an EXCUSE directly associated with their Lack of Knowledge (code requirements) or Lack of Thoroughness (during estimating phase). Any Ct Home Improvement Contractor either not knowing Ct code requirements or overlooking obvious details should "EAT THERE MISTAKE". Maybe that's why there quote seemed more reasonable, they either omitted or undersized materials in there remodeling quote.

* Include following language in contract to remedy these issues with any Home Improvement Contractor..........

A. Include "All Work Done to Code ". This prevents additional charges based on Home Improvement Contractors lack of knowledge of Ct code requirements. Adding this language would supersede specifications in contract. Examples, if home improvement contractor specified in contract a structural size of material, thickness of insulation , or amount of electrical outlets etc. .... and was instructed by Ct Building Inspector to " up grade " that amount to meet required Ct Building code " , then you will not be charged extra. The same conclusion if home improvement contractor entirely omitted a required procedure.

B. Include "All Noticeable Required Work ". This would prevent additional charges on work required to complete project. Example, if Ct home improvement contractor or Ct remodeling company informs you ( after contract signed and during construction ) that the electrical panel box has to be up graded to handle the additional electrical requirements for new addition , then you will not be charged extra because this should of been noticed during bidding stage .

* You should discuss prior to contract stage a list of items not included thus eliminating assumptions.

Are you insured?

* Confirm by receiving "Certificate of Insurance" directly from insurance company and not from Ct home Improvement Company. Note, A Ct Home Improvement Contractor can hand you a Certificate of Insurance that clearly illustrates proper coverage and current. However this document could have been cancelled if mandatory payments were not paid.

Note, Connecticut Home Improvement Contractors require 2 types of coverage (workers compensation & general liability). Take time to carefully read, coverage may only cover general liability. Thus if an employee gets seriously hurt during your remodeling or home improvement project, you can become liable for all medical & attorney fees.

Note, Prior to hiring any Ct Home Improvement Contractor, once again, request Insurance company to supply you with a copy and request that you want to be named on this policy as "Additional Insured Party ". This entitles notification if present home improvement contractor's policy is altered, cancelled or not renewed during time of your remodeling project.

Should I hire an Architect when considering a building a House Addition or a Major Home Improvement or Remodeling Project?

* Simple designed additions. When building a home addition to existing home the objective is to build / design / remodel as though this addition was always part of the original structure. Since the premise is to mimic exterior character of present house (pitch of roof, overhangs, style of windows, siding, trim etc.) your design is already pre-determined.

* Not knowing if total cost is within your budget. No sense spending hundreds of dollars, possible thousands on plans of any home improvement project if you can't use them because it's beyond your budget.

Note , You may want to invite a few Ct Home Improvement Contractors ( Specialist ) to your home & discuss extend of work to determine if you proceed , curtail or forsake your Home Addition or Remodeling / Home Improvement project. These Ct Contractors (Specialist) have the ability to generate approximate cost on any remodeling project that are (1) Complex in design (2) Major in size without the necessity and cost of plans.

* Large extensive remodeling projects. (Extensive Ct Additions or Major CT Remodeling Projects). Based on premise you're aware of approximate cost of project and prepared to proceed with project.

Note, you'll be assured each Ct home improvement contractor quoting project understands exactly what's required. Without addition / remodeling plans with specifications each home improvement contractor can interpret remodeling project differently (quality of material, doing job minimum to code, omitting items). This way you're comparing "Apples to Apples ".

Note, you will be able to recoup a portion of your architectural cost since Home Improvement Contractor needs those drawings to apply for a Ct building permit.

Why don't Home Improvement Contractors follow up with quote after appointment?

* There are many possibilities Home Improvement Contractors don't follow up with a quote after initial meeting...( 1 ) They were intimidated with the scoop of the Home Improvement Project or Room Addition , it's beyond their ability. (2) They could not produce all the documents you requested (A) Proof of insurance (B) Connecticut Home Improvement license (C) Quality referrals or quaintly of referrals.

* Hence you accomplished your goal. Don't chase Home Improvement Contractors that don't respond. There actually doing you a favor by not responding. I know it could be frustrating, however not as painfully frustrating if they actually were hired. These Contractors prefer to ignore you then omit their own deficiencies.

Can you supply me references?

* Specifically ask Ct Home Improvement Contractor for at least 4 references that are similar to your proposed Room Addition or Remodeling Project. If you're building any type of Home Addition, remodeling bathroom, remodeling kitchen don't accept Deck, Replacement Window, Roofing or Siding referrals.

* Ask Ct Home Improvement Company or the last 10 jobs performed without prejudice. RED FLAGS are (1) receiving none or few. (2) recent references are years old. (3) not being able to contact references. (4) ignoring your request.

* You should control situation by "Establishing Guidelines" with any Ct home improvement company. The old premise was asking for 3 random references, however any home improvement or remodeling contractor can have a low performance rating (7 complaints out of 10) and just give you the 3 satisfied.

Are you licensed?

* Don't settle on just a "Yes ". Verify by requesting that home improvement company supply you a copy of their License (license states company name, company address, CT license number and effective & expiration date). Research online to confirm. Contact Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. www.ct.gov/dcp.

Note, The State of Connecticut also provides a wallet-size license that Ct Home Improvement Contractors must have in their possession and required to show upon your request.

When can you start?

Note, usually asked at initial meeting. Premise is this is a Home Addition or Remodeling project & not 1-2 day project.

* I usually answer this question with my own question! What stage are you at?

* Homeowners are either in 1 of the following 3 stages. Stage 3, Have idea of cost, financing secure, committed & looking to hire. Stage 2, don't yet have idea of cost and depends on cost and financing, not certain and looking for ideas and feedback. Stage 1, "Tire Kickers", uncertain about everything.

* If you're at Stage 3, this question should be answered upon knowing extent of your project and Home Improvement Contractors current schedule. . If you're at Stage 2, home improvement contractor should be able to give you an idea.

* Unless it's an emergency never hire a Home Improvement Contractor / company strictly because they can start project a few weeks earlier than everyone else. A homeowners satisfaction and lasting memory of their completed home remodeling project is based on ( 1 ) Quality Workmanship ( 2 ) An Enjoyable & Stress-less experience , not that the home remodeling project was able to be started a few weeks earlier.

Note, Connecticut State Code requires that all contracts include a starting date.

Why the discrepancies in the bids I'm receiving from CT Home Improvement Contractors?

I'll divide "remodeling bid amounts" in 3 categories (1) Grossly High (2) Middle Range (3) Cheap
  • Grossly High - Home Improvement Contractor is (a) not interested (b) not available (c) not capable .......unless the price is right.
  • Middle Range - Home Improvement Contractor is (a) interested (b) available ......however are they capable, experienced or right choice?
  • Cheap - Home Remodeling Contractor is either (a) inexperienced (b) desperate (c) made a mistake (d) A lot of omissions (e) taking deposit & running. Homeowners want to believe another option (f) they met a home improvement contractor that is finally reasonable & not greedy, however it will come back to " bite you ".
Note, only accept bids in writing, no verbal quotes from any CT remodeling or Ct home improvement company / contractor.
Note, don't hire any Ct Home Improvement Contractor strictly by eliminating the high & low quote. Hire based on their own merits.

How much will my project cost?

  • As you see from previous response to question, home improvement bids will vary. Note the answer is get quotes and find out. Don't feel that you should be either knowledgeable or could afford proposed room addition or remodeling / home improvement project in order to request a quote. It's better to get firsthand knowledge then assume or never know. However there are some Ct Home Improvement Contractors that are capable of giving you a "Ball Park " cost over the phone.
  • A Written Proposal is required. Especially if blueprints and specifications were not supplied during your "Gathering of Quotes ". Requesting a written proposal from all Ct remodeling contractors enables you to compare (1) quality of materials (2) omissions (3) procedures.

How long will my project take?

Note, Usually asked at initial meeting. Premise is this is a Ct Home Addition or Remodeling project & not 1-2 day project.
  • If you're at Stage 2 or 3 with your remodeling ideas (see explanation directly above), this is legitimate question. Your question should be able to be answered based on extend of work and Ct Home Improvement Contractors current schedule.
  • Never hire a Ct Home Improvement Contractor / Ct Remodeling Contractor strictly because they can complete project a couple few weeks earlier then everyone else. A homeowner's satisfaction and lasting memory of their completed remodeling project is based on (1) Quality Workmanship (2) An enjoyable and Stress-less experience, not that the remodeling project was completed a few weeks earlier.
Note, Connecticut State Code requires that all contracts include a completion date.