The association takes great pride in its membership. These are your local businesses who are professional enough to want to voluntarily join a group that has high ethics standards that all members must adhere to. The association receives certificates of insurance annually from all of its members to assure you that our members carry adequate insurance to be working on your job—and that is a protection for you. Educational programs keep our members updated on the most important changes such as building code, lead issues and job safety. In short, membership in the Lehigh Valley Builders Association is a sign of professionalism.
Choosing a member of the LVBA for your next project makes sense but do follow the below suggestions no matter who you are meeting with.
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Choosing a Builder or Remodeler
If you are ready to build a new home or remodel an existing one, you need to know what to look for in a responsible contractor. Here are some tips:
- .Ask for references. Talk with others who have had work done by the contractor about their capabilities and quality of workmanship. Check for yourself the quality of work.
- Ask for an insurance certificate to verify current workers’ compensation and general liability insurance. (Note: contractors without employees are not required to carry workers compensation insurance).
- Make sure the contractor has a permanent business location and a good reputation with local banks and suppliers.
- Incorporate any warranties, guarantees or other promises in your written contract. Always insist on a written contract and written change orders.
- Be specific, and realistic, about starting and completion dates.
- Beware of an unusually low bid or low advertised price. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Select a contractor you are comfortable with—one who understands your tastes and needs and with whom you can communicate easily.
- Take your time. Most problems occur when consumers fail to investigate contractors carefully before hiring them.
Those contractors working in the remodeling industry are required to beregistered with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office. The registration number should be displayed on trucks, all forms of advertising, etc. If you don’t see their registration number, ask them. This is a process that is designed to protect the consumer from fly-by-nighters. Employ an unregistered remodeling contract at your own risk. To check whether your contractor is registered, click here
The Contractor’s Responsibilities
Your home is probably your biggest investment. Poor quality work can reduce the return on your invested dollars. A reputable contractor provides the following services:
- Is responsible for all phases of the job from start to finish—planning, labor, materials and scheduling.
- Coordinates all work to avoid costly and inconvenient delays.
- Obtains high quality materials and labor, sometimes at lower prices than you would pay because of volume and knowledge of the marketplace.
- Performs work according to specifications, hires competent workers and subcontractors and knows products that provide lasting satisfaction.
- Is familiar with design options, building codes and construction practices.
- Obtains all necessary permits, arranges for required inspections and complies with insurance regulations.
The Consumer’s Role in Construction
As a homeowner, you help ensure a project goes smoothly when you:
- Designate one person to be the contact with the contractor, keep informed of the job’s progress and answer the questions as they arise.
- Make changes to the original contract in writing. Verbal change orders can be very costly, cause delays and create misunderstandings. Plan your project carefully to avoid unnecessary delays.
Your contract should be easily understood and detailed. The contract should specify: The contract should specify:
- Quality and quantity of materials.
- Styles and brand names of products.
- A firm price for the work and a payment schedule and if there is a cancellation penalty.
- Any items of work that will not be performed by the contractor. Read your contract carefully and ask questions!
- You cannot verify the name, address and telephone number or credentials of the contractor.
- The salesperson tries to pressure you into signing a contract by using scare tactics, threats or intimidation.
- Protect yourself by asking the contractor for a list of previous clients who also had been offered the special rate in exchange for advertising considerations. Call the references and ask them if they received the promised quality workmanship and special rate.
- You are unable to verify that the contractor is properly insured.
- If you still have questions, call before you sign a contract.