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When do I hire a general contractor?

A residential general contractor is needed when the project in your home will take more than a day to complete, and more essential tools and insurance is necessary. For example, you can hire a handyman for patching a hole in your drywall. However, should you want to replace the whole wall and add a staircase, you will need a contractor. Adding a bathroom, a room, a staircase, and rerouting electrical wiring, are some examples of jobs that require a contractor to check the layout, foundation, and plans of your home. To start the renovation, a permit is needed to ensure that the additions or revisions still adhere to the building laws of the original foundation. The Building Code is mandated by the local government to minimize the threat to the integrity of your building or home.

Here are some other responsibilities of general contractors:

1. Sourcing and Procuring Materials

Contractors are responsible for finding the right materials for your home. They need to purchase and deliver them at the right time. Some materials like cement, glue, wood, and other materials that change form due to the temperature should be bought in the right amount because they can’t be stored or left outdoor for long periods.

2. Identifying the Scope of a Project

Contractors today sit down with you and a designer or architect at the very beginning to conceptualize the plan. So, it is easy for them to visualize and set a deadline.

3. Workforce and Schedules

This may be one of the most difficult across all industries - getting the right people to get the job done correctly. Frequently, general contractors have a pool of subcontractors ready to take on tasks that they require their expertise on. When you hire a general contractor, you’re also hiring someone who will employ not just hire qualified people but also monitor their progress and output quality, and take care of paying them on time.

4. Applying for Permits

There are house renovations that will require alterations to the foundation of the home, automatically you’d need to consult an engineer. Moreover, you will need an architect to draw up the design and an engineer to ask when there are alterations to the foundation of the home. Hiring a general contractor helps speed up the process of applying for your permit. They are well connected to reach out quickly to engineers and architects and are well versed in the building code.

5. Keeping Records

Last but not the least is paperwork. Like every project, proper documentation is crucial to the continuity and flow of information. Some of the paperwork your contractor needs to prepare and keep are the list of materials, home plan, subcontractors directory, project timelines, building permits, equipment control sheets, insurance documents, payroll, and many more.

What work experience should I look for in a general contractor?

Experienced general contractors have an in-depth understanding of the various aspects of building a house like masonry, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and construction. When a general contractor has had extensive experience in taking on large-scale construction projects like schools, hospitals, or government establishments, they are usually called “prime contractors” because projects like these take months to complete within a tight deadline with so many moving parts.

Hiring a low-quality general contractor may lead to a massive waste of your time and money. It is imperative that you hire reputable contractors only, for they are accountable for the safe execution of all the steps in building. Without with a vast experience in residential or industrial construction, your

What interview questions should I ask when hiring a general contractor?

Before you interview your prospective general contractor, it is always to your benefit to check his past projects, primarily if he wasn’t referred to you by anyone close. If you’ve seen or heard a name, it’s good to check out pictures or better yet visit the places when you can. You can also ask around subcontractors who might have worked for the general contractor and ask for feedback about his management and leadership.

Below are some interview questions for your potential general contractor:

Question 1: What past projects have you undertaken considering the details I have just shared? A good answer to this is a detailed account of the top projects he’s completed recently. It should include a breakdown of some of the past project’s unforeseen challenges and how he plans to be prepared to avoid encountering them in your home project. The best answer will also transition your conversation about project timelines while pointing out the unique potential hurdles of this project and the contingencies he set to still deliver on time.

Question 2: Describe the most challenging part you see in this project?
This question is posed to test your contractor’s honesty and flexibility at the same time. The best general contractors are those that embrace change, think on their feet, and upfront in sharing their forecasted challenges. They face problems head-on and have contingencies in place.

Question 3: What are the tools and materials we’ll need to complete this on time?
The best way to answer this is to give you a breakdown of the cost allocated for each phase of the project and a list of possible suppliers that may have alternatives for the type of materials you initially want. It will be nice to have an informed decision on budget-friendly materials that are both durable and No one understands what to put together in your home better than your residential general contractor.

What different factors affect the cost of a general contractor’s services? The first factor that will affect the cost of a general contractor is your budget. Your budget may limit the changes that you can do or implement the design that you want. Contractors will either have to take one part of the budget or simply cut your projects into smaller ones to ensure its success without hurting your pocket.

Next is the time, which also affects manpower cost. Sometimes, time-consuming projects that include elaborate finishing like adding a room or redecorating a bathroom have waiting times in between phases. If the project isn’t managed well, timelines move. And as deadlines get blurry as people work, quality is at risk.

The last factor that affects the cost is your location. Different taxes apply to different locations. Not only are we talking about property taxes, but also in renting equipment and buying materials.

Homeowners love Setter

Learn how Setter has made home life a bit easier for these families.

Setter makes moving a breeze

"When we bought this old home, we didn’t know where to start. We had a laundry list of wishlist items and must-do’s, but no idea how to get them done. Having a Home Consultation with Setter was the perfect way to kickstart everything. Our Home Manager came to our home, provided advice on what to focus on, and put together an organized game plan for us. Now, I tell all my friends that my home doesn’t run on electricity, it runs on Setter."

Vicki & Eric PENG
Cumberland South, Sunnyvale

Setter makes magic happen

"As a mom of three kids, it’s a miracle if I replace a lightbulb within a week. I would push off so many things around my home because I just didn’t have the time for it. That all changed when I had my Setter Home Consultation. All the things that had been piling up were magically taken off my plate by our Home Manager. Yet somehow, Setter made me feel like I was the superhero of my own home! Not sure how they did that, but I’m grateful."

MONICA & GIBBS FAMILY
Branson, Toronto

Setter makes it easy

"I was skeptical about booking a Home Consultation at first because I didn’t think we needed it. But having someone come to our home, walk through all of my wants and needs with me, and then take them away to get them done for me was a bit mind-blowing. I honestly don’t worry about my home anymore because I know Setter will take care of it."

Ben & Baldwin Family
Rosedale, Toronto

"When we bought this old home, we didn’t know where to start. We had a laundry list of wishlist items and must-do’s, but no idea how to get them done. Having a Home Consultation with Setter was the perfect way to kickstart everything. Our Home Manager came to our home, provided advice on what to focus on, and put together an organized game plan for us. Now, I tell all my friends that my home doesn’t run on electricity, it runs on Setter."

Vicki & Eric PENG
Cumberland South, Sunnyvale

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible for me to do a general contractors’ job myself?

Yes, if you have sufficient practical knowledge of building a house and the Ontario Building Code, then you can design and draft the plan of your residential building. However, if you plan on doing work that affects the foundation of your home, you will need an engineer to help you out.

Also, aside from the responsibilities listed above, it will be challenging to keep track of subcontractors’ work from a homeowner’s perspective. Even though you may have experience in construction, as a homeowner, you may get blindsided by your desire to finish quickly and neglect the risks involved in every phase. Leading and managing subcontractors are part of a general contractor’s job, and they can find the balance of mitigating risks, anticipating changes, and work around budgets and deadlines.

At Setter, we’ll 100% manage everything from design to build. Our Setter verified renovation companies are the best house contractors. If you’re not happy with our service, let us know within 30days, and we’ll do everything we can to make you happy.

All you have to do now is tell us what you want.