Is Your Home Builder Taking Shortcuts?

home-being-constructedWhen you build a new home, you trust the contractor you hired. After all, you vetted them by checking their references, looking up their service and complaint records, and talking with past clients. But what you may not know is whether they are taking shortcuts in the construction of your new house.

Many shortcuts are unnoticeable and you may not catch them for years to come—if ever. Others are obvious immediately. But even if they aren’t noticeable, that doesn’t absolve the fact that you are paying for a certainly quality of work and materials and should receive what you contracted for. Is your home builder taking shortcuts? Here are some warning signs to look out for.

6 Ways to Tell if Your Builder is Taking Shortcuts

1. Materials Don’t Match the Contract

If you have chosen specific materials, appliances, finishes, surfaces, etc., check to ensure that what you contractor for is indeed what you received. Disreputable builders may substitute cheaper-grade materials in place of higher-quality ones thinking you won’t notice.

2. Corners are Cut

To save money on materials, disreputable builders may try to cut corners in building construction or finishing quality. For example, they may place floor joists farther apart than required, use nails instead of screws on frames or sheetrock, or paint walls without priming them first. If you are not at home to watch their progress, most of these shortcuts will be hidden.

3. The Price Seems to Be Too Good to Be True

If your builder offers you a luxury upgrade, like hardwood floors or a Jacuzzi tub and the price seems low, they may be substituting second-rate products. Quality amenities cost more, and you should expect to pay more for them. Accepting a low price, thinking you are getting a bargain, is setting yourself up for disaster later on.

4. The Contracted Labor is Unskilled

Some builders opt to save money on labor costs—their highest expense—by hiring untrained and unskilled workers. These workers do not have the skill level to build a high-quality home. Ask the builder if they hire temporary workers for the job or have their own employed crew. Don’t be afraid to inquire about training, certifications, and experience.

5. Systems are Inadequate

Smaller HVAC systems obviously cost less than larger ones, so installing a smaller one can save the builder money. Check to make sure that the systems being installed (plumbing, HVAC, electrical, septic, etc.) are the right size for your home and usage levels. It can be almost impossible to get the builder to upgrade to the correct level after the fact.

6. Inspections are Discouraged

Although milestone inspections are required by the county issuing the building permit, you should periodically bring in your own private inspector, especially if you have suspicions about the work. Beware a builder who tries to discourage an independent inspector.

Read more examples in this Fox News story.

Trust a Homeowner Advocate like Först Consulting Group

Först Consulting Group offers a number of services designed to protect homeowner from unscrupulous building practices and contractors.

  • Construction Consultant: Have us help you select a reputable builder and review contracts to ensure that they benefit you.
  • Construction Advocate: We’ll serve as your personal project manager to prevent construction problems from happening in the first place.
  • Construction Project Manager: Reviewing contractor work throughout the project.
  • Independent Inspection: We’ll check the quality of your contractor’s work to ensure that it meets all current code requirements and quality standards, and look for construction defects.

When building your dream home in Northern Virginia or Washington, D.C., you don’t have to go it alone; you have a construction advocate on your side. With Först Consulting Group. Contact us today to see how we can help you.


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