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Visiting the Jobsite Throughout the Construction Process
Even if you have a hired a builder to oversee the construction of your new garage and ensure everything goes smoothly and the project is completed in a timely manner, it does not mean that you should sit back and relax waiting for the builder to tell you your new garage is finished. Instead, as the owner, you should make it a priority to monitor progress. If the garage is being built in your backyard, this shouldn’t be too difficult. However, if you must travel a distance, try to visit the jobsite at least once a week. Before you head to the jobsite, review these helpful tips to ensure you are getting the most out of each visit.
1. Before the start of construction, collect the following items. If the construction site is on the same lot with your home, you may want to keep everything in a box or plastic tub in your home office or maybe the mudroom. If you must travel to the jobsite, consider keeping these items in your car. They will come in handy during your frequent visits to the jobsite.
- Old shoes or boots: Jobsites are often covered with debris and can be very muddy, especially when you first start building. There is no sense in ruining a nice pair of shoes at the jobsite just because the only chance you have to stop by is right after work. It will not be worth your while to stop if you cannot freely walk around the site. That old pair of tennis shoes is just sitting in the closet anyway, so take them out and use them. It is important to have the proper footwear when you visit the jobsite.
- Set of Construction Drawings: It is important to keep a set of the garage blueprints for yourself. It will be your “map” of the construction site. When you visit the jobsite, refer to your garage plans to ensure the garage is being constructed the way you expect it to be built. If you request any onsite changes, note them on your blueprints.
- Notebook and Pen: Just as you would make a grocery list or a list of important things you need to remember, it is important to record any questions you may come up with while on the jobsite or even at home. Once you’ve discussed them with the contractor or builder, make a notation of when and what was discussed. You may need to reference these notes later, especially if a problem arises.
- Flashlight: A lot of things will happen between when you break ground and when the finished electric is installed in your garage. During that time a flashlight will be necessary when you want to take a closer look at various things.
- Tape Measure: During your visits to the jobsite, you might find that you want to know if the riding lawn mower will fit in a particular space or if a certain type of garage organizers will work on a particular wall. A tape measure will come in handy for all sorts of things at the construction site.
- List of Contact Names: It is no secret that unexpected situations arise at the jobsite from time to time. In case you should find yourself in one of these situations, it is helpful to keep a list of contact names and phone numbers handy. Be sure to include the builder, all subcontractors, the lending institution and important emergency numbers for the police and fire departments. Though you will hope you won’t need them, you will be glad you’ve got them if a problem arises.
- Building Schedule: Keep a copy of the building schedule handy. It will serve as a quick reference of progress during the various stages of construction. It will be essential when it comes to planning various meetings, arranging deliveries of appliances and furniture, or scheduling utility hook ups if necessary.
- Binder, Envelope or Folder: This organizer should contain copies of any essential paperwork needed for construction including building contracts, building permits, loan documents and warranties.
2. Visit the jobsite on a regular basis if possible. You should do this on your own and with your builder starting with clearing the lot and continuing until construction is complete. Your new garage or garage apartment will change daily as it progresses through the stages of construction. It is not necessary to check things out every day, but do what is reasonable considering your work and personal schedules. Be aware that as construction nears the end, you may find it necessary to visit the jobsite more often that at the beginning. Pay close attention to details. Does the craftsmanship meet your expectations? Did the builder make the changes you requested? Are the right materials being used? Are you getting what you are paying for?
If you plan to visit the jobsite when the builder and construction crews are not present, contact the builder to let him know you may be stopping by to check things out over the weekend or later this afternoon. Ask if there are any areas you should stay away from because construction is not finished and the area is unsafe. Take your time and cover the garage thoroughly inside and out. Pay attention to details. Use your notebook to make a list of questions and concerns you have for the builder and subcontractors and discuss them later.
When you stop by the jobsite and the contractor and his crew members are present, ask any questions you may have. Do not settle for anything less than a clear answer that you actually understand. Go over notes from your visits when the builder was not on site. Ask the builder to walk through the structure with you and explain progress so far. Are there any construction delays? Does the building schedule need to be adjusted? Remember, you are paying the builder to make sure the job is done right and it is his duty to address all of your concerns.
3. Discuss progress with your builder often. Should a problem arise, note the builder’s suggestions or possible solutions in your notebook for future reference. Note which subcontractor or building official is responsible for correcting the problem, who will be paying the additional costs and when to expect it will be corrected. In the event that the contractor is working ahead of schedule, find out what adjustments you will need to make to the building schedule regarding scheduling utility hook-ups and deliveries.
4. The next time you see the builder, follow up on anything you might have discussed the last time you met. If a problem was addressed, check to see changes were made to rectify the situation.
In some cases, there might be many other things to consider before visiting the jobsite, but this list should get you off to a good start.
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