Meeting of the Minds
Discussion of Design and Budgets
Base Proposal (Not Final Bid)
Contract – Project Specifics
Whether you are enclosing a screened porch or building a million-dollar home, selecting a general contractor is the most important first step. With RCC, you know what to expect every step of the way. Gather as many photos as possible for your first consultation with us. You do not need a designer as we have a professional team that will create a plan to fit your project needs, style, and budget. Bring any house plan or architectural plans you have or choose from our various plans. We take the time to communicate our understanding of the deal and listen carefully when you talk. We aim to make the building experience as comfortable as possible, without unexpected costs or delays.
A few things are needed which will help in determining if RCC is the appropriate contractor for your building needs. We will discuss property location, type and size of project, and the deadline for completion based on different variables in your schedule.
We realize an informed consumer will want to work with only legitimate contractors ensuring they get a quality job at a competitive price. A win-win situation for all those involved. RCC will instruct our insurance agent to mail or fax a copy of our General Liability and Worker’s Compensation policies directly to our customer. You should never hire a contractor unless they have a liability policy in full force of at least a million dollars and a worker’s compensation policy that would protect you from damage and injuries as result of the contractor’s actions or negligence.
We will also supply a copy of our General Contractor’s License issued by the State of Tennessee. This is needed in the event of a mortgage loan. If a contractor doesn’t offer to supply this information, then please look deeper because everyone that constructs homes in Tennessee must have a contractor’s license. There are unlimited stories of homeowners who were taken advantage of by unscrupulous contractors that were paid a large sum of money upfront with a minimal amount of work completed if any at all. These deceptive people disappear with all the money and leave a bad taste in the mouth of the consumer.
References are important; however, you should remember that most general contractors are only going to provide names and addresses of prior customers who have been satisfied with the contractor’s work. For that reason, we will provide a list of any or all our customers for the past ten years (upon request).
If everyone agrees that RCC fits these first categories, then we will progress to the next phase.
The project leader meets with you to discuss, in detail, the scope of your project and goals. The meeting takes approximately 1-2 hours and there is no cost or obligation. This is a good time to ask questions about how the process works.
RCC utilizes your ideas and specifications compiled from our first meeting to prepare a written proposal with recommendations and outlining any options available for your particular project. During this time, we will visit the building site, measure and survey the location of the house on the property so recommendations of any changes can be suggested on the overall look of the home. One example of site issues is deciding steps or no steps at the front. This could change the proposal due to more or less earth needing to be removed. The proposal will have a “High” bid and an “Average” bid. We don’t usually place a “Low” bid. Premium-grade materials are used in our homes so we don’t want to give a low bid today and then change tomorrow.
If these costs meet your budget and our references, contractor license and insurances have been gathered, and we meet your expectations, then we will progress to the next phase of contract preparation.
At this point, we do ask for a signed letter of intent since it takes around 40 hours to put together the actual contract bid. We need “good faith” assurances from our customers before allotting all these hours. Details of this agreement will be worked out between all parties. No money will be exchanged at this point.
Upon selection of RCC as your contractor, the project leader reviews the work plan with you, from project timeline to budget considerations, so you know what to expect. We will secure all proper permits, and once the plans are approved, the next step will be to enter into a construction contract so the actual work can begin.
Most building contracts are either “fixed price” or “cost-plus.” A fixed-price contract contains one guaranteed price for the performance of a specified amount of work. Within a fixed price contract, there may be set allowances. These allowances give property owners an amount they are entitled to spend on materials normally selected by them. If the property owner exceeds the set allowance, there will be an additional charge in the contract for the job.
Cost-plus contracts are more complicated and are usually used for large renovation projects or large custom homes. A cost-plus project requires the general contractor to provide specific evidence of all expenses that he or she incurs in the progression of the job. The property owner pays all expenses plus a fixed percentage to the general contractor for administering and supervising the work. Cost-plus contracts require a great deal more attention on the part of the property owner to review the weekly or monthly draw requests.
The written contract provides an express warranty. A warranty is simply a promise by RCC that we will repair or replace any defective materials and/or workmanship for a specified period of time. We offer a minimum of one year.
We will spend from 8-10 hours discussing the different design aspects of your project. The contract will describe the scope of the job, including the dates for the start of the project, completion date, the cost of the job and lists the specific materials to be used, i.e. quantity, color, size, quality, brand name, etc. Writing everything in the contract from the paint color to the style of doors or the species of wood to be used for a cabinet ensures there are no misunderstandings halfway through the project. It protects both parties and makes sure we all get what we want from the deal. But before the first page of the contract is prepared, we will have discussed and gotten the final design aspects. We DO NOT want our customers to review pages upon pages of a contract several times. By this time, we have spent enough time with you that all parties feel comfortable with the selections. The contract also includes fee structure and payment arrangements, and conditions for final payment.
With RCC, you receive individual attention both in the field and in the office from start to finish. As mentioned earlier, Robert will be on-site as much as is physically possible and will do a lot of the work himself. Communication is the key to completing a quality, on-time project to your specifications. Earthmoving will begin and the project will progress as weather permits and per your timeline. We keep you abreast of the progression via email at least twice per week. Any materials needing your input will be noted in those emails at least 14 days before we need the materials. This gives sufficient time to make decisions without being rushed and it also leaves a paper trail for both parties to follow. Should access to an email account be a problem, we will work out a different communication method prior to signing the contract. Again, this is to keep everything on track and without any surprises for either party.
Any change to the scope of your project is promptly handled with a written change order. Change orders can be from a building official’s request or simply at your discretion. Change orders are considered addendums to the construction contract and may affect the project completion date. There are always changes but should be few since we have tried to discuss and include as many variables as possible prior to beginning your project. It is less expensive to include during the pre-construction stage than to have a change order and possibly tear out walls once the project begins. There will be NO changes made without a CO and all fees will be discussed at that time and must be signed by both parties.
When your project nears completion, the project leader conducts a walk-through with you to identify any outstanding items. A final checklist is compiled and reviewed. Once all items on this final checklist have been completed, it is reviewed again and signed and a Ten-Day Notice of Completion is recorded at the Register of Deed’s office. This will allow a deed to be issued during the closing process.
At this time, we may ask your permission to take photos for our showcase gallery. We will supply you with either an album of photos or a picture gallery showing the progression of your project from start to finish. This will include before and after site prep, foundation/footer process, framing/sheetrock, and all steps in-between. We are proud of our projects and rely on your referrals. As mentioned earlier, we will furnish names and contact numbers for any of our customers, past or present. This way, YOU decide which person to contact rather than the method of most contractors of furnishing only “satisfied” customers. We pride ourselves on leaving a jobsite knowing we have gained a friend for life.