How to Choose a Building Contractor

A building contractor is an individual or company that is responsible for carrying out the entire construction process, and they determine the best methods to finish the project as specified.

The main contractor may not be skilled in carrying out all the works stipulated, and the client may have to engage other subcontractors, e.g. Plumbing subcontractor, Electrical subcontractor, Security and IT subcontractor etc.

Below are 7 points to consider before engaging a building contractor:

 

1. Referrals 

Ensure that you have credible referrals for the proposed contractor. Visit projects that he/she has worked on to ascertain quality of work and have conversations with previous clients about his/her performance. 

 

2. Price 

It is prudent to get a few quotes from two or three prospective contractors and to compare prices. Prospective contractors can fill out their rates on the blank Bill of Quantities provided by MyBoma Ltd, and the client can use this as a basis to make a price comparison. Be careful not to settle to quickly when one quote is much lower than the others, as some contractors are known to do this with an aim of cutting corners later on during construction, to make up for this.

 

3. Experience

It is wise to hire a building contractor who has experience building a similar house to your proposed development, in terms of the scale of the project (Physically and financially) and also design-wise.  

 

4. Financial Reliability

Engage with a building contractor who has the financial capacity (current), to carry out the project. He/she will need to have a cash reserve adequate to carry out an agreed-upon portion of work before being reimbursed/paid for it. It can take a toll on the developer, to engage with a builder who is unable to meet timelines and quality, due to financial constraints. 

 

5. Contract & Payment Schedule

Before beginning any works on site, ensure that you have signed a contract (legally binding document) with the proposed building contractor. This is essential to protect your rights and those of the contractor. There are standard forms of contracts that have been prepared by different governing authorities e.g. JBC in Kenya. 

A payment schedule must be agreed upon, and tied to completion of specific project milestones. Our Bills of Quantities have broken down the projects to different stages, and this can help guide our MyBoma clients on structuring their cash flows during construction.

Be wary of paying a significant amount of money upfront.

 

6. Customer Service & Compatibility

Building your own house is a highly demanding process – mentally, emotionally and physically.

Choose a contractor with whom you are compatible, and who has a track record of having good interpersonal skills – to make the project carry on without unnecessary conflict.  You will need a person who is cooperative and flexible.

 

7.  Certification check

Ensure that the building contractor you choose has all the necessary registration and insurances needed by the county governments to carry out the works. In most countries, a contractor has to be registered by the regulatory authorities