Advanced Builders & Contractors Blog: Archive for the ‘General Building and Contracting’ Category

Why You Should Hire a Professional Contractor

Thursday, September 16th, 2021

Remodeling can improve the function of your space. It can also raise your home’s resale value. However, larger renovations can often be time-consuming and require certain skills. This is where hiring a professional contractor can save you money and stress. Here are some of the main reasons you should consider having a contractor do the job.

1.  They Have the Knowledge and Skills

Contractors are licensed and often have years of experience in the industry. To gain a license, they need to pass an exam to demonstrate their knowledge. So, contractors understand all the ins and outs of the construction business. They know the right materials to use and can ensure the building is up to code.

Also, since they’ve worked on multiple homes, they know the pitfalls to watch out for and some insider tricks. Even if you’ve done other DIY projects, you likely don’t have the same level of expertise as a professional.

2.  They Can Obtain Any Necessary Permits

Some building projects will require you to obtain a permit. A contractor will know what types of projects require these and when to apply for them. If you’re installing plumbing or electrical or adding a deck, you will need a permit.  For your safety, any type of electrical work should be done by a professional.

To apply for a permit, you have to go through your local government’s office. But by hiring a contractor, you can skip this step. Also, the contractor will ensure you’re following all the local building requirements.

If you don’t follow these codes, you can run into trouble when you sell your house. If an inspector notices these violations, you may be asked to fix the issues before a buyer makes an offer.

3.  It Keeps Your Home and Family Safe

A professional contractor is thoroughly trained on safety procedures before getting their license. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also sets regulations for construction workers.

For example, when working with heights, guardrails or safety nets should be present. Contractors also follow local building codes to ensure all structures are properly secured. This can keep your family safe and prevent any long-term issues.

Also, contractors have access to safety equipment, such as hard hats, safety harnesses, and eye protection. Plus, these professionals have more knowledge of complex systems, such as electrical wiring or radon systems, making them better equipped to avoid personal injuries.

4. They Are Insured

Doing the renovation yourself can leave you unprotected against accidental incidents. A primary benefit of hiring a contractor is that they are insured. Most have Workers’ Compensation and liability insurance.

Before hiring a contractor, verify that they are insured. You may even want to ask to see their certificate of insurance. If your project uses lots of supplies, consider asking if they have auto liability. You should also verify how much experience they have. Ask them how long they have been in the business and what past projects they have worked on.

5.  It Can Make the Process More Efficient

Major renovations can take up a lot of time. Suppose you’re remodeling your kitchen? It could take between three and five months. This is because you’re typically installing plumbing and electricity and upgrading appliances. However, when working with a contractor, the process can go quicker.

They have the skills to do the project and can effectively manage the crew. Also, they’re used to working with tight deadlines. Plus, they understand the business terminology and can work better with local suppliers. However, you still may want to check on the progress of the project periodically. This way, you and the contractor are on the same page and they can clarify any questions.

6.  It Saves You Time

While you could dive into a DIY project for a week, it may start to impact your personal life. Between juggling work and taking care of the kids, your time will be spread thin. So, consider hiring a professional to get the job done quickly. This way, you can focus on your daily responsibilities.

Also, the longer the project takes, the more time your home is disrupted. If you’re redoing your kitchen, you may have to find alternative ways to cook your food. Also, during construction, dust can quickly spread throughout your home. So, ensure you’re regularly cleaning your HVAC filters.

7. It Lowers the Costs

Doing the project yourself might seem like a more cost-effective option. However, hiring a contractor can save you money down the road. If you end up messing up the project, this could lead to long-term issues. For example, if you improperly install a plumbing system, it can lead to leaks. Over time, this built-up moisture could damage your interior.

Also, you may not be as familiar with where to find the best materials for the job. A professional has connections with local vendors, so they can supply you with both high-quality and accessible supplies.

Tips for Hiring the Right Contractor

Once you have decided you’re ready to hire a professional contractor, here are some tips to get you started.

1. Review All Your Options

Instead of just settling on the first contractor you talk to, look around. Speak with multiple workers and compare their prices. Also, learn more about their work methods and the building materials they use. Get multiple estimates before making a final decision. Also, don’t feel pressured into making an immediate selection.

2.  Look Into Their Past Work

Research their past projects and see how they turned out. Also, look into any specializations they may have. Check their references and inquire about their customer service reputation. Also, ask about the quality of their products.

3.  Get Everything in Writing

Before work starts, make sure you have a comprehensive contract. You want to get everything in writing to ensure there is no confusion in the future. This usually includes a description of the project and a payment schedule. Make sure the contract is clearly written. You may even want a lawyer to look over it before you sign.

If there are any changes to the contract, these should be acknowledged in writing. Also, ensure the contractor obtains all the necessary building permits before construction begins.

4. Wait to Pay Until the End

You want to wait until the contractor completes the project before making a payment. Be sure you make the payment out to the company, not an individual. Although, for larger projects, you may pay a portion of the estimated costs initially.

5.  Keep Track of Important Documents

You want all your essential documents in one folder. This should contain any change orders, plans, or bills. Having these papers in one place will limit any confusion in the future.

The Benefits of a Professional Contractor

When it comes to making minor upgrades in your home, it can be tempting to do it yourself. While it may seem more cost-effective, contractors are beneficial in many ways. They can save you time and stress, so consider hiring a professional contractor for your next remodeling project.

Continue Reading

A Step-By-Step Guide on Preparing to Build Your Own Home

Friday, February 5th, 2021

Owning a home might seem out of reach, with the cost of hiring contractors or purchasing property climbing every year. These rising costs have led to a growing number of individuals who’ve decided to build their own home from the ground up. This can be a viable option if you can find the perfect combination of contractors and supplies, but it’s not for everyone.

What do you need to know when you’re preparing to build your own home? Here are the steps involved:

1. Select Your Land

Here is another decision you’ll need to make before your contractor breaks ground. Finding the perfect sector of property to build your dream home on is almost as important as the materials you choose or the floor plan you design. You should ask yourself a few questions here, including:

  • How much space do I want? Some people are content with a tiny suburban lot while others would prefer to have their neighbors at least a mile away.
  • What utilities do I need? Things like water and power will likely be easy to connect to, but other utilities, like the internet, might be more challenging in remote locations.
  • What are the drawbacks of this particular parcel of land? Is it prone to drought, fire or flood? Will you be snowed in for the entire winter? Just remember that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Will the land I want work for the home I’ve designed? This is something you’ll need to go over with your contractors. As an example, some areas of the property might need leveling or clearing before they’re ready for concrete workers to pour the foundation.

2. Start With a Blueprint

You wouldn’t try to assemble a piece of furniture without reading the instructions, and you shouldn’t try building a home without a blueprint to work from. Don’t go into this project with a vague idea of what you’re trying to create. You’ll have some assistance from the contractors you choose to work with but it’s always better to have more than just a vague idea of what you’re trying to create.

Work with a design team to create your dream home before you ever break ground. You’ll want an architect and structural engineer to help draft your blueprints. Compile photos of homes you love so that the architect can model yours after them. Let them know what your top priorities for your home are. Are you looking for privacy? Sustainable and eco-friendly materials? Smart home features? Tell your designer so that they can incorporate them into the design.

In addition, make sure the architect designs with the land, especially on sloped or hillside properties. Ask them to visit the property as well. This will help them avoid potential problems or awkward scenarios, like setting up windows that look right into the neighbors. By tailoring your design to the property,  the designer will ensure that your home is perfect for you.

There are a lot of factors to consider, from square footage and location to the acreage of the lot you want. A comprehensive plan will end up saving you a lot of money and heartache in the long run. Start with your blueprint before you make any big decisions.

3. Make Your Design Decisions

When you’re building a modern home, there are so many options available that it can be overwhelming. Do you want to build a home you’ll be comfortable in for a long time, or are you optimizing value so you can sell in the future? Do you want stone walls or a wood frame? Asphalt shingles or solar panels? Tile, linoleum, carpet or hardwood floors? Even this short list of decisions might leave your head spinning.

You’ll have to make most of these decisions before construction begins, simply because your contractor will need to know what supplies to source. Don’t be one of those clients who changes their mind every five minutes. This puts you at risk of breaking your contract, depending on the details, and you end up possibly annoying your builder. The last thing you want is to be on the bad side of the person who is building your home.

4. Know When to Step Back

People love the idea of getting their hands dirty and working on a big project like their future forever home. While you might find a contractor willing to let you do a little bit of grunt work, in most cases you’ll just be in the way on the worksite. Hang up your DIY belt and know when to take a step back.

You’ll have plenty of work to do once the construction is complete, from filling your new home up with furniture to slapping a fresh coat of paint in your favorite color on the newly hung drywall. Let the contractors do their job and don’t get underfoot!

5. Get the Necessary Permits

Before you break ground and start building your house, be sure you have all the necessary building permits. Even some small remodeling projects, like adding a carport or building a fence, require a permit from your local building office. Neglecting these permits could leave you on the wrong side of code enforcement.

In most cases, the contractors you choose will be responsible for obtaining all the necessary permits, but it’s always a good idea to double-check and ensure all their I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed.

6. Don’t Forget the Finishing Work

This is the step where you get to really turn your new house into a home. Add the finishing touches that will help the space meet your aesthetic and functional needs. This includes but isn’t limited to painting, adding furniture, landscaping the exterior and installing things like rugs and window dressings.

Make it your space, from the foundation all the way up to the peak of the roof and everything in between. You may want to employ some professionals, such as carpet installers, to make sure that everything is perfect. This is where you can put on your DIY belt and really go to town.

7. Get Those Final Inspections

You’ve got one last step before you can call your project complete, and that’s booking and passing your final inspections.

This isn’t something you’ll be able to do yourself. Instead, you’ll have to bring in a professional building inspector to ensure everything is up to code and ready for habitation. This is why you don’t want to cut corners during construction, whether you’re working on it yourself or hiring contractors to do the work for you. If you do, they’re just going to come back and bite you when you have to pay to have the half-finished project completed correctly by a professional.

Enjoy Your New Home!

Once you’ve gotten the all-clear from the building inspectors and you’re ready to move in, all that’s left to do is enjoy both your new home.

Continue Reading

When a Remodeling Goes South: The Importance of a Great Contractor

Monday, November 9th, 2020

bathroom-torn-apartNothing can ever go 100% as planned 100% of the time. The best way to raise the chance that you get that 100% on a job such as doing a major remodel on your home or a room addition is to work with one of the best general contractors in Santa Monica, CA. Success starts with people who know what they’re doing, have experience and a history of solid references, and can approach a project with a system that helps to make the work as smooth as possible.

Our company is founded on handling in-house all the jobs of a remodel. This means we don’t work with subcontractors. A standard general contractor handles the hiring of subcontractors for remodels and room additions, which makes the job much easier than if you chose to handle hiring the subcontractors yourself. But this process of subcontractors still leaves open the possibility of a remodel that starts to go wrong—and you’re soon looking at the exact opposite of your beautiful plan for a new kitchen, bathroom, or addition of an office or room conversion. 

Continue Reading

Guest House Construction Ideas

Monday, April 13th, 2020

family-windowsThere are few places in the country with more guest houses than Southern California. An attractive additional house on your property can significantly enhance the property value, and of course has numerous practical functions as well—especially if you have a large extended family and frequent visitors.

And just because it’s called a “guest house” doesn’t mean it can’t have numerous uses when you don’t have guests. You can make the guest room into a home office—great if you’re planning to do more work-from-home in the future—a workout/exercise room, a children’s play area, a library/reading room, a home theater, a practice space for people who play instruments, an art studio, a craft space, extra storage… there’s so much a guest house can do for you.

But you’ll need the right guest house design and construction. Here are some ideas for guest house construction to ensure you get the most from this addition to your living space.

Continue Reading

Hiring a General Contractor vs. Hiring Subcontractors

Monday, January 20th, 2020

carpenterIf you’re on this page, it’s because you know the home project you have in mind is not one you should attempt as a DIY project. That’s smart thinking at the start. Room additions, room expansions, converting the function of a space, major remodeling, and full house construction are all jobs where the complexity requires planning and the work of different experts, such as electricians, plumbers, architects, designers, etc.

But once you decide to hire professional contractors to handle the project, you have another choice to make. Do you hire a general contractor? Or should you hire subcontractors yourself? The second route may sound less expensive, but there is more to consider.

Continue Reading

What Architectural Style Is Your Southern California Dream House?

Monday, October 28th, 2019
craftsman-style-home

A craftsman style house

You have a vision for your own house, built to your specifications. But maybe that vision isn’t solid yet, and your mind is flitting through the many options, trying to land on the perfect one.

We’d like to help. Below is a list of the most popular architectural styles for new home construction in Southern California. Most of the house styles you’ve examined probably fall into one of these categories.

Continue Reading

Is There a Difference Between “Remodeling” and “Renovating”?

Monday, August 5th, 2019

question-mark-badgeToday we’re going to get into basic definitions about what we do for our clients. We offer a wide range of construction services to Calabasas, CA and throughout the Los Angeles Area, from hillside construction projects to room additions. We offer many ways to remodel and renovate existing homes, and you’ll often hear the words remodel and renovate used as synonyms.

There’s not much wrong with occasionally using the terms interchangeably—your professional contractor knows what job they’re doing for you. But renovate and remodel do have different definitions, and we’re going to clarify what they mean. This can help you consider what you want to do for your home and what you want to ask our team to do.

Continue Reading

4 Things to Look for in a General Contractor

Monday, March 5th, 2018

hard-hat-tools-contractor-ipadBuilding, expanding, or remodeling a home requires a lot of work, and it’s not something you could tackle on your own. Putting this job into the hands of a general contractor is the first step in seeing that the job move forward in a way that is well-planned and organized…but only as long as you find a contractor you can truly count on.

A general contractor is a person responsible for overseeing what goes on at a construction or remodeling site from day to day, managing the various people working on the job, and serving as the main line of communication between all involved parties. Searching for a general contractor can be tough work because you need someone you can trust in this role to keep things moving along smoothly. If you’re stuck on this process, we’re here to help with 5 aspects we think you should look for when it comes time to hire.

Continue Reading

Finding the Right Contractor for a Home Renovation

Monday, July 10th, 2017

home-remodel-stairway-kitchenRenovating a home is a big job. You may be content to hire a handyman for a small job like repairing a window or garbage disposal, or you may even try to do it yourself, but for something as big as a bathroom remodel, kitchen remodel, or room addition, you must find professionals to know the job will be done properly.

And it isn’t enough that a contractor knows their stuff. You also need to be sure they can meet your timeline and budgetary needs, and, perhaps most importantly, that you will feel comfortable having them in your home. Today’s guide offers some guidance into finding the right contractor for your home renovations, and ensuring you’ll get the work you need completed by professionals in the industry and in customer service.

Continue Reading

What You Should Explore in Brentwood If You’re in the LA Area

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Not to be confused with the city of Brentwood, CA, Brentwood is a neighborhood in the Los Angeles area that has been home to many major events through the years. During the 1932 Summer Olympics, Brentwood hosted some of the pentathlon event. Many celebrities have chosen this beautiful, famed area as home. It was even host to the infamous O.J. Simpson trial of 1994.

Still, anyone can enjoy the beauty and bustling activity Brentwood has to offer, no matter where they call home. If you’re in Los Angeles near the Brentwood area, check out what you can do to keep the family busy and enjoy a day or night out.

Continue Reading