Tips to Heed Before Starting

Replacing the roof of your home is an expensive venture. Therefore, the homeowner ought to take all necessary precautions to ensure that he or she does not have to pay more than is necessary. Be reminded that a leaking roof can cause a lot of damage to a family’s belongings and other assets within the home. Furthermore, the homeowner’s home insurance premium could increase if responsible action is not taken when replacing the roof. The tips provided in this article will put the homeowner on the right track and, if followed, will save a lot of unnecessary expenses and headaches.

Tip No. 1
Do not rush out and engage a roofing contractor even if he or she is recommended to you. Beware of a contractor who wants to give you a lump sum price for doing the work.

Tip No. 2
Hire a registered architect to prepare the contract documents for the roof replacement. The contract documents should include working drawings, specifications and a bid document. The specifications should list the guarantees and warranties required on materials and workmanship. Some homeowners believe that an architect is expensive. While this is not necessarily true, the cost of the architect’s fee will more than pay for itself in protecting the homeowner by helping to ensure that the work is done in accordance with the contract documents.

Tip No. 3
Ensure that the architect’s plans are filed with your municipality to obtain building approval unless the municipality waives this requirement. Remember, as the homeowner, you do not want something to be built which is not approved by the municipality as this could cause serious consequences pertinent to your Certificate of Occupancy. One such consequence is that a building violation could be attached to the deed. This could make your home unsalable when you decide to sell. Another consequence is that it could be quite costly to have the violation removed. If there is a homeowners’ association, make sure that it is advised and fulfill any obligations the association requires.

Tip No. 4
Once the architect’s drawings are approved by the municipality, search for competent contractors to furnish bids for executing the work in accordance with the architect’s drawings and specifications. In order to get responsible bids, invite three or four competent contractors to bid on the construction.

Tip No. 5
Ensure that each of the invited contractors is bondable and can furnish a performance bond. Having a performance bond protects the homeowner against any default by the hired contractor. The homeowner will have legal recourse to have the work completed satisfactorily by the bonding company or another competent contractor in the event of a default. A bid bond is sometimes useful especially if the work has to be started in a timely manner.

Tip No. 6
Request the architect to review and analyze the bids from the contractors and make a recommendation of the contractor who should be hired. The architect will examine many aspects of the bids to ensure that the bidder did not overlook anything in his or her bid submission. This is another example of the worth of the architect who is there to protect the homeowner’s interests.

Tip No. 7
Make sure that you, as the homeowner and employer of the contractor, sign a written contract with the hired contractor before the construction commences. There should be a start date and an end date in the contract for the construction to be completed. There should also be a clause in the contract that provides liquidated damages in the event that the contractor does not complete the work on time.

Tip No. 8
Do not allow the contractor to commence the construction before he or she presents a performance bond and other documents required by the municipality.

Tip No. 9
Never give the contractor a large down payment for mobilization. This is a mistake that many homeowners make.

Tip No. 10
If interim payments are made to the contractor, ensure that at least ten percent (10%) is held back. This requirement should be enshrined as a clause in the contract. The amounts retained will eventually be released at the completion of the construction after the homeowner is fully satisfied and signs off on the work.