In interviewing and selecting a builder, be sure to lean on the expertise of your Architect. It is the Architect’s role to act as your agent in the process and to review proposals, bids, contracts and invoices. Interview builders with extensive experience. Builders who specialize in commercial work or tract homes are not the ideal choice for custom homes and remodels and vice-versa.
Ideally, you will want to select someone who is “hands-on” and able to personally supervise the work. Larger firms may assign a supervisor to oversee the project. If so, ask to meet the supervisor before hiring the firm.
Ask the builders if they are willing to submit a preliminary building cost breakdown prior to being retained. In addition to indicating their level of interest, this exercise is very useful in comparing relative costs and how their fees compare. Be sure to include your Architect in these comparisons and analysis.
General Contractors generally charge the owner in one of three ways: 1.) Cost of the work (labor and materials) plus a percentage; 2.) Cost of the work plus a fixed fee; 3.) Pre-determined fixed fee. Ask builders which method they prefer and why. Also see if they would consider an alternate method if you desire, and be certain to include your Architect in these discussions.