You and your contractor

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Rosslyn Springs for sale in Rosslyn on July 30, 2015. Whether you are renovating your home or building one, you need the expertise of a contractor to oversee the project. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA

                                                                             In Summary

  • While some clients insist on moving into a building before  it is completed, Mr Muiruri is against the idea.
  • “The best thing to do is to wait until your house is complete before you move in. This ensures that the contractor has their space while working, and the client has their privacy in their property,” he reasons.
  •  Whether you are renovating your home or building one, you need the expertise of a contractor to oversee the project.

“A contractor knows what your project entails and will advise you on the choice of construction materials and the best team to undertake the work,” explains Mr David Muiruri, a contractor based in Nairobi and Thika.

But for the contractor to do their work effectively, there are certain things the client should know in order for the project to run smoothly.

CHOICE OF LOCATION

“Before you begin construction, it is important to identify the best location,”  “advises Mr Muiruri. “If you pick an unsuitable area, say one that is swampy, it might land you into trouble later.”

We advise clients to choose a suitable and marketable area so that even if they plan to rent it out in future, they will not have trouble getting customers.”

APPROPRIATE PLAN

According to the contractor, there are different types of plans for different locations, yet some people put up a building in an inappropriate environment.

“You should not build a bungalow in an enclosed estate with maisonettes or elevated buildings,” he says.

TIMELY DECISIONS

If you expect a project to run smoothly, you should make the major decisions in good time.

“As the home owner, you’ll probably need to make major decisions at the beginning of the project. With the advice of the contractor, other decisions can easily be made as the construction progresses. “Mr Muiruri says.

“Major decisions should be made in good time, but in case you missed out something, a good contractor will  alert you and advise on the best way forward.

COMMUNICATION

It is important to maintain constant communication with the contractor to  ensure that things are going according to plan.

“This interaction gives the client an opportunity keep track of the project and allows them to ask any questions  they might have.  If they need any changes done, for example, they can notify the contractor as early as possible,” he says.

EXPERT ADVICE

Get an experienced contractor who knows the best construction materials.  “A good contractor will go out of their way and assist in buying these materials.  That way, the client is assured of getting quality, and at fairer prices.”

He adds that a person without the necessary experience can use the wrong materials, leading to structural faults in future.

A good contractor can also advise you on the choice of  workers. “While a client might want to bring in their team of construction workers, we also offer them advice on the same. For example, if we notice that your team is doing a shoddy job, we notify the homeowner and might even decide to work with experienced workers from previous projects.  Any failures in the project might be construed as failures on the part of the contractor so it is important to work with a competent team,” he says.

DON’T BE A DISTRACTION

While some clients insist on moving into a building before  it is completed, Mr Muiruri is against the idea.

“The best thing to do is to wait until your house is complete before you move in. This ensures that the contractor has their space while working, and the client has their privacy in their property,” he reasons.

CONTINGENCY FUND

“In any construction project, it is important to set aside funds for unforeseen changes. Whether it is added by a contractor to his estimate or added as a percentage by the homeowner, it is an important risk-management tool,” Mr Muiruri says.

“There will always be things that were overlooked or left out when the estimates were made. These can be catered for by the contingency fund,” he adds.

He says contractors often stipulate that a construction contingency fund be used with the owners’ approval, and that the remaining amounts be credited at the end of project.

“Understanding the contractor’s needs enable them to work efficiently and give their best,” Mr Muiruri concludes

By MARGARET MUTHEE

http://www.nation.co.ke/lifestyle/DN2/You-and-your-contractor

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