Sunday, June 9, 2013

You take the time to educate yourself; you should expect your contractor to do the same

You take the time to educate yourself; you should expect your contractor to do the same!

When you want to know something in today’s world you google it, when you want to learn something new you seek out a class or course and take it. Whether the course is in a class room, a trade show, a conference or online, you need to keep learning to keep your mind active. You should expect your contractor to be the same way.

Now your contractor doesn’t have to be taking courses in particle physics, but they should be taking courses to update themselves and their employee’s in all the changes that happen in modern construction. These changes happen at a far more rapid pace then they have every happened in the past.

When you are searching for a custom home builder or renovator you should be asking them questions. You don’t have to know the answers to all your own questions that you are asking; you just want to hear their views on certain things. There are things that should raise red flags for you if you ask the right questions.

For example;

If you ask a contractor about the new products that they are using when they build custom homes and their response is that they stick to the way they have built homes for the last twenty to thirty years then you should start to worry.
Now I’m not saying that if your contractor says that they stick to high quality detailed oriented work like they have for two or three decades that you should start to worry. I’m talking about if they say they stick to the way they have constructed homes for the last twenty years because they don’t think that a lot of the products on the market are worth the money or they just don’t like using them.

There are a couple of products that are “newer” products that any contractor should have embraced today. When I say newer products I don’t mean products that came out a couple of years ago, I mean products that came out in the market twenty to thirty years ago.

One of these products that still have contractors divided between the old way of doing things and the new way of doing things is “ICF”. Insulated Concrete Forms have been around since the late 80’s, but a lot of contractors refuse to learn anything about them or use the product in the homes they construct. Why you ask? Because they still believe that typical wood framed walls are the best and only way to construct exterior walls. The data on ICF walls is long and detailed; there is no real reason that every contractor shouldn’t embrace this technology. I’m not saying that every house we build is an ICF house, there is a cost associated with building ICF, it is an upgrade, but your contractor should be open to the idea, be familiar with the product and how it is installed.

I could name dozens of other technologies that this goes for not just ICF.

Another one that is extremely important to the life of your home is the waterproofing on your foundation.  There are still contractors that believe in taring foundations. That is not technically waterproofing, that is called damp proofing. The protecting of the foundation of your home from water penetration has come light years in the last decade. For a little extra money your contractor can install what is called Rub-R-Wall. It is a sprayed on membrane that is like a pool liner on the outside of your home. It stops any water penetration and as long as it doesn’t get damaged from rocks or human error it should last the life of your home.

So when you start interviewing contractors ask them questions about the new products that they use and the information that they know about them. If they can’t name a lot of them then you should really be looking for a more up to date contractor, a contractor that believes in educating themselves.

Hiring a contractor to build your house that doesn’t use new technology is like buying a new car with technology from the 70’s. Sure the car gets you to the store and back but it costs you a hell of a lot more money in gas and it handles like a lumber wagon.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

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