Frequently Asked Questions

The building code has evolved to protect a home’s occupants as well as the community, but first, you need to determine whether a permit is required. In cases of simple interior cosmetic changes, such as repainting and installing interior trim or carpet, a permit will not be required. For remodels that add square footage to your home or make structural modifications, a permit will definitely be needed. Other projects, such as those involving cosmetic changes to your exterior or landscape, may or may not require a permit.

When in doubt, take a trip down to your local building jurisdiction and ask, or seek help from a reputable professional in your area.

Some projects require an architect, some an interior designer, and sometimes a talented builder will get your aesthetic and help you come up with a good plan.

Whatever you do, don’t start a remodel without a detailed floor plan. A lot of elements interact in a space — put them all on paper and you’ll catch problems before they are built. You may be able to build a functional space without a plan, but if you want a functional and beautiful space, hire a designer.

Remodeling is expensive, and moving out just adds to the cost and sometimes it’s absolutely necessary. If you can’t move out for the whole job, try to schedule some time away and set up a clean, comfortable place to retreat to when you can’t handle coming home to a messy and stressful construction site.

If you find out that the work you wanted to do costs more than you expected or budgeted, you’re in good company. It’s almost unheard of that a person sets a realistic budget for a project. But don’t eat into your contingency to stretch the budget. If you follow rule number one and make every decision ahead of time, you can probably get away with a 5 percent contingency if you have a good general contractor.

Though a contractor will rarely come right out and say this, some houses should be knocked down rather than have money put into them to fix them up. Though this is a rare situation, it’s common for people to put money into fancy cabinets for a house with a sagging foundation, or into a high-efficiency furnace in a house with no insulation. Listen to the professionals who come to look at your job. Be open to their suggestions.

Even though it’s inevitable that you’ll change your mind about something on your project, know this: Every time you change your mind, it’ll result in a change order. Although the change may seem minor, there are always added costs — even if it’s only the time spent discussing the change. Scheduling can be affected too. Everyone working on the job needs to be informed of the change so no one’s working on the old plan. Everyone makes changes, and that’s OK — just be aware of the potential to disrupt and delay the job.

General Contractors are required to carry General Liability Insurance and Workers Compensation Insurance.

California State Contractors Board requires all General Contractors to carry and maintain an Active Class B License. New Generation License #938552.

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