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Making The Right Choice When It Comes To Home Builders and Remodeling Professionals
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement

One of the most important, yet daunting decisions to be made during a home building or remodeling project involves selecting the right professionals. It is a known fact that the more time you put into planning and selecting the professionals, the less amount of problems you will run into during the process. Depending on the size and difficulty of your project, you may choose to work with a number of different professionals.

In today's world of home improvement, there are several unique design professionals that should be carefully interviewed for your project. You may find that you want one person to build your home, but another to design it. Some firms may be equipped with the proper professionals to take on the entire job. Specific questions should be reserved for your interviewing process. These questions will ensure that you are hiring the correct designer/builder for your project.

• If they are a local contractor, are they licensed and registered with the state?
• How long have they been in business?
• Do they carry insurance? If so, what type?
• Can they provide recent, reliable references?
• Are they familiar with your budget?
• Do they understand your time and availability?
• Do you enjoy their personal taste revealed through past projects?
• How many projects similar to yours have they completed in the last year?

It is important to understand the different kinds of home builders and remodeling professionals and what they specialize in. You want to make sure that you are hiring the unique home builder and design professional that is familiar with your project and can suit your needs the best. Keep in mind, the title of the professional is not as important as how well the individual understands your project and fits your style.

Designers: Offering expertise in specific areas of the home, such as an interior designer and kitchen and bathroom designers. Also, residential designers are common for those who need help with interior space planning. Always make sure to check for design degrees and certifications.

Architects: Licensed in the art of designing, planning and overseeing the construction of buildings. They are the most highly trained design professionals, for a college degree and state certification is mandatory.

General Contractors: They work with designers and architects. General contractors are responsible for overseeing and managing all aspects of the building and remodeling project. They will also hire and supervise two to three subcontractors, specializing in different trades.

Design/Build Contractors: This approach has become popular in recent years because design/build contractors are responsible for both design and construction. They will be working on your project from start until end, making sure everything flows together properly. This approach is also generally less expensive.

Specialty Contractors: This type of contractor is responsible for installing specific products, such as kitchen and bathroom fixtures.

Structural Engineers: Required for any structural changes to an existing building. They have the ability to design and analyze structural aspects including the analysis of a building's proposed structure, or existing structure, to verify that the method of construction is sufficient to withstand local weather patterns, earth movements, soil types, wind speeds, etc.. Also, structural engineers must have a college degree in civil, mechanical, or structural engineering.

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