An educated shopper is a smart shopper. This especially hold true in the world of hiring and working with contractors to build or make improvements to your home. As you interview potential builders or remodelers, being able to understand the terminology they use can help you avoid miscommunication and ensure a smoother experience so you and your family can enjoy your new home or updated kitchen, bathroom or room addition even sooner. Here’s a glossary of some of the common terms used by builders and remodelers to help you understand the language of your remodeling project:
Allowance: A specific dollar amount allocated by a builder or remodeler for specified items in a contract for which the brand, model number, color, size or other details are not yet known.
Bid: A proposal to work for a certain amount of money, based on plans and specifications for the project.
Building Permit: A document issued by a governing authority, such as a city or county building department, granting permission to undertake a construction project.
Call-back: The informal term for a return visit by the builder or remodeler to repair or replace items the home owner has found to be unsatisfactory or that require service under the warranty.
Change Order: Written authorization to the contractor to make a change or addition to the work described in the original contract. The change order should reflect any changes in cost.
Contracts: Before proceeding with construction of your new home or remodeling project, you should carefully review and sign a contract with your builder or remodeler. The purpose of the contract is to protect both you and your builder or remodeler by carefully identifying the: scope of work, terms and conditions of construction, payment schedules and post-project expectations such as related warranty work. Click here to learn more about contracts.
Draw: A designated payment that is “drawn” from the total project budget to pay for services completed to date. A draw schedule typically is established in the contract.
Lien Release: A document that voids the legal right of a contractor, subcontractor or supplier to place a lien against your property. A lien release assures you that the builder or remodeler has paid subcontractors and suppliers in full for labor and materials.
Mechanic’s Lien: A lien obtained by an unpaid subcontractor or supplier through the courts. When enforced, real property – such as your home – can be sold to pay the subcontractor or supplier. If a subcontractor or supplier signed a lien release, then this lien cannot be enforced.
Plans and Specifications: Drawings for the project, and a detailed list or description of the known products, materials, quantities and finishes to be used.
Professional Certifications: Home owners and potential home owners in southeastern Michigan have access to professionals who’ve invested time and money to improve their skills, advance their careers and be recognized for commitment to professional growth by earning designations from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).NAHB has the most targeted curriculum, accomplished teachers and widely respected education opportunities in the business. Finding a builder or remodeler who has completed one or more of these certification programs is your first step to a successful project. Click here to learn more.
Punch List: A list of work items to be completed or corrected by the contractor, typically near or at the end of a project.
Subcontractor: A person or company hired directly by the contractor to perform specialized work at the job site – sometimes referred to as a trade contractor.
Learn more from the National Association of Home Builders about building or remodeling your home, including a checklist for selecting and hiring a builder or remodeler and advice on financing and designing your project.