Tips for hiring a general contractor

Answered by Jeffrey ~ April 10, 2012 ~ Comments

I want to completely knock down my existing house and have a new one built. What sort of contractor should I hire? How do I know if they are any good? Where do I start? Thanks.

Terry ~ Washington, DC

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Terry. The type of contractor you want to talk to when considering a complete house demolition and new construction is a general contractor. While they may not do any of the actual demolition, the general contractor can supervise as it's being done. In most cases they will hire an excavating contractor to handle taking your old home down and hauling it away. The excavating contractor will more than likely need some large equipment to remove the existing foundation.

However, before you get too far along, meeting with a general contractor to discuss your new house plans might be a good idea. It may be possible to use part or all of the existing foundation and maybe even sections of the existing structure. Reducing the amount of demolition and new construction required may be able to save some money on your project. I see that you have a Washington, DC address and as someone who has worked in that area for many years, I know that construction in that vicinity can be very expensive.

It is also very important that you hire a general contractor with experience working in DC or at least in a large city. Washington has a lot of building codes that must be followed and strict regulations concerning house demolition. Using a contractor who isn't familiar with those guidelines can be a good way to get your project off to a bad start.

As far as knowing whether or not a contractor is any good, always check their references from previous jobs. There are a lot of excellent contractors in the Washington, DC metro area so it shouldn't be a problem finding a company capable of doing good work. I would start by doing an Internet search for Washington, DC general contractors or using an online resource that refers qualified reputable contractors to potential customers.

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