5 Questions to Ask a Builder at a Pre-Construction Meeting

Homeowner Learning

Author: Amy Freeman | August 30, 2023

After exhausting the home listings in your area and not finding a house that meets your needs, perhaps you've decided to go the DIY route and build your dream home from the ground up. Before construction begins on your new home, you'll want to meet with the contractor during a pre-construction meeting. To make sure everyone is on the same page, here are some key questions to ask a builder at a pre-construction meeting.

Homeowners discussing the construction on their home with a contractor
When you meet with a builder before construction begins on your new home, make sure you ask the right questions.

First, What Is a Pre-Construction Meeting?

The process of buying new construction is a bit different from buying a preexisting home. For one thing, you're starting completely from scratch and will have much more say over the style and look of the home when it's finished. You'll also get to meet and work directly with the people responsible for the home's construction.

A pre-construction meeting usually takes place before building begins on your new home. It gives you a chance to get on the same page with the building or roofing contractor and helps to smooth out any issues before they happen.

Questions to Ask a Builder at a Pre-Construction Meeting

Building a new home is a big investment. To avoid any miscommunication or confusion, here's what to ask your building or roofing contractor during the meeting.

1. What Is the Project Timeline?

A new construction project is likely to have several schedules to keep track of. First, there's the job schedule, which should clearly outline what will happen and when it will happen. For example, your contractor should let you know the projected start date and completion date. They should also tell you when specific activities are expected to happen, such as when the foundation will be poured, the walls framed and the plumbing piped in.

Another schedule to ask about is payment. What will be due and when is it due? How will you make payments to the contractor? Knowing these timelines will be beneficial for planning your future home.

2. Who Will Be Onsite Each Day?

The general contractor may or may not be onsite daily during the project. If they aren't, find out who the point person will be. Usually, there is a project manager or supervisor onsite to handle day-to-day concerns and to keep the project moving. Ideally, they will also be at the meeting and able to answer your questions.

Along with finding out who will be at the jobsite daily, you may also want to know what the workday will look like. When will workers get to the site and how long will the day last? What will the company do to keep workers and any visitors to the site safe? If you plan on visiting the jobsite either during the day or after hours, you'll want to be aware of who's there.

3. How Will You Handle Delays?

Delays are part of the process when building a new home. Ideally, your contractor will have anticipated some potential delays — such as poor weather conditions or supply issues — and built them into the project's timeline. If you're not sure about the process for delays, ask. There might be a few extra weeks attached to the project as a cushion.

If the contractor didn't build a cushion in, ask what they plan to do if something holds the project up. Also, ask how the company handles the added cost a delay might create. Are you responsible for the additional expense or has it been built into your estimate? You don't want to be surprised by unplanned delays or be unprepared for sudden expenses.

4. How Will You Handle Communication?

If the project gets put on hold, if there's an issue on the jobsite or if anything else comes up, how will the contractor get in touch with you? Who can you expect a message from? Along with choosing a preferred communication method, it's a good idea to ask the contractor if they can agree to regular check-in meetings, such as once a week, so you can stay on top of what's going on with the project.

5. What Are Your Responsibilities as a Homeowner?

Get on the same page with the contractor about what's expected of you as the home buyer during the construction process. Will you need to make sure the bank payments get distributed or that the property lines are clearly marked? If you can bring in your own appliances and materials, find out when you're expected to have them ready.

A major key to the success of a pre-construction meeting is working with a contractor you can trust. You can find a roofing contractor you can trust through Beacon's network.

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