- Construction company or a team of private traders
- How to choose masters for overhaul
- The first stage is telephone conversations. What to find out
- The second stage is a meeting with a representative of a construction company or a team
In this article: what is the difference between a team of private builders and a construction company; for a major overhaul, the design is necessary; two stages in the search and selection of a construction team; telephone conversations with potential performers of overhaul; the second stage of the search is a personal meeting; in the end – take your time with the choice.
Buying an apartment in a new building or on the secondary market, or maybe the reason will be the rather dilapidated appearance of your own square meters or the desire to make fundamental changes in your life – in any case, you will need to involve third-party contractors in the repair. If you follow the well-known saying that equates one move to two fires, then an illiterate major overhaul is comparable to creepy films about ghosts, since dissimilar imperfections will also appear to household members unexpectedly, with the same consequences for the nerves and wallet. How to carry out a major overhaul of apartments with the involvement of truly professional performers – we are investigating this issue.
Construction company or a team of private traders
First of all, let’s find out what is the difference between these two types of contractors present on the Russian construction services market..
The most important differences between a construction company and a private team are the presence of a license from the State Construction Committee of the Russian Federation, a legal address, a bank account, an office space and a warehouse for building materials. Accordingly, the construction company carries out its activities only on a contractual basis, which will protect the customer from poor-quality repairs, because the contract specifies the conditions according to which it is considered fulfilled. But the construction crews of private traders are mobile and sometimes it is simply impossible to find their location after paying for the completed front of repair and construction work – communication with their foreman, as a rule, is maintained by a cell number, which is easy to change if necessary.
On the other hand, the team of construction companies is not constant, since it depends on seasonal demand for construction and finishing services – with the onset of the off-season (in the middle of autumn), the company terminates the contracts of most construction foremen, hiring new employees before the next construction season (usually early spring). However, companies providing construction services can only hire builders-finishers from Russia and Belarus, which somewhat increases their reliability status – but, of course, the degree of professionalism of construction professionals does not depend on their citizenship.
The advantage of private crews is the low cost of work, approximately 25-40% lower than the prices set in construction companies. Their leaders can afford dumping in rates, since they do not pay any state taxes, do not need a license, an office and a staff of office workers. The main disadvantage of most private construction crews is the very low level of responsibility to the customer. In other words, private masters do not consider it shameful to appear in a not quite sober state at the work object or not appear at all, and disappear both for a long time and without a trace immediately after receiving the advance payment. Often, their foremen consider themselves to be some kind of celestials from construction, authoritatively rejecting any attempts of the customer to defend their own point of view – “at so many objects the customers were fine, but for some reason they did not suit you”. In this regard, dealing with construction companies is safer – they have higher-ranking managers on their staff than construction foremen.
Most of the private construction brigades have a narrow specialization – they include craftsmen who are able to perform only some types of work that are similar in technology. At the same time, a construction company can provide a construction team with a wide profile, introducing craftsmen into its composition for a certain stage of work, thereby saving the customer’s time, which he would have spent looking for performers for a certain, often small amount of work.
A serious argument in favor of construction companies will be the mandatory presence in their staff of engineers who are responsible for a certain area of construction and finishing works, moreover, who have passed the appropriate training and received a license from the Russian Federal Agency for Construction and Construction. What does this give the customer? The ability to demand full compliance with the SNiP conditions in the course of work – the construction foreman may simply not have this knowledge, and the engineer is strictly obliged to follow it.
How to choose masters for overhaul
Before proceeding with the actual search for performers, it is necessary to choose the interior design of the apartment – its appearance depends on this upon completion of the repair work. A design project can be ordered from a professional designer, or you can sketch out sketches of rooms yourself – with colored pencils on paper, or using a specialized computer program – and then consult with an experienced designer (it will cost less).
The choice of overhaul contractors should be carried out in two stages: telephone negotiations – sources of information on the contact numbers of construction teams and companies will be newspaper advertisements, websites on the Internet, recommendations of relatives and friends; personal meeting directly at the work site.
The first stage is telephone conversations. What to find out
Rates.Please note that the cost per m2, which is called during a telephone conversation with potential performers2 is virtual, since it is impossible to name the exact prices remotely, without seeing the state of the object of work. Nevertheless, after talking with 10-15 opponents, you will be able to form your own opinion about the current prices for construction services – do not rush to invite someone to the place of work until you find out the average cost of overhaul. Ask if there is a discount on the amount of work – for example, prices for overhauling a kitchen or just bedrooms are usually slightly higher than for the entire apartment.
Contract.Be sure to find out in what form the agreement for the provision of repair services will be concluded – orally or in writing (contract). The second is preferable.
Craftsmen experience in construction.It is possible to ask this question in a telephone dialogue, only there will be no special meaning in a formulaic answer – who admits that he has 1.5 real masters in a team of 7 people, and the rest are only apprentices! Now, if you ask in another way – “how many certified craftsmen do you have by type of work”, then such a question will confuse the opponent, which will allow you to learn at least some valuable information.
Estimated repair time.Please note that in the off-season the market for construction services is calm, a steady increase in demand is expected only at the beginning of spring, so if you are given a long term in winter (determined by a comparative analysis of the answers of all service providers), this is not the best performer. On the other hand, finishing materials based on cement or gypsum binder under conditions of low temperatures and high humidity harden for a longer period than in summer, therefore, too short a time frame should also raise suspicion (all the more, given the lack of masters of a potential performer – not the season).
Availability of construction tools.Of course, today any construction team has a variety of tools by type of work: electric drills, hammer drills, grinders and jigsaws, the crux of the matter is in the brand and country of manufacture of the main set of power tools. Professionals will not use cheap Chinese power tools – only expensive and reliable ones from European manufacturers.
Completed works.Ask how many overhauled apartments are on the account of this company or team, in what style the renovations were carried out, how long it took to complete it.
How many years has this company been working in the construction services market.Newcomer companies, whose age does not exceed one year and which are little or not known on the market at all, are potentially dangerous for the customer – poorly trained personnel, insufficient experience of managers, a small number of completed work objects. It is better not to deal with such companies, especially if their prices are unexpectedly low, they call unrealistically short terms for major repairs (in fact, it will take at least a month), their advertisements contain a long list of renovated apartments and houses, and the site section “Reviews” are replete with the same type of thanks from anonymous customers (ie, without a photo, full name and address).
After a dialogue with at least ten potential suppliers of construction services, choose three or four of them, call them again and make an appointment, scheduling each of them at a different time, preferably on different days.
The second stage is a meeting with a representative of a construction company or a team
The meeting is usually attended by the foreman of the construction team or the estimator from the construction company (it is worse if it is some kind of “customer service” manager). If someone’s representative is late for the agreed time and does not warn you about the need to reschedule the meeting in advance, cancel the meeting and no longer engage in dialogues with this company.
So, representatives of the construction team or company arrived at the agreed time – ask each of them all the questions from the first stage (telephone dialogue), do not be afraid to seem ridiculous – it is better to ask again than to misunderstand. In the end – you pay for services and you are not indifferent to the quality of these services!
Show the object of work, walk through all the rooms – now your task is to obtain an approximate estimate for major repairs and draw up a preliminary opinion about this company by its representative.
There is no doubt that each visitor will not come empty-handed – he will showcase a portfolio with pictures of previous objects, shot in various angles and stages. Photos of completely finished works will look beautiful, but not informative – it is better if for each such object there are photographs of the stages of repair, from rough finishing to finishing, and with the presence of this company representative in the frame. If the portfolio consists only of photographs of finished premises, then there is a possibility that these images are borrowed from external sources such as the Internet or specialized magazines and this construction company has no direct relation to them..
Take an interest in the versatility of the craftsmen in the brigade. If their representative declares to this question that all his craftsmen are generalists, capable of performing the amount of work both in decoration and in plumbing, electrical and, for example, installing window frames at the same time, then such a team will not suit you. It is impossible for one person to own many construction professions at a high professional level, since each profession has its own smallest nuances and tricks that are inaccessible to universal masters.
Be sure to find out the warranty periods for finishing work – the applied finish can crack and even fall off a year after a major overhaul, if it was performed by half-trained masters.
Find out when it is possible to start the repair work, whether prepayment is required before the start of work, the amount of the prepayment. Professional craftsmen usually do not require an advance payment, stipulating payment upon the fact of work at each stage. In principle, you can make an advance payment to the settlement account of a construction company by sending it through a bank, but never pay an advance to a private construction team – because, as mentioned above, their low responsibility to the customer.
Wait for the prepared estimates from each participant in the second stage, then analyze them with the involvement of a well-known or hired civil engineer by visiting the construction market and assessing the prices for building materials announced in the estimate.
As much time as necessary should be spent on the choice of the overhaul contractor. Take your time, even if the search takes a month or more – it is not critical, because you have to live in an apartment after a major overhaul, which means that the work must be performed at a high level and only by professionals.
By the way, you should not rely on the help of relatives and friends, especially if they renovated apartments a year ago or more. Indeed, the repair in their apartments was carried out by this company or team, but the composition of the craftsmen in it changed a long time ago – the turnover of specialists is very high on the market of construction services.
If the final amount in most of the preliminary estimates plunges you into a mild state of shock, then perhaps you should pay attention to the cosmetic repairs of apartments in Moscow or in the region of Russia where your property is located – the price proposals in this area of construction services will definitely be more gentle.