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Choosing A Contractor
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Remember, the cheapest bid is not always the best one. Follow these procedures to discover a contractor who offers both a fair price and peace of mind.

Get a referral from friends or nonprofits you trust. (Check out the Guild's Find A Professional Directory)

Choose a contractor that keeps open the communication line all the time.  For any  construction project to be successful, the owner must be involved in the building process.

Look for a contractor who specializes in the type of work you need done. Familiarize yourself with certifications required to perform this kind of work. Check for recognized certifications or Guild trainings your contractor has participated in. This will be a good starting point in understanding their knowledge of green building practices. (Find a Contractor in the Guild's Find A Professional Directory)

Determine which rebates or other financial incentives apply to your project. Ask your contractor how they will ensure that the work is compliant with any incentive program requirements you may qualify for.

Check licenses and insurance with your city's Contractor Licensing Board.

Ask questions like: How much experience do you have with this specific kind of project? Are you insured, and what does your insurance cover? What types of warranties do you offer? Does your company perform regular maintenance?

Choose a credible contractor. Conduct research about qualified and reputable candidates in your area. If you can, get in touch with the previous client of the contractor you are eyeing. Make sure that you check and double-check their  credentials and his capabilities.

Give serious attention to your contract details. Better yet, study the contract well before giving it a go. It has to provide enough protection for you as much as it does for the contractor itself. Insurances and cost are just some of the factors you must study carefully.

Check credit history, financial stability and litigation history

Visit our Ask an Expert Forum - to get great advice from local builders! 

View a glossary of Green Building terms maintained by our experts. 

Green Questions To Ask Your Builder

In what ways does the builder minimize the demand for electricity in their homes?  New homes in Boulder County must achieve and Home Energy Rating Score of ___.  Have the builder discuss the things they do to achieve this score and whether they take any other steps to further reduce energy use.  In the end, you’ll be more knowledgeable about your home’s energy use.

What does the builder do to voluntarily reduce water consumption in their homes?  In some communities, there are mandates that govern water use, but there are also many ways to save water and money in the home.  See if your builder is taking steps to protect our most precious resource.

Indoor air quality is should be something you inquire about, especially if anyone in your family has a respiratory condition.  Find out what the VOC (volatile organic compound) levels might be for the paints, adhesives, floor covering and even the cabinetry used in the home.  There are a lot of easy ways to reduce VOC’s and improve your home’s air quality.

Are any of the materials used in the construction of your home recycled, renewable or reused?  The use of lumber (trees) in home construction has dropped significantly through the years as concrete, steel and even composite materials enter the construction supply chain.  Ask your builder what options you might have in this area.

How attuned is your builder to the outside environment?  Can they recommend a home site or home orientation that could reduce your energy bill?  Does the builder understand the importance of shading and do they install a low-water native landscape package?

Is solar a viable option?  Community Associations may not like the look of solar, but new laws make it hard for them to actually prohibit its use.     

     

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