Dealing with tradespeople before you start to build
Confirm or verify that the person you are speaking to works for the company that was referred or recommended to you. If the person is visiting your premises, make sure you ask for identification such as a drivers licence before allowing the person to access. Consider checking additional references, licenses and/or trade registration and confirm that they are still current. However you should keep in mind that not all trades require compulsory licensing in New Zealand at this stage. Request proof of General Liability insurance which typically covers a trade professional for accidents that occur to third party property whilst carrying out their work. Ensure the contract is finalised before work commences. A good contract should be written on company letterhead and contain the company name, address, phone number and license number (if applicable). It should also contain the customer’s name, address where work is to be performed and relevant phone numbers. The date the contract is written and the date when both parties sign the contract and include a detailed description of the scope of work to be performed. The contract provides prices or amounts associated with each main task included in the project and an anticipated/estimated start and completion date. Provides a payment schedule. Includes a termination clause. Contains a clause that protects the customer or homeowner from any potential warranty or guarantees once you have paid the trade professional in full. Clearly states whether consents, permits or code of compliance certificates are required, and who will be responsible for organising them including how they will be paid for and by whom. Do not make payments to any individual, but rather to the company. Always ask for a receipt whenever a payment is made. This way, you have proof of payment if something goes wrong and you need to make a claim. Do not pay in full until the project is completely finished and you have completed your final inspection and are satisfied with the work performed. If there are some minor details to complete, ensure that sufficient monies are withheld until the issue is fixed. If sub-contractors were used by the trade professional, be sure to get signed releases from all sub-contractors clearly stating that they have been paid in full by the trade professional. For larger projects, do not make the final payment until you have passed the final building and plumbing inspections, and all licenses and council code of compliance certificates are issued. Do not advance money to the trade professional to purchase materials unless this has been agreed in your contract and you are sufficiently protected if something goes wrong. If this is absolutely necessary, make sure the materials are delivered to your project premises with a receipt showing that they have been paid in full. Alternatively, you could pay the materials supplier directly yourself. Make sure all changes to the original contract, no matter how small, are documented, signed off and initialled by both parties.
There is little point installing a lavish kitchen, costing a small fortune into a very modest home. In the same respects creating a budgetary masterpiece for your million dollar mansion is also a lesson in futility. It is important that you get the right kitchen for your house. As a rule of thumb, plan to spend 2-4 per cent of the market value of your house.
Get the design right first – the details can be refined later. Inspiration can be found thumbing through magazines, newspaper articles, visiting open homes and surfing the net.
Create a time-line and make certain that you organise your tradespeople well in advance. Include their pricing structure in your budget. Work out your material requirements. Include the cost of appliances in your price before making a final decision.
Do structural work first – changing walls, windows etc. Remove the old kitchen.
Install the new kitchen, appliances, and bench tops.
Finish off plumbing, electrical, and decorative work such as flooring, lighting, tiling, and final painting.