Monday, March 26, 2012

Construction Speak

I am in the process of interviewing contractors right now, assembling my dream team for erecting my first bar.  Contractors or builders come in all shapes and sizes, literally and figuratively.  Normally I wouldn’t endorse a triangulated relationship but as one builder fondly referred to it as a three-legged stool, and this makes perfect sense.

In one corner we have Jen Doak (that’s me), the one with only a few absolutes in this design process.  There are several ideas and “feelings” in my head/heart that I anxiously await to bounce off the professionals. 
In another corner is the architect Shed Built ( and lastly the builder (unknown at this point). 
There is a new vocabulary to learn, spreadsheets to analyze, and questions to ask.  Here are the questions I have so far:

·         Are you licensed?
·         Do you carry general liability insurance?
·         Do you have workers comp insurance?
·         Do you guarantee your work?
·         Will you provide me with written lien waivers?
·         Will you be in charge once the project starts?
·         Do you pull all the required bldg permits?
·         What professional organizations are you a member of?
·         Request references from several suppliers 
·         Request references from several subs 
·         Have a detailed conversation on how billing & verification of invoices, hours, etc. will be worked
·         How will you perform quality checks, re-do's (get this in writing)
·         Make sure I am the one who picks out the materials. Let them know I want to be very involved in picking out hardware and paint and flooring and everything else. 
·         Make sure they won’t be taking any vacations mid-job 
·         What type of deposit do you require?
·         How do you stay on schedule or to a specific timeline?

I am excited and nervous for this component.  It will complete the design team and I know how important it is.  Not to mention, it makes this dream more of a reality.  I bet the food and drinks will taste better when I’m not just thinking about them but seeing them and experiencing in a real space, with real smells, and real people.


  1. Great list! Maybe add: Request references from several previous clients, even ask to see previous work (in person). Look at the tini-tiny details, like how their lines, corners, joins line up/measure up. Are the nail patterns straight? You're looking to see if things are plumb and square, which will ensure lastability. So exciting!!!

  2. Thank you so much for the additional questions!

  3. I'm impressed with you, as always!
    Another question, I'd have is "How many other projects might you/your firm be working on at the same time as my project? How will you prioritize?

  4. Great questions Joy! Thanks so much for the wonderful input.