Tips, Resources, and Questions to Ask Yourself before Hiring a Builder
As I’m sure most are aware, it’s already difficult enough to shop around for a television, or even a pair of shoes! So, when shopping around for a builder to build your future home, and likely the largest investment of your life… how do you ensure you’re safe?
Though I always suggest that clients find someone which they trust through calling references, interviews, and viewing previous homes which the builder has built; beyond that, what else can be done to ensure you’re protected?
Here are a few great tips and resources to help ensure that you’re absolutely covered through the process.
1) Are they a licensed builder in good standing?: From the provided link, you can search the company name of your preferred builder and see if they’re licensed, and currently in good standing. It will also provide information about the registered owners of the company, their contact information, and when their license expires. Builders in BC are now required to maintain their license through a combination of continued education and experience. Should they not complete the required courses or points, they will not be able to renew their license.
2) Worksafe BC Clearance Letter: “If you hire a registered subcontractor who is not making required payments to WorkSafeBC, you could be liable for insurance premiums relating to the work or service they provided to you.”
To protect yourself from additional insurance premiums, always get a clearance letter before and after you receive services from a contractor. A clearance letter confirms a business is registered with us and paying its premiums. In order to be absolved of any potential liability related to your contractor’s unpaid premiums, you must have a clearance letter from WorkSafeBC, addressed to you, confirming that your contractor was “active and in good standing” for the entire period of your contract.
3) 2, 5, 10 Home Warranty: Though this is required by BC Housing for a builder to have prior to permit application, the 2, 5, 10 Home Warranty is typically done by a 3rd party provider which the builder selects. Be sure to ask them who their provider is. I would even go as far to call the company to see if they’re registered, and have no outstanding claims. Below is a link which explains a little bit about what 2, 5, 10 Home Warranty is and what it covers.
4) Are they insured? What type of insurance do they have and for how much? At the very minimum, if home builders are doing significant work they should have liability insurance of up to 5 million dollars. Request a copy of their insurance to ensure it’s up to date until your construction project is completed. If it expires before your project is finished, request a copy of the renewal when it comes up. This will ensure you’re sufficiently covered.
5) Google: Sounds simple enough but through searching your potential Builder online, you’ll be able to see if they have any reviews on various websites, issues with the Better Business Bureau, or they may not even be searchable at all which could be a potential reason for concern.