In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week 18: Meet the Contractor.
Having completed the schematic phase of our future residence, our next step was to price out the schematic set and select one of the three contractors Tom Kundig proposed (he'd worked with all three before). During our review process, we used the following determining factors:
1) Price. Obviously this is a huge consideration. Tom Kundig was deliberate in advising us that the lowest or highest prices also come with their own pluses and minuses. It’s important to ask things including: Does this price include applicable sales tax? What is included and not included? Is this a capped price or are there percentage variations on cost overruns?
2) Fit. Just as we interviewed architects and design/builders at the beginning of this process, it's essential that you find a contractor you can get along with, collaborate with, and feel comfortable pushing back on.
3) References. We not only talked to owners who worked with our selected contractor, but we visited their spaces, both completed and in-progress.
July 6, 2011