How Can I Stay on Top of My Home Building Project?

The biggest complaints homeowners have about their construction projects that we hear about coast to coast is; poor communication, low-quality work, and delayed timelines. This means that while building a dream home should be an exciting journey, it’s a path riddled with obstacles and frustration.

As many would think, every construction story isn’t a fairy tale. Some involve serious complaints against contractors and builders for substandard work.

However, understanding the common pitfalls and knowing how to navigate through them can save you a mountain of stress and potential financial loss.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the essential steps to ensure your home-building project stays on track. We will also explore how to remedy various situations when things don’t go as planned.

Keep reading to discover how to deal with Charleston home builders when you have complaints about there work.

Common Complaints Against Contractors and Builders

unfinished renovation project due to short timeline

Do you have a building project in South Carolina that is not going as planned? What are the main issues you are facing? Well, there are three main complaints homeowners have against builders and contractors from our experience.

The first and most voiced frustration from homeowners is that communication with contractors and builders often falls short of expectations. We know that the foundation for a successful home-building project lies in clear, consistent dialogue. Without it, misunderstandings and dissatisfaction can quickly rise to the forefront, obstructing the path to creating your dream home.

Another critical concern involves the quality of work. Charleston has been one of the most popular places in the country to move to and we hear from homeowners that the quality of contractors has gone down as their demand has gone up. It’s not rare for individuals to encounter work that either doesn’t meet the agreed standards or diverges from the initial plan. Such situations not only lead to increased costs but can also significantly delay project timelines. This adds stress and uncertainty to what should be an exciting journey towards realizing a dream.

Last but not least, issues related to project timelines are a common grievance. Unexpected delays can disrupt personal plans and lead to financial strain. Homeowners express frustration when deadlines are not met. Also, the lack of timely updates from contractors exacerbates the situation, leaving them feeling out of control of their own home-building project.

What to do when a Contractor does Poor Work in Charleston

homeowner reviewing contract

Discovering subpar work during a home building or remodeling project can be disheartening and may seem like a roadblock to achieving your vision.

1. Review the Contract

Reviewing your contract is the very first step when you realize your contractor may not be delivering to the expected standards. This document serves as the mutual agreement between you and your builder, outlining the scope of work, timelines, payment schedules, and quality expectations. By revisiting the contract, you obtain a clearer understanding of what was originally agreed upon and can identify any deviations from this agreement which may be the foundation of a lawsuit. In one rather well-known instance, a series of new construction homes were found to have been built with flimsy, ill-prepared siding. Shortly after the warranty ended homeowners discovered their siding was bubbling, peeling, and falling off. The took the builder to court and the ensuing lawsuit caused that builder to close his doors. The lesson? Even if the warranty is over, save your documentation.

2. Document Issues

Gathering tangible proof is the best move when faced with substandard work from your contractor. Photographs, detailed notes, and any form of correspondence regarding the quality issues serve as undeniable evidence that can bolster your position during negotiations. For example, you can take pictures of the kitchen, bathroom, or any other part of the house where you feel substandard work was done. This documentation not only highlights the specific problems but also creates a chronological account of the events, which is invaluable for clear and effective communication.

3. Hire an Inspector

If you are ever unsure about what is being delivered we feel that bringing in an independent home inspector can be a pivotal move when doubts about the quality of work arise in your home-building project. This professional offers an impartial evaluation, leveraging their expertise to identify any shortcomings or deviations from the project’s specifications. They will inspect the overall work from brickwork, plumbing, electrical wiring, painting, etc.

Their findings can provide solid, unbiased evidence that strengthens your case in discussions with your contractor, ensuring that any necessary corrections are made to meet your standards and expectations.

4. Meet with the Contractor

Arranging a meeting with your contractor is the easiest and best first step in rectifying any issues related to the quality of work on your home building project. This face-to-face interaction provides a direct channel for you to express concerns, present the documented evidence of subpar work, and discuss potential solutions.

In my opinion, it’s a good opportunity to clarify misunderstandings, adjust expectations if needed, and agree on a plan of action to ensure the project aligns once again with your vision.

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5. Alternative Dispute Resolution

When you are dissatisfied with the quality of construction work performed by a builder, alternative dispute resolution services can provide an effective avenue for resolving the conflict without going to court. Mediation, for example, allows both parties to come together with a neutral third-party mediator to discuss the issues and work towards a mutually agreeable solution. The mediator facilitates the conversation and helps the parties identify common ground and potential compromises.

Arbitration is another option, where an independent arbitrator reviews the evidence and renders a binding decision. This can be a faster and more cost-effective process than traditional litigation. Some state and local governments also offer specialized construction dispute resolution programs that provide conciliation services and help homeowners navigate the complaint process.

Utilizing these alternative dispute resolution channels can help homeowners and builders find a resolution without the time and expense of the court system while preserving the working relationship between the parties.

6. Find a Lawyer to File a Complaint

If the steps taken to address the quality of work with your contractor do not lead to a resolution, finding a professional in law to file a complaint might be your next step. A lawyer, equipped with expertise in construction or real estate law, can offer guidance through the formal complaint process, ensuring your rights as a homeowner are protected. This step typically involves discussing your case with the lawyer, presenting the documentation you’ve compiled, and following their advice on how to proceed, potentially leading to a lawsuit for damages or breach of contract.

  1. Review the contract to understand the agreed-upon standards and timelines.
  2. Document the issues meticulously, gathering photos and detailed notes as evidence.
  3. Consult an independent inspector for an unbiased assessment of the work quality.
  4. Schedule a meeting with the contractor to discuss the findings and seek resolution.
  5. Find a lawyer to file a complaint if the previous steps do not resolve the issues.

6. Get Compensated

Securing compensation for subpar work by a contractor is the final step in safeguarding the investment in your home building or remodeling project. After diligently following the outlined steps to address the issue, it’s reasonable to expect that the wrongs will be made right, either through repair, replacement, or financial reimbursement. This compensation is not just about rectifying financial loss, but it’s also a matter of principle, ensuring that the standards of workmanship and professionalism are upheld in the construction industry.

How to Appeal to Your Builder Successfully

homeowner coordinates with home builders

Effective communication between homeowners and builders is paramount in ensuring the local home-building project remains on track. If concerns arise, addressing them directly and promptly with your builder is essential. Setting up a face-to-face meeting provides an opportunity to articulate your concerns clearly, discuss any discrepancies from the original plan, and work together toward a satisfactory resolution.

Securing documentation throughout the home-building journey acts as a safeguard, offering substantial evidence should disputes arise. Capturing photographs of the work in question, retaining all written communication, and noting any verbal agreements or discussions can be invaluable. This information not only supports your case during any dispute resolution processes but also serves as a reminder of the agreed-upon standards and timelines for both parties.

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Reach out to Oak Angel Builders for a Custom Home building in Charleston, SC.

While disputes can arise, there are truly a lot of great contractors in Charleston working on some amazing projects. At Oak Angel Builders, we believe in empowering homeowners by providing them with the knowledge they need to be advocates for their projects. And if you are embarking on the journey to build your dream home, we would love to submit an estimate of our own. Oak Angel Builders has a great reputation in Charleston, SC, from James Island to Wadmalaw Island, as a premium high-quality custom home builder. Their dedication to quality, attention to detail, and unparalleled five-year workmanship warranty set them apart in the bustling South Carolina Lowcountry.

Involving Oak Angel Builders from the outset ensures that your project benefits from Ryley Monaghan’s unique blend of culinary precision and construction expertise. This unique perspective fosters an environment where creative solutions and meticulous execution coalesce to turn your dream into reality.

Contact Oak Angel Builders for your custom home in Charleston and guarantee a seamless and enjoyable construction experience. With a team dedicated to bringing your vision to life, you can rest assured that your project is in skilled hands. Whether you’re dreaming of a cozy bungalow or a sprawling estate, reach out to see how they can turn your dream into a beautiful reality.

FAQs

The best approach is to try to resolve any disagreements with a custom builder through open and honest communication. Review the terms of your contract carefully, and document any issues or disputes. If you can't come to an agreement, you may need to involve mediation or arbitration services, or potentially pursue legal action if the builder is in breach of contract.

Custom home builds are generally more expensive than buying a pre-built home or working with a production home builder. The customization and bespoke design elements involved in a custom build typically drive up the overall cost. However, custom homes can also allow for more energy efficiency, higher-quality materials, and features tailored to your specific needs and preferences.

The price of building a house in Charleston, South Carolina can vary widely depending on the size, location, materials, and features of the home. On average, the cost to build a new single-family home in the Charleston area ranges from around $150 to $300 per square foot.

So a 2,000-square-foot home could cost anywhere from $300,000 to $600,000 or more to construct, not including the cost of the land. Always understand the overall costs of such builds to ensure they fall within your budget.

If you have complaints about a home builder's work, the first step is to file a complaint directly with the builder and attempt to resolve the issues through open communication and negotiation. If that is unsuccessful, you can file a complaint with your state's contractor licensing board or consumer protection agency, which can investigate the matter and potentially take disciplinary action against the builder. As a final recourse, you may need to pursue legal action through the civil court system to seek compensation or compel the builder to remedy any defects.

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