Major home renovations such as remodels, additions or new-builds are costly and time consuming. If the project gets off track and there are construction failures, it is difficult to recover. That’s why it is important to hire the right builder from the start. Having helped Hawaii’s homeowners design and build their dream homes for the past 25 years, Graham Builders offers some helpful tips to keep in mind when selecting a builder for your project.

Select a builder prior to starting the design. Most hire a designer first and then find a builder, when it’s not beneficial to create designs without the input of a builder. Projects often get shelved or have to be significantly redesigned because the size, quality and scope of work is beyond the homeowner’s budget.

“A builder can help the homeowner through design by partnering with an architect, or as is the case with design-build (companies), we design and estimate as we move through each phase of design, and constantly keep a check on costs,” said president of Graham Builders Evan Fujimoto.


Licensed, bondable and insured. “Unlicensed contractor” is a contradiction in terms because a qualified contractor must be licensed. People think they’ll get a good deal by hiring unlicensed people to do the work, but it often results in just the opposite and is not worth the risk.


Building Your Home for Life Saturday, March 28, 9-11 a.m. Honolulu Country Club Register at or 593-2808

• Remodeling versus build new.

What does the builder specialize in? Make sure your builder has experience in doing the kind of work you need done.

• Long-term commitment. Most construction projects last for months, and in some cases, years. Therefore, you have to choose the company you’re going to work with wisely.

Both homeowners and builders have responsibili ties and obligations to each other, as it’s a collaborative effort, and everyone must be committed.

• Do background checks. Check on the reputation and background of builders through organizations such as The Regulated Industries Complaints Office, Better Business Bureau and the Contractor’s Licensing Board.

• Communication skills. How well does the builder communicate? This is very important, as poor communication leads to most problems in construction.

• Sub-contractors and vendors. Find out who the builder’s subcontractors and vendors are. What is the track record and history that the builder has with each of them?

• Visit job sites. Builders often have open houses on completed projects. Stop by to check out the company’s work quality, safety and site cleanliness.

• Check referrals. Ask previous clients about the builder’s workmanship, communication, project management style and if they would rehire the company.

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