Page 5 - Hawaii Renovation - May 29, 2022
P. 5

MAY 29, 2022
                BY CAROLINE WRIGHT
Each decision you make regarding your home construction or reno-
vation project will be impor- tant, but selecting your con- tractor might be the most vital decision of all.
If you choose a design/ build firm, that company will handle all aspects of your project. The firm’s design- ers, contractor and crew, subcontractors, and suppli- ers will work together as a team to make your dream a reality.
“That means a lot of ac- countability for the firm you hire,” observes Evan Fuji- moto, president of Honolulu design/build firm Graham
Builders. “To design and build the home that might be your family’s most valuable asset, you’ll want to search for a company with a solid reputation — and one whose experience and approach are in harmony with your vi- sion for your project.”
How does one choose a design/build contractor? Below, Fujimoto offers sug- gestions for those who are about to begin the process. (And if you’ve already start- ed your search, these tips might help you make a more informed decision.)
Careful investigation in the early stages of your search will help eliminate troubled
companies that consistently disappoint their clients.
“A good firm should be eager to provide you with references from clients with similar jobs,” suggests Fuji- moto. “Look for a company with respected professional and trade affiliations — one that’s well-rated by the Bet- ter Business Bureau, and a member of BIA Hawaii.”
It’s also smart to check with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to see if the firm’s li- cense is current, the length of time that license has been active, and for any unre- solved complaints about the firm’s services.
A reputable company will provide a performance bond for your project, as well as a clear written warranty and home care recommen- dations upon completion. Firms with easy-to-read documentation and policies can be easier to deal with than those whose paper-
work is filled with technical and legal jargon.
“Ask to see examples of payment and change order policies to make sure you understand them,” Fujimoto suggests.
Finding a design/build contracting firm that, simply put, is the right fit for your project should be high on your list of priorities.
“Will their services meet your needs?” asks Fujimoto. “Whether your lot is beach- front, rocky or on a slope, do they have experience build- ing homes on similar proper- ties? Does their portfolio in- clude designs that you love?”
Look for a firm with a team of professionals whose skills and services are comple- mentary to your project.
“They should assign you an architectural designer to help you define your needs and desires, and they should have qualified subcontrac-
tors and trade partners to ex- ecute any unique aspects of your design,” says Fujimoto.
Accordingly, if you’re plan- ning to build your forever home, find a company with an experienced Certified Ag- ing-in-Place Specialist.
“And if you’re serious about sustainable building, look for a team with a Certi- fied Green Professional,” Fu- jimoto recommends.
The best design/build firms provide full, turnkey project management to their clients.
“A capable firm will be able to design to fit your budget, and will also employ an es- timator who can help you value-engineer your proj- ect,” says Fujimoto.
For maximum efficiency and innovation, a good firm should have up-to-date computer-aided design soft- ware capable of producing
renderings (images gener- ated from models).
“They should also have a library or sample room of in- terior finishes and fixtures, so you can inspect and choose exactly what you want for your home,” adds Fujimoto.
Professionalism, integrity and efficiency are impor- tant — and remember that personality counts, too.
“The design/build pro- cess is intimate and collab- orative,” says Fujimoto. “For best results, you’ll want to be comfortable with your team.”
A leader in the design and construction of multi- generational homes and ag- ing-in-place design, Graham Builders is the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Hawaii Torch Award for ethics in small business. The next free Building Your Home for Life seminar is scheduled for Saturday, June 4. Regis- ter now at grahambuilders. com or call 808-593-2808.

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