Factors to Consider When Choosing a Contractor

Whether you are planning to build a new home or remodel an existing home, finding a competent contractor is the initial step towards a satisfying and successful home improvement project. Home improvement and maintenance contractors can be found advertising online, in newspapers, the yellow pages, magazines, radio and on TV. However, you need to be careful about your choice because an ad cannot provide proof of a contractor’s quality of work. Depending with the complexity of the project, you can hire different professionals including a general contractor, specialty contractor, architect, interior designer or a building contractor. The factors to consider when choosing a contractor include:

· The License

It is important to find out from a contractor whether they hold a valid license. A license shows evidence of the fact that the practitioner got his act together to study and pass comprehensive standardized exams. In addition, it provides evidence that he has experience in the field and you have a recourse if he errors (you can file a complaint with the relevant board). Any reputable contractor will make sure they have a license to practice.

· Reputation

Working with a contractor who has a good reputation is very important. A background check will help you learn more about the professional you are considering to hire. Furthermore, the customer reviews will reveal the experience of real customers in the hands of the contractor. Moreover, when you check the board website, you will discover any complaints leveled against him and the status of his license (i.e. valid, expired or revoked).

· Location

Although the internet has transformed the world into a global village, making it possible for customers drawn from any part of the globe to interact with businesses in a foreign country, it is advisable to hire the services of a contractor with a local address. The further away the contractor is, the more challenging it will be for him to get to your premises. In addition, consider a service provider who has at least 15 local references. Make sure to call some of the references to find out there experience in the hands of the contractor.

· Experience

It is important to know how long a contractor has been in business and the type of work they have done. Even if a service provider has a general contractor’s license which allows him to undertake any kind of construction, it is important to know how many times he has performed the job you want done. Therefore, if you want your plumbing done, you need to know how many times the contractor has undertaken plumbing jobs with success.

Oakridge Cambie Corridor an Area of Hot Debate for Vancouver

City Council members are extremely concerned about the new development by Ivanhoe Cambridge and Westbank Projects in the Cambie area. Recently, the Cambie corridor has been bought up by several big name developers causing great concern for the city’s residents and for the City Council. The plan so far has been to use $1.5 billion to turn the outdated Oakridge Centre mall into a new, technologically advanced miniature city.

While residents like the idea of transforming the old outdated 1955 mall into a centre for entertainment and shopping, others like Green party council member Adriane Carr disapprove. In an effort to push through the idea, the developers led Mrs. Carr and others on the council to believe there would be an allotment of green space on the ground level of the property. However, now that the full plans have been released the truth has been made known. The developers plan to keep the park atop one of the malls buildings instead of on ground level. Mrs. Carr claims she was aware of the rooftop space but believed there would be an additional park space for families to enjoy. It has long been the agreement between the city and developers that green spaces will be provided no matter how large a development ends up being.

Despite the debate, however, the seemingly ancient Oakridge Centre will still be getting an update over the next decade. In fact, transformation would be a more accurate word to describe the changes and advancements that will be made over the next few years. From sustainability to extensive housing options, the Oakridge Centre will be an apartment and housing complex with amenities far superseding those of any other complex in Vancouver. Transportation in the form of extensive bike trails to upgrades for the Canada Line transit to Residential Car co-ops, will all be a part of the new plan.

There will also be 70,000 sq. ft of civic community space that will include a day care centre, an extensive 25,000 sq. ft library, and various physical fitness spaces. There will be little to no need to leave the city centre for permanent residents.

While the wait may be quite a while, developers expect it to be finished by 2025, the time will undoubtedly fly by and once here Oakridge will be more than just two anchor stores as it is now. It will be a renovated and updated mini-city that workers and their families can use for all of life’s joys and necessities.

The Importance of Choosing a Professional Bridge Contractor

The importance of a good bridge is obvious. It helps to facilitate transportation across obstacles like rivers and mountains, connecting towns and cities. The structures supporting the bridge should be in steady condition at any given time to ensure the safety of all users. Therefore, bridge restoration is an activity that needs to be performed regularly to resolve problems early and avoiding catastrophes. Furthermore, restoring the bridge can save the community and the government millions of dollars required to replace the bridge. The size and complexity of the project requires professional bridge contractors. The importance of choosing a professional bridge contractor includes:

· Experience

Although every bridge contractor was at one point been new in the industry, it is advisable to hire a seasoned contractor because they possess a high level of knowledge and insight acquired on-the-job, in addition to the training received from a reputable college. Professionals who have been in the business for many years can contribute significantly to the value of the bridge. They demonstrate knowledge and experience using a variety of materials, products and techniques. Therefore, when choosing a bridge contractor it is important to find out how long they have been in the business and how many times they have constructed or restored bridges. Furthermore, by visiting their past jobs you will know the quality of workmanship.

· Good reputation

A good reputation is a valuable asset. By reading the local business bureau reviews, competitor reviews, client’s reviews or other reviews facilitated by various associations, you will know the reputation of the service provider in the industry. You will discover positive or negative reviews leveled against the contractor. A good reputation is usually gained over many years of doing reliable work. Satisfied customers & employees and proper relationships with creditors & suppliers also contribute significantly to a good reputation. On the other hand, unsatisfied customers & employees, adversarial relationships with other stakeholders and shoddy work build a bad reputation. To help you choose a contractor to undertake a bridge restoration, it is important to find one who has a right standing in the community.

· Competitive pricing

Many of the professional contractors understand how important prices are to their customers. However, the price should not be considered in isolation of quality. Bear in mind, the lowest bid does not always translate to the best bids. A professional takes into consideration the scope of the project, materials required and amount of labor to give a price estimate. They avoid cutting corners with inferior materials, low paid & inexperience workers and avoiding the local building codes. Therefore, you will not have to cater for repair/replacement work sooner rather than later. Furthermore, when you hire a professional bridge contractor you stand to benefit from a reasonable warrantee period.