Building rules and regulations for your home construction project

Before you take on a construction project in your home or business consider what rules and regulations you want your contractors to follow.

Building Rules and Regulations are similar to General Conditions in that they regulate the way the Contractor manages the work.  Often Building Rules and Regulations are considered to be part of the General Conditions of a project.

Establishing these rules before soliciting a price and communicating these rules in advance, ensures that the contractor’s quote reflects the care with which you expect the work to be managed.

It’s important not to go too crazy because every restriction or regulation you impose on to the contractor can impact price.

On the other hand, if you don’t establish any rules and regulations, you will have no way of knowing how the contractor will be managing your project.

Here are some key considerations that you should established.

Rule number one – working hours

You should establish up front what are the working hours for your project.

Establish which days are work days and which days are not.  Most people will assume that work happens Monday through Friday between 9AM and 5PM, but what about Saturday? What about Sunday? Are weekends acceptable for you to have work on going? this will impact both price and schedule.  The more days you allow work the faster the work will be completed.

On the other hand, when you are home you may not want to deal with the noise and inconvenience of construction.

Rule number 2 – parking

Establish parking rules for your project up front to avoid issues during construction.

Contractor parking can be very difficult issue to deal with. If you have several crews of workman doing work at the same time you could see several additional vehicles in your neighborhood. Your neighborhood may not have sufficient parking to accommodate all of the vehicles. You may also live in an area with restrictive parking regulations.  All of these situations could impact the contractor and become a nuisance for the workman.

Let your bidders know in advance about parking considerations.  If your town requires parking permits consider requesting additional guest permits. Talk with neighbors to make sure they know what’s going on. Some may even be willing to allow parking in their driveways at certain times of the day.

Rule number 3 – Storage

Identify a mutually acceptable location for storage of tools, equipment, and materials.

Storage is another major issue during construction.  Many homes and businesses don’t have extra space where construction materials can be stored.  This issue is not the contractors problem.  If you fail to provide appropriate space for storage you may overpay for materials delivered but not in place, allow new materials to be damaged by exposure to weather, or experience a messy Jobsite.

Consider storage in your plan and work to identify a place where construction materials can be stored.  If your property lacks the space to set up storage, consider renting a storage unit close to your home and making it available to the contractor.  If you have land but no secure weatherproof enclosure consider renting a shipping container.  If you elect to allow the GC to store materials in his warehouse make sure to visit the warehouse and ask the GC to point out the space he has reserved for your materials.

Rule number 4 – Clean up

Establish rules for job site cleanup.

There are multiple level of clean-up required during a construction project. Each phase of construction should have clear rules about what you expect.

While construction is ongoing establish expectations to keep the floor free and clear of tools, screws, nails, or other tripping hazards.  Construction debris will be piled neatly until it is ready to be removed from the premises.  Appurtenances that are suspended above the work area will be safe and secured at all times.  Exposed wiring and plumbing lines to remain will be deactivated and safely secured in place.

Rules for daily end-of-day cleanup are also important.  The area of work will be broom swept daily.  No construction debris will be allowed to remain in the area of work overnight.  Tools will be collected and stored in a secure tool chest or carried off the job site daily.  Construction materials will be stored neatly in designated areas.  All electrical equipment will be unplugged from it’s power source and stored in a secure designated location.

Finally, there should be well established standards for cleaning at the end of the job.  The area of work will be broom swept and all finished surfaces will be wet wiped clean.  All tools, materials, and equipment will be removed from the work area.  All drips and smudges from caulk, paint, or other products will be wiped clean.  Fabrics will be vacuumed to remove all dirt and dust.  All temporary protection will be removed and existing finishes will be wiped clean and reconditioned where needed.

Rule number 5 – Temporary protection

Make sure that you establish expectations for temporary protection.

It may seem obvious that existing spaces should be protected, but don’t assume this is so.  As a general rule, you should assume that if it’s not expressly stated, it wont happen.  Regardless of what you might think is an obvious expectation, you should be clear about your expectations.

Think about what your project requires.  Identify what existing spaces and finishes are at risk of damage during the new work.  Existing finishes that will remain should be protected throughout.  If the work is expected to generate a lot of dust, define where dust partitions will be required.  Floors and carpets to remain should be sealed with plastic to reduce damage from dust.

If your project requires the exterior shell of your home to be removed or exposed to accommodate new construction, your building rules and regulations should address what you deem acceptable for a temporary enclosure.  Unless you are clear on this, your contractor may assume that he can remove the existing roof tiles or exterior siding completely and leave your home exposed overnight or longer.

Establish rules that require that the contractor remove only as much of the exterior enclosure as he can replace in a single work day.  Setting this expectation reduces the need for temporary protection while still protecting your home from the elements.  If a temporary enclosure is needed, discuss with the GC how long the enclosure will be in place.  Discuss strategies to reduce the time the temporary enclosure is needed.

Be clear about what you expect and communicate these expectation to all of the bidders before they submit a quotation.  Make sure that they are all pricing the work with the same standards of care.  By establishing these standards up front, the stress of construction will be lessened and the resulting work will be cleaner, safer, and less impactful.

What other rules would you like to include?  Have you started a project without establishing rules? What issues did you have?

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