Planning to install a fence and deck at my residence. Looking for suggestions on how to hire the best contractor. Only looking for advice at this time.
Best thing to do is get references and ask to see some of their work. Talk to home owner and see what they say about contractor and use more than one referral.
Hard to know exactly what has to be done without actually seeing where work is going to be done at.
As many have posted. Get references, see the work performed.
Depending on the materials you plan to finish the deck with, be sure the contractor has experience with that material.
Be sure to see completed sites that are at least three years old as well. That will give you a very good idea as to the depth of drilling and concrete forms around fence and deck posts and supports.
Hope this helps.
The best way is to knock on the door of someone who has had a deck and/or fence built. In most cases, they have done the leg work and can recommend the appropriate contractor.
Things to check for are time it took, were there days inbetween that the contractor didn't show, the quality of work and ensuring it was all done according to the building code.
It can't be emphasized enough to get referrals, see their work and make sure they have proper insurance.
Also, make sure you and the contractor understand the type of deck and fence you want built. Discuss it with your neighbours and ask their opinion about the fence. Some people don't care, but others might be offended if they don't like the type of fence you get built. And be aware if your deck encroaches on your neighbours privacy. There's lots to consider.
Good luck. :)
Most reputable deck and fence installers have a business track record (x number of yrs. in business), references and a portfolio of their work. as well as Contractors liability insurance and WSIB coverage.
Hope this helps.
Hi Larry, your best option is to have a few Contractors meet with you and then provide you in person as you can tell a lot from a person by how they look and act. I always recommend following your gut, but there are a few simple things you can do to make sure you select a qualified & credible Contractor:
- Ask for references and contact them, make sure the references are not related to the Contractor in anyway.
- Ask for picture examples of previous jobs.
- Avoid anyone that wants money upfront, even the ones that want money for the materials upfront should be avoided as that could mean they don't have the capital to support themselves.
There has been a lot of great information already posted.
It certainly cannot hurt to check references, but rest assured, every reference will be "glowing" or they wouldn't offer it.
Regardless of the type of work you are having done:
1) Meet them and get a "feel" for whether or not you can work with them.
2) Ask a lot of questions and get a "feel" as to whether they have any idea what they are doing.
Next, and these are the important ones:
3) Ask for their License number and Trade number from the City of Toronto Municipal Licensing & Standards office. Then check it on-line. (Please note, this will disqualify A LOT of bids and they likely won't be the really attractive cheap ones).
4) Ask for a Clearance Certificate from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Get a copy of this or look them up on-line. Someone saying they have it does not mean anything!
5) Ask for a Certificate of Insurance and insist that you (the Owner) be listed as a "Named Insured" on the policy for the duration of the project.
5) In almost all cases, you will need a permit. (GET ONE!)
6) Since you now have a permit, you will be required to obtain inspections. One of the inspections will be for the footings (piers) that the deck will sit on. They must be inspected before they are poured and the depth will be verified by the Municipal Inspector. (Ask for proof that each inspection has passed if you cannot be there for the inspection).
7) Another point that will be inspected is how the deck will be attached to the house. This is an extremely important point and one that I see done incorrectly on almost every deck.
Final payment should not be issued until the permit is closed and you have received a "Statutory Declaration" that has been Notarized stating that all staff, sub-contractors and suppliers have been paid. Remember that anyone doing work on you property has the right to Lien you home if not paid (including employees of Subs).
I've been doing this a long time, but do not rule out the new people in the business that have done what they are supposed to do and are just starting out.
Best of Luck.
Hi again Emma,
With regards to the fence, in most cases this will not require a permit.
You will need a survey of your property and I would want to "walk" the layout lines for the posts before they are dug. Most guys I have seen "freewheel" it with a tape measure (most surveys are metric). It seems silly, but if that fence is in the wrong spot and goes uncontested for 15 years, you loose (or gain) that land. In any case it does not lead to good relations with the neighbours.
Discuss what is to be done with the excavated soil. Is it to remain on the property or will the Contractor remove it from the site?
...and, even though there is no inspection for fence footings, standard fence posts are 10' long. If 7' is sticking up in the air, they did not dig deep enough. You will have a serious problem in one season.
Finally for both decks and fences, or any other construction projects, ask lots of questions. This forum is a fantastic place to post a question and get a lot of excellent ideas an information.
If in doubt, ask.
Best of luck.
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