Picking the right person to build your home is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Our 1-2-3 strategy will get you on the right track to finding a log home builder.
If a builder is having an open house or is displaying a project on a home-and-garden tour, sign up. Not only are these a lot of fun and a bounty of great ideas, they will provide a firsthand look at the quality of his finished product.
You’d read reviews on a travel web site before you’d book a hotel, right? Your log home is much more permanent than an overnight stay. Check out log home builder candidates’ past work and talk to their past customers for some honest reviews. Ask questions like, “Was he easy to work with?” or “Did he stay on schedule and within budget?” If you learn about long delays or a revolving door of subcontractors, keep looking.
Some log home builders specialize in constructing a particular manufacturer’s package. That extra measure of experience can go a long way toward anticipating and addressing questions or concerns during your build. But there are a lot of great builders out there who may not have worked with your log home company of choice before, so don’t discount them out of hand. You will be working closely with your builder so you should choose a person who is the right fit for you personally. If a contractor’s reputation is stellar and their price is right, but you don’t get a good feeling from him or her, there’s probably a reason — even if that reason isn’t tangible. Trust and communication are keys to success.
Your builder is responsible for meeting the terms of your contract. In short, he works for you. But his subcontractors, or “subs,” answer to him, not you. How can you control the quality? There are safeguards to having lousy subs working on your home. The best time to check out the subs is when you’re reviewing a builder’s references. When you talk to his former clients about his performance, also ask about the subs he used. If someone mentions a sub that was either exceptional or awful, inquire about whether that person will be used on your project. Remember that project schedules and availability fluctuate and your builder may not know all the subs he will engage for your project at the onset, but it’s good to set the expectation that you will be monitoring every step along the way.
Log home builders typically handle the construction of your home. This can include setting the foundation, framing, roofing, as well as erecting the log walls. Builders often don’t handle mechanicals, such as heating/cooling, electrical or plumbing. A GC orchestrates and manages the team of subcontractors. He’s the big-picture guy. Sometimes a builder acts as a general contractor; he’ll use his own crew to construct your home and subcontract the mechanical work. This certainly isn’t a problem, if he’s experienced. In rural areas, builders almost always have to be GCs to maintain their business. In other areas, GCs can focus on the entire project and keep builders on task.