Almondia – Bautipps Die Bauherrenberatung

Finding a construction company: 6 decisive criteria for the right choice

It is crucial for the success of a house building project that the individual building project ends up with the right construction company. Except, of course, there are a lot of construction companies that want to do business with the builder. Our construction company checklist clarifies which criteria can be used to compare construction companies.

1. cost: the price of a construction company as a basis for comparison.

Building a house is a major financial challenge. Therefore, the cost also plays an important role when comparing different construction companies. It should be noted that although the prices of the various construction companies can be compared at first glance, the different service contents often do not allow for an objective comparison.

The scope of services offered varies, and ancillary construction costs are usually not included.

The scope of services underlying an offer often varies from provider to provider. For this reason, offers should be gone through in detail with expert support if possible. It is necessary to clarify which services are specifically included in the construction company’s offer and with which sum the individual items are billed.

There are additional costs to most of the offers. This is because the ancillary construction costs are almost never included – for this, about another 15% can be expected. Learn more about ancillary construction costs here.

Do not only pay attention to the price, but also keep an eye on the quality and your own wishes

With a favorable offer you can save costs. Nevertheless, when choosing a construction company, it is advisable to pay attention not only to the price. Otherwise, you don’t get what you actually wanted.

Poor structural quality should be avoided in any case. Instead of being able to enjoy the moment of completion, one otherwise discusses defects and often even threatens a legal dispute with the construction company. In addition, inferior quality has a negative impact on value retention and resale value. High costs can also arise from maintenance measures after just a few years.

Read our article on the most important pitfalls in the construction contract here.

Saving done right

Saving money when choosing a construction company is a good thing if you do it right. For this purpose, building owners should inform themselves in detail about the scope of services of an offer and the quality of execution and building material. The information provided by the construction company can be assessed with expert advice.

In terms of cost, the following aspects are important when looking for a construction company:

  • Very good value for money: Cheap offers are not always the right choice. In some cases, additional costs are incurred. In some cases, providers hide certain items to make the offer appear more attractive.
  • Quality in workmanship and material should never suffer from the price.
  • Cost certainty: A solid calculation of the construction costs, which really takes all aspects into account, should always be the basis for every house construction project.
  • Efficiency: How can the optimum be extracted from the given financial framework and as many wishes as possible be realized in a high-quality manner?

2. experience and specialization of the construction company.

Construction companies often have a convincing external image. However, the only decisive factor is the concrete experience of a construction company with regard to a specific project. The rule is: experience in construction leads to good results. Insufficient experience of a construction company regarding a specific house construction project leads to inferior quality and often to additional costs. However, it is difficult to determine the experience of a construction company on the basis of quotations.

The question therefore arises as to where exactly the specialization of a particular construction company lies with regard to different types of houses, certain building materials, energy standards, the prefabricated house construction method or the solid house construction method?

Field reports provide important information

On websites or in catalogs, the construction portfolio of a construction company is often presented beyond its actual specialization. That’s why it’s an open secret, especially in the construction industry, that third-party testimonials are particularly important. It should always consult someone who have already built with this company.

How do you get useful field reports?

Unfortunately, it is only by luck that one knows people who have also built a similar project with a particular construction company. So what to do? Reviews and reports on the Internet offer misleading as well as some valid information. This is hardly sufficient for the far-reaching decision to sign a construction contract.

At Almondia, we specialize in exactly these issues. Almondia continuously evaluates experience gained from qualified and independent placement of house building projects with a wide variety of companies. This is the basis of our expertise in finding the right construction company for each individual project.

The following questions about the construction company are important:

  • Did structural cleanliness and quality meet the specifications and expectations?
  • Have additional costs been added?
  • Did I feel well informed from the beginning and were all announcements actually kept?
  • How many and what defects were there when the house was accepted?
  • How did the contractor respond to proper notifications of deficiencies and how quickly were they corrected?
  • Was there even a legal dispute?
  • How transparent is the construction company with regard to the wording of the contract and the awarding of contracts to subcontractors?

3. preferred building materials of a construction company

The most obvious difference of building materials in house construction is that of solid building materials (such as brick, sand-lime, aerated concrete block and concrete) and wood. In addition to this well-known distinction, there are many other building materials that can be used (e.g. different insulation materials and techniques, specific ecological building materials or other extra requests). This depends entirely on the personal design needs of the builder.

Building material and construction company should fit together

If you choose certain building materials, the construction company should also prefer to work with these materials. This is especially true for more unusual building materials in eco, designer or plus-energy houses, for example. But even if there are no special requirements for the building material, it is important to know what material a particular company mainly builds with. Here you can learn more about the topic of building materials.

Choice of building materials and the right construction company especially important for eco-house and high energy efficiency

If you want to achieve a high energy standard, you have to pay particular attention to the building materials. Wooden houses are considered advantageous in this regard. But even certain stone houses do not necessarily perform worse. Here you can find more information about energy standards and funding opportunities.

When designing houses with very high ecological standards, the issue of building materials is even more weighty. This is because most builders of ecologically demanding houses attach importance to the fact that the building materials comply with a high ecological standard during production, shoring, disposal and transport. In addition, it is usually important to these builders that the manufacturer generally complies with ecological specifications. Here you can learn more about the topic of ecological building.

With regard to the construction material, when comparing construction companies, the following questions are important:

  • What experience does the construction company have with certain building materials (especially for more specific requests)?
  • What building materials does the particular construction company usually work with?
  • What alternatives (at the same cost and comparable quality) do other construction companies offer?
  • What ecological building materials are there and which construction companies have the most experience with them?
  • Which building materials are best suited for implementing energy efficiency, e.g. low-energy or plus-energy houses?

4. the construction contract offered by a construction company

Even the construction contract gives clues about the transparency of a construction company. Therefore, the specific content of the contract is also an important criterion when comparing construction companies.

Construction companies are familiar with contract texts and the unilateral distribution of risks

Unfortunately, it often happens that construction contracts turn out to the disadvantage of the builder. If only because the construction companies have more experience with the wording of contracts than the prospective builders. Construction companies and their legal departments know how to use certain contract clauses to unilaterally shift risks to the builder. This often only becomes apparent when legal disputes arise. It is therefore important for every building owner to go through the contract in detail with independent experts and to really understand all the contract clauses in detail.

Rather not a model contract, because each construction project is individual

It is often not a good sign when a construction company offers an unchanged sample contract. Because just as every house building project has individual features (even with prefabricated houses!), the contract should also be adapted to the specific project. Certain supplementary agreements are therefore always useful. In this context, it is important whether the contract actually stipulates the agreements in a contractually binding manner. It is not enough to rely on verbal agreements or a later date.

It is essential that any construction contract clarify the following points in detail:

  • Detailed bill of quantities without ambiguities
  • Exact date (or indication of calendar week) of start of construction and completion, preferably also of partial services
  • Possibility to have the construction site inspected by independent experts (only given for turnkey houses, for all other stages of completion also without contractual clause).
  • Performance bond deposited by the construction company with its bank. This protects the client against the risk of insolvency of the construction company.
  • Payment schedule: It should be contractually stipulated that progress payments on completed partial services need only be made if there are no deficiencies. There should also be clarity about the timing of the various payments.

Here we have summarized everything about pitfalls in construction contracts.

5. regionality of a construction company

It is advantageous if the construction company hired to build the house is from the region. Long journeys to and from the site, which are neither good for the environment nor sometimes charged for, are then eliminated. Many construction companies have regional offshoots anyway, with which they cover large parts of the republic. This is especially the case with suppliers of prefabricated houses.

In addition, a regional construction company knows its way around and knows, for example, where to take the excavated material, etc., which is not insignificant for a smooth process. If the preferred construction company is not directly from the region, then there should at least be a local contact.

6. trust in the construction company

In view of a long construction process, which is financially challenging and involves a number of risks, trust in the construction company is not the least important factor. If the construction company has contributed of its own accord to satisfactorily clarify the points described, then that is already a good sign.

When in doubt, do a confidence test!

If there is any doubt, a test can be made: If an offer or contract is available, it can be gone through with independent building consultants. These reveal any hidden costs, show whether the cost breakdown is realistic, and whether the timings (e.g. on start of construction and completion) are satisfactorily stated – and what else is missing and can be improved with regard to the wording of the contract. So you learn a lot about the transparency and business practices of a construction company.

These other aspects make a construction company trustworthy:

  • Is there a list of reference properties (not show houses!) that are comparable to your personal home building project? The provider can publish this list, including addresses, on the website.
  • Are the partner companies that a general contractor subcontracts listed on the website?
  • When in doubt, you can also have a lawyer research lawsuits that a construction company has been involved in.

Autorin Sarah Völkl

Sarah Völkl hat Architektur studiert und ist seit Jahren das Gesicht von a better place. Mit ihren Videos ist sie bei YouTube vielen Personen schon länger bekannt. Sarah teilt Ihr Wissen jetzt auch bei den Bautipps von Almondia.

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