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Making Sure a Jobsite Stays Clean

Many consumers have had issues regarding the definition of clean up as it relates to the construction project.  Some contractors assume you don’t want to pay carpenters wages to have someone clean up the construction site.  Some contractors clean up at the end of each business day and use terms like “broom-swept clean” to describe the amount of cleaning, and some do an extra clean up at the end of the week.  Some contractors provide a maid service to clean the whole house when the project is done.  Some projects can look pretty unorganized if not downright dangerous.  Some jobsites never have anything left out of place.  It is usually never the condition of the project as much as it is the expectations.  If the homeowner assumed one thing and the contractor provided another thing, there could be problems.  Included in the contract should be clear statements stating what the contractor will and will not do along the lines of clean up.

Construction is messy, smelly, and can affect other areas of your property that are not under construction.  What precautions will be a part of the contract in regards to the rest of the house, the yard or the homeowner’s bathroom?  For instance, if the contractor needs to do some excavation work, wouldn’t you like them to be careful with their equipment around that new shrubbery you just planted?  If you are reusing appliances, wouldn’t you like the workers to be careful carrying that stove through your house?  The key to minimal disruption is in the procedures and processes followed by the contractor to keep the mess, noise and smell to a minimum.  The key to not having a problem is clear communication regarding these issues and trying to anticipate all of the possible conditions.

Related to this issue are Lead Containment and proper lead testing and containment.  Is the firm you are dealing with certified by the EPA to work on homes your age? You can check to make sure your contractor is certified.   Before doing work on any home built before 1978 contractors are required to give you this pamphlet a bout lead.

Unacceptable:  Site Prep and Clean-up are not a part of the contract.  You never know what you will find when you come home from work.  It is not clear what is debris and what might be used tomorrow for the project.  Your family’s well-being is at risk.

Good:  The amount of site prep and clean up included in the contract is clearly spelled out.  Everyone is clear about who will handle what.  The contractor is lead certified by the EPA and applicable laws are followed in dealing with lead paint.

Better:  In addition to the above, the contractor never leaves the job site with a surprise for the consumer.  The contractor has a checklist of all of the things that will be done at the end of the day by the last person leaving the job site.

Best:  The contractor has a written agreement with all of his trade partners and suppliers that cover his expectations about clean up.  Everyone in the company works to back each other up if there is a problem, rather than having the attitude that it is someone else’s problem.

 
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