|Frequently Asked Questions
We hope the faq's below will be a good starting point into researching your remodel or new home construction. They have been broken into 7 different categories for your convience. Of course, feel free to email by clicking here and filling out the form at the bottom of the page or call with any specific questions you might have.
When should the contractor be hired?
The earlier the better.
If the contractor is hired while you are still planning your home, you'll be able to call upon and benefit from their knowledge.
How to choose a contractor?
A good contractor will be able to supply you with an ample amount of references. Check out their work first hand and talk with past clients. Most importantly, choose a contractor with whom you’ll be most comfortable working. Building a home is a lengthy project; you want a contractor who will be with you every step of the way.
Is it necessary to hire an architect or designer for my new home?
It is quite possible to buy "stock" plans from a plan book for a few hundred dollars. The challenge would be to find a plan that suited you and your building site. A professional designer or architect will be able to produce a plan that balances your needs with what suits your land.
What size homes do you build?
We build all sizes. Most of our work has been from 2500 to 6000 square feet. We have an unlimited license which allows us to build a home of any size or value.
Do you build green homes?
In every home there are opportunities to build more sustainably. How many of those opportunities we can take advantage of depend upon our clients.
Why should I seek a green certification for my new home?
An Energy Star certification or a LEED certification provide a third party testament to how well your home was built. In the future when you choose to sell your home these certifications will help educate a potential buyer as to the quality of your home.
What can I do to make my home green?
Build a home to last for generations. One of the greenest things we can do is to make sure that the resources we are using are used well.
A good next step is to follow the Energy Star Guidelines.
For the more ambitious home project the US Green Building Council’s LEED program is a great choice.
What is the best insulation?
Most any insulation installed properly can effectively insulate your home, until the wind starts blowing. When the wind is blowing there is pressure difference between the inside and outside of your home. Every little gap provides a path for air to move reducing the effectiveness of your insulation.
Aside from a couple of SIP projects we use Icyene Insulation exclusively. Both Icyene and SIP do a tremendous job of sealing and insulating.
Is a contract necessary?
Yes. A thorough contract, specifications, and plan are critical to the project's success.
What is the difference between a Fixed Price Cost and a Cost Plus Price?
A Fixed Price agreement allows you the considerable peace of mind knowing exactly what your home will cost. This peace of mind comes at a price since most contractors charge more for a fixed price project. With a Fixed Price agreement you will be paying what the contractor thought your home would cost months ago when the bid was produced. You are essentially buying a house from the contractor, it just doesn't happen to be built yet.
A Cost Plus agreement gives you greater flexibility during the course of construction. The Contractor's fee is typically less for a Cost Plus project since you are sharing in the risk. In a Cost Plus agreement you will be paying for the actual expenses for your home plus a percentage for the contractor's overhead and profit. In a Cost Plus agreement the contractor is building the home "with" you rather than "for" you.
Headwaters prefers the relationship that comes from building a home with our clients, and therefore uses Cost Plus contracting exclusively.
What does this "percentage for the contractor" apply to?
Everything that goes into the construction process. All materials, labor, subcontractors, allowance items and expenses. The fee is not applied to work that happens before we start construction or after we are finished.
How can I ensure that I get a good value for my money unless I put my home up for competitive bid?
Hire a reputable contractor in whom you have faith.
If you don't feel comfortable trusting the contractor to spend your money wisely, you should not feel comfortable with the contractor building your home, especially not on a fixed price.
How much will my home cost?
The homes we've built recently have been in the $150 to $250 a foot range.
Are your cost competitive?
Yes, for the same product and specifications. Our value lies in the quality of the building experience and the finished home.
How will the estimate be created?
The estimate will be drawn up based on your plans and specifications. The more detailed the plans and specifications are, the more accurate the estimate will be. Clients who let us know their needs and taste beforehand end up with the most accurate estimates. Clients who come to know their needs only after the project has started can find it a struggle to meet the estimate. Sticking to an estimate with inadequate allowances will not be easy.
How often will I be billed?
At the end of each month you will receive an invoice from us.
This invoice will cover all the of Headwaters' expenses incurred on your behalf plus our fee.
What insurance will cover the job?
For each project we ask the homeowner to purchase a Builder's Risk policy. This covers the repair or replacement cost of the structure if something unfortunate such as fire should damage the home. Headwaters will maintain Workmen's Compensation and General Liability Insurance.
Who actually builds the home?
Many different people will participate in the construction of your home. Throughout the project someone from our staff is on site daily to ensure the quality of work. On most projects we take care of all the carpentry work ourselves.
Can I hire my own subcontractors?
Generally this is not such a good idea. The majority of the subcontractors we use, we have used time and time again. We know what to expect, they know what to expect, they know what is expected of them. This familiarity helps the project run more smoothly and contribute to the finished quality.
We live out of town. How will this effect the project?
This is not a problem; living far away only increases the need for proper planning and good communication. Some of the finest homes we have built have been for out of town clients.
How will I be kept informed about the progress of our home if we live out of town?
Every week you'll receive an e-mail update typically with photos showing the week's progress.
Do you specialize in any particular type of construction or style of home?
We specialize in well built, effecient homes.
What does your warrantee cover?
Our workmanship and materials for a year.
Is your warrantee thorough?
Yes, it occupies almost a page of our contract. Everything is spelled out; what is covered and what is not covered. It is the same warrantee we have used building homes for attorneys and architects. We feel it is not just thorough but more importantly it is fair.
The finished project stands as a monument to our craftsmanship. Throughout construction we are constantly thinking in terms of durability and quality. "Surviving" the warrantee period is not our goal. Our best interest is served with a quality home that withstands the tests of time.