Tips for Selecting
a Specialty Contractor
We believe restoration
is an art, and those of us working in the restoration trades have spent years
developing special techniques and expertise to handle a restoration project
with the sensitivity necessary to maintain historic integrity.
A contractor with experience
in restoration has developed what we refer to as "Restoration Temperament."
Historic preservation demands both artistic ability and a great deal of patience
for detail. Older homes and buildings have a great deal of character and unique
aspects that make them as appealing as they are to many of us. Whenever possible,
the goal is to retain or match the original aspects of the building as closely
as possible. This is not always the quickest or easiest route to renovation.
This often requires extra steps and may result in a slower production schedule
than what you would experience in a new construction endeavor. Select someone
whose experience tells them when to fix and when to replace, and can describe
the different restoration methods to you clearly.
Of course, you have a
distinct vision for how you want your project to turn out. Put your trust in
a contractor who can offer you a cohesive look of quality in your project, providing
a consistency of finish work that matches the quality in the original areas
of the structure. Expect to be offered several options for your project ranging
from using extensive reconstructive methods to more economical or modern techniques.
Ask for clear descriptions of how the options differ, and the pros and cons
of each. Select a contractor who can speak with both the technical expertise
and an artistic ability regarding your restoration project.
You are hiring a professional
to complete your important project. Be sure you select an insured contractor
who is running a legitimate business. Be sure you are clear on what guarantees
are provided and if there are any restrictions involved with the work or products
being used. All the contractors you hire should carry appropriate insurances
such as liability and workers' compensation so that you are not held responsible
for any accidents or mishaps. Select someone who will put your project first
and be able to commit to the timetable you desire.
Ask to review their portfolio
of proven past experience in projects that compare to yours. A qualified professional's
credentials should include: a resume or outline of projects completed, customer
referrals and/or testimonials, and pictures and other samples of their work.
If you are unfamiliar with a contractor, ask for several prior customer references
that you may contact. Also ask why they are in this business - is it purely
for business reasons, or is there a deeper artistic or vocational motivation
Ultimately, you want to
work with someone who "fits" you and your project. Projects and people
are unique in what approach is best to complete the work. Do you want someone
who will simply get the job done, a project manager/general contractor who will
take all the decisions off your hands, someone who will partner with you during
the design and productions phases, an expert who can offer many options and
technical solutions, or an artist who can create a certain look?
Older buildings are special!
Hire a contractor who has the necessary experience to manage the subtleties
of historic architecture and features, and who values the finer details involved
in a restoration project. Good luck on your project!