Preservation Information for Homeowners
Tips on Hiring a Historic Preservation Contractor
Not all contractors understand old buildings. It is important to select a contractor who has training and experience to do the job correctly, to save the expense of having to correct poor work or resolve misunderstandings later. In some cases, the damage done by inexperienced contractors to historic materials is beyond repair and permanently compromises both the aesthetics and soundness of your building. Be an educated consumer so you can evaluate what a contractor is telling you. Steps for finding a qualified contractor: 1. Know your project.
- Think holistically about your building. For example, it’s pointless to repair a spalling brick wall without addressing the underlying cause.
- Research the history of your building, looking for the permit history, original plans, and old photographs that will help you understand changes that may have taken place over time.
- Decide what you want. Determine your budget and make a list of work items you’d like addressed. This will help contractors focus their bids and make it easier for you to compare and evaluate them later.
- Check web sources of information on historic building components.
- Check on license status at the WV Department of Labor website (?).
- Look for any license enforcement actions taken.
- Check online reviews. Keep in mind that these reviews may help you ascertain a contractor’s customer service, but most reviewers aren’t evaluating from a preservation perspective.
- Is the contractor bonded and insured?
- Has the contractor done similar work on buildings of the same age?
- Do you have references?
- Are you familiar with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation?
- Who will be performing the work and what is their training and experience?
- Some companies use sub-contractors, it’s important to be sure they are qualified and reputable.
- How busy is your company, and will you have time for my job?
- When do you expect to start/finish my job?
- Were you satisfied with the work?
- Was the project finished on time and within budget?
- Were there any unexpected issues and, if so, how were they handled?
- Would you hire this company again?