Whether expanding your current shop footprint or building a new dealership, a little due diligence up front about the company responsible for the construction can save you time, money and resources down the road. Here are some questions and tips to keep in mind before starting your next building project.

Top Questions for your Builder:

  1. How long has your company been in business?
  2. Can you provide a list of buildings that you have constructed in my county? Can I speak to the owners?
  3. Can I see buildings that were constructed 10 or more years ago? How have they “held up”?
  4. Does the price of the building include the following: permits, zoning fees, material taxes, delivery charges, construction labor, dumpster, toilet facilities during construction, builder’s insurance and safety equipment?
  5. Who is responsible for permits and zoning issues?
  6. Is the building engineered specifically for my use and land conditions?
  7. What is the wind and snow load capacity of the building?
  8. What unique features add to the energy efficiency of your buildings? How does this compare to other builders?
  9. Who is accountable for the project timeline and any problems that occur?
  10. Tell me about the materials used in the building.
  11. Where, and by whom, are the materials made?
  12. Who delivers the materials? Will they be on-time and well cared for?
  13. Who constructs the building — employees or contracted labor?
  14. What kind of paint is used and what is the process?
  15. What is the thickness of the steel used?
  16. Is any of the work subcontracted?
  17. Are the subcontractors insured? Bonded?
  18. Are the construction crews insured and bonded? Can I see proof? Who is liable if a worker gets injured on my property?
  19. What kind of training do your construction crews receive? How many buildings a year do they construct for the company?

The Warranty: Dig into the Details

In addition to these questions, take some time to really understand the warranty or warranties provided by the construction company. New building construction of any kind is a significant investment, and the warranty will help protect that investment in the future. Before you make a commitment, here are the top 5 things to ask about your building warranty:

  1. Before I make a decision, can I have a written copy of the complete warranty? Before you decide on any new structure, ask for a written copy of the complete warranty. This will allow you to fully compare the complete picture of the cost of the building — not only for original construction, but also potential maintenance or life-cycle costs — and give you time to ask your potential builder any questions before you commit.
  2. Who is the contact for any future warranty claims? It is not uncommon for other building companies to provide pass-through warranties from their steel supplier. If your builder only provides a pass-through warranty, it can be extremely challenging to track down the right contact to collect on the warranty when there is a problem.
  3. Is the warranty pro-rated and will it include labor? When you are learning about your builder’s coverage, make sure to find out if it is for material-only after a certain timeframe, and if the coverage is pro-rated, which could provide very little real protection for you based on the timeframe that has expired since your purchase. Also ask if labor is included in the warranty. It’s a frustrating experience to have a load of replacement steel dropped off at your location without labor included to fix the issue.
  4. What, if anything, is included in the warranty for the paint? Paint failure is not covered by many contractors’ warranties in the marketplace today. Most warranties are provided by the material supplier and not the contractor. This leaves you pretty much unprotected within just a few short years and isn’t much of a warranty to ensure your building continues to have its aesthetic appeal for years to come
  5. What wind loads are covered?  No matter where you live, the threat of damage to your building from high winds is realistic. Simply put, ask your builder, “If my building is damaged by high winds, will it be repaired or replaced at no cost to me?”

To learn more and watch videos that discuss the difference of the material, people, and warranty of Morton Buildings, visit mortonbuildings.com/the-morton-advantage.  

The Building Repair & Maintenance series is brought to you by Morton Buildings.

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Morton Buildings, headquartered in Morton, Illinois, is the industry leader in post-frame manufacturing and construction. At Morton, the difference is in the details. From our cutting-edge innovations and best-in-class warranty, to our craftsmen in the field, we are dedicated to surpassing expectations. Our legacy of excellence in construction spans more than a century and more than a quarter-million satisfied customers. Morton Buildings is 100% employee-owned and proud to be ranked #69 on the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) 2020 Employee Ownership 100 list, which includes the nation’s largest companies that are at least 50% owned by an employee stock ownership plan. For more information, please visit www.mortonbuildings.com.