Category Archives: Architecture

5 Steps to help you hire the right contractor

Building your dream home is one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do, but all that excitement comes with a lot of responsibility. Hiring the best general contractor for you and your project is an extremely important decision. That choice will determine the quality of craftsmanship and will minimize emotional stress and unexpected costs. Bringing in the right contractor early in the design process is one of the most important ingredients in staying on budget and on schedule during construction.

Here are five simple steps to help you hire the right contractor for your project.

Custom Home by Hardin Builders, Inc. - Lakewood Illinois

Custom Home by Hardin Builders, Inc. – Lakewood Illinois

1. Get referrals. Talk with people you know and trust. Your architect is an obvious source, but talk with family, friends, neighbors, lawyers, real estate agents and others who have built projects similar to yours.

Browse professional listings such as Houzz to find general contractors in your area. Check out their reviews and browse photos in their portfolios to see how their work lines up with the scope of your project. You can even message them to get a conversation going.

Are there recently completed or under-construction projects in your area? Ask the owners about their contractor and the working relationship they have with him or her.

It's the details that make the difference.

It’s the details that make the difference.

2. Verify licenses. Make sure your contractor candidates are licensed and in good standing with your state license board. Ask to see the contractor’s pocket license, picture I.D. and certificate of insurance.

Proper licensing demonstrates a company’s best practices management, but hiring a licensed contractor will also protect you. For example, worker’s compensation insurance is a contractor’s responsibility, not a property owner’s, but that’s not the case if a contractor is not licensed or does not carry proper insurance.

3. View recent work. After looking at a contractor’s portfolio, request to visit a few projects similar in size and style to yours. Try to check out one that was recently completed, one that’s under construction and one completed five to 10 years ago. Ask yourself:

  • Does the work carry a warranty, and are problems corrected?
  • How does the construction site look?
  • Did the older finished project stand the test of time?
Custom Home by Hardin Builders, Inc. - Lakewood Illinois

Custom Home by Hardin Builders, Inc. – Lakewood Illinois

4. Check references. Ask for a list of references. You can view our Testimonials and our customer reviews on Houzz. In private, discuss with previous clients their experiences working with the contractor. Ask:

  • Was it a pleasant working relationship?
  • Did they and the contractor communicate well?
  • Was the contractor fair and honest?
  • Was the project completed on schedule and within budget?
  • Were there extra costs or surprises?
  • How were problems handled?
  • How was the quality of craftsmanship and follow-up?
Custom Home by Hardin Builders, Inc. - Barrington, Illinois

Custom Home by Hardin Builders, Inc. – Barrington, Illinois

5. Understand the contract. Decide on the contractor you wish to hire and while your plans are in the permit-review process, discuss the different kinds of contracts available and ask for one to review.

Ask for updates to the construction bid if plans change for any reason.

Do not sign the contract until your permits have been approved and all costs have been finalized.

Be aware that there are always unknowns in the construction process that create change orders and additional costs. This is normal. Expect it. Allow 5 to 8 percent of your total budget for these extras. With good planning, design and management, they can be minimized.

With proper planning and research, you will find the perfect contractor for your project. Invest the time and remember that spending a few extra dollars in the beginning could save you thousands of dollars in the end.

Tell us: What are your experiences with hiring a contractor — good or bad?

Source:Dylan Chappell via Houzz

Chicago’s Iconic Skyscrapers

The cradle of modern architectureChicago is known for its spectacular skyline. In the United States, it’s second only to New York City in the number of buildings rising taller than 500 feet. Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City graces the cover of Wilco’sYankee Hotel Foxtrot; the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Building)was the tallest in the world until the Petronas towers were built in 1998; the Crain Communications Building was a set in the 1980s cult-classic Adventures in Babysitting. British artist Al Boardman recently created an animated film celebrating the city’s most-iconic buildings. “Creating a short video about just five great buildings is doing this city a massive disservice, as there are many and this is simply my thoughts,” writes Boardman on his site. Catch the video below.

Chicago – Five Great Buildings from Al Boardman on Vimeo.

For more adventures in residential architecture. – The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust presents Frank Lloyd Wright’s Chicago—a new bus tour featuring exterior interpretations and interior tours of the world-renowned architect’s most famous Chicago designs. Get more information here.

Main Story Credits: Diana Budds via DWELL

Architecture in Chicago

Hardin Builders, Inc. invites you to check out a local event.

How many times have you driven by “that” house, and wondered what’s inside? Find out on Saturday October 5, 2013, when some of Chicago’s most creative homeowners, architects and designers are opening their doors to you as part of the 2013 Modern Home Tour!

What’s a MODERN home? They’ve scoured the area and had creative homeowners, designers, architects and builders submit some of the most interesting Chicago residences. They’ve curated them to ensure a well-balanced tour featuring the most cutting-edge contemporary design that takes advantage of the
stunning landscape.

WHEN: Saturday October 5, 2013 from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Purchase advance tickets for $30 to get into all of the homes on the tour. Advance tickets are on sale until 8:00 pm on Friday October 4. Day of event tickets will be available at any of the tour properties beginning at 11:00 am on October 5 for $40 each. Advance tickets may be picked up at specified will call locations (3 of the homes on the tour) beginning at 11:00 am on October 5.

For information click here!

After the tour,  contact Hardin Builders, Inc. to start building your dream home today!