Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

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Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Custom Home Builders Rated Highest in Quality?

A custom builder and homeowner discuss construction plans.

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a custom home builder that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified custom home contractor. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated custom home building company and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Santa Clara County – Contractors – Custom Home Builders CATEGORY

Hung Tu is president of An Ky Construction Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2010. He can be reached at (408) 840-3993 or by email.

Hung Tu

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Hung Tu: Building a New Livelihood

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN JOSE — When Hung Tu agreed to help his sister build her new house, he didn’t realize he’d also be building a new livelihood for himself. “My sister hired a contractor to build a house, but after problems arose, she asked if I could help with getting it finished,” he remembers. “At the time, I was working as an electrician. Once I was on the job, I found I had a talent for construction—I was a fast learner and I really enjoyed the work. After my sister’s house was finished, I got a job with one of the contractors I’d been working with. A few year later, I attended trade school to get a more formal education, and soon after that I earned my contractor’s license and started my own business.”

Today, as president of An Ky Construction Inc. (which he named after his father), Hung says he enjoys all aspects of his construction career. “I have a lot of fun doing what I do. I like talking with my clients and employees, and sometimes I’ll put on my tool belt and get in on the work. After finishing a project, I like to sit there and enjoy the beauty of it.”

Originally from Vietnam, Hung came to the United States in 1983 and today resides in South San Jose. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with family. “All my family is here in South San Jose, including my wife and daughters, brothers, and cousins. We’re very close and do everything from birthday get-togethers to family camping trips.” Hung also likes to pursue aquatic hobbies like boating and fishing. “I love the water,” he affirms. “I like taking my boat out and going wakeboarding, water skiing, and fishing on the San Francisco Bay.”

When asked his secret to keeping customers satisfied, Hung says it’s all about relationships. “I make a point of getting to know my clients and learning about their expectations for their building projects. By asking plenty of questions and listening to their needs, I’m able to get a clear idea of what they want and perform the job accordingly. This leads to a high level of customer satisfaction as well as customer referrals, which make up a good portion of my business.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Hung says he’d travel. “I haven’t thought about retirement much because I love my job and don’t really want to retire. However, I do love to travel, so if I did retire, I’d buy an RV and drive all over the U.S. with my wife.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What kinds of movies do you like?
A: Action movies.

Q: Pancakes or waffles?
A: Pancakes.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: It’s a tie between Thanksgiving and Christmas, because both are opportunities for the whole family to get together.

Q: Would you rather live in the city or the country?
A: The city.

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3 Reasons to Move Out During a Remodeling Project

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SAN JOSE — If you’re a Bay Area homeowner looking to upgrade to a nicer house, you may find yourself in a predicament. After all, due to the high cost of housing, even if you sell your current home, you may not… Read more

Cassady Monsen is owner of Construction Services, a Diamond Certified company since 2012. He can be reached at (408) 758-5681 or by email.

Cassady Monsen

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Cassady Monsen: A Team Builder

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SARATOGA — When asked what led him to a career in construction, Cassady Monsen simply replies that he was born into it. “I’m a third-generation builder,” he says. “My father started Construction Services more than 40 years ago, and I started helping him at an early age. The first job I ever worked on was renovating an old, abandoned schoolhouse in Los Altos. As board president of the school I attended, my dad found the site and we spent the summer getting it ready for the upcoming school year.”

During high school, Cassady apprenticed with his father’s lead painter, which enabled him to start his own house painting business during college. After graduating, he came to work full-time for Construction Services. “I started out cleaning up jobsites, moved up to project management and eventually became general manager,” he recounts. “After my father passed away in 2016, I took over ownership of the company, though I’ve kept my ‘general manager’ title.”

Today, Cassady says his favorite part of his job is working together with others to achieve a shared objective. “I enjoy collaborating with my clients, employees and subcontractors to deliver beautiful finished products, and I appreciate the relationships I’m able to create and develop along the way.”

A resident of San Mateo, Cassady spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “One of my favorite hobbies is cooking,” he says. “Besides working for my dad, I worked as a restaurant cook during high school and college, so that’s something I still enjoy today.” Cassady also likes following local professional sports teams like the San Francisco 49ers and Giants, watching historical documentaries, and travelling. “I try to go to a new place every year. Over the last few, I’ve visited Cuba, Ireland and Germany.”

In regard to his professional career, Cassady says long-term success requires a team effort. “I treat my customers, employees and subcontractors alike as valued members of our team. I have employees who’ve been here longer than me, and I honor their investment in our company. I also value the trust and commitment that our clients display in giving us the opportunity to build their projects.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Cassady says he’d do some extensive globetrotting. “One of my fantasies is getting an around-the-world travel ticket. I still want to visit Asia and go on a safari in Africa. I just want to see it all!”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: Pasta Moon in Half Moon Bay.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Talk radio.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Coffee mugs.

Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: “The Godfather Part II.”

Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: As a history buff, I’d definitely go to the past. I’d love to see figures like Abraham Lincoln, Julius Caesar and Gandhi in the flesh.

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Preliminary Design Estimates in Construction

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SARATOGA — A crucial stage of any building project is the design phase, during which the architect lays out the dimensions of what will eventually be built. However, an important step that often gets overlooked between the design and building phases… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Preliminary Estimates in Construction

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Complete Video Transcription:

SARATOGA — Host, Sarah Rutan: When planning for a building project, it’s always a good idea to get a preliminary estimate on the proposed design. Today we’re… Read more

SELECTED PHOTOS FROM THESE TOP RATED COMPANIES

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

custom log homes
custom high-end homes
custom vacation homes
chalet-style custom homes
custom beach homes
custom A-frame homes
custom green homes
custom craftsman homes
luxury homes
custom modular homes
split-level custom homes

home design-build services
custom home additions
custom home remodeling
custom new homes
custom home design
custom home floor plans
custom kitchen designs
luxury home renovations
custom tenant improvements
custom commercial building construction
custom bathroom renovations

Alviso
Blossom Valley
Campbell
Coyote
Cupertino
East Palo Alto
Gilroy
Holy City
Los Altos
Los Altos Hills
Los Gatos
Milpitas
Monte Sereno
Monte Vista
Morgan Hill
Mountain View
Mt Hamilton
New Almaden
Palo Alto
Permanente
Redwood Estates
San Jose
San Martin
Santa Clara
Saratoga
Stanford
Sunnyvale

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ABC Associated Builders and Contractors (http://www.abc.org/)
AGC of America Associated General Contractors of America (http://www.agc.org/)
ASA American Subcontractors Association (http://www.assaonline.com/)
BBB Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.com)
CBIA California Building Industry Association (http://www.cbia.org/)

CSLB Contractors State License Board (http://www.cslb.ca.gov/)
DCA California Department of Consumer Affairs (www.dca.ca.gov)
HBANC Home Builders Association of Northern California (http://www.hbanc.org/)
NAHB National Association of Home Builders (http://www.nahb.org/)
NCBE North Coast Builders Exchange (http://www.ncbeonline.com/)
NSCA National Systems Contractors Association (http://www.nsca.org/)
NUCA National Utility Contractors Association (http://www.nuca.com/)

Know What You Want
Know What You Want Before You Hire a Santa Clara County Custom Home Builder Contractor

Many factors should be thought about before selecting a custom home builder contractor in Santa Clara County, including the smaller cities Blossom Valley, Monte Vista, Mt. Hamilton, Los Gatos, Permanente, and Stanford, that will meet your needs the most successfully. Write down everything that you’re searching for before you begin your research. Consider the following questions before making your final selection of a custom home builder contractor.

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee?
  • What is my budget?
  • What is the time frame for completing the custom home construction project?
  • What personal and professional characteristics would I like my Santa Clara County custom home builder contractor to have? (These may include good communication skills, honesty, reliability, cleanliness, etc.)
  • Are there any changes I’d like to make personally before to the custom home construction team begins construction in order to offset costs?
  • What characteristics do I want my custom home to have?
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What To Ask In Person
Things to Ask in Person When Speaking to a Custom Home Builder Contractor in Santa Clara County

The next step is to interview custom home builder contractors in Santa Clara County, including the larger cities of San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View, and Milpitas. Questions you may want to ask include the following.

  • How do you perform your work-what time do you start, how will you protect my carpets, how will you handle trash and debris, etc.
  • How and when do the Santa Clara County general contractors clean up the construction site?
  • What professional organizations are you a member of?
  • Does the general contractor carry workers’ compensation and liability insurance?
  • How do the residential general contractors in Santa Clara County price building construction?
  • Do the general contractors specialize in the type of work you need? If so, ask the builders to provide some examples of similar work in Santa Clara County they have completed.
  • What will the construction companies’ timing be on bidding and completing the home construction?
  • Do the construction firms hire subcontractors or do the general contractors and their employees perform the work?
  • What type of warranty does each of the construction companies provide and what are the terms?
  • Will construction permits be needed? If so, will the general contractors be responsible for getting them?
  • How many projects that are similar to mine have you completed in the last year?
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  • What To Ask References
    Interview Questions for Previous Customers of a Custom Home Builder Contractor in Santa Clara County

    It’s best to select a Diamond Certified custom home builder contractor because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality contractor work in Santa Clara County and the greater Bay Area, you can feel confident about choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified custom home builder contractor within reach, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by your custom home builder contractor. Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the custom home builder contractor are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the contractors will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

    If you do phone references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

    1. Would you recommend this custom home builder contractor to your family and friends?
    2. Were you satisfied with the service from the (custom home builder contractor name)?
    3. Did the contractor seem receptive to your input?
    4. If you need a custom home builder contractor in the future, will you consider hiring this general contractor?
    5. What type of custom home builder project did you hire the general contractor to complete?
    6. Did the contractor provide answers to questions to your satisfaction?
    7. Did the custom home builder contractor show up on time?
    8. Do you feel like the general contractor charged a fair price for the quality of the work?
    9. Did they finish the job on time?
    10. Did the general contractor clean up after completing the job?
    11. Were there any unexpected costs? If so, what?
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  • Review Your Options
    Consider Your Options for a Santa Clara County Custom Home Builder Contractor

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Your choice of custom home builder contractor is important to you and your family. So before deciding on the best custom home builder contractor in Santa Clara County for you, it’s important to consider the following questions.

    1. Is my custom home builder contractor of choice well-established in the community?
    2. Does my general contractor of choice have good references that I have checked?
    3. Is my custom home builder contractor of choice listed in the Better Business Bureau as having complaints filed against him? If so, were they valid complaints that required disciplinary action?
    4. Is my custom home builder contractor of choice charging a reasonable price for quality work on my custom home construction project?
    5. What is my time frame for this custom home construction project: when do I intend to start it and when do I need to have it accomplished?
    6. Which general contractors in Santa Clara County offer the better warranty for the overall cost?
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  • How To Work With
    Hiring a Santa Clara County Custom Home Builder Contractor

    Once you’ve hired a custom home builder company in Santa Clara County, including the smaller cities San Martin, East Palo Alto, Holy City, Los Altos Hills, Saratoga, and Alviso, you will have an initial meeting between you and the contractor to discuss the contractor’s qualifications and your requirements. An estimate of the custom home construction project and its feasibility is drawn out. Furthermore, you will discuss the budget and design of the project as well as any restrictions and permissions that will be needed. The contractor will provide you with an estimate based on the design specifications. He will also offer choices in terms of designs and construction. Once the final contract has been written, the next step will be applying for permission. Last of all, the construction and financing process will begin.

    Be Contract Specific

    Once the contract is drawn up, it should be signed by both parties: you, the project owner, and the contractor. If any sub-contractors will be involved, they should sign the contract as well. The contract should protect the interests of both you and the contractor. As a result, it should include the following:

    • Contractor’s name, physical address, mailing address and phone.
    • Quote of the project.
    • A clear, concise, and complete description of the project, including start and completion dates. It should also include who will be responsible for each aspect of the project.
    • Terms of payment schedule as well as the payment schedule for the contractor, subcontractor(s) and suppliers.
    • How “change orders” will be handled. Any changes or additions to the project should be written up in the contract so that the conditions for change are pre-determined. Furthermore, the contract should list how and when payment will be made for adjustments. Because change orders are common aspects of most remodeling jobs, it is common for remodelers to require payment before the work actually begins.
    • Detailed materials list: product, size, color, type, model, and brand name. Any additional or alternate materials that may be used if necessary should also be listed.
    • Who will be responsible for obtaining necessary permits (this is usually the contractor).
    • Any oral promises made.
    • Warranties should be written and the length of time as well as limitations should be covered. Warranties should cover materials and workmanship, and names and addresses of the warrantor. This may include the contractor, manufacturer, and distributor.

    Take Precautions to Protect Yourself
    Taking precautions will help protect you and your custom home project investment. It will also increase your chances of success. Consider the following guidelines:

    • Do not sign a contract or any document until you have thoroughly read through it and filled in any blank spaces.
    • Do not sign a contract that uses vague terms. Make sure that all terms are specific regarding project requirements and the work that will be performed.
    • Do not make final payment until the work completed meets agreed upon specifications, building code requirements, and that subcontractors and suppliers have all been paid.
    • Don’t agree to finance your project through your contractor. Shop around for better loan terms.
    • Before deeding your property, be sure to first consult an attorney or knowledgeable friend or family member.
    • Agree to make payments as the project progresses, contingent upon completion of a determined amount of work. This way, if work on the project is delayed, payment will be delayed as well.
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  • Be a Good Customer
    Be a Successful and Good Custom Home Builder Contractor in Santa Clara County Customer

    It’s the custom home builder contractor’s responsibility to complete a successful custom home builder project for you according to your specifications. But you play a big part in the success of your custom home builder contractor, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Santa Clara County custom home builder contractor.

    • Before you hire a custom home builder contractor in Santa Clara County, including the larger cities of Palo Alto, Cupertino, Gilroy, Campbell, and Morgan Hill, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the custom home builder contractor your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local custom home builder contractors occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Be clear and upfront with the custom home builder contractor. Let them know what you want from your custom home builder contractor, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Be sure your custom home builder contractor has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they’re completing your design and build project. The work will move along more smoothly if your custom home builder contractor can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
    • Ask your custom home builder contractor if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
    • When your custom home builder contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the custom home builder contract work on schedule.
    • Pay for the custom home builder contractor’s work promptly.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Custom home builder contractors in Santa Clara County appreciate customers who are straightforward, truthful and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Use the Invoice to Check the Completed Custom Home Builder Contractor in Santa Clara County Work

When the custom home builder contract work is completed, your custom home builder contractor is required to give you a written invoice. This must include:

  • The name and physical address of the custom home builder contractor
  • A list of all work performed, including the warranty
  • An itemized list of all merchandise purchased or included
  • The total custom home builder project cost, including the amount charged for labor, if any
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Written Warranties
Request Warranties in Writing from Custom Home Builder Contractors in Santa Clara County

Before the custom home builder contractor leaves, confirm any warranties offered by the custom home builder contractor in Santa Clara County, including the larger cities of San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View, and Milpitas. The written warranty document must detail the following:

The custom home builder contractor’s name and physical address
  • Your responsibility in the case of a problem with the building project and what you need to do in order to redeem the warranty.
  • If the custom home builder contractor warranty coverage is transferrable to the new owner in the event that you sell the home or building in which the contractor has designed and built.
The length of time as well as limitations should be covered. Warranties should cover materials and workmanship, and names and addresses of the warrantor. This may include the contractor, manufacturer, and distributor.
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Top 10 Requests
Top Service Requests from Custom Home Builder Contractors

Custom home builder contractors in Santa Clara County, including the larger cities of San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View, and Milpitas, provide all types of custom home projects. Following is a list of the most popular requests.

Custom green homes
Green homes are built using a process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout the building’s life-cycle. This “green” process includes design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. The purpose of a “green” home is to reduce the overall impact of the home on the human health and natural environment.

Custom modular homes
These are buildings used for commercial purposes that are portable and cost-effective. Modular buildings are pre-constructed in a factory or other manufacturing site and then transported to the assembly site.

Custom A-frame homes
A-frame houses feature steeply-angled sides that usually begin at or near the foundation line and meet at the top, creating a home that looks like the letter A.

Custom Luxury homes
Luxury homes are high-end homes in affluent communities. The high-end status is determined by location, property entry, architecture, decor, decadent amenities, entertainment capability, grounds, etc.

Custom log homes
Log homes are structurally identical to log cabins because they are made from logs that have not been milled into conventional lumber.

Custom vacation homes
This is a home that is used seasonally as a vacation residence rather than being lived in year round.

Split-level custom homes
A split-level home is similar to a ranch home. It features three levels of living space on a floor plan that makes economical use of the building lot.

Chalet-style custom homes
Reminiscent of homes on alpine ski slopes, chalet style homes are rustic homes based on Swiss alpine cottages. They have a rectangular shape, big lofts, large windows, and steep gabled roofs.

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Terms for Custom Home Builders

Below are key custom home building terms and descriptions that will help you navigate your way through your custom home construction project.

architects
When designing a new home or business project, the architect is in charge of creating a draft of the actual design of the home, addition, remodeling, or building project.

Also known as: architect jobs, architect, shop architects, interior architects

blueprint
A blueprint is a paper reproduction of an architectural design. Usually these paper drawings are on white paper with blue lines but it is a generic term for any detailed architectural design.

Also known as: the blueprint, blueprints, half pipe blueprints, hosue blue prints, blue print maker

change order
A written order to the contractor that details changes to the specified work quantities or modifications that are in the original contract.

Also known as: construction change order form, change order request form, change order form template

custom bathroom renovations
This is a reference to improving a home by remodeling a bathroom in order to make it more modern and up to date.

custom home designs
Custom home designs are designs for home that are modern and unique.

Also known as: custom home plans, home designs, custom designed homes, luxury home designs, custom design homes, small home designs, new custom homes, custom home construction, contemporary home designs

custom home floor plans
These are not stock floor plans that have been modified by a builder by making simple changes such as adding or changing a doorway. These are, rather, unique plans that have been drawn up by an architect or professional designer after they have meet with the client and viewed the property where the home will be built in order to more effectively design a home specifically constructed for the client.

designers
Designers have expertise in certain areas of home remodeling and decor, such as kitchens or bathrooms.

dry wall construction
This is a type of construction in which the interior wall finish is applied in a dry condition. This is generally in the form of sheet materials or wood paneling.

Also known as: construction dry wall, dry wall, drywall contractors, dry stone wall construction, drywall installation, drywall contractors

generalcontractors
General contractors manage all aspects of a project. This includes hiring and supervising subcontractors, obtaining materials and building permits, and scheduling inspections.

Also known as: certified general contractors, association of general contractors

home design-build services
This is a reference to a project delivery system used in the construction industry. In this method, the design and construction services are contracted by a single contractor or business known as the design-build contractor to build a home.

home floor plans
This is the blueprint or design for a home that is typically drawn up by an architect.

Also known as: luxury home floor plans, log home floor plans, ranch home floor plans, small home floor plans, home floor plans free, modular home floor plans

licensedarchitects
Architects who have met the standards for licensing by the California Architects Board are licensed. This includes completion of the two state-run intern development programs known as CIDP and IDP; completion of the Architect Registration Examination; and completion of the oral examination known as the CSE.

specialty contractors
Specialty contractors install particular aspects of a project such as the plumbing or electrical work.

standard bid
The traditional cost that is associated with the materials and labor needed to construct the project.

Subcontractor
Any constructor who contracts to perform parts of the work of a project that the original contractor contacted to do.

Also known as: subcontractor agreement template, subcontractor agreement, subcontractor agreement form, sample subcontractor agreement, subcontractor agreement, subcontractor agreement construction, subcontractors insurance, insurance for subcontractors

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Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ for Custom Home Contracting Clients

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified custom home builder contractor?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a custom home builder with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only custom home builder contractors rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified custom home builder contractor.

Q: How long will it take to build my new custom built home?
A: Building times vary based on lot conditions, the complexity of the home, location and many factors that arise at times. Most custom home builder contractors are able to complete the majority of homes in a timely manner. Typically, it takes 3-6 months to build a new home once the footing is poured.

Q: Is it possible to use a specific custom home builder contractor yet retain competitive prices?
A: The answer is yes because typically contractors agree to provide a complete custom home construction project on a guaranteed maximum basis. They will agree to charge a set amount for a project and no more, assuming the scope does not change. If the costs are less than originally estimated, savings are passed on to the client on a pre-agreed basis.

Q: Once my home is under construction, can I make changes?
A: Chances that are made during the construction process can have a negative impact on the construction of your home. It is strongly encouraged that you design your home exactly how you want it at the point of sale. However, change orders may be accepted on a case by case basis during the actual construction. Be aware that these change orders may increase the overall cost of your home considerably.

Q: Why do so many people have home construction nightmares?
A: If you analyze most home construction nightmares, you will find a single common theme: the client was seduced by the lowest bid. If you are shopping for a television and you accurately compare the same model, size, and features, not much will go wrong if you buy the less expensive television. However, this is not the case when comparing construction builders. Every builder builds differently. For this reason, you should always do your homework and make sure you research any custom home builder contractor before you sign the final contract.

Q: What effect does the weather have on my home’s building materials?
A: Most every home that is being built is rained on or snowed on during construction. These weather conditions will not affect the quality or strength of your home.

Q: How long will my construction project take to complete?
A: That depends on the job. When you meet with your contractor, they should be able to fairly accurately determine an estimated end date.

Q: Do custom home builder contractors operate a clean worksite?
A: It is a good idea to check the work of a design/build contractor before hiring to see if, in fact, they operate clean worksite. Check to see if they use floor protectors and put plastic sheets for dust containment. Note if there is a line item in the contract that includes jobsite setup, cleanup, and portable facilities.

Q: What are the benefits of owning my own home?
A: The benefits include paying toward your own home rather than paying for someone else’s home ownership. Over time, houses usually increase in value, thus increasing your net worth. If your new home is financed, then the finance charges are tax deductible.

Q: How can I minimize the problems associated with a custom home construction project?
A: The first step is to recognize that all construction problems can be reduced to issues of communication or money. Money is an issue regardless of your budget or wealth. Before the project begins, know what your contractor is charging you for overhead, markup, profit, and extras. Get a list of hourly rates. Know how his subcontractors charge him. Understand fully who pays if something goes wrong. Understand your warranties and guarantees. Write everything down in the contract. Regarding communication, never trust verbal communication on a construction project. Document every conversation that involves something being done to your custom built home.

Q: How do I know that a custom home builder contractor is not marking up your credit allowances?
A: A quality custom home construction firm will have open and transparent paperwork. They should be able to show you receipts for what has been purchased, including contractor discounts.

Q: Are estimates of custom home construction companies negotiable?
A: Generally they are not. A quality custom home builder contractor will give a fair estimate based on current market prices for your community. They may be able to work with you in lowering the overall cost by using different materials or coming up with a more efficient design.

Q: What is involved in preparing a site for building my custom home?
A: In order to be prepared for your home to be built on site, you will need to research any environmental and building ordinances and codes that may apply, clear the home site of trees and other debris, design septic/sewer issues, install a driveway and culvert, determine whether your lot has any shrink/swell soil conditions, and excavate if you are building a basement home.

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