Some homeowners have the expertise to replace appliances and make household repairs, even build decks and add on rooms. However, most people hire professional contractors to do the work. Everyone wants a job done well at a reasonable price. With that in mind, the Inspections and Permits Department has advice for anyone contracting to have work done on their home.
Know what you want done
Have a plan, research alternatives, and establish a budget and schedule that work for you.
Know your contractor
Here are some handy tips on hiring a contractor:
- Start by getting at least three estimates When you get those estimates, no matter how major or minor the work, don't be too quick to jump at the lowest bid. Do some homework (see next point).
- That's why you should call at least three references. Ask about quality, clean-up, how changes were handled, were calls returned, and was the job was completed on time and on budget. If not, find out why.
- Make sure the contractor is licensed. In North Carolina, a contractor's license is only required for jobs that cost $30,000 or more. But while that license doesn't guarantee success in a job, it does show a certain amount of professionalism and competence as well as required knowledge of the permitting procedure and State Building Code.
- Get proof of insurance and verify it so you're not liable for problems.
- Get a written contract that specifically lists what will be done, a payment schedule and a time table, including a completion date as well as information about permitting requirements.
- Never pay too much up front.
- Make sure you get a copy of your "Certificate of Occupancy" from the Town of Cary. This is proof that the work was permitted and inspections were approved. (You can also ask for your permit number and follow your projects permitting & inspections status via our online permitting website)
Obtain the proper permits
While a contractor can act as a homeowner's agent and pick up the necessary permits, it is the homeowner's responsibility to make sure that the appropriate permits are obtained.
Schedule required inspections: Call 311 or (919) 469-4046
Call the Town of Cary to arrange an inspection. Have your permit number handy. Per NC State Building Code, it is the responsibility of the permit holder to schedule the required inspections.
Town of Cary building inspectors will look over the work as often as necessary to ensure that it complies with state law, local ordinances and terms of the permit.
Obtain a certificate of compliance for the work if you choose
When your project is complete and all inspections have been approved, the Town will issue a certificate of compliance at your request as proof that all work meets or exceeds minimum standards of the N.C. State Building Code. This can be helpful when selling your home.
Seek reimbursement for dishonest or incompetent work
Through the Homeowner's Recovery Fund, the General Contractor's Licensing Board has money available for homeowners who have suffered a reimbursable loss in constructing or altering their home as a result of dishonest or incompetent conduct by a general contractor. This applies when the homeowner is not paid by the contractor whose conduct caused the loss or is not covered by a bond, surety agreement or an insurance contract.
For More Information
To learn more about these and other construction procedures, call 311 or (919) 469-4046 weekdays from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
The Consumer Protection Division of the N.C. Attorney General's Office works to protect the public from unfair and deceptive business practices, including fraud and scams.
The Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit organization supported by local businesses. It promotes consumer and business education. Services include informal dispute resolution between customers and businesses.