There's a reason you hired a contractor instead of overseeing the project yourself: competence. Your contractor should be perfectly able to do the work he said he would do (what's outlined on the contract). You don't need to put up with shoddy, haphazard or unsafe work.
That said, you can't and shouldn't expect everything in a build or remodel to go perfectly smoothly. Tools break, workers get sick, and the straight lines on your old house may not be so straight. Whatever the issues, there are likely to be some bumps and bruises along the way to your dream house or dream addition. It's not necessarily a complete lack of these bumps that indicates a competent contractor; it's whether your contractor is able to roll with the punches. There's always a way to make it work. If, time and time again, your contractor can't make it work, you may need to replace him.
Author's Note: 10 Red Flags That Should Make You Fire Your Contractor Immediately
Just out of a master's program, I picked up a couple day's work with a friend who had somehow lucked into a contractor's license. I had no idea what I was doing and, truth be told, I don't think my friend had much idea, either. We stumbled around the nail-studded job site in our running shoes and hung out the upstairs windows to pry off siding. Sheesh, for a million reasons that I'm now aware of, we should've been fired immediately.
- DoItYourself.com. "How to Fire a Contractor." (April 26, 2012) http://www.doityourself.com/stry/contractorfireh2
- Donovan, Mark. "Prevent home remodeling jobsite theft." HomeAdditionPlus.com. (April 26, 2012) http://www.homeadditionplus.com/home-articles-info/Prevent_Home_Remodeling_Jobsite_Theft.htm
- Donovan, Mark. "When to fire a home building contractor." HomeAdditionPlus.com. (April 26, 2012) http://www.doityourself.com/stry/contractorfireh2
- National Association of the Remodeling Industry. "Warning signs." (April 26, 2012) http://www.nari.org/homeowners/warnings/
- Renovators Place. "Warning signs of a bad contractor." Oct. 8, 2009. (April 26, 2012) http://www.renovatorsplace.com/articles/warning-signs-of-a-bad-contractor.cfm
- Samuelson, Kristin and Jon Yates. "Avoid a contractor conundrum." Chicago Tribune. March 31, 2011. (May 1, 2012) http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-03-31/business/chi-avoid-a-contractor-conundrum-20110331_1_contractor-project-payment
- Staiti, Christopher Thomas. "Ten signs of a bad contractor." Avvo.com. (April 26, 2012) http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/ten-signs-of-a-bad-contractor
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