Before proceeding with construction of your new home or remodeling project, you and your builder or remodeler should sign a contract. A well written contract will clearly define the expectations for both you and your builder and should cover, in writing, how most issues are handled.
A home warranty is perhaps the most important feature of the contracts provided by the builders. A home warranty clearly defines how the home is to perform and the scope of what is and is not covered in case a problem arises after completion. Most other residential contracts lack this vital feature.
We strongly advise you to consult a licensed attorney before signing any legal document.
BUILDING FRAUD PROTECTION INFORMATION
A home is your most valued possession. Here are some tips for selecting a builder/remodeler or subcontractor for new home construction, remodeling and repair. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Huntsville Madison County Builders Association at (256) 536-2602.
Builders and remodelers must be licensed through the Alabama Home Builders Licensure Board – the only exception to this are those builders who were licensed as a general contractor prior to January 1, 1992 – they are exempt but should have proof of a General Contractors License. The Alabama Home Builders Licensure Board phone number is 800-304-0853 (www.hblb.state.al.us). If your builder/remodeler is licensed as a general contractor, you can verify their license through the Alabama Licensing Board for General Contractors at 334-272-5030 (www.genconbd.state.al.us). The Alabama Home Builders Licensure Board will prosecute unlicensed builders in the State of Alabama and should be contacted if you have been approached by someone that is unlicensed.
Ask for proof of a business license from the municipality or county where you live. The business license should list the scope of work they are licensed for. Builders and subcontractors should have a business license as required by law in the area in which you live.
Ask for proof of general liability and worker’s compensation insurance.
In Madison County, the City of Huntsville, and the City of Madison, jobs should be permitted and inspected. You should check with the inspection department in your area for complete information on what is required.
City of Huntsville Inspection Dept – 256-427-5336
City of Madison Inspection Dept – 256-772-5644
Madison County Inspection Dept – 256-746-2950
Ask for references and check those references.
Verify the company’s permanent business address is in your area and not from out of state.
If you get more than one bid (which you should), be sure you are comparing apples to apples – prices vary on brands of appliances, doors, windows, shingles, etc.
You should understand your contract and warranties that the builder will provide for the work being performed. The contract should outline the scope of the work, the price, and at what points of completion payment is due. The contract should also include a time frame for the job; however, be aware that delays can be caused by weather, material shortages, subcontractors schedules, etc.
Be wary of low bids – the lowest bid is not always the best.
Be wary of a contractor who wants full payment before the job begins.
Visit our member directory for a listing of builders and subcontractors in the Madison County area. These are local professionals that live and work in this community every day.
If you live outside of Madison County, there are builders associations in surrounding areas (Limestone County, Morgan County, Marshall County). If you have Internet access, go to www.hbaa.org for a listing of Builders Associations by county. If you do not have Internet access, call the Builders Association office at 256-536-2602 and we can provide you with their telephone numbers.
Most importantly – do your homework.
If you feel you have been the victim of home repair fraud, you should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 800-392-5658 (www.ago.state.al.us).