[Preservation Tips & Tools] How to Find Contractors and Architects for Your Historic Home Renovation
Renovating your historic home can be a significant undertaking depending on the scope of the project and the condition of the property – and selecting the proper contractor and architect is crucial to your project’s overall success. This toolkit offers those interested in professionally renovating their historic home a guide for selecting and working with contractors and architects.
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - [Preservation Tips & Tools] How to Find Contractors and Architects for Your Historic Home Renovation
For Your Historic Home Renovation
HOW TO FIND CONTRACTORS
Compile a list of possible firms.
If you have seen projects in your area that you like, find out which firms were
involved in design and execution. Resources include: your State Historic
Preservation Officer (SHPO), local historical societies, other historic
homeowners, house museums in the area, the local preservation review
board, and your AIA chapter.
Conduct background research on your list.
The firms should all have websites where you will be able view the types of
projects they have worked on previously. Look at the scale and scope of work
they typically do and see if it is consistent with what you want to have done.
For example: If the firm handles mostly commercial projects, they may not be
the most suitable for a residential project.
Talk to the selected firms.
Call the firms on your list that seem to have the most
potential, and describe your project and timeline. If
your project is not within the scale of work they do,
ask if they can recommend another firm. If they do
have the capacity to take on your project, ask if you
can stop by their offices, request an example of a
completed project, and ask about how they bill.
Arrange a site visit.
For a more in-depth assessment, ask about who will be handling
your job and whether you can arrange for them to visit your home.
Heads up: Most firms charge a fee for site visits, so check
beforehand if this will be the case.
Checking Qualifications: Architects
Inquire if the firm can provide you with an Architect’s Qualifications
Statement (B305). This statement will provide greater detail for you to
judge the qualifications of the prospective architect. For most
preservation projects, the homeowner should request something like
“five years’ experience on similar scope and budget projects.”
Checking Qualifications: Contractors
See if the contractor can provide a Contractor’s Qualifications
Statement (A305). Make sure they are licensed, bonded, and insured.
Call the insurance company or private bond issuer to verify.
Always make sure to have a
written contract. Even if you know
the contractor personally, having
a signed contract insures that all
parties are aware of the work that
is expected and the timeline.
Make sure they have insurance
coverage. Also look into
supplementing your home
owner’s insurance during
Include a retainage clause in the
contract. This will allow the
homeowner to ensure the project
is complete and fully functional
before making the final payment.
Regardless of how small the job
is, make sure any required
permits are secured.
Once a contractor has been paid in full, make sure that they have
signed a lien waiver. This insures that both parties have signed off
and stated that the terms of the have been met, and all necessary
payments to materials suppliers, subcontractors, or vendors have
The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America’s
historic places. Preservation Tips & Tools helps others do the same
in their own communities.
For more information, visit blog.preservationnation.org.
Special thanks to the American Institute of
Architects for the reference documents and
Ashley R. Wilson, AIA, ASID for consultation.
Photos courtesy: (pg.1, all) Joanne C Sullivan,
Flickr ; Nicholas Eckhart, Flickr; Ronn aka
“Blue”Aldaman, Flickr; Victoria Pickering , Flickr;
Joe Wolf, Flickr; Universal Pops, Flickr; Robert
Ciavarro, Flickr; Taran Rampersad, Flickr.