How To Avoid Contractor Scams

how to avoid contractor scams

how to avoid contractor scams5 Contractor Scams and How to Avoid Them

In our work at Headwaters Construction Inc. as commercial construction contractors, we have been able to learn how to avoid contractor scams. We have spoken with tons of property owners who were taken for a ride by scammy contractors. While most commercial builders are standup honest people, some have soiled the reputation of committed and hardworking professionals. In this blog post, we share a compilation of the most common contractor scams we’ve heard at Headwaters Construction Inc. Use this information to be a smart commercial property owner who can immediately detect a contractor scam from miles away! 

The Upfront Payment Scam

This one is very common because it is premised on a reason that seems logical. For example, the contractor may explain to the building owner that they need, say 30% payment upfront, in order to buy needed materials and rent equipment.

Sacramento construction general contractors explain that once you pay that money, the contractor may stop talking to you entirely. In other cases, they will do some work or even fail to work in accordance with the timelines agreed upon. They know you will find it hard to fire them since you will forfeit what you’ve already paid.

To protect yourself from this scam, only pay the minimum mandated by law. For example, some states stipulate that a client is only obliged to pay 10% upfront as a sign of seriousness.

But what about materials and equipment? Serious commercial builders have networks of suppliers. It shouldn’t be hard to get materials and equipment on credit first. You can then pay for these using the agreed milestone payments as work progresses.

The Verbal Agreement Scam

Some contractors promise to include so many extras in the work they are going to do. This can happen during a retail renovation or any other kind of commercial construction project. They will assure you that you should take their word on this, but once the contract is signed and work begins, it may be a different story. You may be shocked to find that the items agreed upon verbally aren’t addressed.

If you insist that the contractor does what he or she promised verbally, they will ask you for money to cover those costs! Understanding this upfront will help you learn how to avoid contractor scams.

Avoid this scam by putting everything in writing. At Headwaters Construction Inc., we take this so seriously that we tell clients that if something isn’t in writing, then it doesn’t exist. Write everything down, including change orders.  Both parties should sign before the work begins or payments are made.

The “A Permit Isn’t Necessary” Scam

Nearly all commercial construction projects require a building permit from the local authorities. However, some unscrupulous contractors may tell you that they don’t need one for the work specified.

Other contractors may even tell you to get one intended for DIY projects, but don’t fall for this trap. If the contractor doesn’t get a permit, he or she will not be answerable to the local building authorities. Yet, building inspectors need to sign off on the work to confirm that it was done in accordance with the applicable code.

If anything goes wrong and the work was done without a permit, you, and not the contractor, will be answerable!

Avoid this scam by insisting that the contractor obtains a permit from the relevant authorities so that there will be supervision from the municipal building department. Appleton, WI bathroom remodel company, Tureks Plumbing, explains that you are assured that the work done meets all regulations.

The “Unforeseen Problems” Scam

Some contractors can lure you in with a low quote and then after the work has commenced they say they run into unforeseen problems for which more money is needed to fix or accommodate.

While commercial construction companies will tell you that it is possible for unforeseen problems to arise, some contractors use this window to rip off building owners.

Two options are open to you to avoid this scam. First, the written contract you sign should have provisions on how change orders can be agreed upon. Secondly, you can get an independent commercial builder to ascertain the authenticity of the problem stated by the contractor, as well as give you advice on what it would cost to address that issue.

The Low-Priced Extra Materials Scam

We have come to learn that the people who deploy this scam usually come unannounced with some extra paving materials or other such materials that they are willing to sell to you at a discount if you can give them a contract to pave your yard or fix your driveway.

The scam in this case is that they could ask for a lot of money to fix underlying issues they “hadn’t been aware of,” or they could do shoddy work and vanish in thin air leaving you to foot the bill of having the work redone.

Avoid this scam by checking such a contractor’s references. That way, you can make sure that they are licensed and bonded in the jurisdiction. If you don’t get what you expected, then you can trace for them if they were a legit company.

At Headwaters Construction Inc., the best commercial renovation contractors in Sacramento, we have a rich history of topnotch commercial construction work. We work in several states including California, Washington State, and Oregon. Contact us and discover what it means to work with reputable professionals.


Commercial Spaces and Code Compliance

Commercial Spaces and Code Compliance

Commercial Spaces and Code ComplianceAre Your Commercial Spaces Meeting Code Compliance?

Since commercial building laws and regulations are constantly evolving, commercial spaces and code compliance can change often. Headwaters Construction Inc., a commercial construction company in California, conducts onsite code compliance evaluations. These help property owners and users recognize what is needed to bring the space up to code.

Why Should You Even Be Concerned About Commercial Spaces and Code Compliance?

Building inspectors are tasked with ensuring that all buildings comply with the current code requirements. If inspectors find that your building or commercial space doesn’t comply with the code for the area, you could face many problems. These issues could be anything from stiff monetary penalties to even jail time. 

Additionally, Sacramento commercial builders say that businesses that are found to be operating from premises that don’t code compliant can face ethics violations charges. Having your commercial space reviewed for building code compliance by Headwaters Construction Inc. can protect you and your business from the risks above.

Why Do Building Codes Exist?

According to the International Code Council, building codes are important in all communities because they protect people from weather-related adverse events, fires, structural collapse, and other disasters whose magnitude could have been kept minimal, or the disaster avoided altogether.

Building inspectors or code officials work to ensure that all buildings comply with the code requirements in their area. In commercial buildings that are open to lots of people on a daily basis, inspectors are extra cautious to ensure that these businesses comply with the code requirements in force within a given jurisdiction.

When viewed from this angle, it becomes clear that building codes, and the officials who enforce them, are there for the good of everyone, so each commercial space owner or the user should do everything in their power to comply with the existing code requirements.

Why Would One Need Code Compliance Evaluation Help?

Building codes cover a wide range of aspects of a building. For example, some chapters or provisions will cover the electrical system. Other sections talk about the plumbing system and the fire prevention or suppression system.

These are technical documents that would send the head of a layperson spinning. However, the language in the codes is the daily language that commercial construction companies like Headwaters Construction Inc. use.

McQuillan Bros, HVAC company in St. Paul, MN explains that it is easy for a commercial builder to read the code and immediately know what has to be done in order to comply with those provisions.

Commercial construction companies are always in the loop. They immediately know when a change has been made to existing code, and how it affects the current buildings in the jurisdiction.

Sacramento construction general contractors like Headwaters Construction Inc. are best placed to conduct a code compliance evaluation. After, they will provide advice on what you need to do to bring your commercial space up to code.

What Else Can I Get from Code Compliance Evaluation?

When you enlist our help at Headwaters Construction Inc. to perform a code compliance evaluation, you will gain a lot. We give more than just a report that details what is out of code and how to bring it back.

In addition to the above, we will also point out what cosmetic improvements you can make to your commercial space. For example, we will point out areas of worn floors, peeling paint, needed ceiling repairs, and more!

Get in touch with us at Headwaters Construction Inc. if you’re interested in compliance evaluations. We will offer a solution that will bring your commercial space into code compliance. We can also repair the existing defects in a cost-effective way. This will make the commercial premises an enviable home for your business.

Ghost Kitchens in Shopping Malls

Ghost Kitchens in Shopping Malls

Ghost Kitchens in Shopping MallsGhost Kitchens: The Shopping Mall Trend Gathering Steam

Have you heard about ghost kitchens in shopping malls? Mall owners all over are transforming their spaces. These kitchens can provide a viable way to utilize empty retail space in your buildings. However, there is a lot to know about before you jump on the ghost kitchen trend in shopping malls. It is important to pay attention to the unique challenges that repurposing existing space in malls into ghost kitchens presents. These insights have been contributed by the experienced commercial builders at Headwaters Construction Inc.

What is a Ghost Kitchen?

Under normal circumstances, commercial kitchens are located in spaces where a restaurant or hotel exist. This is to serve clients who sit and dine in the space availed for that purpose.

In contrast, a ghost kitchen is a commercial kitchen that is set up in a location where there is no intention for customers to come in, order, and have a meal. Ghost kitchens are established to fulfill the orders made through food delivery apps, such as Uber Foods. This is so the food can be prepped and transported to a restaurant elsewhere. 

Why Would You Be Interested in Ghost Kitchens in Shopping Malls?

Ghost kitchens are enticing to shopping mall owners because they utilize unused space that may exist.

Commercial renovation contractors like Headwaters Construction Inc. are seeing a lot of unused space in shopping malls due to the increasing trend of businesses taking their operations online. 

This shift to digital platforms, and the transfer of brick and mortar outlets to the suburbs, poses a real existential threat to shopping malls. This is unless alternative uses for the available space can be found quickly. Ghost kitchens are one of those alternatives available to shopping mall owners having unused space in their malls.

Considerations When Converting Existing Retail Space into a Ghost Kitchen

  • Infrastructure Intricacies

Turek’s Plumbing, an Appleton, WI Kitchen remodel company explains that any commercial kitchen, regardless of its size, requires more. Commercial kitchens require more water, gas, and waste lines when compared to other commercial spaces. As you plan a retail renovation project to convert existing space into a ghost kitchen, think about the costs that will be involved in implementing these upgrades.

One safeguard that you can negotiate to rationalize these upgrades is securing a long term tenant. This will make the cost of the upgrades offset gradually and the conversion makes business sense.

  • Layout Limitations

Commercial construction companies rely on the existing utility lines (water, gas and waste) to plan the layout of a commercial kitchen during a renovation or repurposing project.

If the available space wasn’t originally designed to be a commercial kitchen, then the commercial renovation contractor may have no choice other than to tear up the existing floors and walls in order to install these lines as demanded by a commercial kitchen.

Needless to say, making those layout modifications will come at a significant cost, and shopping mall owners have to think about this cost when considering whether to take on a ghost kitchen as a tenant for retail space that is currently unused.

  • Mechanical System Additions

Setting up a ghost kitchen in a space that was a kitchen before makes things easier. If the ghost kitchen is created from space that wasn’t used as a kitchen before, then there will be a need to install mechanical systems like black iron ductwork (that also has fans to link the exhaust system of the kitchen to the exterior of the building), a fire suppression system, and so on. 

The cost of these mechanical systems may be hard to estimate, so it is wise for you to enlist the help of Headwaters Construction Inc.’s experienced Sacramento commercial builders.

Work out the feasibility of having ghost kitchens as tenants before you make any commitments to potential tenants. At Headwaters Construction Inc., we have experience in performing different kinds of commercial renovations. We have converted many existing retail spaces into commercial kitchens. Contact us today and we can help you to realize your dream of having ghost kitchens as tenants.

History of Tilt-Up Construction

Tilt Up Construction

tilt-up-construction-sacramentoA History of Tilt-Up Construction

Tilt-up concrete construction is a common method of construction used today. It has given rise to many of the large buildings you see around you. However, this hasn’t always been the case. Keep reading and discover the interesting history of this construction method from its early beginnings to what it is today.

What is Tilt-Up Construction?

Tilt-up concrete construction refers to a method of building in which concrete components, such as walls and floor slabs, are cast on site before being lifted into position by cranes.

Headwaters Construction Inc., the best commercial builder in Sacramento, explains that tilt-up differs from prefab construction because, in prefab construction, concrete components are fabricated offsite in a factory. They are then transported to the construction site. In contrast, the concrete components used in tilt-up construction are cast at the construction site itself. This is before being lifted to their final positions on a building.

The very first types of buildings to be constructed using tilt-up concrete construction were warehouses and other “big box” structures due to the economies of scale that could be enjoyed on those projects.

Today, tilt-up construction can be used to put up all sorts of buildings, such as hotels, hospitals, and even homes.

The Beginning

Commercial construction using tilt-up construction as we know it was invented in 1905. Three years later, Robert Akins got a patent for this construction method.

Akins created a buzz in the construction industry when he poured wall slabs onsite and lifted them upright using tilt tables. The building he constructed was named Schindler House located in West Hollywood, California. 

Thomas Edison, the famous inventor, was so enthralled by this novel way to construct buildings that he declared that tilt-up concrete construction was the method of construction of the future. Edison constructed an entire village in Union, New Jersey, using tilt-up construction in 1908. This village is still standing to this day!

Technological advancements, such as the availability of larger cranes and concrete mixing trucks, have caused tilt-up construction to explode in popularity. The construction boom that started at the end of World War 2, together with the labor shortages caused by that devastating war, further cemented tilt-up construction’s place in society.

Recent Developments

Commercial construction using tilt-up concrete construction used to result in “boxy” exterior walls whose corners were 90-degree angles and the walls were flat.

Today, builders are no longer limited to those appearances and shapes. Instead, Headwaters Construction Inc., the best commercial builder in Sacramento, and other commercial construction companies specializing in this style of construction can deliver buildings whose window openings are elliptical or circular.

The tops of the tilt-up walls can now be curved. Several finishing options, such as exposed aggregate, stone, and brick, can all be applied to tilt-up walls. Even the color of the walls can also be customized to suit the needs of the project owner.

This variation in the structure and aesthetics of tilt-up construction shows why the method has gone beyond warehouses to buildings and homes.

Why Should You Even Consider Tilt-Up Construction?

The construction industry is very conservative, so you may be wondering why this new method of construction has caught on. Many project owners are specifically requesting for tilt-up concrete construction.

Tilt-up construction is good for building owners because the method cuts the construction duration by approximately two months. Gilmore Heating Air & Plumbing, Sacramento HVAC company explains that the method is cost-effective, efficient, safe, and quiet. It also offers architectural freedom since the onsite casting of concrete elements removes limitations due to transportation challenges and more.

These are the reason why you need to give serious consideration to tilt-up construction for your next project. If you would like to learn more about how this construction method can work for you, contact Sacramento tilt-up contractors. We can discuss with you the viability of this time-tested method for your project.