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7 questions to ask your patio contractor

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
5 on Dagbreek by Crontech Consulting Modern
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Constructing a new patio or renovating your existing one can be huge fun, but such a project also requires careful planning, perfect design work, and a professional working relationship between contractor and client. So, although that professional (whether it’s an Architect, Carpenter, or another expert altogether) will need to pull out all the stops to impress you, it is up to you to determine if they’re the right person for your project.

And how do you decide whether you’re wasting your time or not? By setting up an initial meeting and asking them the following…

1. Are you licensed, bonded and insured?

THE VILLA, CAPE TOWN I MARVIN FARR ARCHITECTS by MARVIN FARR ARCHITECTS Eclectic
MARVIN FARR ARCHITECTS

THE VILLA, CAPE TOWN I MARVIN FARR ARCHITECTS

MARVIN FARR ARCHITECTS

Showing their license (remember to get the number) and insurance demonstrates the contractor’s credibility and knowledge, which means a lower risk of being cheated on materials and prices.  


2. Do you specialise in patios?

House Oranjezicht Scandinavian style garden by ATTIK Design Scandinavian
ATTIK Design

House Oranjezicht

ATTIK Design

Knowing that your contractor specialises in patios means they’re sure to kick that design up a notch – quite a refreshing change from other professionals who build just for the sake of building and getting paid. 


3. Can you provide design plans and –specifications?

It’s important to compare different contractors’ quotes to see how they approach not only the design element, but also the pricing. 


4. Can you provide a detailed contract

Atlantic Views - Terrace by Jenny Mills Architects Modern
Jenny Mills Architects

Atlantic Views—Terrace

Jenny Mills Architects

Never start any design/construction project without asking for (and signing) a contract, as it protects both the professional and the client (that’s you!). A true professional will ensure their contract includes costs (all of them), items being installed, warranty info (if relevant to your project), plus the design plans. 


5. What is your work schedule for my patio project?

Guesthouse Patio by Red Daffodil Modern
Red Daffodil

Guesthouse Patio

Red Daffodil

Is it necessary for you to seek alternative accommodation during the project? What time will the workers rock up every day (and how many of them will be there)? What time do you want them off your property and who is responsible for clean up? These are just some of the key factors you and your contractor need to discuss to determine if they really are the correct pros for the job. 


6. As the client, what are my responsibilities?

Perhaps you need to clear out some space for the workers to set up their equipment? Or maybe you need to organise proper access into your back yard by unlocking the garden gate, moving the family pet(s) indoors, etc? 


7. Can you provide me with referrals?

A contractor who’s confident with their experience and quality of work will never hesitate providing you with referrals from former clients. Don’t be shy to enquire about similar projects the contractor may have completed in the past, or to ask for the location of previous projects so you can take a drive and scope them out yourself! 

To be on the safe side, ask for 3 – 5 referrals (but be sure to Google stalk your potential contractor and find some info yourself). If they have a hard time providing you with referrals or seem uneasy to do so, thank them for their time and keep searching for your perfect contractor.

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