AVOID  HOME IMPROVEMENT HEADACHES
A Resource Guide for Homeowners


Ask the Right Questions BEFORE You Build!

If you are considering remodeling, adding a room, or any kind of home project, the Nevada County Contractors' Association offers you these helpful hints for avoiding unnecessary problem:
  1. Plan ahead and know what you want done before contacting a contractor or architect. Consider your budget, the possibility of short-term disruption to your living environment, and the time frame in which you want the improvements completed. Beware of "door-to- door" solicitors, trying to sell you something you don't want or need.
  2. Be sure your contractor obtains the necessary building permits from your local jurisdiction. The permit will insure that your project is inspected by qualified building personnel; they will verify that your project is built to current building codes-this is for your safety and protection.
  3. Once your approved plans are drawn, consider bringing them in to the Nevada County Contractors' Association for competitive bids by our members. This process usually takes about a month. It insures that you will receive low bids that have been properly evaluated by contractors, subcontractors and suppliers.
  4. When selecting a contractor or subcontractor, make sure you ask for references, and verify that they are licensed by the State of California. The Nevada County Contractors' Association requires all of its contractor members to be licensed, but you should verify this yourself.

DON'T PUT YOUR PROPERTY AT RISK!
Be Sure to Use Only Licensed California Contractors!
DO NOT USE UNLICENSED CONTRACTORS

You may be in violation of State and Federal law and subject to unlimited liability, withholdings and social security taxes, disability and unemployment insurance if the people you have working on your property are unable to provide you with:
  1. A current certificate of workers' compensation insurance.
  2. A valid California Contractor's License.
  3. A City Business License (in most cities).
  4. An Employer's Tax Identification Number.
A licensed contractor provides these services to you for your protection. In addition, licensed contractors are required to have on file with the Contractors State License Board a $5,000 bond. This is further protection for you during and after the construction of your home improvement project.

Use of unlicensed, uninsured, and unbonded contractors can put you and your property in jeopardy. YOU could be held financially responsible for injured workers or damage to property (yours and others) if proper insurance protection is not in place.

Preliminary Notices & Mechanics Liens

Through the terms of your written Home Improvement Contract with your Licensed Contractor, you have agreed to pay for the work you want done in a timely manner. California law requires you to honor your payment obligations to your contractor; if contractors are not paid for their work, the law allows them to place a lien on your property to help them secure the payments due to them under their contract.

In addition, you should be aware that any subcontractor or supplier hired by your general contractor or subcontractor must notify you in writing that they are working on, or supplying materials to your property. This notice is called a "Preliminary 20-day Notice" and should be sent to you by certified mail within 20 days of them first starting work or supplying materials to your property. If a subcontractor or supplier fails to send you this notice in a timely manner, the law does not permit them to record a mechanics' lien against your property if they fail to get paid by the contractor who hired them.

The 20-day notice is meant to inform you which subcontractors and suppliers (whom you did not hire directly and would not otherwise know about) are working or supplying materials to your property. You should require your general contractor to get lien releases from all subcontractors and suppliers who sent you a preliminary notice and have done work on your project whenever you make a payment to your contractor.

Questions?
Feel free to call the staff at the Nevada County Contractors' Association anytime!

The Nevada County Contractors' Association is a professional non-profit association of general contractors and sub-contractors, building material suppliers, and many other construction related businesses in Nevada County. Contractor members of the Association are required to be licensed by the State of California.  There are over 330 members of the Association representing all aspects of the construction industry.

In addition to serving the interests of the construction community, the NCCA is also a valuable resource for consumers. The Nevada County Contractors' Association is staffed with professionals who understand the unique aspects of the construction industry.
   
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