These apartments were built two years ago and I moved in then. They are spacious and well built. They have very nice durable carpet that looks like Berber.All the major rooms have ceiling fans. I had a garden tub and my bathrooms were both luxurious and spacious. I loved the hardwood floor in the kitchen too. The drawers in the kitchen have good quality hardware too. If you ever have a maintenance problem, they will be right up to fix it. I don't like that they just come in whenever they want to if you have a problem, instead of scheduling an appointment to come fix it. The fixtures are good quality too. I loved the privacy too. Most of my neighbors were quiet and I never heard them. They are secure and I always felt safe living there. The electric and water bills were amazingly low. I never saw any bugs except a few spiders outside. There was free trash pick up, but they now charge about 9 dollars per month for that. It's still a great deal! They provide you with your own little trash can and it gets picked up 5 nights a week. You can hang pictures without fear of losing your deposit, and you will not be charged for carpet cleaning if you leave the apartment in good shape. Management is honest and will deal with you fairly. Just don't have to break your lease because you WILL pay a bajillion bucks to get out of it. You will see that when you sign the lease, so it won't be a surprise. My apartment was everything I thought it would be, except - whenever anyone had a loud party in my building, which was at least every two weeks, management would do nothing. There is a two door entry for each apartment, so I could not go knock on their door and expect to be heard over the music. Management said to call the police, like I want to do that to a neighbor. The last time I called management, I found a bag of beer cans, trash, and cigarette butts outside my door the next morning. Nice. There is a noise from 540 but that is to be expected so close to the highway. Sometimes there was so much pollution that I couldn't open my windows when it was cool. The stairwells are not swept regularly. Don't pay extra for the washer and dryer. Buy your own. The washer is too small and won't get your clothes clean. The dryer is cheap and only runs on one temperature. There have been some car break-ins, but management always reports that sort of thing to the residents immediately. I liked that, and how they always put up freeze warning signs in winter. Basically, this is a well run apartment complex, with a few of the usual problems one encounters living in an apartment. Overall, this is a very nice place to live. The location is great. I was nervous about it being so close to Capital Blvd., but that area is turning into a very nice one.
220 Concordia Woods DrMorrisville, NC 27560
From Business: New for sale at Birkshires at Town Hall Commons, near the Raleigh / Durham Metro-Area. Community features luxury amenities and energy efficient homes in a convenien…
This is going to be a long review. I feel that I should be thorough and give a accurate accounting of how Blue Sky Services did our addition. Living through 4+ months of construction we have to We called them in April to receive an estimate for a couple of new rooms off the back of our home. An estimator called us right away and we scheduled to meeting him about 10 days later. Honestly we would have like to have them come sooner but according to him the schedules did not permit. When he finally came out the meeting was different than the other meetings we had from others. He spent WAY too much time "selling" their services. We were 100% on board with their process and were fairly confident in them based on seeing them around for years. Basically for us it boiled down to price and a gut feeling. Blue Skies passed our gut test. Here is something to consider. We had to pay a decent sum upfront to receive a detailed estimate. This was a bit of a sticking point for us. Their reasoning made sense. Needing to have plans to do our addition. As a consumer we had to ask ourselves if it made sense to spend money when there is a good possibility that the price would make our project cost prohibitive. We had gathered ballparks that seemed extremely low and some that were in the stratosphere.The sporadic ballparks spurred our commitment for a design build estimate. The designers did a fantastic job. No complaints. The lead designer followed through on all facets. Met us at odd hours. Really she is great to work with. We also met one of the owners during the process and he really helped wit the nuts and bolts and actually came up with some nice ideas. All in all they have the design part down pat. NOW the construction. Right from the beginning we felt as though the crews were playing catch up. A week behind then two weeks behind, our confidence waivered seriously. We talked to our p.m. every day and were assured things would pick up. Eventually Jason got the project back on track and "righted the ship". Thank the stars Dimitry and his crew showed up about 2/3 of the way. They were at work early and stayed late just about every day. They were very courteous and CLEAN. The did a great job one the trim and finishing work. A good experience. They exceeded our expectations with some bumps along the way. Our new rooms look great and we are happy. Mary
We are impressed by Blue Sky. Just finished our kitchen in the nick of time for Thanksgiving! My wife found them from our neighbors who had work done by them. So we decided to have them do an estimate for us. The sales associate that came out was Jeremy and he was great. Hew was definitely on the ball. He gave us a ballpark for our kitchen which was higher than the other estimates we got from another kitchen company but waaaaaay lower than a local big box store. Which was surprising by the way. Our experience was much like the previous posts I have read. Even though we heard good things, we were still nervous about our choice: a large investment. we were put at ease by the design staff. Eric 1, Eric 2 and Holly are as good as advertised. Cabinets look great. Tile is great. A great design and quality materials. There is not much to say about the work other than they were respectful and did a great job with details. We did have a minor problem that was eventually solved. I got home from work and realized that the sink that was already installed was not even close to the one that my wife picked out. I brought this to the superintendents attention. Come to find out it was a mistake on the granite fabricator. We did receive a call form the owner to let us know that it would be taken care of - and they did but it took a week to get the sink so that was disappointing mostly because we were sooooo close top being done! Another concern was the process. Having never gone through a renovation, I have nothing to compare it to. Numerous times it seemed like things were left unfinished or done out of order. We brought all of the items to our PM and he was always saying "we are not finished" or we are "waiting for inspections". Turns out he was right they did what they call their punched list to clean up blemishes. In the future we will have a better sense of what to expect. Just be prepared for things to go from rough and ugly to clean and finished pretty much overnight. We were definitely treated well and the follow through was great. We could not be happier with the kitchen. Thanksgiving is going to be much easier this year. Double Oven ^ definitely recommended:)
There has perhaps never been a better tool for do-it-yourself home handymen than the internet. With detailed instructions and videos explaining how to perform a number of common maintenance and renovation tasks around a house, an untrained homeowner might be surprised at how much he or she can accomplish with a quick search online. But even with all of this information, there are still many jobs that lie far outside the scope of most DIY enthusiasts. General contractors are there to fill in this gap.
A general contractor specializes in seeing a home remodel or repair project through from start to finish. To do this, the contractor works with the client - whether they are a homeowner or business - to nail down the scope of the work. Then he or she will turn to one or more subcontractors for specific tasks, like equipment operation, design, electrical work or whatever else is needed.
In essence, general contractors could be thought of as middlemen between a homeowner or business owner and any number of specialists. To get their money's worth, many assume they should just "cut out the middleman" and hire specialists directly, but this often proves more difficult in practice. General contractors won't be completing an entire project by themselves, but should have a long list of dependable experts who can work together and accomplish any task. They might also serve as the manager on the site of a construction project, overseeing workers and providing guidance and assistance when needed. For larger projects, though, the contractor might only handle administrative matters and employ a foreman or other professional for on-site supervision.
There are many general contractors who also specialize in certain tasks themselves. There is usually at least one general contractor on hand to organize the construction of an entire home, for example. But general contractors could also help a homeowner add an additional bedroom, build an in-ground pool or complete a major landscaping project. They could also work with a business to add or improve office space, whether that means making more room or converting a commercial building from a nail salon to a restaurant. Basically, if it's a job that involves building or repairing, a general contractor probably knows how to get it done.
No matter what the exact job may be, a contractor will probably need to accomplish several other essential tasks in pursuit of the ultimate goal, which may include:
- Understanding and applying for building permits to meet local regulations
- Organizing a budget and adhering to it throughout the project
- Gathering all the necessary tools and equipment, from hammers and shovels to large excavators and generators
- Securing the construction site and equipment after work hours
- Working with personnel on-site to address any issues
- Keeping records of materials, labor and all other expenses
Every general contractor performing any kind of work on a project must be licensed to do so in their state. The guidelines for the specifics on licensing vary from state to state. Some states might only require registration of contractors, which is different from licensing. Registration typically means that there must be a written record of what work is being performed and by whom, but it does not guarantee professional knowledge. Licensing, on the other hand, involves an examination process to assess professional competence.
Whether your state requires licensing or registration of contractors, there should be a record of most professionals willing to complete certain projects in your area. Check your state or county website for more information. In states that require licensing, every licensed contractor's contact information is available online or from another public source.
Not every project needs to be completed by a licensed or registered contractor. If it's just a minor job that won't take more than a day or two, and will cost less than a few hundred dollars, it's likely not necessary to find a licensed or registered contractor. However, anything bigger or more expensive, or a project involving plumbing or electrical work, needs to be completed by a licensed or registered professional.
General contractors also must be covered by an insurance policy. This should include liability coverage for any property damage that could be inflicted in the course of a job. It should also include a worker's compensation policy in case anyone is injured on the job. Before hiring a contractor for anything, ask for written proof of this insurance to see exactly what is covered.
A number of trade associations for contractors in the U.S. exist. Some of the biggest include:
- Associated General Contractors of America: Represents more than 6,500 general contracting firms and more than 9,000 specialty contractors nationwide.
- Associated Builders and Contractors: Represents non-union contracting firms.
Most trade associations for general contractors will provide references for anyone looking to hire a contractor for a specific project. They may also provide a number of benefits for their members, including assistance with licensing, training, insurance and business development.
Hiring a General Contractor
No matter what you need accomplished, you want to choose a contractor who can get the job done right at a reasonable price. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but there are a few steps you can take to ensure you find a trustworthy general contractor.
Finding general contractors
The first, and perhaps most reliable, way to find a general contractor is to ask friends and family members for a recommendation. If you know anyone who has had major work done on their home, particularly if it's a similar job, ask them who they hired and if they were pleased with the result. You could also ask neighbors about who they've hired if you notice work being done on their house. Many remodeling contractors post signs in front of homes to advertise their services. As a general rule, it's rarely a good idea to hire a contractor who solicits work by going door to door.
If you are considering hiring a contractor without a personal recommendation, ask the contractor for references from past clients, and do as much background research on them as possible. Look for any complaints (or compliments) online to get a better idea of their track record. There are a number of websites specializing in connecting contractors with people or businesses who need work done. These sites may also allow past clients to submit their own reviews of the contractor.
Before hiring a contractor, make sure you are both in agreement on the project's budget. It's normal for most contractors to charge clients a premium not only for the labor expenses and zoning expertise, but for acquiring the materials as well. Be as clear and concise as possible regarding what you'll be purchasing yourself and what you will be paying the contractor to complete. Homeowners may be able to find a better deal on raw materials when they purchase these directly, but they first need to be sure they aren't buying the wrong things.
Don't forget to discuss how the project will be finalized and what will be done about cleanup. Plans for how the work site will be cleaned at the end of each day as well as at the conclusion of work need to be put in writing. An experienced general contractor should make every effort to keep the workspace clean and prevent dirtying or damaging any other area. Even so, talk with the contractor about the daily schedule, the logistics of transporting workers and equipment, and how cleanup will be handled.
As previously mentioned, you need to make sure to follow any state and local regulations regarding construction work, which includes hiring a licensed or registered general contractor. Ask the contractor for proof of their certification before signing anything, as well as their proof of insurance. You should also check your homeowners insurance policy to see if they offer coverage for contracted work. You may want to call your insurance provider and ask for more details on what your plan will and won't cover.
Perhaps the best way to feel safe about a contractor and the work being done is to hire a contractor you trust. This is why relying on personal references from friends and family is so important, and will often provide a great deal of peace of mind. If you aren't able to obtain a reference, work to conduct extensive research on the contractor as well as the work you are hiring them to perform. This should bring everyone's expectations into alignment and result in a safe work environment.
Before any money changes hands, there should be a contract to sign. Make sure the specifics of the work to be done and all costs are listed in the contract, right down to the most precise details. If you forget to have something included in the contract after signing it, there's rarely a chance of recourse.
Once the specifics of the job are nailed down, be sure to discuss the payment schedule with the contractor. This is important because paying too much up front offers the homeowner minimal leverage if the quality of work does not meet expectations or contractual specifications. Try to establish a reasonable pay schedule with the contractor, such as paying 10 percent of the total cost for each 10 percent of the work that is completed. It's a good idea to include this payment plan in the contract as well.
Finally, look into getting a lien release signed before work begins. If there is ever a dispute regarding payment over the course of the project, a contractor or subcontractor could place a payment claim, or lien, on your property. This can trigger a long legal process that may be frustrating. To avoid this, ask the contractor to sign a lien release, which is a legal agreement that states that any payment accepted is final. This can come in handy if a contractor has his or her own payment issues with their subcontractors. Signing a lien release form certifies that any payment made by a client to the contractor is enough to pay for any goods or services rendered. A lien dispute could also be prevented by performing due diligence prior to picking a contractor, as any contractor with good credit and a long track record of satisfied clients should have no trouble paying for materials and labor once all contract conditions have been met.
Once work is underway, it's never a bad idea to check up on the progress of the job, either by staying in touch with the contractor over the phone or visiting the site in person. If you work with a trustworthy professional, it's probably best to keep your distance and allow everyone to stay busy. If you want to keep an eye on things, make sure workers wear the right safety gear and that everything looks to be moving along according to schedule. Finally, once work is finished and you are satisfied, be sure to thank your contractor and tell friends or family members about your experience.