There are plenty of questions that will come to your mind when you plan to give the contract of your dream home to a contractor. And of course, this is expected by any authentic firm. Why? Building your new house is always a huge financial investment. Being clear on your expectations can keep you prepared throughout the entire span when the construction work goes on.

You might have several queries when you get ready with your plans toward building a new home. However, there are some questions which are more crucial than the others. After all, hiring the best contractor can make the difference between your project turning into a success or nightmare. Therefore, we bring you 10 most important questions that you should ask your civil contractor before embarking on your construction journey.

What is your background and experience in handling this type of project?

Do you want your home to be a ground for trial and error by the contractor? No, right? Then never hesitate to ask any firm as to how long have they been in business. Organisations with the requisite experience have their systems and mechanisms in place to ensure timely delivery and finest quality – under the allotted budget.

To know more about this aspect, read the following extract on why you should hire an experienced builder rather than trying to handle the project on your own.

Do you hold a license and an insurance certificate?

It is of vital importance that your contractor is licensed in that specific domain. He should have gone through all the necessary channels in order to obtain the necessary accreditations required in that particular area of expertise.

He must also  be fully insured so that he is capable of covering any accidents or mishaps that might occur during the duration of the project. This step will ensure that your home is financially protected when there is any damage that has been caused due to negligence by the employees of the firm. You are additionally spared from the worry of handling a situation when a worker may get injured within your premises. Keep a copy of the insurance and licensing certificate — along with expiration dates — for your own security.

Check out this video to know the true cost of hiring an unlicensed contractor:

What is your exact timeline to complete this home construction project?


Ask your contractor to give an accurate schedule for completion of your project — leaving some unexpected problems that may crop up as the work progresses.

The entire schedule should be inclusive of a start and end date, task outlines, and completion milestones. What is the benefit? You will know that your project is going according to plan. You will have an idea about the main deadlines. Any reputed contractor will easily share a schedule and will stick to the dates as closely as possible.

Some factors that can affect this timeline are current projects under the contractor and unfinalised bids that can come up in future. Therefore, you should clarify as to how he plans to address such changes if they impact your work.

Will you take care of obtaining all the requisite building permits?

Getting all the building permits is a cumbersome task. Therefore, it is best that you get this done by your contractor. He will ensure that your project is completed according to code and in compliance with existing regulations.

An article in Times of India details the ease of obtaining permits in the Indian capital.

What is your payment schedule?

The golden rule of paying your contractor – never pay the entire amount up front. According to standard norms, give a deposit of 10% in the beginning. Now, schedule the payment instalments according to completion milestones.

Check out this video to know how to set up a payment schedule:

Will you be purchasing the materials?

Established contractors have the means to secure discounts on materials. You can also stand to gain a percentage of such savings.  Therefore, you need to ensure as to who is responsible for procuring the materials – you or your builder? Did this clause form a part of the quote? Documenting everything in the best possible manner so as to maintain clarity.

Here is an article that details some tips on how to choose building  materials:

Can you provide me with a list of past clients?

Any reputed civil firm will never hesitate to provide you with names of multiple past clients.  You can contact these references to know about the authenticity of your contractor’s claims. Check out the tips given by celebrity contractor Mike Holmes on starting your project right:

Who will take care of the clean-up tasks at the job site?

Always ensure who is going to take care of the clean-up process at the end of each day. What are the measures that the contractor will implement to prevent spreading of dust in the vicinity. Would they be able to temporarily seal off vents and doorways? How will they limit exposure of areas of the site that do not form a part of the work site?

Read this article to get an idea about how to keep your construction site clean:

What is covered in your detailed contract?


A proper and complete written contract entails the entire project plan clearly. It puts down everything that you and your contractor have agreed to.

This document must include the following:

  • A complete detail of the entire project with raw materials and products that would be used
  • The detailed payment and time schedules
  • Any lien holdbacks, as required
  • Warranty – including what is covered by it and its duration

What is your after service support?

Any home building project does not get over after the contractor leaves your premises. Ask the firm if they have checklists that you both will check together before you sign off. Also, ensure what kind of process is in place for resolving any issues that you feel are not up to the mark.


If you ask your civil contractor the above 10 questions, you are assured that your dream home project shall surely be a success. A few minutes of getting these queries resolved and you are all set. So, all the best!