Know your remodeler’s professional designations Your home is probably the most significant investment you'll ever make. You need the very best help to plan and execute your remodeling or renovation project. Look for a Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR) or a Graduate Master Remodeler (GMR). CGRs and GMRs have earned professional designations from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) specific to the remodeling industry, and many are members of a local Remodelers Council, which are affiliated with NAHB Remodelers. When you hire a CGR or GMR, you are doing business with an individual who is committed to continuing education and professional growth and will bring exceptional skill and knowledge to your project. To become a CGR, a remodeler must have at least five years of experience in the industry, take a qualifying exam and successfully complete a pre-set curriculum of courses specific to the remodeling industry, including project and business management. The GMR allows experienced CGRs to attain additional training and recognition for their longevity in the remodeling industry. This program is the equivalent of a master level for the CGR designation. All GMRs must have a minimum of 15 years’ remodeling experience, complete five more re - quired courses and have years of experience as a CGR or another respected remodeling association. In addition, CGRs and GMRs are required to carry workers’ compensation and liability insurance and maintain a valid business license, where required by their state or local jurisdiction. Upon earning the designation, they must sign a Code of Ethics specific to their designation. CGRs and GMRs also are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education related to building and remodeling every three years. Use this checklist to help select a remodeler: Contact your local home builders’ association for the names of member builders and remodelers: ghba.org. You can also ask family, friends or coworkers for recommendations. Make sure the builder or home remodeler has a permanent business location and a good reputation with local banks and suppliers. Find out how long they have been in the building business. It usually takes three to five years to establish a financially sound business. Check out the company's rating and if there have been any complaints filed with your local Better Business Bureau: bbb.org. Make sure the builder/remodeler has sufficient workers compensation and general liability insurance. If not, you may be liable for any construction-related accidents on your premises. Ask the builder/remodeler to provide you with names of previous customers. If they won't, beware. If they do, ask the customers if they would hire the builder/remodeler again. Ask if you can see the builder/remodelers’ work, both completed and in progress. Check for quality of workmanship and materials. Do you feel you can easily communicate with the builder/remodeler? You will be in close contact with them throughout the construction process. Make sure the builder/remodeler provides you with a complete and clearly written contract. The contract will benefit both of you. Be cautious about unusually low-priced bids. If the builder/remodeler is unable to pay for the materials and labor as the project proceeds, this may indicate a potential problem. Keep in mind that less expensive does not mean better! Verify that your remodeler is an EPA Lead- Safe Certified Renovator if you are planning work in a pre-1978 home.
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