Hiring a suitable contractor is on top of the list for Singaporeans when planning home improvement works such as window and grille replacement. This can be tricky especially if it is the first time getting your windows refurbished.
The process of hiring the right window contractor can be made easier once you have decided on the type of windows and grilles you require. Knowing what you want, asking the right questions and evaluating the given offers can help you narrow your choices correctly. Seeking recommendations from friends and relatives or searching the Internet for window contractor reviews are also some avenues to consider.
So how do you find the best vendor that can deliver according to your budget and timeframe? Read on to find out!
1. Keep Your Floor Plan Handy
First off, having the Floor Plan of your house ready. Be it a HDB, Condo or Landed House every homeowner ought to have this blueprint for quick reference, not just for doing Windows & Grilles but for any alteration or renovation work in general. Keeping a soft copy (or scanned hard copy) of the floor plan is ideal for ease of emailing or referring from your phone/tablet.
The Floor plan takes away the ambiguity in measuring the width of the wall openings. However, height of the opening may still have to be measured for most floor plans do not capture this dimension. Recording the correct measurements is the first step towards cost estimation and identifying the work scope (especially for BTO flat owners in Singapore).
2. Decide Whether to Contract Separately
Often, installing new Windows and Grilles is part of a larger renovation project. A properly done installation would usually last for a decade or more and may even outlive your next interior renovation cycle. So, whether you are doing up the new unit you just bought or refurbishing your existing home, give a serious thought to this decision – Contract your Window Grilles to a specialist or let the renovation contractor handle it as part of overall project. To help you decide, here’s a quick comparison table –
|Window Grille Contractor||Renovation Contractor or ID|
|COST SAVINGS||Possible cost savings. You may get a better pricing if you contract directly||Usually, would sub-contract the work and add extra margin to the price|
|VARIETY OF CHOICES||Better clarity in negotiating and getting your requirements fulfilled (especially if you need customizations)||Motivated by overall reno project execution, may not be able to provide all Window/Grille options or give full attention|
|EXTRA CO-ORDINATION||More parties to deal with, some coordination may be required to gel with the overall execution||Single point of contact, if you go thru your reno contractor. Saves you the co-ordination effort|
Key takeaway – Contracting separately will help you get a better deal in terms of the price and ensuring specific requirements are met. However, it may entail a bit of co-ordination effort on your part in dealing with the two parties (Window/Grille Specialist & Reno Contractor)
3. Engage Suitable Contractors
So, you get on the phone with a contractor, first time at procuring a set of Windows and Grilles. You probably do not know… where to start? What info to provide? What to ask? and so on. Here is some tips that’ll come handy in having a smart conversation with the service provider.
Enquire about their credentials
It’s always safer to deal with experienced contractors rather than newcomers. Ask them for the number of years they are in the business and if they can provide any references. Also inquire whether they have the relevant license or certification to carry out such works and if it is granted to the business entity that they are operating under. For e.g. in Singapore, it is imperative to check if the contractor has an HDB/BCA license.
Ask for the rates, and any auxiliary charges
Most Contractors will have a defined set of Per Square Feet (psf) rates for Windows and Grilles varying according to the material, for e.g. whether Aluminium or Wrought Iron being used for Grilles. Getting the psf rate will help you do a quick math for a price estimate yourself if you have ascertained the dimensions from your floor plan.
Understand if there are any other charges involved, for e.g. certain Contractors may charge separately for removal and disposal of old Windows. Many homeowners are taken aback by hidden costs that surface only in the final bill.
Provide your requirements
You should provide the contractor with the following inputs –
- Detailed requirements
- Type of your Unit
- Floor plan
- NRIC & postal code (for applying HDB/BCA permit)
The above should enable any contractor to give you an estimate with reasonable accuracy. Most Contractors will provide the final quotation only after making a site visit, taking measurements, and confirming the design.
4. Ask for a Quotation
Ask the Contractor to submit a quotation on paper or thru email. It’s always a good idea to request for:
- Itemized price breakdown – to have clarity on what costs how much
- Completion Date – to have the promised delivery date on record
- Pricing for optional Items, if any – in case you decide to go for it subsequently
- Permits/Approvals that will be taken from local authorities for the installation
- Warranty and T & Cs – to be aware of obligations of both parties
You may also want to request and see glass, metal pipe samples to be sure of what is being quoted for and what will be installed.
5. Evaluate & Shortlist the Service Provider
If you are doing up Windows and Grilles for the entire house, then it would certainly be worthwhile to get quotations from a few Contractors and do a comparison/review. Prepare a simple spreadsheet to gather all the inputs, it surely helps in comparing vendors against each other.
Besides the price aspect, you may select the Contractor after evaluating them on other criteria such as:
- Reputation and number of years in the business
- Quality of material (as seen in samples)
- Timeline for work completion
- Your comfort level in dealing with the Contractor
6. Understand Payment Terms and Warranty
Before going ahead with the preferred Contractor, do understand the terms. With most Contractors you can expect –
- A Warranty of material and workmanship for at least 1 year
- Payment of deposit upfront before commencement of work
- Remaining/Full payment upon installation
- Payment mode which is usually Cash or Cheque
Sourcing for Windows and Grilles of your home is also similar to a tendering process, albeit on a smaller scale. With clear requirements, detailed comparisons, and proper evaluation you can zero in on the right vendor who can deliver best value for money as per specifications and within the expected period of time.
Contact Grilles N Glass, the preferred Window Contractor in Singapore for any Window and Grille requirements.
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