Building consultant provides consumer protection
Brian Fitzgerald, Associated Newspapers, 1988
A new company in the area provides consumer protection to people who intend to build or remodel their houses by acting as a liaison between the homeowner and the construction industry.
Cornerstone Consulting, Inc., founded by Richard Connolly of Weymouth, determines exactly what the homeowner wants out of a project, gives recommendations, helps the customer evaluate the contractors’ bids, negotiates with the contractor, establishes deadlines for projects, and inspects the work done on the house.
"Once the bids are all in and the homeowner makes the decision, if we never heard of the contractor, we will do a background check on him that’s very extensive," Connolly explained.
"Basically, the contractor realizes that his peers are checking out his work, checking out his references to make sure that the man’s reputation holds up," Connolly said.
Do contractors feel threatened? Hardly. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The firm saves time-consuming and expensive leg-work by both the homeowner and the contractor. Neither party is put at a disadvantage.
The reason why the contractors particularly like it is because they get asked to do a lot of extras, and it takes a lot of time running around to get them done," Connolly pointed out. "So the homeowner can either add them into the contract, or subtract them out, depending on how much money they want to spend."
According to Connolly, the firm takes on the role as an advocate, making sure that the work isn’t overpriced and of sub-par quality. Cornerstone negotiates the contract between the homeowner and the contractor to make sure all the numbers add up, which extras are included, and that both parties fully understand the working language of the contract.
"The homeowner is in control of how much the homeowner is going to spend, and the general contractor knows that he is going to get paid for exactly what they’re asking for," Connolly stated.
The firm also draws up a daily work plan detailing the work expected and sets up a timetable. Site inspections are provided to make sure that work is on schedule and done right.
"What we think we have done is this: we think that we have solved the problem that homeowners have in obtaining goods and services [from] the construction industry.
At the same time, we believe we have solved the problem that the industry has in providing those very same goods and services to the homeowner," Connolly explained.
Connolly started the company earlier this year with $500, combining his two occupational loves: construction and computers.