Choosing a competent home, apartment or office renovation contractor is crucial to the success of any construction project. There are many ways to find a good and proven company, but not all of them are easy and effective. The most popular method is the so-called “word of mouth”, or recommendations and opinions issued by friends, family or neighbors who have previously used its services. In the case of larger and more professional companies, you can also check their references or a list of clients / investments they have carried out. After all, you can also look for reviews about them on the Internet. However, how to verify the contractor for stretch ceilings? This is still a relatively niche service, which is dealt with by both specialized specialists and people who assemble them only 2-3 times a year…
To help solve this problem, let’s start by defining the word “competent”? For this purpose, we will refer to the definition of the PWN Dictionary of the Polish Language:
- competent to perform their duties, speak on specific matters and make appropriate decisions
- providing reliable information
Therefore, a competent (reliable) stretch ceiling installer should comprehensively present his product or service, and above all its advantages and disadvantages. In the next step, he should propose the best solutions for the customer’s needs in order to finally install the product in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.
“Construction bureaucracy”, i.e. certificates confirming that stretch ceilings are safe
Let’s start from the end… How do we know if the contractor will install the product correctly? Generally, “there is never certainty”, but during the conversation with the contractor, we can react to certain “red flags”. It is enough to ask a few basic questions: can installed stretch ceilings catch fire? Do they have documents confirming their safety? Does the contractor have a certificate confirming the completion of the training? If so, since when has he had it and who issued it?
The issue of the contractor’s competence begins to get complicated if he does not have any document. If he showed it, it is worth verifying the given data on the Internet. In case of uncertainty, you should contact the manufacturer of stretch ceilings and make sure whether our future contractor has undergone training with him and whether he cooperates with the company at all? Other documents that are worth asking for are, of course, a draft contract for the performance of works, a specimen acceptance report, a VAT invoice or a receipt for a stretch ceiling (remember that the manufacturer’s warranty does not work without proof of purchase!) and certificates or safety declarations for the product itself. All this seems to be unnecessary paperwork, but at the end of the day, it is about the safety of using the finished stretch ceiling.
Prices, costs, expenses, or “after all, these stretch ceilings and LED lighting were supposed to be cheap!”
How to recognize if the contractor presents us with real investment needs, and when he tries to extort unnecessary costs? I know from experience that what surprises people the most is the price of lighting. It’s not about standard halogen or chandelier solutions, which are relatively cheap (approx. EUR 10-20 per point). LED light lines or plafonds may surprise those who count on the “cheapness” of LEDs. What it comes from? Firstly, no self-respecting contractor will install the cheapest 12V LEDs. That means he’ll be coming back and fixing them pretty quickly. A good product must cost appropriately and the price for 1 running meter starts at a minimum of EUR 30+, and the upper limit is unattainable for many wallets (applies to digital lighting – smart LED).
On the other hand, if the contractor claims that the mirror film above the bed that the client insists on will cost 350 per square meter – then he is right. The customers may shout that they will buy a crystal mirror and stick it on the ceiling, but will only calm down when the first glazier on the shore gives them a document informing about the risk of cracking and decapitation.
Let the performer brag – I wonder what he will tell you?
Let the performer talk to you or pull him over the tongue yourself. Will he talk about the advantages of a stretch ceiling, or will he also give some disadvantages? If not – ask him “why wouldn’t he recommend them?” – I wonder what he will say? Is there another similar project in the area that you can see? Will he talk about other ceiling installation options, such as plasterboard or Armstrong? And will you be persuaded by arguments to a different solution if it meets your technical needs – even if they are not aesthetic or cheap?
It is a good idea to invite several contractors to ask for opinions on what they consider to be the best solution in terms of technology, along with a price offer. A price comparison will give you an idea of which contractor is more competent? If we have several offers, we can reject the most expensive and the cheapest, and consider the others. If we have only two, we check the percentage difference – if it exceeds ~35%, it means that the more expensive contractor offers the market price, and the second one lowers it. Artificially inflating prices is extremely rare as companies try to be competitive.
Remember that good material and a good contractor will not be cheap. Only an inexperienced contractor, without a certificate, with the cheapest and the worst quality foil available on the market, will offer a low price. One that a professional won’t even look at, because he won’t cover the cost of materials. If history has taught us anything, it is that at the very end it is the expensive professional who comes to correct the cheap amateur.