Making sure you select the right contractor can save you down the road.
By Mick McGill
The roles and responsibilities of ownership and property management of a fraternity/sorority house can be complex and time consuming. A facility housing a large number of undergraduate students requires a hands-on approach and constant monitoring to ensure the facility remains a source of pride for the organization and also provides a safe living environment for its tenants. Owners and Housing Corporations are constantly identifying and making decisions as to what construction projects are warranted to ensure the facility remains in good physical condition. This process results in contracting with local construction companies to complete the applicable work.
When entering into agreements with contractors or other entities, it is very important to be wary of the terms and conditions associated Read more…
After our Beta Delta chapter of Theta Chi Fraternity was reinstated at Rutgers University, one of our first orders of business was the purchase of a new chapter house. We were fortunate enough to find a house within the footprint where we wanted our chapter facility to be, but this house clearly needed some work in order for it to be a fully functioning chapter house. We then decided, once we had our undergraduates living in our new building, that an addition was necessary to turn this building into a desirable chapter house property. It was at this time that we pursued the building of an addition.
For those of you who may be entertaining the thought of a chapter house addition, I would like to not only offer a narrative of the evolution of this undertaking, but to offer some insights as to what considerations that you will need to make in order to see an addition through to completion.
We decided in February of 2009 that we not only needed an addition, but that we now had a sufficient number of undergraduates returning to school for the 2009-2010 academic year that we were comfortable that we could fill the chapter house with live-in brothers, including the five new bedrooms that were part of the new addition. We pursued the addition because our existing house didn’t offer a large multipurpose room for meetings and group dinners, or a basement of sufficient size to accommodate larger social functions. We then decided that we needed additional bedrooms to generate sufficient rents to justify this large financial undertaking, hence the concern that we have a sufficient number of undergraduates to ensure a full capacity within the bedrooms of the chapter house.
- Hire only licensed contractors.
- Check the contractor’s license number.
- Get three references, and review past work.
- Get at least three bids.
- Get a written contract and do not sign anything until you completely understand the terms.
- Pay 10% down or $1000, whichever is less (depending on the job).
- Don’t let payments get ahead of work. Keep records of payments.
- Don’t make final payment until you’re satisfied with the job.
- Don’t pay cash
- Check with local city/county to determine what does and does not require permits.
The Eta Omega house at 630 West 5th Street is beginning to match quality of the chapter that lives within its walls. “The first floor of the house looks more like a sorority house than a fraternity house”, said House Corporation Treasurer Jeremy Reither, “and I mean that in a good way.”
“The remodel was so extensive it’s hard to recognize the place in some of these photos” said Reither,
“Again, that is a good thing. This wasn’t just some superficial interior remodel – the first floor was totally gutted, the foundation was jacked up and leveled, a fire sprinkler system was installed – major work.”
$400K Loan from The Norwich Housing Corporation
This project would not have seen light of day without the $400,000 loan from The Norwich Housing Corporation and the guidance of Director of Alumni and Real Estate Jereme Grinslade. By helping us to refine our application and gather the required documentation, Jereme’s help was critical.