Putting in guardrails can seem like a deceptively simple process, but there are a number of topics you should raise with contractors before picking one and moving forward. There is a surprising number of issues that apply to installing rails, including concerns about safety, regulations, appearances, and functionality. You also should cover some of the topics that ought to normally come up when meeting with any contractor.
The entire point of adding guardrails is to ensure that an area will be safer, but a poor installation can create a false sense of security. Concerns about safety should extend beyond your immediate needs since someone down the road may acquire your place and have different requirements. Safety discussions should address a broad range of concerns.
Many homeowners don't appreciate how strict the regulations that apply to guardrails may be until they receive a notice from their local compliance officer. While the job may seem simple, you should treat getting it done like any other renovation.
Apply for the appropriate permits, and ask the government what the requirements for your site will be. It's better to have a long conversation upfront with a local official and your contractor than it is to be faced with the possibility of a fine for non-compliance later on.
Looks and Function
Getting on the same page with the contractor managing your project is important. You want to be able to point to something, such as a reference photo, early in the process that allows you both to establish the goals for the job.
You should also discuss what function the rail is expected to serve, allowing the contractor to make appropriate recommendations. If a rail is expected to handle high traffic, for example, the contractor can't guarantee durability using materials only suited for low-volume, residential use.
Qualifications and Assurances
The requirements in different jurisdictions for contractors vary wildly, so it's a good idea to ask your local officials whether someone needs to be licensed, bonded or insured to handle projects in your area. You should also ask for evidence of a work history of at least 5 years.
Don't be afraid to ask for proposals and estimates to comparison shop before agreeing to a contract. It's wise to clarify what guarantees come with the project, too. A satisfaction guarantee may only cover making revisions and not giving your money back.
Contact a guardrail company such as Diamond Iron LLC to find out more information and to discuss your options.