The Contract

The major reasons for disputes with a contractor during home construction are over the completion dates, materials, quality of work and price, and the lack of a contract. Do not sign anything until you have read it carefully, understand what it says, and are satisfied that it describes exactly what you want and contains everything you have been promised. If you are not sure of something in the contract, ask for an explanation, or take it to a lawyer for his/her review.

The Contract Should Include:

  • Names of yourself and the contractor including your addresses. Make sure the firm you are dealing with is the one named in the contract (Firm’s full name, address, telephone number and name of the official representative are clearly shown).
  • A detailed description, with sketches, if appropriate, of the work to be done and the materials to be used, including all work that is being subcontracted, such as plumbing and wiring. This is the area where most misunderstandings and problems can arise. It is extremely important to agree on clear, exact job specifications. Don’t accept verbal assurances. Get it in writing.
  • Agreement on who is responsible for obtaining all necessary permits.
  • Responsibility of the contractor for removing all debris as soon as construction is completed.
  • A statement of all warranties, explaining exactly what is covered and for how long.
  • A statement of the contractor’s public liability and property damage insurance.
  • Firm starting and completion dates.
  • Price and terms of payment. (See more on Paying for the Work)