We are in the process of reviewing a contract for a remodeling project. Attached to the contract is 3 pages of “terms and conditions” that contain a lot of legal jargon. Is all that really necessary?
Yes, Terms and conditions are a very necessary part of any remodeling contract. What most people don’t understand is that the Terms and Conditions are written for the homeowners protection as well as the contractors’. As we all know, anything can happen on a job site. The Terms & Conditions spell out what procedures will take place under certain “Conditions”.
Listed below are a few common items that should be included in the terms and conditions. All of these items are important for the homeowner to review and understand before work commences:
- Procedures for Job delays.
- Handling of disputes (Arbitration, etc.).
- Information on warranty supplied by Contractor or other party.
- Information on canceling the contract (3 day right of rescission).
- Working drawing disclaimer – If the plans and specs don’t match, the specifications control (This could be important if there is an error on the plans)
- Disclaimer for landscape or property damage unless caused by negligence (this could be an issue if an old driveway is used for access, etc.).
- Substitution of materials allowed – except for materials specifically listed in the specifications.
- Personal property disclaimer – Owner is responsible for their personal property in and around the job site.
- Materials or labor supplied by the owner not guaranteed by Contractor.
- Any materials remaining on the job site belong to the Contractor.
- Contractor will maintain liability & workers compensation insurance required by law.
- Contractor is not responsible for the expense to remove environmental hazards such as asbestos, lead paint, etc.
At the very least, reviewing and understanding the terms and conditions will help avoid misunderstandings over everyday construction problems. We have found that the more informed the owners are, the smoother the job goes. Notifying the owner of possible complications before the job begins is much easier than confronting the problem after the fact. Keep yourself informed – read and understand the terms and conditions of your remodeling contract!
Answered by: Patrick Benkowski, CR
President – Roadrunner Custom Remodeling Inc.