Before you have your contractor begin any work on your home, be sure you have a contract in place. Keep in mind, if you reside in the State of Oregon, any work that exceeds $2,000.00 requires a contract. A contract between you and your contractor protects you and your home, ensures that the work you have hired your contractor to do gets done, and helps avoid misunderstandings throughout your project. To put it simply, having a clearly defined construction contract helps both parties know what to expect upfront.
1. Name and contact information for contractor. This includes their license number, phone number, email address, and company address.
2. Name and project address for homeowner. Be sure the spelling of your names and project address on the contract are correct.
3. Scope of work to be performed. The scope of work should describe what is being constructed and give an estimated project length. If the scope of work in your contract is not detailed, ask why. A detailed description of work gives both parties peace of mind knowing the details are laid out and agreed upon.
4. Exclusions. There are situations where contractors must make assumptions about the existing conditions of your home as many components of your home are not visible to us until demolition begins. That is why exclusions are included in a contract and why we recommend our clients have a contingency budget in place should we find something that needs to be addressed.
5. Testing. The EPA requires us to test homes for asbestos and lead prior to working in them. The testing in non-negotiable and requires us to have certified, trained employees to handle all testing. Depending on the results, we may require a special abatement crew to remove debris from your home.
6. The cost and payment plan. Obviously having a total cost is a vital component of every contract. For our company, we tie this information into your project schedule that we share with you before we start your project. We ask our clients to pay in installments that are tied to each major milestone of your project, such as demotion, cabinet installation, or substantial completion. As a side note, please be hesitant and ask questions if a contractor asks for your entire contract price (or more than half) up front. There may be a valid reason for this, like if you have a small job and special materials needed to be ordered up front, but please still ask!
7. Warranty. If the company you chose to work with offers a warranty, be sure to get the details of what that warranty covers and for how long.
8. Requirements for proper licenses and insurance. Do your due diligence to ensure your contractor has the correct licenses in place, do not assume that they do. Look up your contractors CCB number and/or name online to ensure it is active and in standing. Also inquire about their liability and workers compensation insurance at contract signing.
Like we said above, do your due diligence and research when hiring a contractor and do not be afraid to ask questions about the contract you are signing. It is always important to know what you’re paying for before work begins on your home.