Your contract will vary according to the size and complexity of your project; however, most contracts will contain the standard information listed below.
Remember: If you have any questions or concerns about the contract being presented to you, make sure to discuss them with your contractor before you sign it. You may even want to get a lawyer to review your contract if it is very detailed.
Here is a list of some of the points that should be covered in your contract:
- Your name and that of the contractor, which should include street addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and the contractor’s license number.
- A complete description of the work that the contractor is supposed to complete and those things for which they are not responsible. This would include work that you or others not mentioned in the contract will do.
- When the project is to be initiated and a projected completion date. This will generally include a statement indicating that the contractor cannot be held liable for delays due to delayed materials orders, changes to the work, and other delays due to circumstances beyond their control.
- All attachments that are part of the contract such as:
- Drawings, blueprints and plans.
- Specifications such as a description of the work and a precise list of materials and products, including the types, brands, grades, thickness, color and/or model of the materials and products.
- Other documents signed by both parties during the contract process such as change order forms.
- Work Standards that describe the contractor’s commitment to do the work according to the contract requirements. This means work done in a conscientious manner with a minimum inconvenience to your routine, and in a manner that will protect your property and neighboring properties. This section also includes their commitment to take care of daily clean-up as well as compliance with regulatory requirements.
- Changes in the work once the project is underway, called extras and deletions which must be written up and signed by both parties and attached to the contract. Every change to the contract, including price and schedule, should be clearly noted on a change order.
- Proof of workers’ compensation and liability insurance coverage provided and attached to the contract. The coverage must be paid up to date.
- Contractor’s warranty delineating what work of theirs is covered and for how long, with an attached statement of their intent to hand over all product warranties to you upon completing the project.
- A list of subcontractors hired to work on your home may also be listed.
- An outline of how facilities and utilities will be used with regards to water, electricity, washroom and storage space for materials.
- A statement about whether you will permit the contractor to display a sign that promotes their services while they are working on your project.
- Specifications about who is going to obtain permits and inspections. Professional contractors usually obtain them; but, ultimately, they are your responsibility unless laid out as part of the contract.
- Terms of payment that set out the total contracted price plus a payment schedule (whether in regular intervals or when certain milestones have been reached), how much deposit is required when the contract is signed, when the balance is due and who is responsible for any taxes.
- A provision for holdbacks (a percentage of the payments that you hold back for a specified length of time) to guarantee that subcontractors are paid in case the contractor doesn’t pay them. This protects you against subcontractors who may place a lien on your property to recover their pay.
- Lump-sum allowances in the contract price that are allocated for items selected directly by you such as flooring, fixtures or special materials.
- The amount set aside for dealing with contingencies. These are unexpected items that the contractor won’t be able to gauge properly until the work is in progress. If this amount is not needed, you won’t be billed for it.
- In the event of a conflict, a plan for dispute resolution should be laid out which names a third-party arbitrator or stating that both parties agree to binding arbitration.
- Now that you have taken everything into consideration regarding your outdoor living space, it is safe to decide who is to do the job, whether that is you or a professional contractor. We hope that the information that we have provided will help you to make the best possible decision for the best possible outcome.
- Even if you decide that you are going to hire a contractor or aren’t quite sure if you are going to do so, the next page, “Need a Contractor,” might be just the one to help you in your decision-making process. It will give you more information about whether to hire someone and, if so, who you should hire.