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Hiring a Remodeling Contractor
General conditions - Page 8


by Leon A. Frechette

There are other legal rights that you may not be aware of that pertain to your contract. They are called General Conditions and should be printed on the backside of your contract.

Check with the contractor you plan to hire to see if the contract includes the summary of general conditions described below. If they are not listed, have your contractor write them into your contract. Even though some of these conditions are common practice within the industry, they should not be taken for granted. What is important is that these conditions should benefit both you and the contractor.

The full legal versions of these General Conditions are printed on the backside of Contract/Agreement, Extra Work and/or Change Order forms, and the backs of Itemized Bid Sheets found in the Contractors Helping Hands Packet.

The following summary of general conditions should be reviewed with your contractor:

1. The contractor shall provide and pay for all materials, labor, tools, and other items as necessary to complete the project. All materials shall be new and of top quality. All workmanship shall be of top quality, including workmen and subcontractors skilled at their trades.

2. All permits and licenses necessary to the completion of the project shall be secured and their cost be part of the total contract sum. Contractor shall comply with all laws and regulations bearing on the conduct of the work.

3. The contractor shall adequately protect the work and adjacent property of the owner and the public but shall be responsible only for damage or injury due to his acts of neglect.

4. The contractor must at all times permit the area of the project to be open for inspection by public authorities. Owner may inspect work only at times not to interfere with the completion of work or to cause undue risk of injury to the owner.

5. The owner may order changes in the work, the contract sum being adjusted accordingly. All such orders and adjustments shall be in writing. Claims by the contractor for extra costs not shown on the estimate/bid must be made in writing on the Extra Work and/or Change Order form and given to the owner before execution of the involved work.

6. The contractor shall re-execute any work that fails to conform to the requirements of the contract due to faulty materials or workmanship which appear within a period of one year from the date of completion of the contract. This should include the contractor, employees of the contractor, and the work done by subcontractors.

Damage due to any improper use or failures by the owner to properly maintain said item after completion of work by the contractor are expressly exempted from the limited warranty. Correction and repair of such defects under these circumstances are subject to additional charges by the contractor.

Note: For concrete work, the warranty generally covers only faulty materials or workmanship. It is hard for a contractor to warrant cracks because they are frequently caused by Mother Nature herself. If you have questions on the warranty of your concrete, I recommend that you get the professional opinion of a representative from the concrete company.

7. Should the contractor neglect to execute the work properly or fail to perform any provision of the contract, the owner, after three days' notice to the contractor and the contractor's security (if any), should terminate this agreement.

8. Should the work be stopped by any public authority for a period of 30 days or more through no fault of the contractor or should the work be stopped for a period of three days through an act or neglect by you, or if you fail to pay the contractor any payment within three days after it is due, then the contractor may, upon three days' written notice to you, stop work or terminate the contract and recover from you payment for all work executed and any loss sustained plus reasonable profit and damages.

9. Acceptance by the contractor of the final payment shall constitute a waiver of all claims by you against the contractor, other than those arising from unsettled liens or from faulty work appearing within one year (be sure to check the laws in your state regarding this warranty period). Payments otherwise due may be withheld on account of defective work not remedied or liens on contractor's labor or suppliers filed against your property. There may also be a bond the contractor has posted to protect against defects in his work.

10. Before receiving the final payment, the contractor shall deliver a release of any liens arising out of the contract including all subcontractors.

11. Time shall be of the essence in this agreement.

12. The owner has the right to have other contractors in connection with the project. If the contractor has not provided subcontractors for affected phases of the project, then the contractor shall properly cooperate with any such additional contractor(s).

13. If the contractor is delayed at any time in the progress of the work by either changes ordered in the work by the owner, fire, unavoidable casualty, or other causes beyond contractor's control, then the length of the contract should be extended for such reasonable time as the owner and the contractor agree upon.

14. I recommend that you clear the premises before the contractor executes his work in order to avoid possible damage. You may ask to hire your contractor to remove your personal property, however, you and your contractor will have to agree beforehand that you will be liable for damages to such personal property. Take the responsibility to direct the contractor of such clearing.

15. Let your contractor take all salvage and/or debris resulting from your project. If other arrangements are made, they should be contained in writing of your contract.

16. You and your contractor agree that the specifications prepared in conjunction with your contract reflect necessary labor and materials based on preliminary inspection of your premises. If after previously concealed portions of the premises have been opened for you and the contractor to inspect and further damage is discovered, then I recommend that additional labor and materials should be included in an Extra Work and/or Change Order form to be executed by you and your contractor prior to commencement of the extra work involved.

17. Ask to see the General Contractor's License and Bond Number with expiration date. Be sure to call your local Department of Labor and Industries to verify this information.

Click to Purchase

I have developed a series of legal business forms to help consumers and contractors through the bidding and contractual process. The Contractors Helping Hands Packet includes Itemized Bid Sheets along with a Contract/Agreement Sheet and an Extra Work and/or Change Order Sheet. To order your set of forms, click on purchase button to the left!

Copyright © 2006 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved. The previous article, in whole or in part, appeared
on the market in 1988 in The Helping Hands Guide To Hiring A Remodeling Contractor.

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