Undertaking a renovation is a big step, and one that should not be taken lightly. And the contract that binds the client to the contractor is equally important. Having a written contract gives you clarity, structure, and peace of mind that the renovation you want is being conducted according to your specifications and desires. A written contract spells out the arrangements between you and your contractor and describes your renovation in detail. It also provides protection for you in the event of delay, damage, or disagreement during the renovation process. Always ensure to take control over your renovation with a written contract.
DO I NEED A CONTRACT?
Yes. Always. Size doesn’t matter; even the smallest job needs to be detailed in a written contract. As soon as you have decided on your home renovation and have found your contractor, it is time to write out the details of what you want and how the contractor is going to provide what you want. A written contract is a vital component to your renovation experience; it is a legally binding document that ensures your renovation unfolds according to plan and offers you protection in the event that the plan veers off course.
A detailed contract reduces confusion and misunderstandings, and creates the basis for a good working relationship between you and your contractor. A contract also reduces your risk by safeguarding you from financial loss or personal liability in the unlikely (though possible) case of an accident, injury, delay or disagreement during the renovation process. Doing your homework and being informed on the type of renovation you want, the contractors suitable and available to you, the licences, the permits, applicable codes, etc. will ensure that you create a contract that is clear and relevant and suits your requirements.
THE DEVIL IN THE DETAILS
The principles of a contract must detail the full scope of work, including (but not limited to): a start and completion date for the project; a stage by stage outline of the project including all the materials to be used; the quality of work agreed upon and expected to be maintained throughout the project as well adherence to applicable provincial building codes; the terms of payment, which may include a deposit and payment schedule; how alterations to the projects are to be priced and the circumstances in which the completion date may be changed; a clear description of all warranties, explaining exactly what is covered and for how long; a list of any permits and licences required and who is responsible for obtaining them; a list of sub-contractors and who is responsible for their quality of work and payment; and a clause stipulating how disputes will be dealt with both during the project and after the contractor has finished work.
On some projects you and your contractor will be able to complete the documentation without the assistance of a third party. Larger projects may require additional documents, such as drawings and plans, which should be attached and become part of the contract. If the details become too complex you may wish to have the draft contract reviewed by a lawyer before signing.
As for payment, you can work on a fixed price for the project or work on the basis of an estimate, with the contractor charging an actual costs plus a fee. Payment terms, including a deposit, should always be decided upon before work begins. Keep receipts for all payments, and any change orders if you decide to alter your renovation plans.
PARTNER WITH A PROFESSIONAL
Dealing with a professional renovator is absolutely essential in getting the job done right. A professional renovator will carry workers’ compensation, liability insurance, any licenses required by your province, and will always encourage a written contract, because they know this to be an indispensable part of good business practices. It protects them as well as you, their valued client.
Having a written contract is a clear indication that you are working with a professional renovator, and though it will not absolutely guarantee a trouble-free project it does establish a framework for dealing with issues that arise. So never underestimate the power of the written word, and get any and all major decisions concerning your renovation detailed in a clearly written contract, agreed upon and signed by yourself and your contractor. Take the time, do the research, and make a concerted effort to ensure your written contract is the blueprint to your renovation success.
Accent Renovations is an award-winning interior and exterior renovation specialist proudly serving Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley. Contact us today to learn how we can make your next renovation project a reality.