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alanp 02-01-2012 7:05 PM

home remodeling contract question
my home is being restored due to some water damage. what type of language should be in the contract regarding a timeline, or is it even appropriate? its a rather large job(replacing all subfloors and hardwood on the bottom level of the home) but i dont want the job to drag on. can there be penalties for the contractor not doing a the job in a reasonable amount of time?

psudy 02-02-2012 8:01 AM

two weeks.

alanp 02-02-2012 9:53 AM

paul i may not have given the scope of work out entirely. replace subfloor and hardwood(about 1800 sq ft on bottom floor) replace gas furnace and hvac) replace 3 rooms worth of drywall, refinished the stair railing and steps to match the new new flooring. repaint 5 rooms. id love it to take 2 weeks, do you still think thats reasonable?

buffalow 02-02-2012 10:25 AM

BOTTOM LINE - YES - You need a contract for EVERY single vendor or the GC. More importantly - Triple check their (the GC and the subs) insurance and if they are filing preliminary notices. Last thing you want is a general contractor that hires uninsured subs that end up trying to lien your house down the line. DO NOT let them on your property without proper insurance, no matter what.

The language of the contract can be very simple. The more detail you put on it, the more your are protected. Go ahead and put a reasonable time frame on there. I can see that if you are going to penalize (liquidated damages) than why not also reward for beating the time frame? the only downfall there is getting less quality than you expected, but if the contract is crystal clear, you will be in good shape.You talked it out along the way, this will be good for both of you.

Figure on 2-3 times the cost you expect/budget and at least twice as long as you expect. This is being conservative as they generally go 3 times over and 3 times the length no matter what you do. Best case you come under time and under budget, worse case you hit those marks.

Like a marriage, communication is key. I would plan on having a meeting every morning with my GC. I would document everything, including pictures along the way. This will come in handy I promise. If he can not be there, maybe a webchat or something. Eye to Eye is key in this relationship.

You can be a nice, but picky guy. If you are not happy, express it and more often than not you can fix things as they move along.

I am sure there are websites that you can get a simple contract like this for free.

Good luck and I am always here if you need help.

I know this all seems petty and not necessary, but I assure you it is. What's the worse than can happen if you go through all these steps and yoru guy does and amazing job. You got lots of cool pictures showing the transformation.

I am not in the residential furnace business any more, but if you are in California I can recommend a few guys.

patrick232 02-02-2012 10:39 AM

I will second the comment from Jason. We had our basement flood and had 2 companies quote the cleanup, 2 different companies quote the repair. It was to good seeing the difference in the quotes and the estimate from the Insurance company. Spent many hours on the phone for the repair, picked the best one after reading reviews. Guess what the first day of the repair they sent in subs, not what I agreed for. This caused a week delay. Still not 100% happy with the repair to the drywall. Matching old to new drywall is hard when all the lighting is from overhead, can't feel the difference, but can see it.

psudy 02-02-2012 11:11 AM

That was a quote from "The Money Pit"

Each contractor is different. Yes, get a contract.

norcalrider 02-02-2012 12:36 PM

This Jason nailed it. You can certainly include monetary penalties if you see fitting.

02-02-2012 1:47 PM

My dad is a retired contractor. Actually at one time he was part of the largest non-union residential contracting companies in IL. That lasted until he came to work one day and all his equipment was destroyed including over $1 million dollars in heavy equipment. The only thing found at the scene was sign that said "Union Contractors Build Quality", he sold his part of the company the next day... Anyhow, he sometimes used this contract as a starting point..


flattirenotube 02-02-2012 3:03 PM

I work for one of the largest GC's in the country. Jason is exactly right about putting everything in writing, including scope of work and schedule. I concure with the photo statement as well. As easy is it is to take digital photos these days, it is really a no brainer. Also make sure almost all communication should be in writing. Handshakes and verbal deals unfortunately don't cut it anymore, in case of any trouble. I know that you won't have drawings or specifications that an architect will provide, but I do have a suggestion on making sure you don't have costs overruns. Make sure that they line item out what material they will be using, so that they can't over run thier pricing on it. Any decent contractor should be able to tell you what it is that they are using so that they can't up the price for cheaper material. A typical line item in our contract would read somehting to the effect of "furnish and install material and labor per project drawings and specifications". Instead of using this terminalogy, you could say something to the effect of "provide XXXX material and labor to install" This will allow you to know exactly what you are getting and they can't say that they used a more expensive material. They should have known. Also try and make sure they don't try and substitute a cheaper material. I know it is a simple basement remodel, and I am coming from a much larger scale, but there is no reason that you cannot be specific and protect yourself.

alanp 02-02-2012 6:33 PM

1 Attachment(s)
here is what was submitted to the insurance company. there are a number of changes that will be updated soon( a wall is being taken down and hardwood is going throughout the house). are we to specify what exact hardwood is going down and all other materials?

scotthons 02-03-2012 1:53 PM

Have them provide a performance and payment bond naming you as the obligee. This will not only help protect you, but also help eliminate non qualified contractors.

flattirenotube 02-03-2012 3:34 PM

They actually do a pretty good job of laying out what they are going to be doing and giving you a budget of what their bid is based on. I would say that they would probably give a choice of materials that fit in that budget. Once you have decided on what exactly they are going to be installing I would say to put that in the language of the contract.

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