Contractor Default can be avoided.
Rule One: Develop complete plans and specifications before you start any work.
Specify everything, such as appliance and fixture make and model, size, color, construction materials, mechanical and plumbing equipment and installation requirements, prevailing code information.
When specific information is unavailable, include generic information and an allowance provision.
Rule Two: Require a stipulated sum agreement with a single contractor.
Require that the contractor give you a fixed price for the construction or remodeling.
Dont hire multiple contractors or tradesmen. You need a single entity to be responsible for the entire job.
Rule Three: Dont let payment to the contractor outpace the value of the completed work.
The contractor will need to be paid as the construction progresses. A workable schedule of payment should provide for a nominal sum at the time of agreement or start of work, stages of payment based on the value of the completed work, and final payment upon completion. Stage and final completion requirements should be clearly defined.
Rule Four: Dont supply materials or fixtures.
Require the contractor to provide them. The price may appear lower if you provide them, until you become, arguably, responsible for delay or quality. If the contractor installs your item with hidden damage, such as a jetted tub or kitchen appliance, you may not have a reasonable expectation of repair or replacement at the contractors expense. If a delivery is delayed, whose responsibility is it to do the due diligenge necessary to track it down? If lumber dissappears, who's problem will it be? Your contractor, as a professional is the most able to deal with jobsite management, losses or mistakes. After all, it's what the contractor does. Put the risk on the contractor, that's what you pay for.
Rule Five: Maintain a businesslike relationship with the contractor.
Always make a paper trail. Document payments, changes and progress. Require proof of insurance. Require that the contractor apply for and obtain all building permits, and pay all permit fees.
Rule Six: Dont hire friends or family if it will keep you from following any of the first five rules.
Look for PlansNSpecsDOTcom online.
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