What would you put in your contract (that maybe you didn't)

raee_gwJune 24, 2013

As I go along in this process, and read on this forum, I think of things that I perhaps should have specified in the contract with the GC that didn't even cross my mind at the time. Have you any items that you would advise others to think about and specify? Are some of these too detailed for the contract?

Some of these are items that have been a problem, others are items that I didn't specify but luckily have been taken care of anyway in what I think is the proper way but worried about at the time.

Maybe some of these things are also things that the HO can do to hold down costs:

Dust control during demolition and sanding, trash removal, debris removal

What is to be done with the removed appliances, cabinets, sink etc ( if some can be salvaged and used, sold or donated)

Clean-up -- especially after the drywall sanding (the GC is making them come back to do it, fortunately!)

Permits and inspections -- who will get them

Meeting code requirements for electrical and plumbing

Just exactly what the GC is responsible for (payment, permits, quality control etc) and when he will do it, will he visit the job, how often

Are the workers subcontractors or the GC's own employees

What time will the workers be there each day, and for how long (variances subject to notification and agreement)

Who will provide what materials

an approximate timeline for the work -- including when HO will do some things (paint, for example)

Just where the outlets and switches will be placed, with what orientation (ie 2" above counter lever with horizontal orientation)

Placement of light fixtures, how many, what type to accommodate what kind of lights (CFL, LED) and size

Flooring replacement: what kind of flooring material, is it to be level with the flooring in other rooms, will door trim need to be cut or repaired, will the flooring be extended under the dishwasher/sink cabinets.

If insulation has to be removed, how and with what will it be replaced (I had foam insulation in the walls; the guy bluntly refused to install new foam while the walls were open but did put in fiberglass batting)

If wall/ceiling material has to be removed (in my case it was cement board) what will it be replaced with (again in my case, waterproof since it was under the bath) and how finished (paint ready, for tile, etc)

Who will move and re-install appliances to be re-used

How will flooring in both the work area and other traffic areas be protected

If there is something TBD, like exactly how many cans in the ceiling, address either the additional charge for more or discount for less

What kind of trim, baseboard, window, windowsill -- if matching existing, new, re-using, repairing

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You need to watch for putting too much of the design in the actual contract. You'll be bound to that decision which could end up being a problem if you later change your mind. On the other hand, if you're exactly positive then it could be a good thing.

I hired an architect first (or a KD could do the same) who specified high-level what was needed, for purposes of a quote. That included preliminary decisions around appliances, just for pricing purposes (they weren't what we picked in the end.) The estimate came in based on that document. I then attached my initial spec in as an Appendix, then had some wording talking about how to negotiate changes to the preliminary scope.

To me things like where to put electrical wall switches, etc. shouldn't go in without some proviso saying you're free to make final determinations later. Do you want to be bound now to the decision you make in these cases before you start the work?

It's important to work though changes in scope and impact on cost. Unless your design is really complete or unless you've done this before a few times, it's unlikely your final price will be what you're quoted now unless they come in with a fixed bid (which I'd argue isn't in your best interest unless you have no ability at all to go beyond your set price limit).

If your planned interaction with the GC will be minimal (e.g. you won't be in the building or need to rely on specs to communicate decisions) then I'd put the specificity in specs and refer to the spec documents.

Permitting, code compliance, etc. are all very good things to have in the contract -- for me they were drawn up in my architect (or KD) initial drawing / spec. Payment plan is also important (at what milestones do you release portions of payment). Also, I'd include the prime / sub contractor relationship (or say that all payments go only to the prime) and ensure that you'll have lien waivers to protect you in the future.

This post was edited by calumin on Mon, Jun 24, 13 at 16:10

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 4:02PM
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