Help Writing a Contract with Stone Fabricators

athomesewingOctober 14, 2013

What should be included in a written agreement with a stone fabricator?

Agreements offered so far, have not included specifics about the scope and manner of services -- how the job would be done.

I am not comfortable with generalized agreements which say little more than "template, fabricate, and install" countertops. Should I request language that specifies work will be done to certain standards, such at the MIA?

These are just a few of the things I wonder about including in the terms of the agreement:

How under-mount sinks would be installed, including reveal styles
What reinforcement techniques would be used (if any) in areas such as the cooktop
How the edges will be finished (by hand or CNC only)
What "repairs" would be acceptable
What happens to my deposit if the slabs I have on hold are unacceptable
What happens if "my" slabs are damaged while in the possession of the fabricator.

There is a wealth of information on this forum, however I have not seen information regarding acceptable contracts from the homeowner perspective. I would like a contract with specifics so that both parties understand what the common objective is, and how it will be achieved.

Am I expecting too much?

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Sophie Wheeler

Deal with a different fabricator if the one you're dealing with doesn't have a solid contract that mentions the mutual responsibilities of each party. A good fabricator will have a "checklist" be part of the contract, where you list your particular faucet, sink, and anything else that will need to be placed in the counter. Those options will have the reveal noted, the number of faucet holes and locations noted, as well as the number of radiused edges, who's responsible for the support for the overhang, and a whole host of other things that should be in writing.

And if the fabricator you are dealing with has done good work, and has a decent but not perfect written contract, then an amendment here or there, initialed by both parties, shouldn't be a big deal.

Ultimately though, you're NOT relying on the contract to protect you in the transaction. You are relying on your research into the quality of the work that the fabricator does and has done in the past, and the reputation that he has for doing that quality work. In other words, the fabricator is the MOST important aspect of the equation, and is far more important than an air tight contract. Certainly more important than finding the least expensive quote.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 5:42PM
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Quite the opposite of what you are experiencing, our fabricator's contract was quite long and filled with details.

There was information included about the qualities inherent in natural stone (natural properties of stone, susceptible to chips, etc.), incidental damages being the responsibility of homeowner (scratches and scrapes to cabinets, paint and drywall, chips, etc.), payment schedules, dispute procedures and attorney fees, mechanics liens, etc., etc., etc.

Detailed drawings and specs were included for us to examine and sign off on. Sink reveal, how the sink would be installed, and edge detail were included.

There was a notice regarding cancellation and returns that included a statement that said the product could only be returned if "damaged beyond repair" by the fabricator or installer. If you have specific ideas about what is "damaged beyond repair," you should discuss this with the fabricator and make sure you are in agreement about exactly what that means. To me, damage beyond repair is damage that is visible even after the repair is made (as in a broken off corner that was discussed in a recent thread here). I didn't think anything about this at the time, as I assumed common sense would prevail if the slab was damaged (though I know from reading GW that is not always the case!). In any event, I wasn't worried about it since I had more slab than I needed.

Also included was a statement about workmanship saying that it would be done to industry standards and in a workmanlike manner. I was fine with that.

I had no problem with the contract at all, except the part about damage to the cabinets would be mine to remedy. So I just covered the front of all the cabinets with cardboard and taped it into place before the installers arrived so as to keep that possibility to a minimum. (Nothing was damaged by the way, at all).

I had already seen recent work done by this company on two other kitchens. Both customers were quite happy and I didn't see any reason that I wouldn't be either. All of the details that were important to me were included in the contract, but even if the contract had included much less detail, I would have still gone ahead with it because I'd already seen the guys work.

If I had run across GW BEFORE my remodel, I would most likely have been scared to death of all the things that might possibly go wrong. Fortunately, at that time, I didn't know anything about bad seams, crappy edges, damaged slabs, etc. I had seen plenty of bad sink installs and uneven reveals, though, so I made sure that my fabricator, installer, and the guy doing the templates were aware of how important it was to me that the cut out be accurate.

If you want something specific in the contract, request that it be added.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 6:28PM
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Thanks for the feedback.

Granite is one of only two things we are not doing ourselves for the remodel (the other is drywall). We want to do everything we can to get a quality install. It's not about the price, it's about convincing us that our job will be done right. For that reason I would feel a lot more comfortable with a more inclusive agreement, such as yours jellytoast.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 8:47PM
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Honestly, athomesewing, it was not the contract that made me feel comfortable, it was seeing the company's work and getting references from two people that I know personally who used them for their kitchen remodels.

(had to edit for spelling ... stupid keyboard!)

This post was edited by jellytoast on Mon, Oct 14, 13 at 22:45

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 10:06PM
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