Construction Contract Protections Risk or Reward?

Require construction contract

“IF YOU DON’T HAVE IT IN WRITING, YOU DON’T HAVE IT”. So read the nicely embroidered sampler in the expensive frame alone on the wall behind and above the general contractor who I was meeting for the first time. We had talked on the phone.  I had also met his general foreman. Before meeting him, I had even done the interior carpentry on forty-four of his apartments yet I had nothing in writing. While I sat, he went on about all the work he had lined up for the coming year. It seems like all I could think about was that I had nothing in writing. In addition, I knew nothing about getting anything in writing. Consequently, I investigated and studied what construction contract protections would be needed once I decided to put something in writing.

After that initial meeting and resulting contract self-education, I always prepared sub contract proposals. The proposals contained a price per square foot and/or a price per component. I also referenced the subdivision. Over the years my clientele increased and differences in how new clients managed their construction became evident. I realized that much more detail was needed in my proposals. Job site condition upon arrival, job site condition at completion, daily cleanup required clarification. In addition, material handling, material storage, material shortages, finish schedules, deadlines needed the agreement. Finally, electrical supply, toilet facilities, parking, access, pay schedules, blueprint references, blueprint changes all became items of my proposals.

From 1974 to 1978 I sometimes worked for a wage and at other times subcontracted carpentry, any sub contract agreement was probably verbal. After the 1978 meeting described above, I used increasingly defined proposals to state my intentions and expectations per job. In 1993 I transitioned to construction management.  Then I encountered a contractor issued sub contract agreement for the first time. I was the person that wrote it.

Construction Contract Protections – Whose Agreement To Use?

It became increasingly strange to me over the years that my proposals dictated what I did on general contractors’ jobs. It seemed to me that the GC would want to dictate activites on their job sites and throughout the construction process. To be safe and to avoid delays, confusion, and controversy, a good contract addresses many points. Date of contract, contractor contact information, subcontractor contact information, project name, and owner all require a place in the contract. Address dated plans and specifications, contract amount, scope and detailed descriptions of work, change order procedure, draw procedure, payment schedules. In addition, insurance (types and limits) requirements, subcontractor suppliers and tiered subcontractors, construction schedule, job site duties, on-site subcontractor supervision, prohibitions, code compliance, OSHA, job site compliance, quality of work, acceptance of work, warranty, termination of subcontract, indemnity, attorneys’ fees among other things require up front understanding.

Construction Contract Protections – Resources

You can create your own document. MS Word offers examples. A Google search for “construction contract templates” gives many choices. To be safe you might want your attorney to review any contract document. ranks first among non-ad search results. Here is the link.

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