10 Things to Look for in a Building Contract

It's important to have a contract in place before any building work begins. There are lots of things to consider including in your contract and some of those things could make or break your project.

The contract you sign before starting building work is the most important part of the working agreement. Your contract is what’s going to protect you in the event of something going wrong, unjustified additional costs or anything else that you need legal help with. Here are 10 things to look for in a building contract…

1. The full scope of work

Make sure that the full scope of work is agreed upon and laid out in the contract to ensure that you are getting exactly what you pay for. This minimises the chance of disputes or for anything to get forgotten about at the end of the project.  

2. When the work will start and approximate timeframe

Sometimes there are circumstances outside of a builder’s control that cause delays and the project to overrun. However, it’s still important to ensure that the start date and an estimation of how long the project is expected to take is included in the contract. That way you know where you are and what to expect along the way.

3. The cost as per the quotation (including VAT if applicable)

The price in your building contract should match the agreed price of your initial quotation. If the price has changed, make sure that you clarify exactly what has been added or taken away to influence the new price. This should always be agreed before the work begins.

4. Any guarantees included

You should always ask about any guarantees the builder offers or for any guarantees on products or materials. It’s always useful to know how and when you will be covered and this should be included in the contract.

5. Services and facilities that are available for use

Make sure you’ve got a written agreement of what services and facilities are available for use, for example toilets, parking, water supply, or storage. Anything that might be used should be covered in the contract. If you decide not to allow the use of your toilets, it may be the case that your builders will need to place a portable toilet on your land.

6. Site access and limitations

It is down to you and the builder to agree whether you will able to remain living in your home during the build, or whether you will need to find alternate accommodation. You should also determine where you are allowed access to and when. This doesn’t mean that you cannot access the areas where work is being carried out, but your contract should detail the provisions made if you are to continue living at home. For example there may be certain times when you will need to move out if your water or heating is to be cut off or if your builders need to break through any internal walls.  

7. Details for removing rubbish

There will likely be a lot of rubbish and waste that needs to be disposed of. The last thing you want when your beautiful home is finished is to be left with a pile of rubble or materials to get rid of yourself. Make sure that you agree with your builders about who is responsible for disposing of rubbish, and how long after that rubbish needs to be disposed of.

8. Stage payment plan

We always advise that you have a stage payment plan in place. It us usually a red flag if your builder refuses to have a stage payment plan in place. Your contract should outline how much is expected to be paid and when it is expected to be paid, along with any details that may affect payment responsibilities.

9. Any alterations to the contract

The procedure for any alterations that you or your builders make should always be outlined in the contract. This protects you from any changes being made without your permission or that you don’t agree with. This also protects you with being able to make changes yourself.

10. Procedure for any complaints

Although we want everything to go to plan, it might not always be the case. In the event that you are unhappy with something, you are allowed to make a complaint. To protect yourself and to ensure that your complaints and concerns are taken seriously, make sure that the procedure for complaints is outlined in your contract.

Vetted and Approved

We have finely selected building companies nationwide. Our members are strictly vetted, checked, and continuously monitored throughout their membership to ensure the highest standard of work.

Whether it’s a price for a house extension or a new build quote, we will find Master Builders who are right for you and what you want to achieve.

Unlike other associations, we don’t automatically match the builders to you. We carefully select the building company that matches your criteria. To find a builder, post your job on our website.

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