Construction Contract Clauses

Too often, homeowners come to see me concerning problems they are having   with a contractor.
The first thing I ask to see is their construction contract. Usually, there are important provisions missing from the contract – provisions that the Virginia Administrative Code requires to be in the contract. Specifically, 10 items are supposed to be in the contract. Here are the most important, in my opinion:

a. When work is to begin and the estimated completion date;

b. A statement of the total cost of the contract and the amounts and schedule for progress payments including a specific statement on the amount of the down payment;

e. A statement of assurance that the contractor will comply with all local requirements for building permits, inspections, and zoning;

h. Contractor’s name, address, license number, class of license, and classifications or specialty services;

i. A statement providing that any modification to the contract, which changes the cost, materials, work to be performed, or estimated completion date, must be in writing and signed by all parties;

I would require an 11th item, and it would be first item in the list: the contract should have a clear statement of the Scope of Work the contractor is to perform. The parties have to agree on what the contractor is going to build for the price stated. I could say pages more, but the Scope of Work will be the subject of a future post on this site.

So, if you are about to sign a contract with a contractor, make sure these items are clearly stated in the contract. If they are missing, ask the contractor to include them, or write them in yourself. They will help protect your contract rights if, unfortunately, you have a dispute with the contractor.

For more information please contact David Zobel