Home Renovation

Renovations and Remodeling Contracts – What to Know

Getting a general contractor in Langley to remodel or renovate one’s home can be a tricky process

August 19, 2021
Ian Nicule
August 19, 2021

Getting a general contractor in Langley to remodel or renovate one’s home can be a tricky process, involving much back and forth interaction, much planning and handling of tasks, and transfer of funds from one party to another and then to yet others, e.g. specialists, subcontractors, and sellers.

A contract is an important document that puts into writing a detailed agreement between you and the construction company or contractor as to what is to be done, and details like what, when, how much, and which people. When working with a general contractor in Langley, it is important to know some things about contracting in advance.

Here are a few important tips to consider when establishing a contract between you and the primary contractor.

  1. Reputability

The first thing to scope out are signs of a good reputation in a general contractor in Langley. Ask for references, and check that they are licensed and insured. Check online on their website and elsewhere to get a sense of some of the feedback they have received. Check that all contractors and subcontractors have proper licensing within your city or town to do any work they will be doing. Also, make sure there are reasonable warranties in the contract for all work done, and make sure to understand what it covers and what it does not.

  1. What and When

What is to be done and when, and also what is not to be done, are important details to plan out. Outlining exactly what you want to be done, for example, a replacement of the tiles of a bathroom with certain products, but not to change the height of the floor. For timing, you should determine dates by when certain tasks should be completed, and base a payment schedule on this schedule, whereby payments are paid, progressively over time, often called “progress payments”. This is typical in renovation general contracting to prevent paying for an unfinished job, and to incentivize getting jobs done adequately and on time.

  1. How much

Cost allowances for each specific task and item used, e.g. a $4,000 maximum on a countertop, are important. An outline of costs for each task should be detailed and have a rationale for each cost. The cost generally consists of the basics of labour and materials, the necessary profit, and then allowances for contingency plans, which provide needed flexibility in funds in the event of extraneous or internal circumstances which can delay, reduce efficiency, or in other ways increase costs.

  1. “Unforeseen Conditions”

Unforeseen conditions or costs can and do happen, though sometimes the cost can end up less for a job overall. Either way, there are different agreements to handle either. First of all, there will be an unforeseen conditions clause for cases of very unpredicted costs, like a pest infestation discovered or faulty wiring discovered, which need to be addressed. Protection of requiring extra funds to be paid is typical for these circumstances.

Secondly, for slightly more predictable situations of costs going over the original budget, there are two typical general agreement types to handle such issues. One is a fixed-price contract, which is generally recommended as the more financially safe one for the hiring party, whereby if there are additional costs (e.g. labor charges, materials needed) over the original quote, then the builder has to cover them. In contrast, a cost-plus contract allows the contractor and hiring party to split the costs of going over, but also to share the savings if the job ends up costing less.

  1. Inspector Visit

Finally, the final payment should not be released until your local city or town’s inspector has visited and approved the property for occupancy. They will be able to tell if some job or task wasn’t adequately completed, thus not deserving of full payment yet.

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