Why Have A Construction Contract?

By Robert Robillard on Contractor Advice

Construction Contract

Thinking about hiring a contractor to work on your home?

Always ask for a detailed written construction contract, even for small projects. It will protect you and help ensure that you and the contractor understand the scope of the job and the price.

Massachusetts State law requires that home improvement construction contracts over $1,000 be in writing. If contractors violate this provision, their registration may be suspended or revoked, and they can be fined or face criminal prosecution.

Be sure the contract contains:

1. The identification of the contractor, including the contractor’s registration number;

2. Total price of the work;

3. The payment schedule;

4. A provision for changes or “extras”;

5. A detailed list of specifications/materials;

6. Start and completion dates;

7. A copy of the contractor’s insurance;

8. A permit notice warning you that if you secure your own building permit or deal with unregistered contractors, you will not be eligible for the Guaranty Fund;

9. A 3-day cancellation notice, informing you of your right to cancel your contract if you signed the agreement in your home, or at a place other than at the contractor’s office or business; and

10. Other details particular to your job especially relating to job site access and safety of non-workers.

Be sure the contractor obtains the building permit.

If you apply for the permit, you may not be eligible for compensation from the Guaranty Fund.

A word on deposits:

By law, the contractor cannot collect more than one-third of the cost of the contract in advance, unless special order materials are needed.

Breaking down the contract:

The law requires the following FOURTEEN items to be included in any contract between a homeowner and a registered home improvement contractor for home improvement work subject to MGL c. 142A: Click here to see them.

For more information on Home Improvement Contracting, click here.

~ concord carpenter

Source: Mass.gov/Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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