1. A.I.A. Construction Contracts: Beware

    What’s wrong with A.I.A. contracts? Nothing, unless you’re a construction contractor. I’ll explain. The A.I.A. published their first “standard” construction contract in 1888. As a construction contractor, you’ve probably seen several A.I.A. contracts. Go to the A.I.A. site and you’ll discover that A.I.A. contracts are “accepted, reliable, fair and flexible.” Fine. But here’s what the […]

  2. Change Orders: Get Paid for Extra Work

    Has there ever been a construction project that didn’t require at least one change? A contractor can go an entire career without seeing a job like that. And for good reason. Construction is too permanent and too expensive to resist making a change when the need is obvious. Take this as carved in granite: Changes […]

  3. Time and Materials Home Improvement Contracts

    Many home improvement contractors prefer to work under time and material (cost-plus) contracts. And for good reason. Surprises are common when remodeling or repairing an existing dwelling. With a cost-plus contract, a contractor doesn’t have to absorb the loss if there’s a surprise once work gets started. But there’s a problem. Six states require that […]

  4. Home Improvement Contracting in Indiana

    All states tip the playing field in favor of property owners who contract for residential work. Nearly every state requires very specific notices and disclosures in residential construction contracts. Even the slightest defect in an agreement can have consequences – fines, revocation of a license, charges for attorney fees, no right to collect or even […]

  5. Contracting in D.C. -- The Home Solicitation Sales Notice

    Not many residential contractors think of themselves as door-to-door salespeople. But the law in most states puts nearly all residential contractors in the home solicitation sales business. “So what,” you say. “I’m not doing anything shady. I deliver real value and have nothing but satisfied customers.” Maybe so. But there’s reason to be concerned and […]

  6. Construction Contracting in Maine

    The legislature in Augusta has earned a reputation for piling on law that affects construction contractors. This month’s Maine Supreme Court decision in Cellar Dwellers, Inc. v. Dominic D’Alessio, Jr. (2010 ME 32) illustrates the point. Dominic D’Alessio needed plumbing and HVAC work for the new home he was building in Brunswick, ME. The job went […]

  7. Construction Subcontract Flow-Down

    Every construction contractor and subcontractor has heard the term flow-down. A few probably feel they were washed away by flow-down. I don’t think that’s necessary and will suggest a better way. Flow-down is what general contractors do in subcontracts. They incorporate into a subcontract all the terms of the prime contract – usually by stapling […]

  8. 3-Day Right to Cancel – Contractors Beware

    Every contractor who does residential work knows about a home owner’s three-day right to cancel. But what you may not know is how vicious this innocuous little form can be. Here’s a short quiz to test your understanding. Answers are below. True or false? 1. The 3-day right to cancel is a federal notice and […]

  9. Changes in Minnesota Construction Contracts

    Every contractor who builds, repairs or remodels homes or apartments in Minnesota knows about One, Two, Ten. One: Contractors have to provide at least a one year warranty on materials and workmanship. Two: Plumbing, electrical and HVAC work require a two-year warranty. Ten: Any “major construction defect” is covered for ten years. All this is […]

  10. Maryland Custom Home Contracts

    If there’s a load limit on construction contracts, Maryland must be getting close. The legislators in Annapolis require 21 distinct notices and disclosures in custom home building contracts. As a class, buyers of custom homes in Maryland must be among the best protected anywhere. Omitting any of these disclosures carries heavy consequences. More on that […]

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