The best way to get the job done right when it comes to working with a General Contractor (GC), is to have every part of the deal visible and out in the open.  Following is a list of important items you should include in your contract with a GC.

Clear Description of the Scope of Work
The more detail, the better.  The scope of work is critical to any specification.  It should outline what the exact expectation for the work is.  If you want a specific type of wood trim, put it right in the scope of work.  A specific brand of lighting — name it in the scope of work.  Anything less, and you’re leaving it up to the GC to decide for you.

Payment Schedule
You should include the payment schedule for the job right in the contract with your GC.  This could include an upfront deposit, progress payments throughout the work, a holdback pending a final inspection/approval of the work, and the final payment due date — i.e. number of days after completion of the work.  Don’t leave to chance anything to do with payments.

How Change Orders are to be Addressed
The best scope of work and specification leaves no opportunity for change orders to arise.  In the real world, however, unforeseen circumstances sometimes reveal the need for some change to the work, often at additional cost to you.  Your contract should specify how change orders are to be handled — including notification, additional charges, and anything else pertaining to a change in the scope of work.

Protect Yourself from Liens
There are various ways to avoid a GC putting a lien on your house.  You can, for example:

  • Ask for proof all subcontractors have been paid before making your final payment to the GC
  • Ask for a Relief of Lien and Affidavit before making your final payment
  • Make sure your written contract includes all provisions for payments to the GC and subcontractors

Your GC’s Specific General Liability Insurance Policy
Avoid any issues down the road by insisting your contractor’s insurance information is right in the contract, current, and valid.  Don’t just take their word for it.

If you’re negotiating contracts with a General Contractor, you should get legal assistance while crafting the agreement. At Stryker Slev Law Group, our lawyers have an in-depth understanding of all facets and phases of construction, from contract negotiation to close-out. With experience on almost every type of project, we provide counsel and guidance designed to advance the interests of your business while protecting them in the event a dispute arises.  Schedule a consultation today!

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