Can a construction contract protect you from defective work?

On Behalf of | May 20, 2020 | Construction Litigation

As a homeowner, when you hire someone to build an addition on your house or remodel your kitchen, you expect them to do an excellent job. You will likely be specific regarding your expectations about everything from the color to the materials used. Unfortunately, some people discover after they have paid their contractors that the work performed was not really up to their standards.

It may become necessary to bring construction defect litigation against the contractor involved in the project if they don’t agree to remedy the issue on their own. Including the right information when you initially set terms in your construction contract can help protect you from cut corners, mediocre materials and shoddy workmanship.

Your contract should include details about your expectations

Some people will make the mistake of treating an estimate like a contract, even if all it provides is a basic description of the services provided, like reflooring the house at a specific address. You will get the best protection from a written contract with very specific terms regarding the details that matter most to you.

From the thickness of the drywall to the brand of the paint or flooring, you can outline every single expectation and requirement that you have in a construction contract. That way, if the contractor charges you premium prices for knockoff products, you can demonstrate that you agreed to the installation of a specific brand, style or quality of materials.

Your contract can also protect you from unfinished work or price gouging

Some contractors will take a lump-sum of money up front, start to do work, buy some materials and then just disappear. Others may leave a project 90% done but never complete the finishing touches that would make it look like a professional job. Setting standards in your contract and having a date by which the work should be finished, with the potential for the contractor to request extensions and unforeseeable circumstances, will protect you from those who might try to take advantage of you.

Additionally, you may want to include terms in your contract about how a contractor can adjust their estimate. If the prices for certain materials go up for some unforeseeable reason or if they run into a major issue with your plumbing or electricity, they should have to comply with certain rules regarding providing you estimates and negotiating those costs with you.

If a contractor doesn’t fulfill their obligations under the construction contract, you can then use that contract to help solidify your case if you take them to court.