What to look for in a General Contractor Agreement?

4 Replies

After interviewing eight different GCs (not quite as many as @Alex Pereira  who interviewed 20 for his project), I've finally found a winner and will be reviewing / signing the agreement tonight.

Any advice on things that should definitely be IN and things that should definitely be OUT of the agreement? Other helpful hints?

This is my first time working with a GC, so your counsel is much appreciated!

Thanks!

Mark...

Originally posted by @Mark J. :

After interviewing eight different GCs (not quite as many as @Alex Pereira  who interviewed 20 for his project), I've finally found a winner and will be reviewing / signing the agreement tonight.

Any advice on things that should definitely be IN and things that should definitely be OUT of the agreement? Other helpful hints?

This is my first time working with a GC, so your counsel is much appreciated!

Thanks!

Mark...

 My 02, IN Things: Make sure the Agreement has a provision for the GC to provide his/her License Number/expiration date as part of the contract.  (You'd be surprised how many "Contractors" will provide bids when requested and not have a valid license even though that was a bid requirement.); contains a specific start date and end date with specific penalties for each day/week over the end date; very detailed Scope of Work; an agreed upon form/method to request budget or time overruns; a specific schedule for Progress Payments (i.e. 30% to begin, 30% at middle, 30% at end, 10% holdback to pass inspections/occupancy); responsibility regarding permits/licenses, insurance, subs.  Say No to one sided Indemnification or Hold harmless clauses - should be mutual.  

@David Begley  -- thank you! That is fantastic information. Printing your post now!

I've used the same GC on my past few projects.  He used to laugh at me because my agreement was so long.  We'd have a quarrel about something, and I ask what does the SOW state?  that usually ended the quarrel.

Be very specific.  If you have a particular faucet you want, put the SKU.  The biggest thing I learned (the hard way), if you want something kept, like the existing tile tub enclosure, put that in there.  That was about a $1000 mistake.  Here is what I put in for a hallbath.  I have a parts list & color list separately.  I am not saying mine is anything magical and i am sure it can be improved upon.

Hall Bath

Remove existing flooring and replace with tile & grout to be chosen by company

Removed existing wall tiles around tub, repair/replace any moisture resistant wall board, retile walls with design and tile chosen by company.

Paint and prime cabinets inside and out

Replace cabinet hardware

Replace existing vanity tops and replace with granite top, new sink and sink fixtures

Replumb sink & sink fixture supply lines and drains if necessary

Install new door hardware

Install new door

Install new toilet and toilet seat

Refinish (not just spray) existing tub to white

Retain existing wall mirror

Replace existing ceiling light and exhaust fan. Tie exhaust fan into existing exhaust vents

Replace light switches and switch covers

Replace electrical plugs and plug covers

Look in the fileplace under contracts.  Towards the end is JScott's Independent Contractor agreements.  that is what I use and I modify as I learn to add something new.

@Shawn Thom  Thanks for the advice. You're exactly right-- the devil is in (or at least laying in wait) the details. I like the idea of a parts list. I'll work on that.

THANKS!

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