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Should I Sign a Contract? Part 2

This is Part 2 of the two part series on contracts and appointments. If you've not seen it, check out Part 1 here.

Building Contracts are the second type of agreement you're likely to come across when doing works on your home. This is the contract you will have with your builder or contractor, and it's really important to be aware of it.

Firstly, it's worth pointing out that once again this will be a scary contract but it will help lay the ground rules right from the beginning. You might feel a temptation to think "I wouldn't sign a contract if I hired a plumber or an electrician, so I'm not going to worry about one now" or that in asking for one you might come across as pushy. I can understand this reaction, but it's important to separate major building work from small scale jobs.

Building Contracts are the norm in any commercial construction and with good reason. They will describe the scope of works, the desired finishes, the date of completion and for larger projects any intermediate milestones. When there is one contract in place with one contractor, that means the client has one port of call for any questions or problems that may arise. This makes things much easier to deal with if problems arise, and is so much more thorough than having an agreement over a couple of emails, or worse still a verbal agreement and a handshake.

So be sure to treat your home build project in a way it deserves - as a professional construction project. Your Architect should be able to advise on what kind of contract would be suitable for you, and definitely talk to your builder about it. If you want to learn more, one of the best places to go is the JCT website. JCT contracts are the industry standard, and they provide a range of Building Contracts depending on project size - why not check out the Home Owner Contracts.

So now you know, contracts aren't that scary. In fact it's much scarier to go ahead with a major construction project without one. Just remember to talk to the people involved about it, and don't be afraid to ask about putting one in place.

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