Do I need a contract when I use a renovation contractor?

If you’re thinking about renovating all or a part of your home, there’s a good chance you’re wondering ifyou need a contract when you hire a renovation contractor. Allowing for exceptions, you’re not required to have a contract. However, it is strongly recommended that you draw one up. Here’s why:

A contract with a renovator provides excellent protection

Although it isn’t mandatory, signing a contract with a renovation contractor before having any work done in your home can bring you the peace of mind that only a duly written agreement can offer.

A contract allows both parties to specify their terms and deadlines and to avoid numerous misunderstandings. In case of non-compliance or delays, or if a predetermined condition isn’t respected, you will have written proof that can be used in legal proceedings.

A renovation contractor’s willingness to sign a contract is also a sign of his or her professionalism. If the renovation contractor you choose tries to convince you that you don’t need a contract in order to do business together, say your goodbyes and start looking for a competent professional who recognizes the importance of such an agreement.

The secret of a successful contract

Here are a few of the elements that should be included in a written agreement:

  • A detailed work schedule and a clear description of the work to be done
  • The name and address of the company
  • A solemn declaration in which the contractor agrees to respect the standards of the National Building Code and all municipal building codes
  • The total cost of the work and the terms of payment
  • The name of the contractor’s insurance company and civil liability insurance policy number
  • A copy of the original estimate (annexed)
  • Any guarantees that are provided by the contractor in the event of a breakage or regarding cleanup after the work is done

You must both sign two copies of the agreement, one for the contractor, and one for you to keep in your files.

Evaluation and the estimation are essential

Before you sign a contract with the renovation contractor you’re hiring, you need to obtain from him or her a detailed estimate of the renovations that are to be done. This can only be done after the renovator does a close evaluation of the space to be renovated and assesses the materials required for the job. Be firm about these steps as they can help you avoid many nasty surprises. An estimate should include:

  • The total cost of the work (according to a fixed or hourly rate in conjunction with a timeline)
  • The materials that will be used to complete the renovations
  • The estimated schedule of work, including the beginning date and completion date

A bit of advice: never sign a contract under pressure. Request estimates from three different contractors as it will prevent you from paying a lot more that you should.

So, when you hire a renovation contractor, do you need a contract? If you want to ensure a job well done and on time, theanswer is a clear yes.

Do I need a contract when I use a renovation contractor?
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