Home Building Contract Checklist

Key Items in a Home Building Contract

By Mark J. Donovan

Besides a full set of home addition plans to work from you need a formal written building contract in place between you and the home remodeling contractor.

Up front the contract should spell out who the parties are in the contract, namely your name and the contractor’s name and business. In addition, it should be dated and summarize the purpose of the building contract, e.g. to build a home addition onto a home located at your particular address.

Finally, the construction contract should be signed and dated by both you and the home building contractor at the end of the contract.

Also, if there are multiple pages to the construction contract it should be initialed and dated on each page of the contract. Summarized below are the additional items in the construction contract checklist.

The Work Phases – Each major phase of the home building construction should be spelled out clearly.

If any demolition work is necessary prior to actual construction it should be specified upfront. It should also spell out who is actually performing the work in each phase of the project and who will be ultimately responsible for final touch ups and completing the punch out list after the job is completed.

Building Schedule – The building contract should also specify a timeline for the completion of the project and every major phase associated with it.

The overall project and each major phase should include specific start and stop dates, and if any penalties will be imposed for not completing on time.

Cost of Construction Project – The construction contract should specify the schedule of payments and the overall cost of the project. 

Home Addition Bid Sheets

The schedule of payments should be tied to the completion of certain milestones, and to yours and the building inspector’s satisfaction. By paying after work is completed you have more leverage in ensuring the work gets done correctly and on time.

Construction Materials – Every set of quality construction or home addition plans should include a materials list. The material list should spell out exactly what construction materials to be used, including brand names, model numbers, dimensions, style and colors. The home addition contract should either include this same information or reference the construction plans material list explicitly.

Jobsite and Jobsite Maintenance – The work area and space required for building the home addition or home should be specified in the building contract.

In addition it should spell out how the jobsite will be maintained and cleaned. A good contractor will include language that specifies the jobsite will be broom cleaned at the end of each day and that a dumpster will be located on the jobsite for holding trash.

building a gable dormer addition

The home building contract should also specify that the contractor will be responsible for maintaining a clean and neat work area and that he is responsible for trash removal.

Construction Warranties – With every construction or home construction contract there should be some language about a warranty, regardless if there will be one or not. This way you’ll know clearly what, if any, type of warranty you are getting. 

Verbal or somehow implied warranties mean very little, so getting it clearly specified in the contract is your best bet.

Liability – Every home building contract should also include a copy of the contractor’s insurance certificate.

Make sure that the date of expiration is also included on it and that it is well out beyond the expected date of completion of the work.

In addition, the home building contract should also include language that states that the contractor will not hold the homeowner liable for anything in the event of a personal injury or property damage while working on your home construction project.

For more help on either hiring a general contractor or acting as your own general contractor see my home addition and home remodeling bid sheets. They can save you a fortune by helping you to properly plan your home construction project and hire the right general contractor and/or subcontractors.

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