As I sit down to write my annual list of resolutions for contractors, I am amazed at how much things changed in 2020. Construction was going well and then, in March 2020, COVID-19 hit. At first, we thought it was going to be a disaster for the construction industry. States, cities and towns shut down projects and many applied for PPP loans. Then, something amazing happened. Construction was considered an essential service and everyone was back to work.  That said, the work world changed: companies were donating their PPE to frontline workers, COVID-19 protocols had to be followed and paperwork had to be filed. Everyone was scrambling to figure out how to comply and keep their businesses going. So, you may or may not ask, what was I, as a construction lawyer doing? I spent March and April thinking about the new risks contractors/construction companies were facing and developing contract clauses to protect the industry. I wrote a number of blog posts with clauses to add to your contra

Why You Need a Good Renovation Contract

An old post that is worth re-publishing:

I just had a great experience as a lawyer last week. A client called and he was not unhappy. In fact, he was about to start a home renovation project, and was really looking forward to it. He found a contractor he liked, and he and the contractor were working together collaboratively. A colleague suggested to him that he come see me to draft their contract. It certainly made sense.

For less than 1/2% of the value of the project, we hammered out a contract that spelled out the understanding of the parties. It is in compliance with local law, so the contractor is protected. In fact, the homeowner told me that the contractor was willing to chip in and help pay for my fee. Discussing the contract terms helped the homeowner further define the scope of the project and a realistic payment schedule.

We discussed what would happen if change orders were necessary and how they would be handled. The homeowner decided what would constitute an unreasonable delay. Problems were anticipated and dealt with preemptively.

This experience was in huge contrast to the usual scenario in my practice. I receive a call from a desperate contractor or homeowner and things are going terribly wrong. It is usually too late to get the project back on course, and on some level, everybody loses. That is why I started this blog; to serve as preventative medicine, and to encourage more people to take my client's approach from last week. This may be the best money he has spent so far to ensure a successful home improvement project.

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