INTEGRITY LAW – Your Construction Law Firm
The 10 Commandments of a Construction Contract in Virginia, or
The quickest way for a contractor NOT to get paid
I have seen it too many times. Contractor clients who missed what seemed to be “ticky-tack” requirements for a construction contract in Virginia. It had nothing to do with their workmanship. The workmanship was just fine. But it ended up with their homeowner clients getting thousands of dollars in work they didn’t have to pay for, or discipline from the Board for Contractors, or both.
And time after time, the contractor could have protected himself with a very small investment in having an attorney review his form contract, to make sure it met state requirements.
If you’re going to invest the time and labor to own your own contracting business, DON’T ignore the 10 Commandments of Construction Contracts in Virginia.
Here are the 10 things EVERY construction contract for general contractors in Virginia must have:
1. When work is to begin and the estimated completion date;
2. A statement of the total cost of the contract and the amounts and schedule for progress payments including a specific statement on the amount of the down payment;
3. A listing of specified materials and work to be performed, which is specifically requested by the consumer;
4. A “plain-language” exculpatory clause concerning events beyond the control of the contractor and a statement explaining that delays caused by such events do not constitute abandonment and are not included in calculating timeframes for payment or performance;
5. A statement of assurance that the contractor will comply with all local requirements for building permits, inspections, and zoning;
6. Disclosure of the cancellation rights of the parties;
7. For contracts resulting from a door-to-door solicitation, a signed acknowledgment by the consumer that he has been provided with and read the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation statement of protection available to him through the Board for Contractors;
8. Contractor’s name, address, license number, class of license, and classifications or specialty services;
9. A statement providing that any modification to the contract, which changes the cost, materials, work to be performed, or estimated completion date, must be in writing and signed by all parties; and
10. Effective with all new contracts entered into after July 1, 2015, a statement notifying consumers of the existence of the Virginia Contractor Transaction Recovery Fund that includes information on how to contact the board for claim information.
Whatever you do, DON’T commit the “unpardonable sin” of construction law: NEVER agree to a change order without putting it in writing. If you do, and the homeowner objects to paying you for the extra work, it is highly likely that you just did that extra work for free.
Virginia law is very friendly to homeowners – and very harsh toward contractors.
YOU WORK TOO HARD TO TAKE CHANCES WITH YOUR BUSINESS! Come see us at Hometown Law for a free consultation. For a very small investment in a contract review, you could save thousands on your next project. We’ll make sure your contract is in compliance, or even draft a new form contract for you.
We also handle construction lawsuits, for both contractors and homeowners. Trust Hometown Law for all your construction law needs.