A contract is essential to your building project and in the long run is the only document that can really protect you, so make sure you get a contract in place with your builder before you start. Some things you should be aware of:

         Go with a fixed price, not a time and materials contract. The fixed price is the guaranteed price that the contractor must adhere to while a time and materials contract allows them to bill as they go based on how much time and materials they spend. The latter can become very hard to control and costly.

         Include start and finish dates

         Include an overall schedule of progress and billing schedule so you know ehen you should be billed throughout the process.

         Including a section on dispute resolution, for example, Arbitration can be a much faster and less costly process

         Include warranties and time to correct deficiencies. Ensure you put in a clause re: holdbacks which allow you to retain a percentage of the final bill to cover construction deficiencies.

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