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Question DetailsAsked on 4/7/2013

What type of language is recommended in a contract to ensure timely completion of a basement renovation project?

The contract stipulates the payment schedule and the fact that the final 25% isn't due until the job is completed but I am wondering if that is enough. I don't want the contractor to rush at the expense of quality but I also don't want it to drag on or get delayed because the contractor is busy with other work. Is it common or wise to have either incentives or disincentives based on timeliness of the job completion for something like a basement remodeling job? I have been told to expect the job to take approx 6 weeks. The job includes adding an egress window, moving and roughing in a full bath and complete finishing of a 1200 sq ft basement including painting, trim, and flooring.

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2 Answers


Do talk with the contractor about your concerns, before you start independently adding "incentive/disincentive" terms to the contract. One of the most important "elements" of the written contract is that you and your contractor have a good business relationship, from the beginning.

Wittholding 25% to be paid at successful completion of the job (i.e., to your satisfaction) should be a sufficient incentive. If you're really concerned about the "success" of changes you can't actually see or understand, hire an independent inspector to write off on the work. This is something you might stipulate in the contract.

However, you will probably need a building permit, which the contractor should provide. After the work is complete, an inspector from the local regulatory authority will inspect the work to see that it meets local building codes.

Answered 7 years ago by Oleron


Is the contract already signed and in place? If so, it is probably to late to change terms. If not, you should discuss possible incentives with the contractor to achieve a desired completion date. A 25% final payment is very high - most contracts specify 10% - so there already is a large incentive in place to finish as agreed. Six weeks seems a reasonable time to do the work.

Check the progress every few days to verify work is occurring, and stay in contact with the contractor every few days so that no surprises occur for either party.

If you get to week four of the six week project, and there are four weeks of work left to do, press the panic button and get help ASAP from Angie's List, other trusted contractors or friends. Best wishes for success.

Answered 7 years ago by Second Century Homes

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