Prior to signing a contract with a CT home improvement contractor to either construct a room addition, remodel a kitchen, bathroom or any other type of remodeling project you want to protect yourself by placing yourself in a more favorable position.

Below are some examples, each illustrating contrasting scenarios that ultimately will make the difference between final outcomes.

1. Language in contract for disbursement of payments

Good ExampleCompletion  of framing. * Completion  of roofing. * Completion  of rough heating. * Completion  of rough electrical. * Completion  of vinyl siding & installing windows.
Bad ExampleStarting  of framing. * Starting  of roofing. * Starting  of rough heating. *Starting of roughelectrical. *Starting of vinyl siding & installing windows.
Ugly ResultsContractor can start many phases of the project and complete none. You’ll pay a greatpercentage of cost with a lot of work still remaining.
Best OutcomeYou want to be assured money paid is in proportion to work rendered. You want to assure contractor hasan incentive to finish and you'll have adequate remaining balance for leverage should certain work need to be corrected .

2. Language in contract incase additional work will be required / requested.

Good Example*If any existing plywood has to be replaced it would cost $ 2.00 a square foot. * If a second coat of paint is required it would cost additional $ 125.00 in bedroom and $ 150.00 in living room. This includes cost of paint. * If additional recess lights are requested it would cost additional $ 75.00 each, including fixture.
Bad Example*Additional cost if any plywood needs to be replaced. * Additional cost if bedroom and or living room needs a second coat of paint. * Additional cost if more recess lights are requested.
Ugly ResultsContractor has the leverage and can name their price when you’re in a vulnerable situation.
Best OutcomeHomeowner has leverage prior to signing contract and prices are negotiable thus more reasonable.


3. Language in contract if Building, Electrical or Heating Inspectors request additional work beyond contract specifications.

Good Example* Include the phrase “All work will meet code requirements “
Bad Example* Not inserting this phrase.
Ugly ResultsContractor can specify in contract that their providing ( for example ) 2” x 8” floor joist, R-19 fiberglass insulation , 2” x 6” rafters, 10 electrical wall outlets, 10’ linear feet of base board heat, etc.
Best OutcomeIf any Inspector request an upgrade in size or amounts you can’t be charged extra. The phrase “All work will meet code requirements “will supersede both contract language and contractors mistake/omission.


4. Don't assume certain work will be provided. (Certain examples when building a multi-room addition)

Good ExampleGood Example

Electrical work  includes (1) Install exhaust unit in ceiling of bathroom. (2) Install ceiling fixture in both bedrooms, (3) Install 1 telephone & cable jack in each bedroom. (4) Install spot light on exterior gable wall. (5) Install wall outlet in walk-in closet. (6) Install a recess light in ceiling of shower stall. (7) Install light over medicine cabinet. (8) Install doorbell for rear exterior door.

Heating work  includes (1) Installing a separate zone. (2) Install digital thermostat.

Carpentry work  includes (1) Gutters & leaders. (2) Plywood sheathing on walls. (3) Install 35 year warranty roof shingles. (4) Install a walk-up folding stairs to attic.

Bad Example*All Electrical work will be to code.

*All Heating work will be to code.

*All Carpentry work will be to code.
Ugly ResultsAll Good Examples  mentioned above (8 in electrical, 2 in heating & 4 in carpentry) are not required by code. No exhaust unit required if bathroom has a window. Rooms can be illuminated by your lamp being plugged into a wall outlet. Other electrical works mentioned are options. Heating could be connected to existing ductwork; Gutters are an option and not a requirement. You can use “Flake board “which is less than half the cost of plywood. You can use a 25 year roof shingle and install a trap door in ceiling opposed to folding stairs.
Best OutcomeDon’t assume anything. Request Ct home improvement contractor provide detailed specifications of all work.


5. Don't be misled when hiring a Home Inspector when considering purchasing a home.

Good Example*Do your own research to hire a non-bias home inspector.
Bad Example*The realtor providing or recommending a home inspector.
Ugly ResultsConflict of interest. Company recommended by realtor is not committed to looking out for your best interest. Inspection may not be thorough and inspector may be bias.
Best OutcomeResearch and hire your own home inspection company. They’ll be looking out in your best interest.


6. Don't ignore "Additional Required Work "needed during gathering of quotes.

Good Example*You’re alerted by one CT home improvement contractor that additional expensive work must also be done to conform to the proposed project.
Bad Example*The contractor your considering hiring didn’t mention such work (either they missed it or were unaware of code requirements). You didn’t disclose information because you didn’t want to increase cost of project or maybe no one else would notice.
Ugly ResultsYou disclosed nothing. Town Inspector notices violations during initial inspection or worst during final inspection and either additional work must be done or worst, new work has to be ripped down and redone to conform to code in order to receive certificate of occupancy.
Best OutcomeMention to other contractors that didn’t either include or notice other possible required work. You can also call or stop by your Towns Building Department to inquire such questions to confirm. Knowing any hidden cost prior to signing a contract is only in your best interest.