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How to Manage Legal and Safety Issues with Your Remodeling Contractor

There are some legal and safety issues around hiring a home remodeling contractor which you should be aware of before you start. Some of them of them are self explanatory, but there are others that are easy to forget about
Legal & Safety Issues with Your Remodeling Contractor
Date Published: 01/31/2015
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There are many things to consider when hiring a home remodeling contractor to work on your home, and two key issues are the legal and the safety aspects of the home addition project. Most of us don’t like to deal with legal issues, and if you are uncertain at all, it is a good idea to seek professional legal advice.

Manage your remodeling

Manage your remodeling

Safety is of prime importance as well. You need to make sure that your property is safe whilst any remodeling or renovation work is going on. If, this is your first home addition or renovation project, there may even be some obvious things which are not apparent at first.

Top Legal and Safety Issues

There are some legal and safety issues around hiring a home remodeling contractor which you should be aware of before you start. Some of them of them are self explanatory, but there are others that are easy to forget about.

1. Pets and Children: Remodeling work does not go hand in hand with kids and pets. If, you are planning to live on site whilst your home addition is going on, you need to make sure kids and pets are safe. Depending on the size of the project, there is likely to be construction traffic and heavy materials being moved around. Kids are curious and always want to know what is going on, and pets can really get in the way. Make sure both are kept away from the work, and have their own safe area to play in.

2. Contract: Is your contract water tight? You need to make sure the contract contains as much detail as possible. It is easy to think that some information is not important, but basically everything is important. Make sure materials are specified and it is also important for the contract to contain a schedule. All professional home remodeling contractors always work to a strict schedule as they have other projects to go to. Don’t be afraid to include penalty clauses. Work running over time can be expensive, and you don’t want to end up paying for extra labor costs.

3. Physical Address: I always recommend checking that your home remodeling contractor has a physical address. It is common for less reputable contractors to use a PO Box, and this is something which should set alarm bells ringing straight away. Check your home remodeling contractor’s physical and legal address as you are more than likely committing a lot of money to your home renovation project.

4. License: Is your contractor licensed to do the work? All professional contractors will show you their license and qualifications. If your renovation contractor is a member of any associations, it is a good idea to check him out. Most of the time it is as easy as looking on the association’s web site, but I always double check the information. Send an email to the association and ask if the contractor is still a member. It may seem that you are being over cautious, but when it comes to home additions you cannot be too careful.

5. Insurance: Does your renovation contractor have the right kind of insurance? There are many different types of insurance in the building industry, and you want to make sure your remodeling contractor has a decent coverage for liability insurance and workers compensation insurance. The insurance should cover accidental damage to your property and injuries sustained to employees. You don’t want to end up footing the bill for your contractor’s employees if they injure themselves. It is easy to fall of a roof or sustain an injury from construction equipment.

6. Payment Schedule: The payment schedule should form part of the contract, but it is always best to agree it before the contract is written up. Some remodeling contractors like to work on percentages, but this is best avoided. It is much better to agree payments at certain milestones of the project.

If you are having a new garage built, you could make an initial deposit payment. The other payments could be “called off” when the floor is finished, walls are up and the roof is on. The final payment should only be made after the project is finished, and any “snagging” taken care of. Only ever pay your renovation contractor when he has finished your home addition to the standard agreed in the contract.

7. Warranty: Is your contractor prepared to offer you a warranty? Most reputable renovation contractors will offer a warranty for their work. The legal requirement for a construction warranty varies from state to state or depends on the laws in the country you live in. It is important to make yourself aware of the legal length of warranty in your state or country. If, your local remodeling contractor is not prepared to offer a warranty, you are taking a big risk with your investment.

8. Environmental Laws: Construction legalization all around the world has over recent years become very strict. It does not only cover site safety, but it now also covers the disposal and handling of materials. Make sure that your house remodeling contractor is aware of any environmental legalization which may affect the project. This may cover anything from finding asbestos, removing lead piping to the safe disposal of chip board.

You may want to do some research on the latest requirements, and discuss this with your home remodeling contractor. Include details of the safe removal and disposal of materials in your contract so there are no grey areas. A home addition project may seem a daunting task at first. In a nutshell, it is a good learning experience for other areas of your life. You can learn a lot of from being involved in a remodeling or renovation project.

However, if you feel unsure about an issue you should always ask for professional advice. Good advice can save you a lot of money, and help you to avoid many pitfalls along the way.

Financing for Home Improvement, Remodeling & Renovation

Financing for Home Improvement, Remodeling & Renovation can come in many different forms depending on a few fundamental things. For starters, you need to have an approximate idea of how much the entire project is going to cost. Then you need to take into consideration your credit rating, how much equity you may have in the house and just how much of your own money you have in hand. That being said, there are those of us who would rather not use the money we have saved up for Financing our Home Improvement, Remodeling & Renovation, in that case, these are the other options that may be available to you:

1. Home Equity Loan
This is where you borrow against the value of your house less the equity (amount of existing mortgage). You use your house as collateral and the amount borrowed as well as the interest rates are all fixed. This is particularly beneficial if you intend for the remodeling to be a one time affair. Furthermore, the interest paid on this sort of loan is tax deductible.

2. Your Credit card
Almost every homeowner has a credit card. If your remodelling or renovation is not going to cost too much, hopefully anywhere under a few thousand dollars, then you can simply put it all on your credit card. Although credit cards have a high interest rate, you will not have to pay any closing costs or loan fees. Be sure to only use this option if you are able to pay it off in a few months.

3. Your 401K
There are some 401K’s that allow you to borrow money that is to be used in your home remodeling or renovation. Here, the interest rates are usually very low and there are no fees to be paid. Best of all, you are pre-qualified for the loan. It is, however, advised against because should you leave your job, then you will be vulnerable to high penalty fees. Besides, you are eating into your retirement funds.

4. Unsecured Personal Loans
Long gone are the days when only banks could offer you unsecured personal loans. Nowadays, there are quite a number of private organizations that can do this. All you have to do is talk to your mortgage broker and they will have a list of all the borrowing facilities available to you. You need to be very alert as to the terms and conditions for most of these facilities may charge very high interest rates.

Whatever your financing choice is, be sure to read all the fine print. Hidden fees and clauses can be very costly.

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