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Which Elements Of A Build Needs To Be Covered By A Contract


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#1 Triassic

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Posted 03 February 2016 - 07:17 PM

I'm about to place the order for the timber frame for our new build. Should this element by covered be a contract, or am I simply buying a finished product. I'm paying 15% up front for the design and structural calculations and the rest on delivery.

Which elements of a self build should be covered by a contract?

Edited by joiner, 03 February 2016 - 07:23 PM.
"front" for "from"


#2 jsharris

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Posted 03 February 2016 - 09:41 PM

I'd opt for a written contract, with as much detail as you can about what is and is not included. I included drawings in my contract for the avoidance of doubt. Hopefully, like us, you will never need to refer to the contract, but if something does go awry it may well make life easier to establish whether it was an error by the supplier or a yourself or your architect/designer.

#3 ferdinand

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 10:45 AM

View PostTriassic, on 03 February 2016 - 07:17 PM, said:

I'm about to place the order for the timber frame for our new build. Should this element by covered be a contract, or am I simply buying a finished product. I'm paying 15% up front for the design and structural calculations and the rest on delivery.

Which elements of a self build should be covered by a contract?

For a timber frame, you definitely want a detailed written contract with dots and tittles audited by you, that you understand.

For the second question, I would say you want a documented contract:

- For anything expensive (ie that it would hurt overly to write off).
- For anything you need to manage over a period of time.
- For anything for which you might need redress later.
- For anything which you need to prove to any third party (eg LA, NHBC, an insurance company) to prove you have done something, don't need to do something because it is down to somebody else, prove a liabilty (eg if concrete lorry knocks down your wall), can make somebody do etc. Example Jeremy's 'entrepreneurial' :-) transfer of responsibility for wheel washing to the suppliers which let him clear a condition with the LA, which I believe was in the standard subbie contract described as "terms" or similar (J?): http://www.ebuild.co...&comment_id=147

You perhaps don't want a written contract when:

- It is a barter or favour and you don't want to have it known in your records, but you lose your right to formal redress and you need to know that you can remedy any disputes informally. Do that without thinking and it is a good way to lose friends.

But:

- A formal contract doesn't have to look like a multipage booklet written in Chinese from your local solicitor.
- You have a contract without a specific written contract in most cases, since a contract is just accepting an "offer" in return for a "consideration".
- Most contracts are written in a slightly darker ink on a slightly lighter background on the back of the quote, and are part of the 'offer'.
- If you want to define terms exchanges of letters are one way. You can even do a signature space at the bottom, 2 copies and a stamped addressed envelope.
- An unrecorded verbal contract is legally a contract if it meets the bid-offer-consideration test but is worth very little if you need to enforce it; don't go there unless you have a good reason. A good tool is to email (or fax) afterwards confirming the details of a conversation.

Ferdinand

Edited by ferdinand, 04 February 2016 - 11:05 AM.


#4 ferdinand

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 11:07 AM

View PostTriassic, on 03 February 2016 - 07:17 PM, said:

I'm about to place the order for the timber frame for our new build. Should this element by covered be a contract, or am I simply buying a finished product. I'm paying 15% up front for the design and structural calculations and the rest on delivery.

Which elements of a self build should be covered by a contract?

In fact, how have they managed to design something like that and an installation process without a detailed contract?

How do you know what they are going to do?

Ferdinand

#5 ProDave

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 11:13 AM

My present house, built in 2003, we had a very detailed contract from the house builder (who built us a complete wind and water tight shell) and every time there was a tiny alteration we had a "contract variation" outlining the extra costs for us to sign.

Our present build could not be further from that. Probably because I know the builders very well. I just got an estimate on a bit of paper, and didn't pay anything up front, just an invoice at the end of each stage (foundations, complete timber frame, windows ordered, and there will be one more for windows fitted.)

So on the present build there has been no up front payments and therefore no risk of losing money if the builders went bust.

In terms of "how did they design it" that was from the full set of drawings I had paid another company to produce (these two companied often work closely together on projects so again they know each other and trust each other)

My project is even more unusual in that we only have a tiny pot of money at the moment, so all along my builder has been working stage by stage as we agreed until I told them to stop (which is why I am tiling the roof myself now)

Edited by ProDave, 04 February 2016 - 11:14 AM.


#6 ferdinand

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 11:22 AM

View PostProDave, on 04 February 2016 - 11:13 AM, said:

My present house, built in 2003, we had a very detailed contract from the house builder (who built us a complete wind and water tight shell) and every time there was a tiny alteration we had a "contract variation" outlining the extra costs for us to sign.

Our present build could not be further from that. Probably because I know the builders very well. I just got an estimate on a bit of paper, and didn't pay anything up front, just an invoice at the end of each stage (foundations, complete timber frame, windows ordered, and there will be one more for windows fitted.)

So on the present build there has been no up front payments and therefore no risk of losing money if the builders went bust.

In terms of "how did they design it" that was from the full set of drawings I had paid another company to produce (these two companied often work closely together on projects so again they know each other and trust each other)

My project is even more unusual in that we only have a tiny pot of money at the moment, so all along my builder has been working stage by stage as we agreed until I told them to stop (which is why I am tiling the roof myself now)

That's a good illustration.

Everything is a matter of judgement on the sliding scale between risk and money :-).