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If your renovation is more complex than the usual renovations, expect more to be specific during contract time. Always remember and never assume. If you feel doubtful, write it down so you won’t feel lost.


Once you’ve properly chosen your renovation contractor, it may take some several meetings on-site, at trade or supply houses or even in their offices to specify the materials, fixtures, appliances, finishes and other things needed for that matter. These selections should be written into the final contract. During the time of the signing of the contract, expect to make a relatively small payment as deposit for the work to come.


The contract should include but not limited to:

  • Well detailed description of the renovation project
  • Proper specification of materials, finishes and fixtures for the project
  • Proper specification of any materials, fixtures, accessories and the like that will be provided by the home owner
  • Allowances for fixtures, finishes and the like that may be chosen during the course of the renovation
  • Start date and estimated finish date of the project
  • Proper schedule, milestones and other project plan items
  • Payment specifications and terms
  • Communication terms
  • Terms for handling disputes
  • Terms for changing of orders
  • Portable toilet facilities, cleanups, waste disposals and safety measures
  • Landscape protection
  • Warrantees
  • Final acceptance terms
  • Attachment of architectural plans
  • Attachment of site plans
  • Attachment of surveys


Before you sign the contract, bring it to your attorney for review purposes. Your lawyer will be able to pinpoint any technicalities that could conceivably cause you problems down the stretch in the case you become unhappy with your contractor’s work.

Never allow renovation work to begin before a contract is signed by both parties. Handshake agreements don’t count for that matter.