For large or complex projects, the standard and intermediate forms of building contract are definitely the recommended route to follow. Both require a contract administrator, and AR Architecture can, of course, perform this task for you.
For smaller projects, however, many people regard this approach as rather over the top and simply resort to working things out directly with the builder. If you follow this route, the drawings that AR Architecture can provide for you will help to define what it is the builder has agreed to build. Nonetheless, it is very important that before your builder starts work, you have a written agreement stating the work to be done, the price agreed and the timescale involved. There is a very simple standard form of contract agreement now available that has been specifically designed for such circumstances called ‘JCT Building Contract for a Homeowner/Occupier’. It is easy to read and covers most of the important areas.
Some important things to remember:
- Hours of working: how many days a week the builder will be on site, what time they will start and finish;
- Use of facilities & services: toilets, water supply, electricity, telephone etc.;
- Access and storage: agree where the builders can store their materials and how they should come in and out of the building, who holds keys etc.;
- Regular meetings: it is good to agree to meet formally to discuss progress every week or fortnight;
- Foreman: agree whether you will have a full-time foreman on your project from start to finish – this is generally a good thing but might make the price more expensive;
- Additions and extras: specify how any additions or changes would be agreed and priced;
- Overrunning: agree what happens if the work takes longer than the builder has indicated;
- Payment schedule: the best way is to agree on a timetable of payments that is fixed to a timetable of works as they are completed.