Construction Law: An attorney discusses three tips for a successful renovation - by C. Jaye Berger

October 01, 2019 - Front Section

What a nice thing it would be to hand your house keys to a contractor, go on vacation and come back and the work is done. However, things do not work like that in the real world, even though your contractor may do wonderful work. Every job needs your personal input. 

1. Have a construction attorney review the contract before signing. One couple interviewed a number of contractors for the renovation of their apartment. They told me in detail all the things they wanted to have done, then they sent me several of the contracts they received. Each contract was completely different from the others and none of them clearly said what the clients were telling me they wanted and expected. Not a good sign.

2. Understand exactly who will be working on your job. It is not a good start when the contractor says he will be going on vacation , but his foreman will handle everything. You need to know exactly who is on the team, who will be there on a daily basis and what authority that person has. There must also be a schedule laying out the milestones on the project.

3. Make certain you get invoices promptly, then pay promptly. Do not let things get backlogged when it is harder to reconstruct what happened. Do not wait to seek legal advice if needed.

C. Jaye Berger, Esq, is an attorney and principal of Law Offices C. Jaye Berger, New York, N.Y.

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