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What to Expect When You’re Renovating: Devils & Dreams In the Details

What to Expect When You’re Renovating: Devils & Dreams In the Details

Homeowners contemplating a significant renovation are faced with critical issues. Long before the really tough decisions—hardwood or tile, granite or marble, soaking tub or walk-in closet—owners need to select an architect and general contractor, acquire necessary permits and permissions from the municipality and the neighbors, and structure agreements with everyone and their second cousin. Yes, agreements matter and perhaps none more so than contracts between the owner and the architect and contractor.

In a recent presentation at the Center for Architecture Foundation, Melissa Billig provided homeowners with a ‘top 10 terms” to include in these critical agreements. In addition to setting the basic terms of the project—scope of services, project timeline and payment—Melissa emphasized that each contract should also address the potential for problems—for example, indemnification, how disputes will be resolved and what will happen in the event of termination. Most important, each contract should outline the responsibilities of each the homeowner and the architect or contractor. As with any design and construction project, success depends on each party upholding its responsibilities. In this respect, working with an attorney to draft thoughtful contracts will help homeowners know what to expect when renovating.