When is a contract not like a steak?

When is a contract not like a steakDoes this seem like a silly question? Humor us for a moment, because it will drive home the importance of reading and understanding the contract you must sign when a builder undertakes a construction job at your home. This applies to us, Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio, and to any other reputable builder out there.

When you order a steak in a restaurant, there is an implied agreement between you and the restaurant that the steak will be cooked the way you want it cooked. When the steak is delivered to your table, if it does not meet your expectations, you can send it back, and they will cook another one for you. If you are unhappy with your meal, sometimes the restaurant even throws in a free dessert or gives you the whole meal for free, “just because.”

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When you arrange for a contractor to design and build an addition to your home — even an outdoor living addition — you’ll need more than an implied agreement. For the arrangement to work, you and the builder must sign a contract. That way, everyone agrees on the expectations up front. No surprises!

Included within (or along with) your contract is the following information:

  • A description of the work to be done, also known as the scope of the project
  • The total exact price of the project, including materials, labor, permits and taxes
  • A specification sheet listing dimensions, special features and specific materials to be used
  • A detailed, labeled rendering created by an architectural draftsman based on our conversations about what the project will entail
  • Details about client responsibilities
  • A payment schedule
  • A method for dealing with amendments to the work, if needed
  • Details about how we, as the builder, will handle clean-up during and after completion of the job

When is a contract not like a steak You should not sign the contract for your new deck, porch or patio project until you are certain that you agree with and understand every detail in it. It’s important that we address any inconsistencies or concerns you may have before we get started. We never want to find out, later on down the road, that a customer had unrealistic expectations.

As you can see, the contract sets the tone and lays out the expectations for any construction project, no matter how large or how small. We take the contract very seriously. At Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio, we pride ourselves in following best business practices. Our objective is to consistently produce satisfied customers while continuing to maintain a successful business.

Dayton Award Winning Outdoor Living SpacesWhen we design and build your new outdoor living environment, we are poised to accommodate your needs and desires in every way. Putting everything in writing, up front, is our way of ensuring we fulfill your wishes. We want you to get everything you expect from your design the first time around.

One area for potential misunderstandings is the timing of your outdoor living project. If we run into inclement weather while working at your home, we’ll need to take time away from the site until conditions improve. Also, addendums to your project while construction is underway, or problems obtaining the correct materials, can extend the completion date. Delays to your project will affect other clients in the queue for future start dates. Conversely, if we encounter delays at a project scheduled before yours, then your start date might be affected.

Does this “contract talk” sound boring? It may, but think about it this way: the concept of using a contract for the scope of a building project evolved because somebody somewhere had a misunderstanding about some work to be done. We want to avoid any such misunderstandings! The contract serves to set boundaries. Should we encounter differences of opinion during the course of our work together, the contract would serve to navigate our relationship through to the successful completion of your outdoor living project.

Remember that steak you ordered at the beginning of this article? Obviously, you can’t compare the journey of building an outdoor living space addition to that of ordering a steak at a restaurant. A steak will stay with you for about 24 hours, while a deck, for example, will be with you for 20 years or more. If something isn’t right with your project, or if there is an aspect you aren’t pleased with, we will work with you, within the contract, to make things right, but we can’t throw in a free pergola. Again, we will work with you within the contract; if it is not written in the signed contract, it is not and cannot be an expectation.

If you are contemplating an outdoor living addition at your home, you will not find a more reliable or professional contractor than Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio. We want to work with you to create the backyard of your dreams. Contact us to learn more at (937) 848 – 7040 or (513) 897 – 2040. You can also email us at wcohio@archadeck.net

Tim Stephens owner of Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio

Tim Stephens owner of Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio