The best way to avoid a dispute with your contractor is to insist on a
detailed, complete and carefully drafted contract.
Among the terms to include in such a contract are the following:
(1) The full names of the parties, the job address and all contact information;
(2) A highly detailed description of the scope of construction work, including
specific materials to be used;
(3) Start and completion dates;
(4) Total price of the project, including labor and materials, and a payment schedule;
(5) List of allowance items (lighting, fixtures, plumbing fixtures, appliances,
etc.) and the budgeted amount, if any;
(6) List of required or potentially required permits, including who will
be responsible for obtaining and paying for them;
(7) Agreement that any changes to the contract will only be done upon written
"change orders" signed by both the contractor and the homeowner;
(8) Signature of both parties to the contract.
A contract that incorporates all the above items will help avoid confusion,
delay and the time and expense of a dispute or lawsuit.