Construction Contract FAQs

Construction Law Topics

Construction Contract FAQs

Our Portland, OR construction attorneys have answered some common questions from their clients about construction contracts. If you have any further questions, or want to talk to an experienced and knowledgeable construction attorney, please give Dawson Law Group a call at 503-919-1315 for a free and confidential phone consultation! For more information about construction law topics, please visit our Construction Law Overview page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should be in a construction contract?

Aconstruction-contract-faqs-01 solid construction contract is a well-written document that clearly outlines the rights, responsibilities, and expectations of the parties involved in the project. Our advice is that, in order to maximize how much you protect yourself, you have your construction contract written by, or at the very least approved by a construction lawyer. Here are some important points that should be in almost all construction contracts:

  • The contractor’s name, address, phone number, and license number
  • A list of subcontractors that may be used on the project
  • A description of the work that is to be performed
  • A description of the materials, equipment, and products to be used
  • A start date and an estimated completion date
  • Verification of insurance/bonding that your contractor and sub-contractors are required to carry.
  • Change order procedures
  • The project’s payment schedule (usually this is a partial down payment and additional payments as work is performed.)
  • How disputes will be settled (many opt for required arbitration or mediation, which is often faster and cheaper than relying on the normal legal system.)

The contractor quoted me a written estimate at the project’s start. I am now being billed for more than the original estimate. Is this legal?

In general terms, yes. An estimate is just a contractor’s best guess as to how much the project is going to cost you. Before signing a contract, make sure it is clarified whether the quoted price is an estimate or a firm offer. If the estimate was significantly lower than the actual amount charged, then there may be reason for suspicion. If the estimate that induced you to sign the construction contract had no relation with the project’s actual cost, you may a valid fraud claim against the contractor.

Is an oral construction contract legally enforceable?

Depending on the terms that you have agreed to, an oral construction contract can be valid. However, in most cases, oral contracts are not a good idea. There are too many opportunities for miscommunications and misunderstandings to risk having only an oral contract. In most cases, both you and the contractor will be better off with a clearly written document that outlines each party’s rights and responsibilities as well as how potential situations such as changes to the project or contract disputes are handled.

How do I make a change to a project?

construction-contract-faqs-02Refer back to your construction contract. There should be provisions on how changes to the scope of work are handled. You will need to create a “change order,” which outlines what about the project is to be changed as well as the adjustments in cost.

Whom can I talk to for quick advice about my construction contract?

If you’d like to talk to a construction lawyer in Portland today, we urge you to give Dawson Law Group a call today. We offer free and 100% confidential phone consultations where we look to get to know you, understand your needs and situation, explain to you your legal options, and help you come up with a game plan moving forward. Give Dawson Law Group a call today at 503-919-1315!