Builders in Townsville are being advised against fixed price and fixed date contracts. With a severe shortage of contractors and building supply costs increasing at a rapid pace it is nearly impossible to predict building costs at anything other than a month by month basis.
As a home renovator not having a contract with with a fixed price and fixed time frame is a serious worry. As I have discovered in the past it is vital for my own protection to get everything written down, including a fixed price and fixed dates.
With the building contract that we had signed with the contractor who did our front stairs, and who was supposed to do all the carpentry work for under the house, we had written down “ASAP” for the start date. For the construction time frame we had written down 90-days, which seems to be the standard time frame for this sort of work.
We had a verbal agreement that the construction under the house would be complete by Christmas last year (2006), but he hadn’t even started anything other than the front stairs by then. Technically he would have been in breach of his contract, as it had been well over 90-days from when he started the stairs, but because a good portion of our communication had been verbal it turned into our word against his. Terminating our contract with him became quite a messy and costly experience.
With our current builder, who should be done the bathroom renovation and the lock-up stage of construction by the end of this week, we have a written contract for the lock-up, but verbal for the bathroom. I was a bit worried about the idea of having a verbal agreement on the bathroom, but because the entire project was an unknown we didn’t really have any other choice.
So far things have been going really well with this builder. I have even had feedback from one of his other customers on this web-site about how good his work is.