Whether you are starting a new home construction or a renovation of a single room, it is important to
know what your rights and responsibilities are, as they pertain to your contract. Once you have chosen
which contractor you are going to work with, it is important to make sure that all the necessary details
are included in the contract (in Ontario, they must legally provide you with a contract for any work
costing more than $50). 1
Any contract for home construction or renovation should contain the following basic information:
- Contractor’s name, address and contact information.
- A detailed description of the work that will be performed and the materials that will be used.
- Details about any warranties.
- Total Cost
- Terms of Payment
- A work schedule that includes when work will commence and the date of completion.
- Who is responsible for clean up.
- Any sub-contractors that will be hired and who is responsible for paying them.
Written Estimates and Additional Costs
By insisting that the contractor includes an estimate in the contract, you will be protected against the
actual cost getting out of control. According to the Consumer Protection Act 2 , the final cost for your
construction or renovation cannot be greater than 10% more of the original estimate unless you agree
to a change and sign a new contract.
If the contractor finds a problem that needs to be fixed during a renovation, or if you request changes
that will cost additional money, your contractor will sit down with you and provide you with a new
estimate and contract.
Can I Change My Mind?
If the contract has been signed in your home, you are legally entitled to back out of the contract within
10 days of signing it without being subject to any cancellation fees. If work has already started within
that 10-day period, you will be required to pay the contractor for any labour and materials that have
already been put in.
Bylaws, Permits and Rebates
Many contractors will take care to ensure that you have all the necessary permits and that you are in
compliance with all relevant bylaws when they undertake a construction or renovation project. Legally,
however, it is your responsibility to ensure this. Therefore, if your contractor has said that they will take
care of these things, you need to make sure that it is spelled out in your contract.
The same holds true if your renovations are eligible for government rebates. Legally, it is your
responsibility to ensure your renovations qualify and it is your responsibility to apply for any grants. It is
fine to have the contractor do this, but make sure you have it in writing in your contract.
What Should I Be Weary Of?
While there are many great contractors out there, it is still important to watch for any red flags that
might indicate a contractor is acting unethically. If a contractor is not willing to include all the necessary
elements in your contract (or worse, they try to tell you that you don’t need a contract), that should be a
clear signal to show them the door and look for someone else.
You should also be wary of a contractor that gives you an estimate without looking at your space or
asking a lot of questions. And remember a deal that sounds too good to be true probably is.
At Kantium Developments, we believe in getting our client relationships off to the best start possible
with thorough and detailed contracts that inspire trust and confidence. If you would like a consultation
on your home construction or renovation project, call us today!