Remodeling, fire restoration, building contractor, custom cabinetry, design, addition  When selecting a contractor, make sure they explain everything in easy-to-understand terms.

For example, “You need a GFCI or ground fault circuit interrupter” could be better explained as, “You need a special outlet used near wet or damp areas to protect you from electrical shock.”

Also be sure you fully understand the terms used in contracts before signing them.

Here are a few terms you might encounter, and what they mean:

Right To Cancel: After a contract is signed and dated, you have three days to change your mind. You should send the cancellation in writing, using a service (Post Office, FedEx, etc.) where you receive proof of delivery.

Scope of Work (SOW): This describes all work to be performed and all materials and equipment to be supplied on this project. Any work not listed in the (SOW) has not been estimated, has not been charged for and is not part of this contract.

Note: If you need additional work that is not in the original SOW, be sure the contractor gives you a written cost estimate and you, in turn, authorize them to do the work in writing.

Specs: Short for “specifications”— details about what is to be provided: what item, what size, what brand, model number etc. It includes the dimensions of things like countertops, where you want your light fixtures located, etc.
Progress Payment: As a job progresses, payments are made to the contractor as phases of the project have been completed. The contract should include the amounts and when progress payments will be made.

Note: It is against the law for California contractors to collect payment for work not yet completed or materials not yet delivered. However they may request a deposit/down payment: 10% or $1,000, whichever is less.

Dave Silva


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