Agreeing terms with your builder

Making sure that disputes and disagreements are avoided

In order for your builder to be able to the best job and charge the most competitive rate, they will need:

  • Detailed drawings
  • A Specification or Schedule of work
  • A contract

Many disputes with builders arise because the builder does not, and cannot, fully understand the client’s vision.  The process of developing the design, checking and amending the drawings with your Chartered Building Surveyor  or Chartered Architect is an important one to make sure that the client’s vision is made into reality.  Without drawings, the builder’s work is largely guess work.

The Specification or Schedule of work will clearly describe the work that is to be carried out.  This is needed in addition to the drawings to avoid any confusion about what materials should be used, the quantities that should be assumed, how the works should be carried out, who is assuming the risk for uncertain items like foundation depths, how much is allowed for the supply of certain materials, and so on.  Without a Specification, any quotes you obtain from builders will not be comparable, as each will have made different assumptions.  A good specification then makes it much easier to agree the final figure allowing for variations.

A contract between the client and builder is essential.  JCT (Joint Contracts Tribunal) produce building contracts for those Home Owners/Occupiers who do want to, and those who do not want to, appoint a consultant to oversee the work.  JCT are the leading provider of standard forms of building contract and are recognised across the industry as having developed unbiased contracts.

The contract will state each party’s responsibilities, the amount to be paid, the frequency of payments, the method of agreeing variations, the contract period, and so on.  The contract should refer to the relevant drawings and Specification so that those documents make up part of the contract.

Visit the JCT website.

Or even better, contact us on 01202 237377 or email