Any home renovation or addition project in Toronto that entails 2 or more building trades should be overseen by a general contractor (GC). There are myriad reasons for this though most of them boil down to the GC having the experience and expertise to keep things moving in the right direction. Without clear communication between yourself and the GC however, all kinds of problems may arise that could undermine the GC’s ability to do their job and your ability to finish the project.
The General Contractor and the Scope of Work Agreement
A general contractor is not a mind reader and neither are you. Because of this you’ll want to make sure the GC knows exactly what you expect of him before any work begins. Drawing up a Scope of Work (SOW) agreement is a good way to make sure everyone is on the same page from the start.
The SOW agreement is an attachment to the main contract that gets into greater specifics on matters such as:
- Work to be Performed – The SOW agreement will state what the project is, where the work will be performed and who is responsible for supplying tools, materials and the like. It may state that the GC is expected to be onsite X number of hours per week and that he is expected to procure all necessary permits before the start date (which will also be included).
- Breakdown of work – The SOW may break the project down into a series of smaller segments stating what is expected relative to each part of the project. For example, the SOW may state that all old kitchen cabinets are to be removed and disposed of, that new cabinets are to be designed, fabricated and installed, that the sink is to be replaced, new countertops installed and the floor is to be sanded and refinished.
- Hours, manpower and more – The SOW agreement may state how many workers are expected to be onsite during normal work hours, what hours the site will be accessible to the contractors, where (if anywhere) the general contractor and subcontractors are allowed to store equipment and materials and when different aspects of the project should be finished.
- Payments and penalties – The SOW agreement may lay out a definitive schedule of payments by the homeowner to the GC as well as clarify under what conditions payment may be withheld. For example it may state that: $10,000 is due the GC on X date if the kitchen countertops have been installed. If they haven’t, payment may be withheld until they are.
- Behavior – The homeowner may use the SOW agreement to establish behavioural parameters for the GC and subcontractors. The SOW may state where on the property they may park. It may state that music may not be played by the GC or any subcontractors onsite until after 11 a.m. It may state that alcoholic beverages are barred from the worksite.
There are other things you may want to include in a Scope of Work agreement but the salient point is that an SOW can establish guidelines that will make sure everyone is working from the same script right from day 1. This will help the project proceed in a trouble free, efficient manner with as few conflicts or misunderstandings between the different parties as possible.
If you need a general contractor to oversee your kitchen remodel, basement remodel, home addition or other capital improvement in the Toronto area call the professionals at Karen Homes. We’ve shepherded scores of projects of all sizes to successful, on-time, on-budget conclusions and we can do the same for yours.