A contractor in the context of construction may be defined as any person who in any capacity undertakes, offers to undertake, purports to have the capacity to undertake, or submits a bid to, or does himself or by or through others, perform construction. “Construction” may be defined as the performance of building, altering, repairing, adding to, subtracting from, improving, reconstructing, moving, excavating, wrecking or demolishing any building, highway, road, bridge, or other structure, project, development or improvement to real property, or to do any part thereof, including the erection of scaffolding or other structures or works in connection therewith.
The business of building or construction contractors is one that state legislatures regulate in the interest of the public welfare. For example, a legislature may provide that building permits be issued only to duly licensed general contractors. The purpose of a contractors’ licensing act is threefold: i) to protect the public against the consequences of incompetence and dishonesty by those who provide building and construction services; ii) to require contractors who want to engage in particular types of construction work to meet certain standards of responsibility, such as experience and ability; and iii) to create a market in which consumers may contract with competent, reliable construction contractors who have passed the scrutiny of a licensing division, thus preventing the exploitation of the public by incompetent and dishonest contractors who are unable or unwilling to obtain licenses.
A contractor’s license may be revoked for the violation of the provisions of a statute, such as the abandonment of a construction project that the licensee has undertaken, or the failure to complete a project for the agreed price. A construction contract must fulfill the same requirements as any other type of contract in regard to matters such as offer and acceptance, sufficiency of consideration, legality, and form.
A building and construction contract generally provides not only for the construction of the project, but also for many matters that are incidental to the project. For example, such a contract may provide for the carrying of liability insurance, workers’ compensation, and fire insurance. A building and construction contract will typically specify the duties, responsibilities, and liabilities of each of the parties, as well as those of any employed architect or engineer. Of course the amount and method of compensation is an important part of such a contract.
A building and construction contract often incorporates by reference the plans, drawings, and specifications and therefore does not need to be a long and complicated document. Such a contract should describe the project, identify the parties, set the price and the method of payment, designate the time for completion, and specify the other documents involved, incorporating them into the contract by reference.
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Independent contractors can be especially well served by reducing the details of their agreements to a written contract. If a dispute arises over payment or the requirements of the agreement, such an agreement can serve as a persuasive tool to leverage the dispute to a favorable resolution, and of course be decisive in court if a small claims (or larger) case must be filed. US Legal’s diverse selection of contracts has covered the spectrum of contractor needs since 1997. When considering your contracting options, check our forms first.
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