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New self-builder's/renovator's contract pack could save £ thousands

Self-Build Zone has teamed up with ContractStore.com and construction lawyer Giles Dixon to produce a suite of contract templates specifically for self-builders and renovators for just £49 + VAT.

The easy-to-understand documents have been specially designed for self-builders and renovators  by award-winning construction solicitor and 'contracts. The pack, developed with warranty and site-insurance provider, Self-Build Zone, offers peace of mind for contractor, homeowner and project insurer for the fraction of the price of a lawyer.  

The documents also act as a thorough project checklist, so those building their own home, adding an extension, carrying out refurbishments or hiring a contractor can rest assured they are doing it properly.

"Cost overruns of 10 - 20% are commonplace in construction," reveals Giles Dixon. "And getting 'your day in court' can really set you back financially."

Retailing at just £49 plus VAT, the pack includes documents for:

* Appointment of a professional consultant - architect, structural engineer, quantity surveyor etc. 

* Building Contract - for use when appointing a contractor, whether as the only contractor on site or one of a number of contractors engaged by the home-owner 

* Trade Contract - for use on a small project or when appointing an individual trade contractor (plasterer, tiler, plumber etc.) 

* Supply & Installation Contract - for use in appointing a range of suppliers - central heating, kitchen equipment, swimming pool suppliers etc. 

The documents are also available individually for between £15.50 and £19.50 each.

Why use a contract?

Experts estimate that just 80% of self-builders employ their site staff without contracts.  But Giles Dixon warns that this course of action could prove costly: "In order to operate within your budget you need a mechanism - such as a contract - which will allow both parties to document and agree any changes to the scope, duration and cost of the project," he says.  

"Without a written contract and faced with a job that has gone way over time and over budget, self-builders will have difficulty proving that any extra money demanded by contractors is unjustified."

As well as providing a mechanism to keep duration and cost under control, the contracts are a great way to plan and keep track of the nitty-gritty of the build. 

"Time, cost and quality are simple to understand," Dixon adds, "but the devil is in the detailing. For example if you don't specify the brass doorknobs you imagined and end up with plastic, you may have no recourse if you choose to complain." 

Self-Build Zone's role

Legal expenses cover is one of the packaged products self-builders benefit from when they take out self-build insurance with Self-Build Zone but it only becomes a valuable tool when the self-builder physically utilises a contract with every tradesperson and contractor working on their project.  

Simon Middleton, Self-Build Zone director says: "By providing a package of reusable contracts specific to the self-builder's general requirements we believe we are helping them carry out a less stressful, more financially protected self-build project with genuine routes of recourse if problems arise."

Other information: 

·         Additional documents that might be needed on a self-build contract - forms of performance bond, letters of intent, parent company guarantees, maintenance contracts etc. can also be obtained from ContractStore.com.

·         Contracts are in Word format and can be tailored to suit. 

·         All contracts include an adjudication clause to help settle any disputes without a pricey court case.

·         ContractStore.com also sells the JCT Home owner building contracts. 

Self-Build Zone is a leading provider of site insurance, the 10 year structural warranty, buildings insurance, technical audits, building control services, health & safety to the self build marketplace. Its products include:

* Site Insurance

* Buildings Insurance

* Structural Warranty

* Building Control Services

* Renovation Insurance

* Code for Sustainable Homes

* SAP Energy Ratings

* Air Pressure Testing

* Sound Testing

ContractStore.com supplies contract templates for business and has been trading on the internet since 2002. The company has over 250 contracts on its website, which can be downloaded for £50 or less.

Giles Dixon has many years' experience of drafting clearly-worded construction contracts.  A former partner in a major City law firm, who left to set up his own practice eight years ago, he has worked on documents for a number of the organisations that produce standard industry contracts including the JCT (Joint Contracts Tribunal), the premier provider of standard form construction contracts in the UK construction industry.  He is co-author of its innovative partnering contract, the JCT - Constructing Excellence Contract that was launched a couple of years ago as well as numerous articles about construction law. 

T: +44 (0)845 230 9873

E: [email protected] 

W: www.build-zone.com

12th November 2010

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