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Construction Law | Questions For Your Contractor

As construction law attorneys, we always advise asking the right questions when considering a contractor for work on your home. This can shield you from liabilities, prevent scams and, most importantly, help you find the help you and your home needs. Here are five questions to ask any potential contractor before hiring them:

How Long Have You Been In Business?

While there are certainly new businesses and contractors that are honest and reliable, homeowners who worry about a potential scam should seek out a contractor with a well-established reputation in the community. For further peace of mind, ask the contractor how many jobs just like yours they have performed in the past couple of years.

What Kind of Insurance Do You Have?

Always ask a contractor what kinds of insurance they have. A satisfactory answer from a contractor would mention that they have worker’s compensation, personal liability and property damage coverage. Without these indispensable forms of insurance, you could be held responsible and liable for injuries and damages that occur during the project. Verify that they truly do have insurance by requesting copies of insurance certificates.

What Permits Are Required?

Arizona requires permits for most building projects, and an honest and reliable contractor will obtain or will already have all permits before working on your home. Be sure to ask the contractor whether any city or state permits are required, and carefully consider their response.

Additionally, in the state of Arizona, jobs over $1,000 must be performed by a licensed contractor. Be sure to ask your potential contractor whether they fulfill all legal licensing requirements in the state of Arizona, and ensure that the license is current as well. Arizona takes this seriously enough that the state government website has a specific page dedicated to the most wanted unlicensed entities. Make sure you are not considering doing business with any of these individuals.

Will Subcontractors Be Used?

Along the same line as the previous questions, asking whether subcontractors will be used will naturally transition into a question about their insurance and licensing. If subcontractors are being used, ensure that their insurance and licenses are valid and up to date as well.

Will There Be a Written Contract?

Finally, ask whether there will be a written contract upon the point of hiring. It would be wise to work with an Arizona construction law attorney when formulating the contract, since contracting requirements vary by state. Make sure that the contract is clear and tangibly spells out all significant and seemingly insignificant project details.

Some things to focus on within the contract include start and completion dates, all payment terms, contractor obligations, materials that will be used and the contractor’s contact information and license number if applicable.

Of course, these are just the basic questions you will want to ask a contractor when considering him/her for the job. You will undoubtedly have more that are specific to your job. Contact our construction law firm at May, Potenza, Baran & Gillespie to receive a full range of support for your construction law concerns.

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