Having a new swimming pool built in the back yard is an exciting proposition as far as most homeowners are concerned but it is important to remain level headed when you are choosing a contractor to carry out the necessary work. Rather than focusing on all the fun you can have once it is finished, you should concentrate on the terms included in the contract that you are asked to sign. If you think it is stacked in favour of the contractor, don’t be afraid to insist that it is amended. Below are our thoughts on some clauses that you might want to insert before signing on the dotted line with a pool contractor.
Negotiating a Fair Contract with Pool Builders
When you evaluate a contract presented to you by a contractor, whether you are based here in Toronto or on the other side of the world, the following factors should all be uppermost in your mind.
- Completion Date – A common mistake made by unwary homeowners is to sign a contract for the building of a new swimming pool that has no completion date. Without an agreed date for the completion of your pool, it will be very difficult to take any action in the event that there are significant delays. All reputable pool builders should be willing to include a reasonable completion date in the contract they draw up for the building of your pool.
- Progress Payments – It is normal for contractors to ask for progress payments, to cover the cost of materials and labour as they build your new pool but you should make sure that you are happy with the agreed percentages and the timing of payments before you sign a contract. The important thing to bear in mind when calculating progress payments is that if you leave the largest payments until the end of the contract, the pool builders you hire will have a greater incentive to finish the work in a timely manner.
- Overages – There are certain aspects of any swimming pool project for which it is difficult to produce accurate figures before work commences. If you are having decking installed around the pool for example, you may need more than you had originally planned for. To make sure that you are not hit with excessive charges for overages such as extra decking, tiling or fencing, include a per metre price for all these features in your contract. These prices can then be applied to any overages on the job.
- Changes – Most homeowners find that they want to make changes to the agreed scope of work at some point and, unless their contractor has agreed to implement such changes without penalty, these changes can cost them a lot of money. Ask the pool builders you are thinking of hiring to include a clause in the contract for work that allows you to make changes without penalty. You will of course have to pay for any materials and labour that your changes require but you want to avoid any hidden fees if you possibly can.
- Scope of Work – Any contract you sign should include a detailed description of the work that you are paying for to avoid any misunderstandings.
If you live in Toronto and you are thinking of having a swimming pool built in the near future, please feel free to call us for help and advice at any time. With award-winning designers and a highly skilled team of pool builders on our staff, we are able to offer our customers in the city and surrounding area a service that is second to none.