Spring is finally right around the corner, and with it comes the season for home repairs and renovations. Before you arrange for a contractor to perform work on your property, there are several things you should do to protect you and your family in the event the contract does not go according to plan.
First of all, you should ensure that your contractor has a valid Residential Builders License. Under Michigan Law, a person who, on behalf of another individual, constructs a residential structure or who repairs, replaces, or adds to a residential structure is required to have a valid Residential Builder License at the time they enter into a contract and at the time they perform the contract. See MCL 339.601; MCL 339.2401.
You can easily verify whether a contractor has a valid residential builder license by searching their business on a website provided by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Professional Licensing. The link to search for individual companies can be found at: https://www.lara.michigan.gov/colaLicVerify/. Under that link, you can search by name or license number.
Second, once you determine a contractor is properly licensed to perform the work, you should require them to provide you with a valid certificate of insurance. Ensuring the contractor is properly insured to perform the work is another small but vital step to ensue you are protected in the event of an injury on the premises. Further, we recommend you take the additional step of calling the insurance provider to verify that the policy is active. You should also verify that the insurance policy covers (1) the contractor’s workers and (2) you, your family, and any visitors to your home if they are injured as a result of the work site.
Finally, you should make sure any contractor that performs work on your property properly pulls permits for the work with your local municipality. While many contractors will tell you that obtaining permits take additional time and cost more money, every building permit requires a city inspection to take place after the work is performed. This inspection is designed to make sure the work was done properly, and it ultimately exists to protect you and your family. While it may delay the construction and may impose an additional burden on the contractor, any contractor should be willing to take the additional steps to ensure you are protected.
We recommend you have an attorney review contracts prior to execution, especially for larger projects. We understand, however, that attorney review for many small projects is simply not economically feasible. That said, following these three steps will leave you much better off than if you simply hire the first contractor you find. If you have any questions about a construction contract or dispute, please do not hesitate to contact your construction law experts at the Law Offices of Shifman & Carlson today at 248.406.0620.