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Contracts for Contactors

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Hi Everyone

The aim of this post is to find out more about legal contracts for building work.

I understand the principle of contractually binding a builder to a time frame, overall cost and quality of workmanship, but practically how should this be approached? Are bonuses and penalties worth while tools?

Is the general opinion that the cost of forming these legal agreements and the time involved makes them unviable?

Also at what stage do you mention to a potential future contractor that you want this security without scaring them off, appearing to be jumping the gun or offending them? Should you be asking every tradesman you engage to be signing paperwork? Also how enforceable would a contract be in the event of a breach?

Any advice connected to this topic would be greatly appreciated, apologies for the thousand questions

Many thanks,


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The Federation of Master Builders has a free contract available which you can work from: http://www.home-extension.co.uk/fmbcontract.pdf


Personally, I'd consider a formal document like this to be overkill except for a really big job - but I've probably just been lucky in never having had a bad experience, and would change my tune quickly if I did!


It'll be interesting to hear what other people do. I always make sure the exact scope and anticipated timescale of the job is set out in writing, but don't go any further than that.

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Thanks Rob


Thats a great resource.


Think im a bit overcautious after having had a less than ideal situation with my own home, with a builder who had issues cooperating with the building regs guys and also took over a year to chase his electrician for certificates.


Thanks for the help,



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Hi Jack,

When we were looking at doing a few extensions to our house we looked at the JCT contracts ... We took advise from our surveyor (who is also a barrister and is used to disputing the contracts) that JCT was the way to go. The builders put up a very mild protest and wanted to use the NEC contract but agreed with out too much arm bending.

We made it clear at the outset we were going to use a contract with stage payments (money was only released after surveyor/architect/engineer inspected work and agreed stage was complete to a satisfactory level)

Hope that helps some



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Hi Scott

Thank a lot for that really useful to hear. That mirrors what Susannah Cole talked about in the property flipping course on the Property Hub too!

How did you decide on the stages of the work? I guess it was a mixture of common sense and the requirements of the builder for finance?



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Hi JW,

Exactly ... I'm a bit obsessive when learning things for the first time so I spent a lot of time with the architect, surveyor and builder asking 1000's of questions. The stages were then agreed between us and the builder (I let myself be guided by him as long as the other pros I were using had no objections) Again no particular protests from the builder but he did want 10% at the start which I agreed to.

Hope that helps


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