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Dear Clara,

Ah, the classic materials-for-labour dance. While it might seem like a straightforward arrangement, my advice remains unwavering – sign a contract. Always.

Now, I get the appeal of dividing up the responsibilities, you with the materials, they with the labour. It sounds like a reasonable agreement, doesn’t it? However, my advice is to ensure that harmony is not just a fleeting melody but a well-composed symphony on paper.

A contract, my dear, is your shield and sword in this venture. It delineates the expectations and responsibilities on both sides, offering a safety net should the winds of change blow unexpectedly. Imagine this: you’ve sourced the materials, your builder’s ready for the graft, and all seems rosy. But what if the unforeseen happens? Delays, discrepancies, or unexpected expenses rear their heads. Without a contract, resolving these matters can become a messy affair.

The beauty of a well-crafted contract lies in its ability to anticipate the unexpected. It gives you a roadmap, a set of rules both parties agree upon from the outset. Think of it as a blueprint for a successful partnership.

So, Clara, my recommendation stands – go ahead with your materials-for-labour arrangement, but don’t venture into this without the security of a contract. It’s the glue that keeps good intentions from unravelling.

Best of luck with your collaboration, and may the construction gods be on your side.

Warm regards, Alma

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The word ‘Alma’ can be a given name, but in this case, it represents an idea. It means ‘soul’ in Spanish. The purpose of this column is to help, always remembering that the person asking may not be familiar with construction terminologies and it is seeking for a straight forward answer, but also for a touch of empathy and understanding.

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