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Advice with


Dear John and Cristina,

Absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt – sign a contract. Always.

Now, I understand the temptation to go for a more informal arrangement, especially when you’re on friendly terms with your builder, and cups of tea have been shared. The camaraderie might make you think, “Oh, we’re all good here, no need for the paperwork hassle.” But, my dear, when the going gets tough, that’s precisely when you’d want the safety net of a contract.

Let me paint you a little scenario. Say, for instance, your builder underestimated the magnitude of the soil removal required after digging those footings for your modest extension. Now, instead of shrugging it off, they’ve got to dip into their pockets for extra grab lorries. Without a contract, they might come knocking on your door, metaphorical hat in hand, claiming they need to pass the cost onto you. You might reluctantly agree once, maybe twice, but before you know it, you’re being invoiced weekly for unforeseen extras that were never part of the initial plan.

Contracts won’t miraculously ward off every hiccup, but they act as your guardian angels for the investment you’re making, the peace of mind you deserve, and that dream space you’re crafting for your family’s future.

Contracts, my dear Farmers, keep contractors on the straight and narrow, providing you with a roadmap for when things inevitably veer off course. Standard building contracts, with their fair and meticulously considered clauses, are your friends in this construction jungle.

Now, if your builder is suggesting you sign their bespoke contract, don your detective hat and give it a thorough read. Seek professional advice if there’s even a whiff of confusion.

Wishing you the finest of luck with your project.

Best, Alma

Alma FAQ

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.

Anything related to your building projects. Ideally something very specific about a particular situation you’re facing during your project.

This section is born from a desire to provide helpful advice to people and families feeling overwhelmed with the gigantic task that is renovating, refurbishing, extending your house, or even building a new house entirely on your own. Here we answer your burning questions with a bit of a personal touch and soul.

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