News

Avoid these mistakes with home projects

Get it in writing!

Salem – As consumers gear up for the home improvement season, the Construction Contractors Board (CCB) warns homeowners and contractors that the single-best way to avoid problems is to commit project details to writing.

“The biggest problems we see every construction season are lack of communication and differing expectations between homeowners and contractors,” CCB Acting Administrator Stan Jessup said.

Putting project details in writing – down to product names/numbers or the specific color/brand of paint – are crucial to avoiding misunderstandings and dashed expectations.

“If you’re changing out a door, you should get it in writing,” Jessup said.

CCB mediates disputes 

The CCB helps mediate disputes between homeowners and licensed contractors. Its mediators say the top recurring problems are:

  • Lack of a well-drafted contract on projects of any size. Oregon law requires contractors to give clients a written contract on projects that exceed $2,000 in value.
  • Contractors that fail to call or show up for appointments on time. This frustrates consumers and escalates easily resolvable matters to full-scale problems.
  • Poorly written or nonexistent change orders.

A contract should include a project start and completion date, a payment schedule, and a scope of work (what’s included and not included in the project). Understand “allowances.” If your contract gives you an allowance of $2,000 for kitchen appliances but the appliances you want cost $4,000, make sure your budget can handle the additional $2,000.

Document change. For example, let’s say you hire someone to replace living room windows by next week. While doing so, the contractor finds dry rot, mold and electrical problems. That calls for more work, an increase in price, and a new completion date. Both parties should sign off on the new terms.

Your contractor is a professional and should guide you through the process.

 “The vast majority of contractors work hard to please their customers and CCB statistics show that most customers are satisfied with the work,” Jessup said.

Finding contractors 

As always, the CCB says the best way to find a contractor is word of mouth from people you know and trust or people in the construction industry, such as supply stores.

Once you have a contractor in mind, verify that their CCB license number is active. Contractors must include their CCB license number on any advertising. To check the license, visit www.oregon.gov/ccb. Enter a license number or name in the orange “Search” feature.

Licensed contractors carry bonds and insurance and can be held accountable if something goes wrong. Only licensed contractors can get required building permits.

 ​

Media contacts

Acting Administrator Stan Jessup
503-934-2188

Communications & Education Manager Cheryl Martinis
503-934-2195