Monday, November 13, 2006

Rebuilding Contracts

I am dismayed by the advice given by the "Open Contractor Fraud and Insurance Forum" as reported by Bayou Buzz. It is beneath elementary and borders on incompetent.

Citizens were offered tips on how to protect themselves when dealing directly with contractors and insurance agencies:
  • Do not offer the contractor a complete payment in advance.
  • Remember to ask for receipts once any portion of payment is remitted.
  • Be sure to request detailed invoices before work begins.
  • Price supplies ahead of time.
  • Pay with a check or money order for better record keeping.
  • Insurance claims can be resubmitted after checks have been disperse.
I already know at least two construction professionals who may have been victims of construction fraud.

In those cases they can afford it and have enough documentation to convince a court to grant them relief. There are several problems with astonishingly the minimal recommendations reported by Bayou Buzz.

The things they left out were amazing.

Let me add my list;
  • Make sure the Contractor is licensed in the State of Louisiana.
  • Make sure you have a Certificate of Insurance with you named as "Additional Insured"
    • Don't accept a copy, only accept an original issued by the Contractors Insurance Agent, prior to beginning work, its the only way to be sure the insurance is in effect.
  • Don't pay for work in advance. If you pay deposits insist on verification of the invoices and clear title to the material you paid for.
  • Negotiate a complete written contract. Don't rely on oral representations. Write letter, send emails and faxes. Contracts are required for any work over $7,500.00
  • Use Industry Standard contract forms. Don't sign the contract presented to you by the a contractor without reading and thinking about it. AIA and AGC forms are Industry Standards but they don't apply to most residential projects.
  • Don't pay until the work is delivered. There is a 90 day lien period in Louisiana. If the Contractor doesn't pay his subs or his employees you might have to pay twice.
  • Record significant contracts, record the termination of the contract and get a clear Lein and Privlege Certificate (issued by the Recorder) before making the final payment.
  • Never ever pay cash.
  • If the money is being held by a third party make sure you know what they require to release the money and how long it will take. Get it in writing.
I'm sure if I had time I could think of other things to add to the list.

LRA should be issuing these guidelines. They have a stick to prevent unregulated contractors from receiving LRA funds.

The rich can take care of themselves. I also don't worry about the "poor and disadvantaged", they have an entire industry dedicated to "protecting" their "interests".

The unfortunate middle is left without the education, experience or resources to effect their recovery. These are the people most in need of help and they are the most important segment for the recovery of New Orleans.

    1 comment:

    GentillyGirl said...

    Excellant post on the subject!

    WOO HOO!