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Most contracts will require you to notify your contractor of any objections you have with the project (wrong material used, project is taking far longer than anticipated) in writing, and give them an opportunity to make things right. Make sure it’s in writing and that you keep a copy of it — with the date included.
This is important for a couple of reasons. One, we’re all human, and it’s possible there was an oversight that a good contractor will be willing to fix. Two, if the contractor refuses to fix the error, or pushes back, it gives you a written record that you noted the error and tried to have it corrected. In a worst-case scenario where you need to get lawyers involved, having a firm contract, as well as written copies of all followup communication — you’ll be able to make a much stronger case for yourself.
Finally, you’ll want an expert opinion from a qualified third party, so you’ll need to bring in another contractor or project surveyor to view your job site.
While I hope it never has to come to this, all your documentation and third-party accounts could be used to attempt to take your contractor to small-claims court, or even open up legal proceedings against them. This can take years to resolve and you may never recoup all your losses — so this should be a last resort only.
The best way to prevent all this trouble in the first place is to take the time beforehand to ensure you hire the right contractor for the job. It can take a long time to find the right person, but believe me, it’s worth the peace of mind.
To find out more about Mike Holmes, visit makeitright.ca