Canadian Contractor

Rejection of project milestones terrifies homeowner – UPDATE


August 26, 2020
By Patrick Flannery

Some contractors don’t like project milestones and we get that. But Reni wants to know what the alternative is. How can contractors and project owners share the risk?

Hello, I live in Quebec and have the following problem: I want to do a larger renovation and extension project on my house with the total cost of the project well into 6-digit numbers. Two contractors (both of whom are licensed and in good standing, as far as I could check) refused to do the work because I insist on having the clause in the contract where payment is tied to project milestones and conditional upon their proving that they have discharged all payments and workers’ compensation. They are offended. Obviously, I am terrified of the possibility of a lien being placed on my property and my life savings being put at risk. What can I do to satisfy the needs of both parties and get started with my renovation? Thanks.

– Reni

As usual, Contractor Nation is on the case with some good advice…

Our company used to do the milestone payments as well but got away from that due to discrepancies with drywall not complete because they have to come back for touch-ups after the trim is complete….
There are 2 alternatives.

1. Trust your contractor and right now it doesn’t sound like you have trust in either of them. You have checked them out and they seem credible but you are still doubting the pros you have chosen to possibly build with.

2. Have the contractor figure out what his biweekly expenses are including overhead, put together a payment schedule and invoice you every two weeks. This is how we conduct all our projects. You as a homeowner can see progress as you are paying every two weeks and if there is a dispute the dispute will be over a two week installment.

— Dwayne Butler

Morn …!
– attaching to milestones/ deadlines shouldn’t be a problem as long as reasonable setbacks (of course written into contract if you go that method)
– i don’t like more paperwork than needed; as a small business owner – it just adds to my list of office work … but maybe suggest to have it written up on your end versus them producing a contract
– chat w their past clients to determine any flaws w their practices
– again most of my projects I undertake are so well referred that I’m hired as I enter into the quotation phrase

— Derek Pallister


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4 Comments » for Rejection of project milestones terrifies homeowner – UPDATE
  1. Marten says:

    Is it them or is it you? Are you coming off as a pain in the _______ client? Are you trying to admin them to death? If I think you will be a larger burden to me then I want, I to will walk away. Have done that on several occasions. Perhaps ask them why they don’t want the work after pricing it.

  2. derek pallister says:

    Morn …!
    – attaching to milestones/ deadlines shouldn’t be a problem as long as reasonable setbacks (of course written into contract if you go that method)
    – i don’t like more paperwork than needed; as a small business owner – it just adds to my list of office work … but maybe suggest to have it written up on your end versus them producing a contract
    – chat w their past clients to determine any flaws w their practices
    – again most of my projects I undertake are so well referred that I’m hired as I enter into the quotation phrase
    dp

  3. Our company used to do the milestone payments as well but got away from that due to discrepancies with drywall not complete because they have to come back for touch-ups after the trim is complete….
    There are 2 alternatives.

    1. Trust your contractor and right now it doesn’t sound like you have trust in either of them. You have checked them out and they seem credible but you are still doubting the pros you have chosen to possibly build with.

    2. Have the contractor figure out what his biweekly expenses are including overhead, put together a payment schedule and invoice you every two weeks. This is how we conduct all our projects. You as a homeowner can see progress as you are paying every two weeks and if there is a dispute the dispute will be over a two week installment.

    Best of luck

  4. Ben Polley says:

    On the basis of the prospective clients limited comments alone, I cannot understand why a contractor would not be able to commit to milestones, or some other similar structure, such as per cent complete, so long as these are reasonably representative of when the renovator incurs costs/risk.

    *I don’t know the regulations nor administration of WSIB in Quebec but in Ontario, contractors can request a WSIB clearance form (indicating that we are up-to-date and in good standing) for our clients at no charge at any point in a project.

    *If the renovators use industry standard Canadian Construction Documents Committee (CCDC) contracts, there are also easy to use forms which the contractor may use to verify for the owner that all vendors/trades have been paid, though this does need to be notarized each time (ie. each milestone) so incurs an admin/legal cost. So long as this cost is also built into the contract price, then this shouldn’t be an impediment.

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