Contract Language – Part 2 (Prerequisite: Do You Speak Building Contract Language?)


Reading your building contract can be a challenge – from the length to the vocabulary. Use this blog (and the previous one) as a mini-dictionary for that language that just doesn’t seem to make sense on first glance. Here are some additional terms that you might encounter:

Standard vs. Special – Standard is the name generally applied to materials that are considered “builders’ grade,” or the supplier’s standard selection. Some of these materials are excellent, and they help builders to achieve a specific budget. Any item outside of that standard selection is usually considered a specialty item, or higher-end item. Allowances are set for these items based on the homeowners’ preferences as described in the initial consultation.

Sized, Rectified – Applies to tile that is consistent in size because it has been sized or cut after kiln fire. Non-rectified tile has deviations of the surface plane and the sides of the tile can be inconsistent. Most builders will not take responsibility for straight grout lines or surface deviations.

Millwork – All cabinets and accessories, such as cabinet crown molding, special pullouts, soft closing doors, decorative legs, etc.

Template – The proper measurement of countertops that must match existing conditions of your newly placed millwork.

Fixture – Plumbing items such as tubs, toilets and faucets or electrical items like lights, pendants, specialty plugs, and under-cabinet lighting.

Substantial Completion – All major scope items that have been completed with the exception of known and some unknown punch list items. Generally considered Substantial at final inspection by the local Code Department.

Punch list – Items of work after the substantial completion of your project that still need to be addressed, such as delayed materials, replacing defective materials, correcting imperfections that present themselves at a later date.


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