Frequently Asked Questions
Gary Ransone wrote the forms on this site for the Contractor’s Legal Kit, LLC.
About Gary Ransone: I’m licensed in California as an attorney, general contractor and real estate broker. I’ve been involved with various aspects of construction and building since 1980. I’ve worked for many years both “in the trenches” and around the construction business, first as a laborer starting in 1980, then carpenter, remodeler, general building contractor and developer. I’ve been a licensed contractor since 1992 and a licensed attorney since 1989 focused on construction law. I litigated construction cases for many years before numerous courts in California and also worked as a mediator and arbitrator in construction related cases. I’m the managing member of The Contractor’s Legal Kit, LLC, seller and owner of the forms and agreements on this site. My publications and speaking engagements have included: author of the revised Contractor’s Legal Kit forms, author of The Contractor’s Legal Kit, 344 pages, Builderburg Group (1996) and Second Edition (2003); author of numerous articles on construction contracts, construction law and contract administration published in different national builder’s magazines, author of numerous contracts for The Reader’s Digest Guide to Home Improvement with template contracts for owners & contractors; I edited Mechanic’s Liens book (1998) by Nolo Press. I’ve been a speaker on the importance of good construction agreements at numerous builder’s conferences from San Francisco to the East Coast.
My approach to creating the construction agreements and forms found on this site is heavily tempered by a strong dose of job site reality while working both as a builder and an attorney for decades.
On many computers, to open the folder with The Contractor’s Legal Kit forms, double click on the Contractor’s Legal Kit folder to open and view its contents on your computer. A Windows based computer will open the zip file up, while its still in zip form, and you can pull out individual files, or all files. A Macintosh will extract all the contents automatically and create a new folder with all of the files inside of it.
On a Windows based computer, you can also right-click The Contractor’s Legal Kit folder (or right-click and drag anywhere) on the zip file and 'extract' the contents. This will create a new folder, with the name of the zip file, with all of the contents of the zip file inside of it.
When you open an individual file in the folder, click on the “Enable Editing” box above top of form before using document and remember to delete the Notice to Contractor banner paragraph at the top of each form.
While very rare, if you can’t open the zip folder, download the forms off the Google link that contains the forms. That link will be sent to you when you purchase the forms and it will contain the zip folder and the Google link to the forms.
Additionally, you can also hit the Contact button at the bottom of any page on this site, indicate the date you purchased the forms and that you’d like them emailed to you due to a problem with a download. We will then email you the individual forms in Microsoft Word format promptly and you can simply put the forms in your own contract folder and the vast majority of word processing programs can read or convert a Microsoft Word file. If you’re not sure your word processing program can read a Word file, you are advised not to buy The Contractor’s Legal Kit unless you want to find a way to convert the Word file to the word processing software program that you are using.
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The following and agreements and forms were not part of the original Contractor’s Legal Kit but are included with the revised and new Contractor’s Legal Kit construction agreements and forms available on this site:
Contract/Proposal: The Contract/Proposal template is the shortest agreement in the Contractor’s Legal Kit and may be an appropriate template for use on smaller sized projects. It addresses some of the risks faced by contractors. It may be used either as fixed fee agreement or altered to be used as a time and materials agreement.
Project Management Agreement: The project management agreement template may be used where the Contractor wants to act as project manager rather than general contractor and have the Owner pay project costs directly with the Contractor charging in several different possible ways for project management work.
Optional Contract Clauses: There is a sample material price escalation clause template that a contractor may want to insert in certain agreements to hedge against the volatility of sudden material price increases. There is also a sample Cancellation of Contract for Convenience Form by Owner clause that addresses owner cancellation of contract when contractor is not in default under the agreement. The Contractor’s Legal Kit forms do not automatically contain these clauses, but if desired, one or more can be added and revised based on contractor’s individual needs along with input and advice from contractor’s local attorney.
Punch List Addendum Form: The punch list addendum form template can be filled out by contractor at end of the project to identify the punch list items that the contractor and owner agree will bring the project to 100% completion. This can help deter the never ending punch list syndrome that most contractors have dealt with when they run into a challenging or difficult to please customer.
The balance of the contract forms that were part of the original Contractor’s Legal Kit all have various different revisions to them to improve them and make them more current. Some of these changes include the following:
• An Allowance section was added to the fixed price contracts.
• Payment schedule language modified to allow for invoicing on either a percentage of work completed basis or fixed price payment schedule basis tied into certain milestones.
• Certain language in all contracts was added to reinforce that failure by owner to make payment when due is a material breach of contract.
• Dispute resolution clause modified to include mediation.
• Insurance requirements clause and indemnification clause in both length subcontracts was updated.
• A force majeur clause was added to the contracts to account for unforeseen events like pandemics and the effect that can have on certain contract expectations.
• Lay out of all forms was improved and updated.
• Clauses in the design build and design build preconstruction services agreement were revised and updated to deal with how the contractor’s plans can and can’t be used if owner doesn’t want contractor to build the project.
The Notice to Contractor at the top of each form that you need to delete before using the form is to remind you to read the editable template form with care, fill in, modify, delete, add language to, and revise portions of the template forms according to your specific needs and any laws of your state applicable to your agreement with the advice of your own local attorney. For Instance, in California there is a license law notice that should be added to the end of the contracts. Your individual state may or may not have similar requirements like a license law notice or similar notice that you should add to the end of the agreements and you may or may not have unique specific needs related to your business that you want to incorporate in writing into the template agreements.
No, we are not a law firm. Neither the Contractor’s Legal Kit, LLC, Gary Ransone or anyone associated with this site is acting as your lawyer and no attorney/client relationship is established when you purchase forms of this site or read the Resources tab and we are not offering or providing you legal advice by selling forms on this site. The Contractor’s Legal Kit, LLC sells on this site editable construction contracts and forms tailored to the builder and remodeler. The purchaser of the forms fills out the forms and supplements them according to their own unique needs, each specific job and any specific laws of their state that may apply to their business with the assistance of their own attorney as desired. The Contractor’s Legal Kit, LLC is the owner and seller of the construction agreements and forms on this site and operator of this website.
Whether you purchase the contracts or forms or not, please click on the Resources tab on this site and there is a lot of valuable free general information found on that Resources tab that supplements the information found in the contracts and forms. If you do purchase the forms of this site, please also review the information on the Resources tab because it may provide some additional valuable information that is beneficial to your business or provide ideas to discuss with your own local attorney.
By all means just hit the Contact button found on the bottom of any page on this site, ask your question and you’ll typically get a response with 24 hours or less! Or, leave a phone number if you want a call instead in regards to your questions about the contracts and forms on this site.
The template forms available on this site have typically used for both residential remodel work and new residential construction builds. They are not designed for light or heavy commercial work, although some builders have used them on light commercial work with proper editing of the forms by themselves and/or their attorney when the owner is not mandating the contractor use the owner’s construction agreement or an AIA type of form agreement.
This site and the new and revised Contractor’s Legal Kit forms may be most helpful to the following types of contractors:
• Builders who have used The Contractor’s Legal Kit in the past and want to have updated information and agreements.
• Building contractors who have recently started their own residential construction businesses.
• Residential remodeling contractors who do not have a fully developed set of agreements, subcontracts, and change order forms, and a common sense procedure for using these forms.
• Residential contractors who build new homes who do not have a fully developed set of agreements, subcontracts, and change order forms, and a commonsense procedure for using these forms.
• General contractors who do smaller light-commercial construction work where standard AIA-type construction agreements are not used by the owner, and the contractor has the opportunity to furnish the construction agreement to the owner.
• Building contractors who wants to increase their ability to avoid disputes, litigation, and loss of profits through a review of their own construction agreements and procedures for using them.
• Builders who wants to improve their ability to identify and shift the inherent risks associated with building projects more equitably toward the owner.
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