Recommendations for the Building Owner When Selecting a Contractor to Perform Work on an Existing Home

Before you enter into any written agreement to remodel or build an addition onto an existing home

  1. Ensure that the Contractor is appropriately licensed and is a Registered Home Improvement Contractor .
  2. Ensure that the contractor has adequate liability insurance and workers compensation insurance.
  3. Ask the contractor for a written list of his/her three most recent projects with names, telephone numbers and addresses of the owners.
  4. Call the owners and ask questions as to the performance of the contractor.
  5. Check with your local better business bureau, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and the Office of the Attorney General to find out whether the contractor has any complaints filed against the contractor or whether or not any disciplinary action has been taken against the contractor.

Once you have selected a contractor and before you sign any agreement or contract;

  • Do not enter into any construction agreements without a written contract. Before signing a contract make sure that your attorney reviews the contract.
  • Ensure that you authorize the contractor to apply for the building permit as your agent. Registered Home Improvement Contractors are required by law to apply for all building permits which are subject to the Home Improvement Registration Law.

OCABR strongly cautions building owners against applying for their own building permit. Reputable contractors will apply for the permit, acting as the owner's agent and with the owner's written authority. Only an HIC Registrant may apply for a building permit for work covered by the program. If a contractor is reluctant to apply for the building permit on your behalf it may be an indication that the contractor does not possess a registration.

Click here to check a Home Improvement Contractor Registration

  • Remember, for home improvement work covered by Chapter 142A of the General Laws you are EXCLUDED from reimbursement of up to $10,000 from the guaranty fund if you apply for your own building permit or if you do business with an unregistered contractor.

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