problems with contractors?
From: Denise Meier and/or Michael Jacob (
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 1998 12:10:55 -0500
We are on the verge of signing a contract with our builder to start
building our 14 units plus common house. Some of the members of our
groups, having heard about problems that Berkeley Cohousing had with their
builder, want us to write a contract containing protective clauses
regarding the specific troubles Berkeley had, and have it reviewed by a

Our project manager and several of our development group members are
advising that using a boilerplate contract and maintaining good lines of
communication with the builder should be enough, and that including
punitive clauses and super-careful language sets a tone with the builder
and the subs that we are prepared to go to litigation at the drop of the
hat, and therefore encourages them to spend (waste) a lot of time
documenting anything that might mitigate any liability that they might
have for errors and/or delays. They also caution that hiring a lawyer
means the lawyer becomes liable for the effectiveness of the contract and
encourages them to leave no stone unturned, no I undotted, and will run
into big money pretty quickly (and might result in a contract the builder
would be unwilling to sign without hiring his own lawyer, and then we're
off into never-never land!!)

While hearing and understanding all these cautions, all of us are still
pretty nervous about signing a contract for such a huge amount of
money and don't want to be foolhardy.

So......I've been delegated to ask if any groups (besides Berkeley) have
run into serious problems with their builder, and what, if anything, could
have been done ahead of time to prevent these problems. 

Thanks in advance for any help!

Denise Meier 
Two Acre Wood 
Sebastopol, Northern California

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