Ways to avoid problems during home improvement season

CCB issues warning and offers tips to homeowners and contractors to avoid issues during home improvement season.

Posted: Feb. 8, 2018 10:34 AM
Updated: Feb. 8, 2018 10:34 AM

SALEM, Ore. -- The Construction Contractors Board (CCB) is warning homeowners and contractors of ways to avoid problems when gearing up for the home improvement season.

"The biggest problems we see every construction season are lack of communication and differing expectations between homeowners and contractors," CCB Acting Administrator Stan Jessup said.

The CCB said when detailing the project, down to the product names and numbers or the specific color/brand of paint, is key to avoiding misunderstandings and dashed expectations.

The CCB also helps mediate disputes between homeowners and licensed contractors. Its mediators said the top recurring problems are:

- Lack of a well-drafted contract on projects of any size. Oregon law requires contractors to give clients a written contract on projects that exceed $2,000 in value.
- Contractors that fail to call or show up for appointments on time. This frustrates consumers and escalates easily resolvable matters to full-scale problems.
- Poorly written or nonexistent change orders.

The board said a contract should include a project start and completion date, a payment schedule, and a scope of work (what's included and not included in the project). If your contract gives you an allowance of $2,000 for kitchen appliances but the appliances you want cost $4,000, make sure your budget can handle the additional $2,000.

"The vast majority of contractors work hard to please their customers and CCB statistics show that most customers are satisfied with the work," Jessup said.

As always, the CCB said the best way to find a contractor is word of mouth from people you know and trust or people in the construction industry, such as supply stores. Once you have a contractor in mind, verify that their CCB license number is active. Contractors must include their CCB license number on any advertising. To check the license, visit www.oregon.gov/ccb. Enter a license number or name in the orange "Search" feature.

Licensed contractors carry bonds and insurance and can be held accountable if something goes wrong. Only licensed contractors can get required building permits.

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