Plumbing Contract

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Plumbing Contract

A Brief Introduction About the Plumbing Contract

The plumbing contract, or a plumbing service agreement, is the standard agreement entered between a licensed plumbing contractor who may be an individual or a corporate and the person requiring regular maintenance of plumbing services.

The scope of contract plumbing services may include new installation of plumbing lines in a new project or maintenance of existing plumbing facilities. The contract explains in detail what are the facilities and areas required to be maintained and the time frame for such maintenance. Generally, a work order precedes the contract. The work order provides an estimate of the amount of labor, materials, and time required for the project. The contract is entered when the plumbing contractor and the service receiver come into mutual assent on the commercials of the agreement.

Who Takes the Plumbing Contract? – People Involved

The contract is entered between a

Plumbing contractor – who may be an individual or a firm or a body corporate providing professional contract plumbing and performs services as per plumbing industry standards. It is very important that the plumbing contractor holds a valid business license. He is equipped to carry on the assignment with professionalism and also complying with the local building codes.

Service receiver/contractee – who may also be an individual or a firm or a body corporate requiring various plumbing services for his/their residential or commercial properties. When the size of the project is big, it is essential that the contractee chooses experienced plumbing professionals for executing the plumbing works. Simple repair work can be verbal, but when the scope of work is huge, the contractee must ensure to include all the important terms and conditions in the agreement.

Purpose of the Plumbing Contract

The main purpose of a plumbing service agreement is to ensure that the scope of service is clearly defined. A residential or commercial property involves huge investment and hence putting the range of plumbing services required as part of installation and maintenance.

The contract is also a measure to safeguard the property as any kind of plumbing work shall not put damages to it. The contract is a way to ensure that no work comes as a surprise to the contractee. Also, it helps the contractor to avoid disputes on loss or damage that are beyond his reasonable control as all the plumbing works are listed in the scope of work.

Contents of the Plumbing Contract

There are several plumbing contract templates available from credible sources. You could always prepare a sample plumbing contract with your ideas and get it vetted by a professional. However, the contract shall have the following important contents

Name, address and phone number of the plumbing contractor and the property owner

  • Scope of work – This is a very important clause and forms the crux of the contract. It must be ensured that the areas of work, type, and specifications of materials, phases of the project, features and blueprints, etc
  • Payment terms – The cost of the contract in terms of material and labor and the frequency of payments based on completion of work
  • Duration of the contract – The start and end dates for the project including the deadline for stages of completion
  • Statutory Compliances – The plumbing industry has a set of ethics and guidelines issued by professional bodies. All agreements must contain a statutory acknowledgement that the plumbing company operating plumbers will abide by the ethics and any breach of those ethics will be tantamount to breach of contract punishable by termination or penalties, or both.
  • Insurance – The clause must explain the insurance taken by the parties to the agreement and the extent of coverage
  • Subcontracting – The responsibility and liability of the sub-contractor, if any, engaged for the project.
  • Indemnification clause – The contract should also contain that any damages caused by the plumber in the client’s place shall not be charged against the client themselves. Any liability incurred  by the hired plumber shall be the responsibility of the plumber and not the client

How to Draft the Plumbing Contract?

  • The property owner shall ensure that the contractor is licensed and experienced enough to handle the project in hand.
  • The owner and the contractor shall set all the terms and conditions of scope and cost of services right at the work order stage itself.
  • The property owner shall consider the arrangements or evacuations to be done by him before the commencement of the actual work and include the same in the agreement.
  • If the property is adjacent one, proper notice shall be served to the neighbors before starting the plumbing work in the common areas.
  • The contractor shall consider including a deposit clause as he will be confirmed a considerable amount as consideration even in case of disputes in the future.

Negotiations are inevitable.  In this case, negotiations while drafting this contract can happen with respect to the cost of the project and the timeline for completion. The contractor based on his experience shall arrive at a price that matches the market rate and also an optimum time frame that does not cost too much on the labor.

Benefits & Drawbacks of the Plumbing Contract

The benefits of entering into a contract are

  • The contractor and the property owner know and act within the scope of services detailed in the contract.
  • The payment based on percentage completion enables the contractor to manage his working capital better.
  • The contract prevents inordinate delays in completion of work as the time frame is defined.

The drawbacks of such contract are as follows

  • The damages caused to the property on account of the plumbing work shall not be sufficiently covered by the contract. The contractor may propose the damage beyond his reasonable control.
  • In the case of commercial and condominium constructions, there are chances of using substandard materials that the property owner may not be aware of.
  • The cost and time may favor only one of the parties to the agreement.

[ Also Read: Electrical Contract ]

What Happens in Case of Violation?

The violation of the plumbing service agreement shall happen mainly with respect to activities beyond the scope of services and delay in making payments to the contractor. In any case, the aggrieved party shall discuss with the other party on the practical difficulties faced and arrive at a mutual understanding. This is to ensure that the project does not come to an impasse due to the inefficiencies or mistakes on anyone or both parties to the agreement. If the discussions go futile, the aggrieved party may consider exercising the legal muscle and claim damages on account of violation of important clauses of the contract(1).

This is a standard agreement in writing that works for the best interest of the property owner in terms of investment he makes and of the plumbing contractor for the valuable time he spends on any project. Since the scope of services is well defined, clarity is undoubtedly a by-product.