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Community and Q&A

“Standards of a custom home”

thatsconstruction | Posted in General Questions on

My GC used this term in his contract with the subs he hired.  Can someone tell me where it comes from or what it means?  Or how I could keep him or any of his subs accountable to that standard that is one of 9 items in the SCOPE OF WORK?

“All work to conform to, or exceed, the standards of the industry for Custom Homes.”


1.) Subcontractor to review plans with Contractor prior to start of production.
2.) Subcontractor 
will be responsible for meeting all State, Federal, Government, VA, FHA and City of Santa Monica codes and requirements.
3.) Subcontractor is responsible to meet and adhere to 
all OSHA / CALOSHA guidelines and will furnish all MS and OSHA information to job site superintendent. Special provisions shall be taken for the OSHA Fall Safety Program.
4.) All work to conform to, or exceed, the standards of the industry for Custom Homes.

5.) It is the Subcontractors responsibility to remove all his own trash, including food wrappers; drink containers, etc; from the Job Site on a daily, and to place in designated area or bin on a daily basis.
6.) Community rules to be followed, including construction hours from 8:00 am TO 6:00 PM, (Monday – Friday) 9AM to 5PM Saturday; no dogs, no children, no loud radios, and no materials OR VEHICLES left on the street. 7.) Schedule of Payments: invoices are due to the Contractor by the first and third Thursdays of each month. Payment will be released pending bank inspection and disbursement.
8.) See attached EXIBIT A ADDENDA. All per unit pricing to be confirmed with final field measurements.
9.) Notices:  GC

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  1. charlie_sullivan | | #1

    I think that's pretty meaningless. The standards of the industry tend to be worse than the letter of the code requirements. I think that to maintain high standards, it requires meeting with the GC and making sure the GC understands the level of quality you are looking for, and that you are counting on him supervising the subs to whatever extent is needed to achieve that.

  2. walta100 | | #2

    My wild guess is the normal contract boiler plate wording would be “all work to be done a workman like manor”. This change mostly puts the subs on notice that he has higher expiations. If you ever got to court I doubt the change would matter at all.

    The only real way sub are accountable is the fact they are counting on the GC for future work. This is why when owners try to play GC they have so many problems getting quality subs to even bid. If you chose a good builder he will have good subs and understand what he expects. My guess is the words on the paper do not matter as things almost never get to a court generally the lawyer fees would be way more than the contract.


  3. Expert Member

    Entirely meaningless. He needs to stop cut and pasting his contracts from the internet and consult a construction lawyer.

  4. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #4

    Normal contract language would be something like "will be made using commerically reasonable materials and methods", something like that. "commercially reasonable" actually has some legal meaning. That's probably what your GC is trying to accomplish, but without actually involving a lawyer that knows how to write things properly for this purpose.

    BTW, any words in a contract that are capitalized should be defined somewhere. Capitalization is "nounification" (hey GBA editors, you should like that custom word ;-) for legal purposes. The capitalization in contracts isn't random.

    If you want to get some examples of this stuff, look at the AIA standard documentation packages. They tend to be WAY overboard for small residential projects, but there is little that they haven't thought of so they are VERY thorough and can give you some ideas if that's what you're looking for.


  5. Expert Member
    NICK KEENAN | | #5

    Normally the owner has a contract with the GC and the GC has contracts with the subs. Why do you care what language is in a contract that you aren't a party to? If one of the subs doesn't perform your issue is with the GC, you have no contractual relationship with the sub.

  6. eagleeyeshawk | | #6

    This is complete hearsay. I remember hearing a story about a custom home builder who failed to pay his subcontractors, who subsequently filed a lien against the homeowners property. I am not certain about the veracity of this story...but just pointing out a story I heard.

    Contracts are important. Good to have a professional look over yours

    1. Expert Member
      BILL WICHERS | | #7

      I've seen subcontractors file liens against the jobsite property because they didn't get paid by the GC. There usually isn't any other recourse for those subcontractors. The owner then has to deal with clearing the lien, often by suing the GC. It can be a can of worms. I think this is a pretty rare scenario though. I think I've seen it happen maybe once or twice in the last 25 years.

      I'm often a specialist subcontractor, and the GC will require me to submit a signed waiver of lien form to get my final payment so that the GC can protect the owners. This, in my opinion, is a good way to do it. I get paid, the GC makes sure there won't be any surprises for the owners, and the owners don't have to worry about it when they take occupancy.


    2. JC72 | | #10

      Mechanics liens are not uncommon. Sometimes they're filed by the sub just before they start work and then removed after they've been paid.

  7. thatsconstruction | | #8

    Thank you all for the reply, I wanted to get some unbiased reactions. I was the developer on a townhome project and asked the GC about that specification in his borrowed, 15+ year-old-contract he used with the subs he hired. When I asked him about it, he said that "any GC would know what "the standards of a custom home" means.

    1. Expert Member
      BILL WICHERS | | #9

      Then what he should be using is the more common legal wording of "commericially reasonable", which is defined as what a group of professionals in the same field would jointly consider to be reasonable for their industry.


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