‘HOUSE RULES’ for Contractors

Our roofing project has become the job from Hell.

They were set to start last Monday and we were told it would take ONE DAY to finish, although it would be a long day. Then it was TWO days. Then THREE days. Then FOUR. Now, we’ve had more than a WEEK of project delays, bad weather, poor time management, and a frightening safety issue (no one hurt).

Today will be the FIFTH straight day of them pounding on the house, blocking the garage, and leaving loose materials all over our yard.

In the hopes of helping some of our neighbors – or anyone getting work done at their house – please review this checklist of “additional requirements” I just drew up with your contractor. In fact, I’d even have them sign these ‘House Rules’ as part of the formal contract.


– Ensure everyone on the crew knows SAFETY is #1 on this property

– No work on the house/ladders after SUNSET – manage time wisely

– Wrap up/suspend work if SEVERE weather warnings issued in area

– Clean up the work equipment EVERY night – unblock doors to house

– Sweep for nails/sharp materials DAILY – especially driveway & walk

– Ensure public sidewalks are kept clear for neighbors

– Clean up FOOD containers & bottles/cans – immediately after meals

– Frequently check materials haven’t BLOWN into neighbors’ yards

– Provide expectations for how LONG job will take & possible delays

– Detail roughly how many PEOPLE will be working and daily hours

– Ensure regular updates if work is DELAYED for any reason

– Provide a phone # of who to CALL if issues arise & answer it!

Hopefully this list of requirements will save you from having to frantically call multiple people 45 minutes after DARK in a severe LIGHTNING storm to tell them to get their crew down from the roof/ladders on your house.

I assumed these would all be basic requirements any contractor would follow, but that may not always be the case. Better to be clear up front than run into issues later.

What kinds of “additional requirements” have you incorporated into agreements with contractors on your house?

Image Credit: (c) MrFireStation.com

9 thoughts on “‘HOUSE RULES’ for Contractors

  1. If you ever hear people complain about OSHA, share this story with them. If employers and employees followed safe work practices then there would be no need for OSHA.
    The contractor and workers are following the philosophy “my body my choice”, but who cleans up and pays after a bad accident?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t actually heard anyone complain about OSHA, despite many years working or serving on the board of manufacturing companies. I’m sure like all bureaucracies, they get out-of-touch on things, but I think most people see a need for workplace safety regulations. I certainly do!


  2. Most manufacturers are serious about safety as they understand a big cost of accidents is downtime. The construction industry on the other hand doesn’t suffer impacts from downtime to the same extent and often a big percentage of a Job Superintendents pay is bonus based on bringing the job in on time or early and under budget. There is an inherent encouragement to cut corners. Some examples include: not tying off to scamper quickly across the roof to pick up a dropped hammer, or climbing into a trench without shoring to perform a quick repair. Both of those actions can have catastrophic results yet other areas of the job don’t shut down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree. I would guess with small construction companies, no one is even paying attention to what they do unless there is an injury.


  3. Here is a jobsite rule I implemented when I was building my house in the late 80s. Some of my Mexican workers were calling my white workers “gringos”. I asked them how they would like being called “beaners”? Of course they did not want that to happen.

    My jobsite rule was if you don’t want to be referred to by an ethnic slur then don’t use them yourself. The ethnic slurs stopped instantly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t speak Spanish, so I didn’t even know that “gringo” was a pejorative term. I’m not sure what the roofers at our house called me! Maybe “lazy guy” or “doughnut bringer”. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A Google translation misses the nuance of huevón. Another way to look at huevón is a male who has large huevos (eggs). The English equivalent is calling someone ballsy.

        There is a bid difference between English ballsy and Spanish huevón however. Ballsy means courageous. Huevón means one who is weighed down by being too heavy in a certain male area and never gets anything done to the degree that they barely move. This is typical Spanish humor.

        My house rule really did happen and illustrates the difference between how things get done in construction versus corporate America. My hands on approach simply let the workers know that their talk was inappropriate and that they needed to stop it to get along with the other trades who were a different ethnicity. The workers probably never heard the golden rule applied to their language and the way they speak about others before and it worked instantly.

        In corporate America there either would have been a big case made with HR, or possibly in today’s woke America nothing would be done to stop a protected group from denigrating an unprotected group. Construction is a contact sport where you have to make decisions sometimes quickly and you have to confront someone who is doing something wrong (without being jerk). I actually like this type of open communications working environment over the typical corporate world.

        Liked by 1 person

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