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Payment of contractor for building works

Payment of contractor for building works


Very often builders are hired to repair, build or add to houses or other buildings. The builder or contractor, before starting work, visits and inspects the site, draws up a list of work to be done, and makes an offer, according to which the fee is agreed. When performing work, the owner often entrusts the developer with additional work for which no remuneration has been agreed. Another factor that has not been agreed upon is the time to complete the work. When the developer performs the work with high quality and there are no defects, the owner is satisfied and pays without any problems. However, the developer may not show up, there may be a delay, or there may be defects and poor quality work. The same can happen when the owner does not pay the developer and the developer has no choice but to leave the work unfinished.

Usually between the owner and the developer there are questions:

• what is stipulated by the agreement between the parties;

• what work was done;

• who is to blame for the breach of contract;

• what damage can be claimed;

• what is the reasonable cost of additional work.

In the case of minor construction work, the contract may be partly written and partly oral. If the agreement is in writing, it must be as accurate and complete as possible. The builder is usually paid as the work progresses, and he may also ask for an advance payment for the purchase of materials or preparatory work. If the term is not specified in the contract, it is understood that the contract must be performed within a reasonable time.In the event of a delay, any additional work requested by the owner will be taken into account to justify the time spent.

Non-payment of funds by the owner entails liability for breach of contract. In this case, the developer has the right to terminate the contract and leave the work unfinished. On the other hand, when the builder has completed the work and is due the balance, he has the right to claim it from the owner, as well as the cost of any additional work. The compensation to which the builder is entitled in case of non-completion of work due to the fault of the owner, usually includes the cost of the work performed plus the profit lost by the developer from work in progress. Case law provides that, in the absence of express consent, the developer is entitled to a reasonable fee for the work performed.

In case of poor quality or incomplete works or defects, the owner has the right to deduct their cost from the agreed amount. The developer’s claim must be accurate and contain a detailed description of the work performed, whether agreed or additional work, as well as their cost. Therefore, the builder must record daily the work done so that his report is accurate and correct. In addition, the developer must ask the owner to sign the invoice when the work is completed, regardless of when his fee is due. In this case, there will be no misunderstanding or dispute between the parties, who know their rights and obligations and avoid any litigation. The developer must also take care to be registered and have a valid license for this category of construction work, so that his contract with the owner is considered legal and has the opportunity to claim the money due to him.

George Coucunis is a lawyer practicing in Larnaca and founder of George Coucounis LLC, Advocates & Legal Consultants

Source and photo:, Editor

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