Building contract: small works: client version

This contract is for a client, not the contractor, on a small residential building project such as a house extension. It takes some of the risk out of using an unknown firm or counter party, by allowing you to define the work to be done and making sure that it is performed to the standards you require. It makes clear that the contractor is independent and self employed at all times, and covers the use of sub-contractors, confidentiality and many other smaller matters that may arise from time to time.
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About this document

This contract favours the client rather than the contractor.

It sets the terms under which work will be done on a residential property, whether that is fitting a new kitchen, building an extension, insulating a loft or installing a damp proof course.

It reduces some of the risk that a building company or contractor you have never used before doesn't complete the work, or finish it to the standard you want.

The document is structured so that the legal agreement is separate to the specification of work, which is in a schedule at the back. That makes the work to be done much clearer.

As a client, you may not be confident to write the specification. If the contract value merits it, we advise that you use a quantity surveyor to write the specification. If you have to write it yourself, we advise you to use non-technical plain English language.

Your contractor will benefit from general words because they give him or her flexibility. You need to use precise words so that you get exactly what you want. So make sure the specification states the details, whether that is what colour the facing bricks or roof tiles will be, what make of paint is used, whether safety glass is used, the type of radiator valves, and so on.

Note: . It does not comply with the Construction Contracts Act 2013 and therefore is not suitable for work worth more than €10,000 or if the floor area of residential property is not more than 200 square metres.

Alternative documents

If you are the builder, then this contract is more favourable.


  • Definitions of special terms
  • Interpretation: explaining the agreement
  • Contractor warranties
  • The Project: specifications and organisation
  • Contractor’s obligations
  • Contractor’s fees and expenses.
  • Use of sub-contractors
  • Confidentiality
  • Duration and termination
  • Contractor’s indemnity
  • Contractor’s other work
  • No assignment
  • Uncontrollable events (just in case you need it)
  • Miscellaneous legal matters

This document was written by a solicitor for Net Lawman. It complies with current Irish law.

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