It is quite common that the business practices surrounding renovation and contracting projects will be kept informal; after all, the reality is that small business owners and consumers will, generally, lack the formality and expertise of a mega-contractor such as Ellis-Don and a provincial government that are negotiating the building of highways or bridges.
Despite the difference in size and scope, for the most part, the same basic contract law principles that apply to the 'big boys' also apply to the little guys. Additionally, when contractors are entering into future performance agreements with home owners, or other consumers, many consumer protection laws such as the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, S.O. 2002, Chapter 30, Schedule A, will also apply.
While change orders regarding alterations to the scope of work should always be clearly confirmed in writing, it is also prudent to ensure that all terms and conditions regarding the contractual relationship are also clearly shown in writing as is required per s.24 of O. Reg. 17/05 to the Consumer Protection Act, 2002). Unfortunately, many small contractors often neglect to identify special terms within the original negotiations or agreement documents and instead seek to impose special terms at the conclusion of the project by showing the special terms only upon final invoices.