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Should the Builder Sign the Contract Before Sending it to the Client

April 09, 2019

The short answer is no. Legally it should not matter who signs the contract first; however practically speaking there may be significant consequences to the builder if the builder signs the contract before the client.

By signing the contract before the client, the builder bears the risk of the client potentially amending the contract and insisting on the amendments.  Although amendments or deletions need to be countersigned, it would place the builder in a better position to negotiate if the contract was not signed and there is room for confusion about when the amendments or deletions were made.  Another potential risk is that the client may not return the signed copies of the contract but attempt to insist on performance of the contract at a later time.

Best practice is that the builder issue two copies of the contract unsigned until it is accepted and signed by the owner.  Once the builder has received back the signed contract, the builder should review the contract to ensure no amendments have been made, then sign the contract and return one copy to the client. 

To contact to your Workplace Adviser, please phone 1300 650 620.