December 30, 2010
By Bob Incollingo
It’s only common sense: since children and pets can so easily be injured and they can cause injury on any construction worksite, the owner should assume express contractual responsibility for keeping them out of harm’s way. Since the New Jersey Home Improvement Practices Regulations require that all terms of a contract over $500.00 be in writing, the homeowners’ obligations to keep children and animals out of the work area should be stated in black and white. Such a clause should also serve to raise the consciousness of those concerned. No contract clause will be a bullet-proof excuse for failure to act in an ordinarily reasonable and prudent manner, however, and each grownup on site – whether working or in residence – should keep his or her eyes open for innocents on the loose near hazardous conditions. Here is a specimen “Fluffy” clause:
|8. Pets & Children. Owner will control all children and family pets and keep them (and their toys) away from the work area at all times during and after work hours. Owner agrees that Contractor and subcontractors will not be responsible for any pet or child leaving the home due to doors, windows, gates or other openings in the home being left open due to work in progress. Owner will keep all pet birds and fish in a closed room away from work area to avoid potentially harmful fumes, dust and drafts.