Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for North Carolina

Q: Contractor estimated cost. When done, invoices equaled 50% more than estimate, without any prior notice. Are we liable?

Contractor says he has no responsibility to inform client that cost will be higher than estimate. Contract claimed cost plus 20%. We provided detailed RFP, and have have written (email) estimate. At no time where we informed (verbally or in writing) of any unforeseen problems or advised of any cost over run. Contractor was given job based on written estimate.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Paige Kurtz
Paige Kurtz
  • Construction Law Lawyer
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: It will likely depend on the language of the contract as to whether the increased cost is valid. If that comes in an e-mail with no other terms, your oral statements could also potentially be a part of the contract. If the contractor did not state that this was an estimate or the actual costs may be higher or lower, it is more likely that this was the contract price and not an estimate. Your best option is to attempt to negotiate a resolution with the contractor over the increased amount.

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