Do-it-yourself cost estimates for outside deck

Does a contract to build a deck require an occupancy clause?

I'm replacing an outside deck. I had multiple contractors to submit bids, accepted a quote from one, and am now able to (or not) sign a contract for the work. It's a flat-rate contract (the job is small, 1-2 working days) and includes the following language in a section called Acceptance and occupancy :

  1. Upon completion of the project, the project will be checked by the owner and the contractor, and any repairs necessary to comply with the contractual documents will be carried out by the contractor.
  2. The owner may only occupy the property once the final payment has been received by the contractor and a certificate of use is available.
  3. The occupancy of the project by the owner in violation of (2) is considered unconditional acceptance of the project and waiver of any defects or incomplete work.

I have some concerns about this section:

  • "The property" is currently occupied and we will continue to occupy it for the duration of the works that are entirely outside.
  • The contractor is not expressly contractually obliged to present the usage certificate to the owner (this only needs to be "obtained").
  • On the city's website at Inspections and certificates it says: "No occupancy or conformity certificates are issued for residential buildings."

Due to some other errors in the contract (which I have flagged and which I will send back to the contractor before signing) I suspect this clause is from a standard contract they use for larger jobs.

Is this clause typical of a small exterior structure such as a deck / staircase?

Should I be concerned if the contractor refuses to change these before signing?

Marek Oleszczuk

I'm not a professional on these legal issues, but my impression is that the treaty cannot prohibit you from occupying something you own. In addition, the certificate of use should not be applicable to buildings such as your home (which you have reviewed). I wouldn't sign that contract. More - I would check with the local civil engineering company / city engineer (any legal entity) if it wasn't illegal to write something like that in a contract.


The contractor uses a boilerplate document. If you object to any of the contractual items, make sure they have been removed before signing it. Make the contractor aware of this and have any objections that you have eliminated.


@MarekOleszczuk This is boilerplate text and does not apply to this situation. It basically means if this guy builds you a house, you can't live in it until it is considered habitable and you pay the builder. While you can own the property, the builder owns the house until you pay them for it. He has the right to take you from his Keep house away even if you let him build it on your property.

Marek Oleszczuk

@ Tester101 well, okay if you say so. I understand the situation that security measures are preventing people from getting almost done, but it doesn't seem to be as the outside deck is replacing that. If not for security reasons, just to take the money, I wouldn't sign that. that's how I see it


It's boilerplate and you can hit it. The contractor may refuse to proceed, but that is a negotiation. In many countries, an occupancy certificate is often required for decks. This is a security issue to make sure it complies with local building standards.


To me it sounds like a contract discussion on the boiler plate. Usually you will get a certificate of use when you get a building permit and a final inspection has been made for something and it has been passed.

Cant say I've ever seen it on a deck, but depending on your municipality or "competent authority", you may need an occupancy certificate before you can use it.

Ask your contractor about it and let him explain to you. Do not sign anything that you are uncomfortable with or that you do not understand.