A.Patricia McDaniel, owner of Boardwalk Builders in Rehoboth Beach, Del., responds: From the client’s point of view, it is always the contractor’s fault. At this point, you’re in the unfortunate position of trying to close the barn door after the horse has escaped. If you could have inspected the attic but didn’t, the homeowners have a good case that it isn’t their fault that you didn’t know what was up there.

At the start of the job, it’s essential to communicate with your client about how you will handle hidden conditions. The following suggested contract language comes from a sample contract in Gary Ransone’s book, The Contractor’s Legal Kit: "Unless specifically included in the ‘General Scope of Work’ section above, this Agreement does not...

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