said by Draiman:
The other cool thing about this contractor is they do 'progressive' payments. They do the designed then I sign off on them and pay them 5% of the job cost. They obtain the permits and I sign off and pay them another 5%. They do the foundation and we sign off and pay 15%. We sign off on all work before we paid for it on each step. I think there like 14 sign off and payment points in the payment schedule.
Don't forget to withhold 10%-15% for X days after the end of construction.
I don't know how things work in the states, but here, a sub-contractor or material supplier can put a "legal mortgage" (Don't know the equivalent term in english) which supersedes any other mortgage, if they don't get paid, even if the main contractor is the one who didn't pay, your property becomes the sub-contractor's collateral.
After 35 days (In Quebec) of the end of construction, the deadline is reached and you're in the clear. Then you pay your contractor the last 15%.
But that's just a suggestion.