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Question DetailsAsked on 7/5/2013

Do I need just a Contractor OR Contractor AND Window Door Replacement specialest?

We underwent Home Improvements on our home that included 12 replacement windows, 2 entry doors and enclosed a porch "installed sunroom"
I hired a Structural Engineer and his report claims "The repairs needed to bring the home up to code standards are extensive"
Every window that was installed needs (Removed & replaced) all out of plumb-no flashing-water,wind enters home.
Both doors are not the correct size (original doors 35 1/2" new doors 34 5/8")
Enclosed porch (not properly connected to slab (does not meet required code uplift requirements from wind loading) and several more structural damage
I need to get estimates to do the repairs, the damage is very extensive and to much to place here.
QUESTION: Do I need a window and door replacement specialist?
Or just a contractor to give estimates for repairs according to the Engineers report I have?
Or both?
Also I need to add that the (Original Contractor) claims no wrong, and to top it off my Township and Code officer passed inspections

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3 Answers

Voted Best Answer
2
Votes

Sadly you've learned what so many other have: City inspectors aren't a reliable source to ensure your project is completed properly. They typically have very little education and/or experience outside of the inspector's books they carry. You wouldn't believe the things I've seen that have been passed by city inspectors.


You had a really bad contractor but a good general contractor can handle the entire project for you as the first one should have. You can have a window and door company redo the work but some don't repair/replace the siding and such if needed. For piece of mind you want one person to deal with. This prevents the blame game that often happens when more than one contractor works on a project. If there is a problem you want one person to go to that carries full repsonsibility.


Todd Shell

Todd's Home Services

San Antonio, TX

Answered 5 years ago by Todd's Home Services

1
Vote

If you have not given final payment, I would stop payment. If by credit card, file complaint with credit card company to get them to reverse payment.

I would say you need to bring an attorney on board, and first off have him meet with you and the engineer about how much is damage from the contractor, how much work was improperly done but not "damage", and how much of his defiiciency list is unrelated to contractor's work (if any). I suspect the next thing the attorney will want is an engineer's cost estimate of what it will cost to remedy the proboems, and specs from him of what needs to be done, leading to multiple quotes from contractors to use as evidence against the contractor and to determine the amount of potential damages.

I would then talk to attorney about going against the contractor's bond and insurance, as applicable.

I would also talk to him about whether your homeowner's insurance might partly cover this under fraud provisions - if they are going to have a possible claim filed against them, they need to be on board from the start or they may refuse to pay. If more a sloppy workmanship than a fraud question, homeowner's insurance probably will NOT cover it, so don't talk to them until attorney tells you if there is a good chance they will, because once they hear about a potential claim that counts as a claim filed against your account, even if they do not pay out a dime.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

0
Votes

Todd & LCD I'd like to thank you for your response's
Both are very helpful.
I did meet with a "second" attorney and he did go over the engineers report that does state;
How much is damage from the contractor, how much and what work was improperly done by the contractor, also damage that only could have been created by improper construction.
The engineer did include a cost estimate of what it will cost to remedy the proboems.
But he also states because it was a "as build" inspection "a contractor should be consulted to prepare an estimate with his findings properly"
He was only able to give "Probable costs associated with repairs needed"
I have a added question:
Of course I will go by way of Angies List to find a contractor to come for estimates.
Should I at least try and get three estimates?
And also it is harder than one can imagine to find someone I can trust after what we experianced.
Then there is our Township and code officials.
Building permits will be needed.
The original contractor under the signed contract was to provide all building permits and after the " contractor deemed the work was completed" I discovered they never applied for one.
The township was aware of this and also the code officials
Nothing was done as far as the contractor, but they allowed them to apply for the permit knowing they did the work without one.
Trust me, this has been the nightmare I would never want anyone to experience.

And all me and my husband wanted was our home updated.

Answered 5 years ago by mzdraggin

0
Votes

OK - my sympathies for your situation - does not sound like you in any way brought this on yourself, but now that you are here, how to get out of it with as little pain as possible? What I would advise:

1) With your attorney, talk to the building officials (hopefully building permit department manager and planning department at same time, if different people, about getting a retroactive land use permit, building permit, and any other permits needed issued or extended, and filing a formal complaint against the contractor's license for not having gotten them up front. Be sure to have your contract in hand which says it was his responsibility. (Complaint against his license may be to city or state or both, depending who issues licenses in your area).

2) At the meeting, determine if they want to physically go over the building with the engineer to make up a deficiency list, or if they are happy with his list. GET THIS AGREEMENT or punch-list IN WRITING with the town people. the key is to get them on board with YOU, not the original contractor, and for them to realize this is a new game, not playing by the rules of the first (offending) contractor.

3) The engineer's cost estimate is called an "Engineer's Estimate" - for small jobs, generally considered to be within 20-25% or so (targeting, but rarely hitting 10%) of actual construction cost - not something you would want to base a claim on.

4) You still need actual "Bids" from contractors - for a mess like this, you should have 3 VALID bids - ones that are responsive and in the $ ballpark, ignoring any way off the mark ones. If the bids are scattered all oer the place, then the plans and specs and detailed scope of work statement were inadequate. The engineer should be able to help you with names of contractors he thinks, from experience, are qualified and trustworthy. No promises of course, but he has more experience than you in this area. Word of mouth from neighbors or co-workers who have done major remodels might help too. Because of in-town contractor relationships, you may find you have to include nearby town contractors to get an adequate short-list of about 5-6 (to get 3 or so responsive bids).

5) To develop the bidder's list, use Angie's List, other contractor review websites, Better Business Bureau rating (don't put too much weight in the rating - pay attention to number of complaints), complaints filed with state licensing board against him (most contractors have zero), membership in state contractor's associations or specialty associations, membership in Chamber of Commerce or local clubs like Rotary, etc. These memberships do not make him a better contractor, but do mean he has been working on and is interested in building his name and reputation, so he has a lot more to lose by not being trustworthy and honest.

6) Engineer (and architect, if there was an architect's plans originally) should have major input, with final draft review by attorney, of contract plans and specifications. It will have to be made clear to bidders what the intended finished product is, AS WELL AS what the problems caused by contractor #1 that need correcting are. REQUIRE a walk-though by potential bidders with the engineer BEFORE they bid, so it is clear they have been fully briefed on the situation and what needs to be done, as this is not normal remodelling jo any more - this is rehabilitation and remodel combined. That does not mean it will be significantly more expensive - you just need to make sure they know what they are bidding on. This should also result in much closer bids, so it will be easier to pick the one you feel the most comfortable with without a major cost penalty.

7) Bear in mind that if you do NOT choose the low bidder, any claim against the first contractor will be defended on the basis of the lowest bid as the maximum they should pay - you would have to have very good reason and documentation to justify not taking the lowest bid, so you might end up eating the difference between low RESPONSIVE bid and the one you choose. THerefore, if you do not take the low bid for a good reason (rather than peace of mind) DOCUMENT, with input from Engineer and Attorney, WHY.

8) Separately, you have the cost recovery factor - everything needs to be documented - any prior condition photos (family photos, relative who recently took pictures on their visit, birthday party photos, etc), documentation of current condition and the problems due to first contractor (a walk-through with both camera and video with the engineer would probably be best), and of course during-construction and after-construction photos showing the problem and then the correction, and full detailed documentation of all costs and detailed timeframe and manhours spent onthe case - by engineer, legal, yours, contractors. Then you will have what you need to work with the attorney on a claim against the first contractor. This claim should be initiated immeditely, probably both as a threatened (or actual) lawsuit and as a claim directly against his bond and contractor's insurance.

9) DO NOT WAIT to start this claim process - you need to get it under way immediately BEFORE any of the incorrect work is changed, so the bonding and insurance companies have what is called "reasonable opportunity to inspect" by having their expert(s) and claim adjusters look at the current problems BEFORE they are changed. IF you make your engineer or yourself available during this process, it should be under the direction and watchful hands-on eye of the attorney, not individually. Enerally best to NOT do that - but leave that to the deposition phase, if it goes to trial.

10) Have your attorney honestly discuss with you what your chance of recovery is, and what types of costs he thinks will be recoverable (especially whether legal costs are likely to be recoverable, as that will be 15-30% probably of total cost to fix this problem), and what your best route is - usually bonding company, then insurance, then lawsuit are the easiest to recover from, in that order. IF contractor is required by state law to have license, bonding, and insurance and he did not, that might open the door to civil fraud charges against him, which brings in the possibility of extraordinary damages and possibly double or treble damages if determined to be willful fraud.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD




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