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Question DetailsAsked on 2/1/2014

I am currently remodeling my kitchen, a quarter way through the remodel the contractor wants to increase the price

after he took down the old dry wall, he say that there was no framing present, so he will have to built new framing as backing for the new dry wall, he said that the original price he quoted was just for replacing the dry wall and that he could not see under the old drywall to know that there was no wooden framing. is it normal business practice to charge extra for unknown conditions under non-transparent surfaces?

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2 Answers

0
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Unfortunately , YES , unknown , covered and hidden surprises WILL affect the contracted price and scope of each job !

There is No way , a contractor can bid or provide any costs for hidden damages or surprizes that exist behind any wall. A contractor can only base his bid or quote on seen and known elements that may effect any project , it is , the hidden and unknown's that always crop up

when a wall is opened or uncovered that surprise everyone and always increase's the projected budget and raises job costs . All that is required is to observe government projects and how often the project runs over budget , to realise that You are not the only unfortunate client to encounter this , it happens on almost every job , it even happens to car mechanic's day , and surprizes even hit doctors. It is unfortunately , a fact of life , if you cant see it , you cannot plan for it !

Answered 6 years ago by BentheBuilder

0
Votes

Assuming the drywall actually had no studs behind it, this would be a legitimate hidden condition that justifies a change order for small additional price - a contractor would expect studs in all walls. The studs cost $2-3 each, so installed cost shouldnot exceed about $10 per stud times howeer many you need at 16" on centers - so probably only about 10 or less, so $100 range or less would be fair change order amount.

Personally, I wouldnot have charged additional for the hour or so (including going to get the unplanned for studs) and maybe $10-30 of materials cost it would take to put studs in, considered as part of a total remodel job. Therefore, you might take this as a yellow flag that he mnight - I repeat, hust might - be making this a test to see how easy it is to increase pricing with you in midstream.

IF he is conning you, you should be able to see if there were actually studs in there, assuming it is still open - you would see fade marks every 16" (measured from one side of wall or the other - there will be an odd spacing somewhere probably), and nails or nail holes in the top and bottom plates where the nails held the studs. Or if the old drywall he took out is laying in a scrap pile, it would have nail pull through holes in the field area if there were originally studs, not just around the perimeter.

It is possible there were no studs - I have seen even contractor installs where for a non- load bearing wall behind reefers and washer/dryers especially, they just nailed the drywall to the top and bottom plates with studs only at the drywall seams - just lazy and poor workmanship.

I would recommend you insist the increased cost be put into a formal change order with $ change and reason, signed by both of you and with copies to both, so he knows you are serious about the job not running amuck on cost. If this was a "test" to see if he could start ratcheting the cost up on you, your insistence on formal written change orders does two things. One, puts him on notice you are not a sucker for runaway pricing, and that you are going to insist on written change order up front BEFORE the change is done, so you have a record that you are not giving him verbal approval for price increases or just letting him run up the tab without approvals at all. That is where a lot of homeowners get in trouble - verbal approvals, unless immmediately (within hours) followed up by written change orders, make it a he said - she said situation if there is an argument come final payment time. You do NOT want any issues to arise at final payment time - they have to be hashed out at the time they first arise, and any changes, like final punchlist of deficiencies, should be recorded in writing with copies to both parties AT THAT TIME. Helps a LOT if you have a xerox machine or scanning printer so you can make a copy right then, rather than him taking it hone and bringing a copy back to you, which he then conveniently forgets to do, etc, etc. A quality contractor will have carbonless change order forms ready to use - fill it in, both sign, copy to each right there. (He wouldusually keep the original).

I am not by any means saying all or most contractors or vendors are crooks - however, the problemyou have is that you do not know up front if a contractor you are dealing with is honest and fair or not, even though you help your odds by using review sites like Angie's List.. So, you have to cross the T's and dot the I's with every contractor until you have a couple of experiences with him and know if he is trtustworthy and fair, in which case it is up to you if you relax a bit then. In my book, I would say about 1/4 of people will take a mile if given an inch and are not to be trusted, about 1/4 are not beyond padding the job a bit given the opportunity, about 1/4 would not do anything "dishonest" but might not be above trying to make up elsewhere for something they missed or misestimated on the job, and about 1/4 will give you a fair shake and be someone you can trust to be fair and honest. The difficulty is knowing which type your contractor is when you did not know him a few days ago.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD




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