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Question DetailsAsked on 5/28/2018

Is he GC responsible for damage that a sub causes to an adjacent property?

Apparently the available water source available to the concrete sub was frozen this past winter. Unknowingly to us (without permission) they used our faucet in the back of the house leaving concrete stains, gouges and concrete buildup om the back porch slab.

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1 Answer


The subcontractor is directlly responsible - and probably also guilty of at least simple trespass - depends on how obvious it would be that he was on someone else's property.

General Contractor is ultimately responsible - and possibly the neighbor, because the contractor is acting under his authority to work on the property. I would say you need a get-together with the neighbor and the GC about getting it cleaned up. Verbal meeting might work if he gets on it and does it in a day or two - but if it drags, then you need to send a certified mail, return receipt signature required letter, addressed to both the neighbor and the GC, briefly explaining what happened and approximate dates, referencing the meeting and promised but unfilfilled repair date, listing the damages and what repairs/cleanup you want, and stating that you desire it be done within X business days of the letter being sent (for X, say maybe 7-10 to allow for a couple of days in the mail) or otherwise you will be filing a claim with their insurance companies.

Be sure to list any splash damage too - like lime staining from splashing on siding or railings or such, which might take a vinegar or dilute acid wash or such to remove. Also, if the deck is sealed, the repaired areas should also be sealed at the appropriate time in the curing process.

If you are not sure of who made the mess, you should state that apparently either his workers or subcontractor personnel caused the damage - so you are not possibly pointing the finger at the wrong party. I would NOT let him pass off contat on this with you and the sub - keep the GC on the hook as the responsible party, though of course if the sub is cleaning it up and ask if thatis good enough then you should say yes or no - CONTINGENT on how it looks with thoroughly dry and cured.

If you wanted to strengthen the letter, you could (in the description of what happened) mention that this damage was as a result of trespass by the workers.

Also detail any restrictions on advance notice to you or hours of day or such for them to work in. Depending on your level of attention to what your slab looks like and if it has any special treatment, you might just ask for repair and cleanup work - otherwise it would not be unreasonable to ask that the repairs and cleanup be done so that the area worked on matches the rest of the slab or porch as applicable - which might mean he might have to skimcoat the entire slab to match the repair, which would otherwise normally be darker in color for some years.

I would say you have to keep the neighbor in the liability loop - which will make him put pressure on the GC to get it done.

There would be a temptation (especially if the neighbor is a friend) to tell him you arte not really going after him or his insurance - but don't do that, because if the GC does not come through, it is the neighbor who has the contractual right to withhold his payments and to put a claim against his bonding company to get the repairs done, if necessary - you likely only have access to the contractor's liability insurance, and that might require suing him - not a veryviable solution for this small a repair. Keeping the neighbor "at risk" in the letter, even if you tell him you hope he can work with the GC to get this simply and quickly taken care of without any insurance or trespassing claims, keeps his ability to put pressure on the contractor in force and working for you. He is in a MUCH stronger position than you are with respect to getting the GC to toe the line (or make his sub toe the line).

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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