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Question DetailsAsked on 11/10/2014

My contractor continued to build my patio when framing did not pass inspection, is he liable for damages?

This is after we fired him, turned him into the licensing board and are currently in the process of filing a claim against his bond. Prior to firing him he incorrectly applied epoxy to wood patio ceiling resulting in ruining the wood.
He attempted to fix it 2 times and stated that if he couldn't fix it he would replace it. Of course that time came and he wanted us to give him 1600$ of the last 3500$ payment for completion. This wasn't in writing, in person and then threatening over a text message either we sign a new contract to pay 1600$ or he will file a lien against our home. We also now have a leak in our roof where he attached the patio, he sent an unlicensed roofer whom he claims works for him, but that's a lie because the man gave us his business card with a fake license #. We currently have a appointments couple of licensed roofers to assess the damage. We have an appt. with a real estate lawyer. But with the failure of inspection we are clueless to what will happen next.

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If you mean he continued work after failure, you should have kicked him off the property unless he was repairing the framing problem that failed - not let him work on work items that depended on the framing inspection passing first.


If the roofer was a sub rather than an employee, assuming your area requires roofers be licensed, I would turn him in too - certainly if the license number was fake or not one he was authorized to work under.


Document the heck out of this - events, communications, time frames, photos.


I am sure your attorney will tell you to not post anything more on AL until it is resolved, when you presumably can post a review, but run it by attorney first for approval to be sure does not violate any settlement terms, so write that up during the process so you do not have to go back to attorney for his input after other work is done.


Basically, his bonding company should "make good" on his work by hiring anotehr contractor to finish the job, including redoing that which failed inspection to make it pass, and tearing out work product that is inadequate and replacing it - including the wood he damaged. If bonding company will not cover that, then his insurance company should as damage to your house, so talk to the attorney about whether his insurance company needs to be brought into the picture at this time as well.


Not as real clear in this case as it would be if he say broke a window which he was not working on with a ladder or damaged a tree or fence because he hit it driving into your yard, when the fence or tree was not part of his scope. Bonding generally covers the adequacy and completion of his scope of work under the contract, his insurance covers personal and property injury/damage he causes which is NOT directly related to the scope of work being done fully and correctly. So, to put it crudely as an example, if he smokes and burns up the deck he is currently working on and fails to replace it - bonding company is the one to claim to for his failure to complete the scope of the contract, though they might turn around and try to recover from his insurance company for the fire loss. If instead he burned your house or shed down throwing his cigarette butts up against it, his insurance company covers it. Because this sounds like pre-existing wood that he epoxied, that sort of blurs the line but in my experience his bonding company would be the primary payer. If it was wood he put up, thenn part of the scope of work and his bonding company definitely is the one to cover it.


As for what happens now - welcome to limbo, because until there is a settlement with the bonding/insurance companies or completion under the bonding company as applicable, you cannot move ahead - and first thing that has to be done when it does move ahead is rework the job to the extent needed to pass the framing inspection. Bonding company may hire a company to advance the job, or just write it off and pay you back all the money paid to date - which you could accept, or demand they remove all the defective work to clean state first before you accept that. Your decision would presumably depend on whether you think the work to date can be rehabilitated. Be prepared for a case settlement offer from them in any amount up to the contract amount of the job (which is generally their limit of liability), because they really do not like hiring contractors to finish a job themselves - too much liability, so especially on residendial and small jobs, they tend to just try to make a cash settlement, or set up a trust fund to pay whatever new contractor you hire as bills come in. Talk to your lawyer about this, because any amount less than full contract value might come up short if you have to get another contractor on board, who might charge more than this guy - especially if he was low bidder because he underbid the job.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD




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