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Question DetailsAsked on 10/7/2011

What a Mess! Under going legal issues regarding replacement windows,doors,sunroom. Information to and not to disclose to contractor?

It has been 1 year this month we entered into contract for replacement windows (12) Replacement entry doors (2) and sunroom.
Try to make story short;Contractor did not have experienced installers-never obtained building permit until after sunroom was erected- paid contractor $40,000.00. sued us for $5,000.00 Windows not up to code (no insulation-flashing-out of plumb) sunroom not up to code at all, doors were replaced with "Smaller" size.I am allowing contractor sunroom inspection with building code official.Contractor claims nothing wrong with window-door instalation.Contractor dose NOT know that we are aware of wrong size doors-NOT aware that we know they FORGED my signature on building permit. Severe damage has happen to my home after this construction job,contractor claims it was prior to their work. Contractor given 6-8 times to correct issues, claim repaired,DO I LET contractor I KNOW ABOUT WRONG SIZE DOORS? They MUST know 36" to 35" they used molding to hide the defects.

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If you are being sued and/or counter suing, then you should hire a lawyer. While you can do small claims court and sue without a lawyer, the Contractor's insurance will provide him a lawyer to defeat you. Plus, odds are good the Contractor has more court experience than the average Home Owner, especially if this is his standard opperating procedure. If you go against a lawyer, you will lose, even if you are right (Saying the right thing at the wrong time is very bad in court rooms. Get a lawyer who knows the processes).

Once you decide you are suing, there should be no further contact or access to the property with the contractor. If you have already been told you are suing, you should stop all access to your property (you are allowing them to gather evidence AGAINST you. Your lawyer may be able to reach an agreement outside of court to allow the contractor to fix the work within a specific time period, but even then make sure you are not in contact with the contractor. Anything you say, will be turned against you ("The Home Owner said it was okay.")

A building official has no legal obligation in court; his job is safety and minimum construction requirements as allowed per Code. He has no say over materials and methods, and cannot assess damage. (IRC doesn't have a requirement that the door you mention exceed 35", so he won't care it isn't 36" as an example). What he CAN do is state if the work is unsafe or causing other conditions which are unsafe. Let your lawyer decide; but it is not in your best interest to have the Building Offical inspect with the contractor.

To sue you need to show damages. Get another contractor (get some references or hire an architect to help ensure you get what you need) to inspect the work and give an estimate to repair. The amount the contractor(s) estimates becomes what you seek in court (plus court fees) from the contractor. If his work caused problems, you should be suing, not sued.

Also, be aware that no door manufacturer makes an actual 36" door (as an example). They each have their own frame sizes, so a "36 door" in reality will be 35 7/8" to 35 3/8". Each door maker has slightly different sizes (go online, you can see Pella, Anderson, Kolbe-Kolbe, etc. have their actual sizes available for PDF downloads). If you replace a Pella 36" with an Anderson's 36" they won't fit perfectly. In fact, the different within the same manufacturer are sometimes even different. The purpose of trim is to hide the gap between the wall and door frame, so your door may be perfectly fine in size and method of installation.

When you have this work corrected (and for any future work) utilize the services of a lisenced Architect. They will oversee the work, review requests for payments and document existing conditions and conditions found during construction to prevent the situation you are now in. They will also ensure the proper permits are filed and the inspections called for. Because they are a third party to the agreement, they can be the 'bad guy' and make the contractor perform, where you just have to pay the invoices they approve. The contractor deals with the Architect (and vice versa) and you get the project you wanted. The cost of the architect would have been around $3,200 and is minimal compared to what you are dealing with now, the peace of mind is worth it and architects often find cost savings that go directly back to the Home Owner. When you account for time alone, you will have spent more than this on just preparing and attending the court case.

Because this is headed to court, stop all communication with the contractor and get yourself counsel. Good luck.


Answered 8 years ago by Kenny Johnson


Thank you Kenny for your response,
The contractor was at my house because of my construction issues and building permit was one of those issues, we created a "Punch list" signed and dated it, it was three weeks until I heard a word back and I decided to go to our zoning office to find out about any permit.
I discovered that there never was one applied for here at my address, I contacted the contractor, a week later they came to my home, told me they applied for the permit, and were there to do the work that was on the punch list.
When they told me they were done for the day, I ask when they would be back to complete the work, I was told they could not do anymore until the permit & inspection.
I just cried & cried.
I did hire a lawyer in March, The contractor contacted me after this and said the permit was approved and wanted to come do the inspection,
I would not allow them on my property and so they sued us for the remaining $4,190.00 + cost
I had a building engineer do a inspection, plus 3 other contractors
The sun room is not even up to code at all, not even electric, all but 1 window is 1/2" to 3/4" out of plumb (in -out) direction.
I have severe water leaking in.
There was a appeal filed for the judgment.
The contractor's & their attorney agreed to stop the judgment (have no paper showing this) and they met here with my attorney-their attorney-the building engineer we hired and they just,,well we were not here.
Anyway, I wanted to file complaints with the attorney general, labor & business, federal trade commission.
The contract states they handle all permits, they intentionally hid the damages that were done, the building permit that was approved and they applied for, someone forged my signature on the permit (not very good job) the doors that were replaced were "Peach Tree" doors that we installed in 1998. They installed Provia. There has been wind, water leaking in, and other issues.
Following the inspection by our attorneys & them and theirs,
The response the owner of the company made about the window installation was (their just replacement windows) the doors, they claim that there were issues prior (There were NOT)
I discovered that I must allow them to do the inspection with the building code official with the sun room and at least bring that up to code.
Because of the judgment against us, filing any type complaints I want to do, I would look bad and by allowing them to do this inspection & at least bring the sun room to code is when I can move forward.
I have NO intention on speaking one word to anyone working for that contractor.
The windows & doors and QUALITY of all work, manor in which this was conducted will be dealt with after I at least allow them to inspect, repair the sun room, because me refusing them on my property, It looks as if I did not permit them to do repairs.
They did not need a permit for replacement windows and doors unless the size was changed. (the doors were and they do not know we know this) As far as the windows & doors they were given 8 documented times to resolve those issues and that is done as far as them and me.
They will NOT come into my house
I have pictures of every step of this entire project from day one, and photos before and after work that was done, I have documents, emails etc. Most people would never think to do such things, and this contractor has no clue the documented facts that back up everything done here.
Your answer did give me some answers I needed and was unsure of.
I do still have the original order/invoices for the Peach Tree doors that were replaced with their measurements.
Yes, this is quite the mess.
This was the first time we hired a contractor for this type of work.
This is a company that has been in our area over 30 years, I never imagined anything such as this could happen or even take place. never.
Thank you again..
I am quite sure I will win, I believe they have no clue who they really screwed. I hope that in the end I do not just get my home back into the beautiful condition it once was, but I hope that other people that DO NOT KNOW they may have defective construction by this company? maybe I will help others that have no clue what "Might" have been done to them as what was done here.

Answered 8 years ago by mzdraggin

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