Problems with my contractor...

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Old 01-18-06, 11:07 AM
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Problems with my contractor...

Before I did anything there was no steps connecting my basement to the house, you had to enter the basement from outside the house. I hired a contractor to build an extension connecting the house and basement by staircase.

My foundation comes at least 3 feet above the ground level. The problem is he is planning on leaving the block exposed and I was under the assumption everything would be finished drywall.

The contract says:
"Walls on exterir of well will be 2x4 16" oc with 1/2" OSB sheathing, bulding paper and vinyl siding. Interior will be R-13 fiberglass insulation and 1/2" drywall, glued, screwed, and finished".

How do I proceed? Thank you...
 
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Old 01-18-06, 11:22 AM
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You don't have an "assumption", you have a contract. Ask the contractor to explain why he thinks that leaving the block exposed is in keeping with the contract. Good luck.
 
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Old 01-18-06, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by majakdragon
You don't have an "assumption", you have a contract. Ask the contractor to explain why he thinks that leaving the block exposed is in keeping with the contract. Good luck.
FYI Im dealing with a man that gives nothing but excuses for his mistakes. He and his workers have bad craftsmanship and every time I ask for something to be fixed he gets very defensive and gives me a "thats what most of my customers want" or "I think we did a good job" schpeal.

Here is a photo
 
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Old 01-18-06, 11:56 AM
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Old 01-18-06, 12:09 PM
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Although I have not seen your entire contract, you did not say the the wording "To be finished the way most of my customers want it". Thats is obviously not what YOU want. I would hope that the contract also has wording to the point " All work shall be done in a professional workmanship type manner". Hopefully you have not paid for this job in full. Depending on the amount it would take to get the job done the way the contract states, you may end up in Small Claims court and have someone else finish the job. If he is licensed, you may be able to contact the Contractors board where you live.
 
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Old 01-18-06, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by majakdragon
Although I have not seen your entire contract, you did not say the the wording "To be finished the way most of my customers want it". Thats is obviously not what YOU want. I would hope that the contract also has wording to the point " All work shall be done in a professional workmanship type manner". Hopefully you have not paid for this job in full. Depending on the amount it would take to get the job done the way the contract states, you may end up in Small Claims court and have someone else finish the job. If he is licensed, you may be able to contact the Contractors board where you live.
It says: "All work to be completed in a workmanlike manner according to standard practices".

I have not paid the last quarter installment. It does however say in the contract that if I dont pay in full within 10 days of the job being "completed", that I am responsible to pay any legal fees or other cost related to the collection of moneys due on top of interest for the amount due. This seems to be a grey area as I wouldnt consider the job completed, and he will.

There is a license number at the top of the contract. Does the contractors board mediate situations like this?
 
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Old 01-18-06, 12:36 PM
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I am not sure exactly what they do. I am sure they have the power to pull his license. You are correct in that the job is not complete until the contract has been fulfilled. CONTRACT being the key word.
Since he thinks he is almost finished, I would sit down with him and explain your concerns. No yelling or screaming or threatening on eithers part. Just an explanation of what the contract says and what he has/hasn't done. Don't let him bully you into less than what is in the contract. It sounds like it should be easy to read and comprehend. He bid in labor and material for the finished job you agreed upon. Should he get nasty or confrontative, end the conversation and do what you have to do.
 
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Old 01-18-06, 07:49 PM
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I have been looking at your photo's for about 15 minutes. Now, I am going to throw a twist in this deal. It is possible that the contractor is correct. Your contract is referring to the walls that were erected, not the existing ones. I see the new wall sheetrocked and finished. And I see the old wall in the stair well near the bottem still block. In your thread, you did not mention and work to be done on the foundation wall or basement wall. Was that mentioned in the contract, or were you reading this into the contract in your mind. I am just throwing this out for your consideration. Good Luck
 
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Old 01-18-06, 09:19 PM
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Going with what Jack said, what exactly did the contractor build? How much of what is in the pictures was there before and what parts did he add on?
 
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Old 01-19-06, 03:55 AM
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Originally Posted by luvme2x
The contract says:
"Walls on exterir of well will be 2x4 16" oc with 1/2" OSB sheathing, bulding paper and vinyl siding. Interior will be R-13 fiberglass insulation and 1/2" drywall, glued, screwed, and finished".
Where the contractor erred was in the omission of the terms "above" and "below" grade. However, he is clearly referring to the wood framed walls.
Beside being difficult, its impracticle to install siding below grade.

Since it is an "acceptable general practice" to leave below grade and masonry walls unfinished, other than that inherient to the product, I would say, as others have, that when he has finished the " 2x4 16" oc with 1/2" OSB sheathing, bulding paper and vinyl siding. Interior will be R-13 fiberglass insulation and 1/2" drywall, glued, screwed, and finished", he has completed his contractual obligation.

If you then want him to "additionally" skim coat the interior of the masonry of the stairwell, ask.
 
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Old 01-19-06, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by majakdragon
Going with what Jack said, what exactly did the contractor build? How much of what is in the pictures was there before and what parts did he add on?
He built everything you see in the photos. That whole staircase area is an extension, he had to pour the pad and do the blockwork.
 
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Old 01-19-06, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Snoonyb
Where the contractor erred was in the omission of the terms "above" and "below" grade. However, he is clearly referring to the wood framed walls.
Beside being difficult, its impracticle to install siding below grade.

Since it is an "acceptable general practice" to leave below grade and masonry walls unfinished, other than that inherient to the product, I would say, as others have, that when he has finished the " 2x4 16" oc with 1/2" OSB sheathing, bulding paper and vinyl siding. Interior will be R-13 fiberglass insulation and 1/2" drywall, glued, screwed, and finished", he has completed his contractual obligation.

If you then want him to "additionally" skim coat the interior of the masonry of the stairwell, ask.
Is it really acceptable general practice to leave block work exposed on the interior of a house? On top of the cold air pouring through it, it looks damn ugly for an interior.

That exposed block is clearly not "...R-13 fiberglass insulation and 1/2" drywall, glued, screwed, and finished".

I did this extension as a first step toward finishing my basement, the contractor knew this as I was considering him for that job also. Why would you hire someone to do a job and leave it unfinished?
 
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Old 01-19-06, 01:47 PM
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Unfortunately, I would have to agree with Jack. From the looks of your pictures, your contractor completed the job as described in the contract. The walls ON THE FOUNDATION are sheetrocked as stated.

In the picture I see a typical stairway to an unfinished basement. Finishing the foundation walls would likely be considered part of a contract to finish the basement.

I think the problem arises from poor or mis-communication between both parties. He probably could have been a little clearer about what the completed job would look like, after all he does this for a living an you don't. Conversely, you probably could have been a little clearer about your expectations, he probably thought you understood the scope of the job.

If it were me, I would have finished the foundation wall, stairs, etc as part of the initial contract if that was what you wanted, but I would have also increased the price.

PS -That job isnt quite done, if it hasn't been done yet, you still need a handrail on one side.
 

Last edited by kona; 01-19-06 at 01:48 PM. Reason: word omission
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Old 01-19-06, 06:51 PM
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Agree With Contractor, Jack, Kona

Based on your contract wording, the contractor did just what he described and it is not usual to have the block finished on the inside of any foundation unless specified to the contrary.

I think your contractor did you right and has abided by what he agreed to do.

Nothing left now but to pay him after he installs the required handrailing as Kona stated.
 
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Old 01-19-06, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by luvme2x
Is it really acceptable general practice to leave block work exposed on the interior of a house? On top of the cold air pouring through it, it looks damn ugly for an interior.
Yes.
Masonry is not sufficiently pourous to allow air infiltration.Its why you paint the outside as well as the inside with DRILOK.
Masonry below grades is required to be waterproofed, again, non-pourous.

[/QUOTE]That exposed block is clearly not "...R-13 fiberglass insulation and 1/2" drywall, glued, screwed, and finished".[/QUOTE]

And clearly not the procuct/s used in finishing masonry walls.

[/QUOTE]I did this extension as a first step toward finishing my basement, the contractor knew this as I was considering him for that job also. Why would you hire someone to do a job and leave it unfinished?[/QUOTE]

Thats your take, not several of ours, as you can see.
 
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Old 01-19-06, 08:55 PM
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luvme2x,

First, and foremost, none of us (to the best of my knowledge) are attorneys, and NONE of us have the contract in front of us to read in its entirety.

The contractor wrote the contract thinking it meant one thing, and you signed it thinking it meant another. I'm pretty sure that it's going to be some judge who gets the final word on this one. Get the handrail installed, withhold the final payment, and get an attorney.

Obviously the job isn't finished to your satisfaction. You are thinking that the exterior masonary walls were s'posed to be insulated and sheet rocked, among other things. The contractor is going to say that masonary walls below grade usually AREN'T insulated and sheet rocked. Due to the poor wording in the contract that you have mentioned, either one of you could be right. Certainly the judge will be more in agreement with one or the other of you, and that's who will prevail.
 
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Old 01-20-06, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Jack the Contractor
I have been looking at your photo's for about 15 minutes. Now, I am going to throw a twist in this deal. It is possible that the contractor is correct. Your contract is referring to the walls that were erected, not the existing ones. I see the new wall sheetrocked and finished. And I see the old wall in the stair well near the bottem still block. In your thread, you did not mention and work to be done on the foundation wall or basement wall. Was that mentioned in the contract, or were you reading this into the contract in your mind. I am just throwing this out for your consideration. Good Luck
The block walls were erected by him. All the block work you see was laid by the contractor. Does this change the way anyone feels.
 
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Old 01-20-06, 02:19 PM
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Luvme2x,

My comments above were based on understanding that everything in the picture is new construction. I still believe that he erected the walls as stated in the portion of the contract you quoted above.

Now to address another issue you bring up. Is the bottom of the new exterior siding level/lined up horizontally/have the same elevation as the siding on the rest of your house?

Also, how wide are your stair treads, and is that right wall drywall along the entire length of the staircase?

By the way, what specifically causes you to say their craftsmanship is poor, and what things did you need to tell him to fix? Knowing this may help us to get a clearer understanding of the situation.
 
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Old 01-20-06, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by kona
Luvme2x,

My comments above were based on understanding that everything in the picture is new construction. I still believe that he erected the walls as stated in the portion of the contract you quoted above.

Now to address another issue you bring up. Is the bottom of the new exterior siding level/lined up horizontally/have the same elevation as the siding on the rest of your house?

Also, how wide are your stair treads, and is that right wall drywall along the entire length of the staircase?

By the way, what specifically causes you to say their craftsmanship is poor, and what things did you need to tell him to fix? Knowing this may help us to get a clearer understanding of the situation.
It comes lower than the siding on the rest of the house. I was given an excuse of thats what they needed to do to use 2x12's to build the staires.

The staires are 4ft wide. Yes, the right wall is drywall along the whole length of the stairway.

As far as craftsmanship goes, he over cut the holes for the door and electric outlet he put in my bedroom, he cut through the stairwell into my bedroom closet, 2 doors he put in shut by themslef, the door he put at the bottom of the steps got wet and had to be sanded down to a sharp metal edge just in order to shut, the drywall wall on the right side of the steps was BADLY curved before it was replaced, molding has been put on crooked, nothing is square or level and I am argueing now with him to fix a wall in my kitchen he resurfaced with paneling that is completely wavy.
 
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Old 01-20-06, 02:35 PM
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also, every light switch and electrical outlet he put in aren't straight either.

It seems they were winging this job from the jump, figuring things out as they go. They specialize in kitchens and baths, I hear they guy talking to himself that he will never take a job like this again... The up and downstaires doorways are not where they were in the original plans, he had to move them due to faulty measurements. And this extension was supposed to sit under my gutter according to his plans, he changed them to tie it right into the roof, I was not consulted about that weather it had to be that way or not.
 
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Old 01-20-06, 02:38 PM
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And as if dealing with all this isnt bad enough, this morning the contracter gave my keys back and told me if I didnt give him a check today he was going to sue me for the balance, court costs, and a fraudulent statment he came up with of 3,500.00 when the contract states: "Any alteration or deviation from specifications below involving extra cost will be executed upon written orders..."He also threatened to have his attorney start the process of placing a lien on my home.

First of all, the contract gives me 10 days from completion of the job to pay in full. Secondly, the job isnt done, he still has to finish the wavy wall I mentioned in the last post. He also has other minor details to fix.

Also, this job was quoted to take 3 weeks, and its been 8 so far. Its obvious I am dealing with someone who is paranoid they will not get paid. I dont know why being that all payments have been on time. This man seems not to understand his own contract.
 
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Old 01-20-06, 03:01 PM
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Sounds like a nightmare. Is the guy licensed/insured? Did he design the plans? Was there a building permit/inspections. You should never make the last payment until final inspections have been passed. I'd make him finish that job and look for someone else to finish the basement. Screen them carefully and get some references from past clients who have had similar work done.

I'm not sure of what legal recourse you have in your situation, I would research it before you have it out with him.

I'm not sure why the exterior couldnt be designed to match. But many of the things you say like the doors swinging shut and wavy paneling is hack stuff that no professional should do.

On a good note, at least the stairs are plenty wide enough for the foundation wall to be finished and be code compliant. (usually 36" minimum tread width)

Best of luck, I hope you can get this straightened out.
 
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Old 01-20-06, 03:44 PM
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This Thread Is Closed

This thread is CLOSED.

The initial posting was asked and has been answered. We have taken this thread to its limits and it cannot be resolved here. It has expanded into other areas, not directly related to this topics intent and should be dealt with by the member only.

As this seems to becoming a legal issue, we cannot speculate on what is and isnít right nor can we assume that we know all the issues involving this project. The facts, as they have been described, cannot be confirmed or denied by this Forum nor can the issue be resolved by this Forum.

The member should take the necessary steps to resolve the matter at hand, personally. It would be wise to seek resources within your immediate area to resolve the issues between you and your contractor.

Doug Aleshire
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