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Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

Firing a contractor

Where can I find out the laws on what happens if the contractor started work, but I need to fire them. They have a deposit, which I'm fine with losing based on the amount of work completed, but I don't want to let them finish the job or pay them any more money. I don't want to wind up in a situation where I fire them, but somehow is still responsible for the rest of the money.


medbuyer

join:2003-11-20
kudos:4

what's the reason for firing them?

do you have a contract?



rfhar
The World Sport, Played In Every Country
Premium
join:2001-03-26
Buicktown,Mi
reply to Dodge

This may vary from state to state, I would consult a lawyer.


guppy_fish
Premium
join:2003-12-09
Lakeland, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Dodge

You should have a signed contract specifying these things, they are not regulated by law ( when ok to fire ). If you fire, they can turn around and slap a mechanics lien on your home for the full value of the job, this is not a area to venture without well vented contracts and legal assistance


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
reply to Dodge

Goody, now I get to hire a lawyer to deal with assholes. Fantastic!



IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
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reply to Dodge

First and foremost, get the license plate number off of any vehicle they may be driving. That may be helpful if you need to track them down.

Second, what's the reason for firing them (like others have said); substandard work, overcharging, substandard materials, etc.



fluffybunny

@cipherkey.com

1 recommendation

reply to Dodge

speaking as a lawyer who has done home renos with contractors (standard disclaimer : this is not a legal opinion, is completely wrong as it is posted merely for humor value and there is no attorney-client privilege implied by posting on an internet message board as per ABA guidelines) - break up huge complicated projects into small ones and do individual contracts for each of the parts. Always have a termination for failure to meet performance clause (with forfeiture of deposit as the only penalty). Make sure they sign it and keep a copy for them and yourself.
e.g. i built a garage with a contractor - Contract for the support beams/framing, performance based on city sign off and approval, contract for the walls/ducting - performance based on city approval and inspector sign off, contract for the siding - performance based on city approval and inspector sign off. Sign them one at a time step by step as each step is done. They tried to shaft me on the ducting as the inspector wouldnt sign off in which case i pulled out the contract and read it back to them. considering the 5-6 times it took to get the inspector to sign off i thought that was the end but they came back for the siding anyway. contractors like money. pools and pools of money. regardless of how much grief you put them through. If the city only does a single inspection- make a deal with a home inspector for a few hundred bucks and do the same (contingent on xyz home inspector sign off and approval). Hope this helps.


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
reply to IowaCowboy

I don't need to get vehicle plate numbers, it's a big company with 40 years in the business. They are just giant a**holes and I don't feel like dealing with their BS anymore. When someone tells that the work will take 1 day, 2 on a safe side, but then proceeds screwing up all permits and getting their work shutdown by a city inspector until they get proper permits, instead of the ones that they got and feeding me BS for 2 weeks straight blaming the city, they become useless in my book and I want to get rid of them.

Now their managers are just avoiding my calls and pretending to be in meetings at all times.



fluffybunny

@cipherkey.com

oh yeah - you should ALWAYS pull permits yourself and put timelines - inspection will be completed by xyz date. if you cant be bothered to go to city hall and pull permits yourself you should not be doing the reno. hire a project management company to oversee contractors instead.


medbuyer

join:2003-11-20
kudos:4
reply to Dodge

so they haven't really started any work yet, right?

its the permits, wait times and passing the buck that's getting you no where...

have you actually talked to the city inspector as to what the hold up is?

and what exactly are they building for you?



Msradell
P.E.
Premium
join:2008-12-25
Louisville, KY

1 recommendation

reply to fluffybunny

said by fluffybunny :

oh yeah - you should ALWAYS pull permits yourself and put timelines - inspection will be completed by xyz date. if you cant be bothered to go to city hall and pull permits yourself you should not be doing the reno. hire a project management company to oversee contractors instead.

?? I'm not sure where you live but in any place I live contractors are always one responsible for pulling the permits. They are the ones who have the technical information required for the permit to be issued. Most homeowners have no idea what needs to be listed on the permit application. Many cities won't even accept a permit application filled out by a homeowner is a contractors going to be doing the work.

As far as a project management company goes for homebuilding, they are a waste of money and time in most cases. The normally won't accept responsibility for anything, any problem is either caused by your lack of providing the correct details for the contractor's fault for not following them precisely. The only exception to this is when the changes were designed by architect and he acts as a project manager. You're much better off having the contractor managed the project and eliminate any middlemen.

Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
reply to medbuyer

They started the work and completed a part of it before the inspector came in. He did pass the work that was done, but all work from this point needs a different permit, so he advised them to shut it down and get a proper permit.


medbuyer

join:2003-11-20
kudos:4

said by Dodge:

They started the work and completed a part of it before the inspector came in. He did pass the work that was done, but all work from this point needs a different permit, so he advised them to shut it down and get a proper permit.

if the initial permit was approved...why would the city inspector pass the work done it and then only to require a new permit moving forward?

there must have been changes in the plans that made the inspector shut it down and require a new and or proper permit.

have you talked to the inspector?


nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
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reply to Dodge

Call the inspector and get it in writing (if he didn't leave a stop-work order). That would be awesome evidence to take to court when you get the lien discharged.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
reply to medbuyer

I think this would make sense if I explain what we are talking about here

The work in question is a sewer line replacement. My contract specifies replacing the pipe all the way to the curb. There is a logical stop point in the curve of the pipe, where the pipe was replaced to. The inspector approved the work from the house to that point. Now they can't dig any further because aside from the plumbing permits, they needed a sidewalk permit (or something similar to that), which they neglected to get. The inspector told them to connect to the older portion of the pipe, backfill, and get a proper permit. (i'm skipping over the part where the excavation crew decided to lecture the inspector on permits ) That was 2 weeks ago. Since that point their fence collapsed and I had to call them back to fix it, they've lied to me on several occasions which resulted in me taking time off work to wait for them to show up and now are just plain refusing to return my calls. Additionally they didn't even follow the old pipe as they were supposed to, because they didn't feel like it, so now I have a new portion of the pipe and the old one still buried where it was, just cut off on both ends.

I'm ranting a bit as I'm super annoyed right now.


medbuyer

join:2003-11-20
kudos:4

said by Dodge:

Now they can't dig any further because aside from the plumbing permits, they needed a sidewalk permit (or something similar to that), which they neglected to get. The inspector told them to connect to the older portion of the pipe, backfill, and get a proper permit. (i'm skipping over the part where the excavation crew decided to lecture the inspector on permits )

I would get a copy of this report from the inspector, hire a lawyer and then have your lawyer write up a letter firing them for the unfinished work.


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

said by medbuyer:

said by Dodge:

Now they can't dig any further because aside from the plumbing permits, they needed a sidewalk permit (or something similar to that), which they neglected to get. The inspector told them to connect to the older portion of the pipe, backfill, and get a proper permit. (i'm skipping over the part where the excavation crew decided to lecture the inspector on permits )

I would get a copy of this report from the inspector, hire a lawyer and then have your lawyer write up a letter firing them for the unfinished work.

And a demand for a full refund of any money paid. He might also be able to collect money for any expenses to correct any mistakes they had made.

I agree he should hire a lawyer. And I agree with nunya See Profile that he should get an inspector's report or a stop work order as it can be used against the contractor.

A few years ago, a local amusement park went to build an indoor roller coaster and they never pulled a permit. They had been advertising the coaster all along since the last season. The building inspector issued a stop work order on the project so I think of that when I think of stop work orders. That coaster never came.
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robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to Dodge

said by Dodge:

The inspector approved the work from the house to that point. Now they can't dig any further because aside from the plumbing permits, they needed a sidewalk permit (or something similar to that), which they neglected to get. The inspector told them to connect to the older portion of the pipe, backfill, and get a proper permit...Additionally they didn't even follow the old pipe as they were supposed to, because they didn't feel like it, so now I have a new portion of the pipe and the old one still buried where it was, just cut off on both ends.

Hate to be the one to tell you this, but the city permit process can be a real pain -- even for professionals who do it all the time. I recently had a sewer line replaced by a friend who is a good plumber and has been licensed for over 30 years. During the replacement process the rules actually changed on how they wanted it plumbed and what was required to pass inspection. So if I were you I wouldn't pile all of the blame on the contractor.

I don't understand your rant that they left part of the old pipe in the ground. How does that affect you, your investment or the functionality of the new sewer line? Rerouting a sewer line is often done at time of replacement due to various factors.

Honestly, considering it has only been two weeks and there is some problem with the permit process I really don't think you have any legal standing in firing them.

Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

Because of how it was presented to me:
1) they were supposed to do mostly trenchless through the old pipe, instead they dug up my whole yard and bypassed the old pipe entirely. This was not what was discussed. Wouldn't care much, but this is just where the lies started.
2) 2nd cleanout was supposed to be installed by the curb, instead it's 10 fee away from where it was supposed to be. Probably not the problem, but again, not what was discussed.
3) they specifically told me (did a whole shpiel) on how going to the curb would not require a sidewalk / street permit. And they know since they have 40 years of experience in this area don't you know.
4) They specifically asked me if there are sprinklers in the yard, and asked where all the heads are. There is also an agreement that if they cut a sprinkler line, they will fix it. End result NOT fixed and it's not in the area where they need to continue digging.
5) Twice they told me that they are delaying due to weather, until a clear day came and I pressed the issue, which turned out that there is no permit. It's not the delay that bothers me, it's the lying.
6) And last but not least, their entire management staff has been avoiding me for the past 2 days claiming that they are in meetings.

I understand delays happen, weather, bureaucracy, etc, but lying I can't tolerate at all.


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

I am hearing a lot of verbal "told me" but not seeing "the contract states". Forget what was discussed and focus on exactly what both agreed to in writing (the contract).



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1

+1 If it's not in writing in a contract agreed to by both parties and signed by both it doesn't exist.


kherr
Premium
join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL
Reviews:
·Charter
reply to Dodge

If they're trenching, I hope it was agreed upon (in writing) that they bare sole responsibility for proper safety procedures. A cave-in could cost M$$$$$$ .... especially if there is lost of life. I know a guy that nearly got killed in a 4' trench. Do 1 better and take pictures if they don't use shoring, OSHA LOVES that stuff ... and it costs $$$ to bring in proper shoring.



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1

Cost doesn't matter. The customer is the loser in the higher costs for the job.


kherr
Premium
join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL
Reviews:
·Charter

1 edit

As long as it's bid, it's he same. I can't see someone adding the cost for shoring when it is REQUIRED by law and should be in the bid. I seen one contractor runoff by a super. because they didn't have and had no intension of using shoring. If he's looking for a legit. reason to fire them, here it is.

There's all kind of stuff you can pull and all you have to say "Let's get OSHA out here and we'll see who gets fined" or worse...


joewho
Premium
join:2004-08-20
Dundee, IL
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Dodge

How much actual harm are they causing? Are you without a toilet or water for this period of time? Is there any other actual interference in your life? Lying will certainly erode your trust, but in the end they will probably make it right. There must be some sort of payout agreement. Money up front...is it a deposit or an advance? Is there some sort of performance agreement? Is the amount small enough to go to small claims? No atty. needed there. If you aren't in tangible distress, let it go for a couple of days, cool off and reconsider the amount of stress you'll go through. 40 yrs. there suggests that they know what they're doing. It could be that they did suggest certain procedures in order to avoid a permit for the sidewalk. There shouldn't be a permit for the sidewalk if they don't have to tear it out. Not taking sides, just suggesting a level head and logical re-action.
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Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

I've lost 2 days of work dealing with them. First time I had to leave work to deal with them as they wanted to do something that wasn't even in the contract. The 2nd time I stayed home just to find out that they are not coming even though I was advised the day before that they are. Add to that the time spent dealing with them trying to resolve this and we are looking at 3 days.

At the very least the compensation should cover that.


joewho
Premium
join:2004-08-20
Dundee, IL
Reviews:
·Comcast

This is very frustrating, but very common. What sort of paperwork do you have? At least a proposal? Estimate? Scope of work? Reciept for money paid? What is the alternative to the current contractor? 40 yrr. means they've beat off competition for a long time. You could go from the frying pan into the fire. Feeling helpless will cause this frustration. Contracting is another world.
Just remember, if there is no contract, they can't prove any details either. If you sue, make sure you phrase it properly. You can be compensated for lost wages, but will never be compensated for lost time.
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