I have a dumb question.
I hired someone to do some major demolition involving pulling out sheetrock,
wood paneling, removal of mirrors, tiles etc...
I specified in the contract that everything needs to be "bloomed clean" and
"disposed", and for the most part it is, and I don't have a problem with
However, whenever 2x4s are pulled out from the wall, or sheet rock pulled
down from the ceiling or wall, or wood paneling removed from concrete block
walls, there are tons of staples, nails, screws still on the furring strip,
or studs or concrete walls. They cannot stay there if I hire someone to
hang new sheetrock they will have to get them out or cut them off. I would
assume they should have been removed as part of demolition, right? It is
not explicitely stated in the contract but I wonder if this is typical or
I am talking about over 1000 SF of ceiling with these every 8 inches or so,
and many wall surfaces. Who is responsible to take them out? Should this
be included as part of demo? I would think so but I thought I asked before
I complain about it.
First, I assume you mean "broom cleaned" instead of "bloomed
clean"....But then, assumptions are the wrong thing to do, when it comes
to a contract.
Instead of everyone trying to guess or assume exactly the wording of
your contract. Why not spell it out here? What does your contract say?
There is a difference between demo work, and prep work.... Are you
trying to get prep work out of someone for free?
The contract has no specific clause on who ought to remove all the nails and
screws. The only thing I put in there states:
"Contractor agrees to remove all construction debris and leave the premises
in broom clean condition upon project completion".
That's why I am trying to understand, when a sheetrock is removed, I have
screws along every eight inches of every stud. Is removing them part of the
demo work or part of the prep work for the sheetrock hanging project? I
sort of assumed it's part of demo work, but that may be a wrong assumption.
I have done a few demo contracts, and if I was leading the job, I
would make the assumption that pulling the nails is part of the demo.
What is standard? Who knows. I really doubt there is 200 years worth
of case law that would give you guidance on this issue. It would have
been nice to have this spelled out in a contract, but here in the real
world, a lot is left off of contracts. Drawing up a contract that
spells out every single thing would practically be as much work as the
job itself. That is why contracts have such terms as "workmanlike
manner" and lawyers use terms such as "standard of the trade". IMO
pulling nails would be part of the demo contract.
I would suggest you call your demo guy, and nicely ask if he could
send someone back to pull the nails. If you haven't paid him you have
some pretty good leverage. I guess if he refuses and pisses you off,
you could go after him in small claims court, though it would be a
hell of a lot easier to just pull the nails and get over it. This
sort of thing is all part of the joy of general contracting.
In the real contracting world, a lot is NOT left out. I have no idea of
the kind of outfits you have contracted with, but they do show a shady
side. A simple clause saying "removal of all fasteners", or something to
the effect of "walls to be drywall ready".
I've done government spec work, and you learn a lot without a lawyer.
Details, details, and more details, define any contract.
Advising someone not to pay, is very poor advice, & asking for a lien on
the property. Apparently, you haven't been involved in any lien
processes. Property liens must be placed _within_ 30 days of
non-payment. This places a burden on the property owner, which in some
cases, the property owner must sue to get the lien off the property,
even after the property owner paid up.
Of course a lot is left out. Just a casual glance at this newsgroup
over time shows many people don't even have a contract at all. And
countless people have come in here with issues of this type. How
many homeowner's would think to put in a clause stating that all nails
have to be removed? I'm sure plenty, perhaps most, wouldn't even
think of it when looking at a contract.
I have no idea of
Yeah, we know that would have avoided the problem, but that's already
So, you're expecting a typical homeowner contract to be done like a
DOD contract? Hmmm, last time I checked, plenty has gone wrong there
too hasn't it?
BS. No one should pay in full unless the work was competed to their
reasonable satisfaction. To do so, gives up all your leverage. I
would pay, but withhold an amount for the work in dispute. If they
want to try to lien, let them go right ahead. You can sue them in
small claims. Who cares if they put a lien on, unless you;re about
to sell or refinance. Bottom line, no reason to just roll over and
pay in full.
This smartass attitude, is exactly why you end up with your tit in the
wringer. If you're going to act like a general contractor, at least read
a book or two.
Call BS all you want. My company has placed numerous liens on properties
because of insurance has failed to make payment in full. Let me explain,
there's no "trying to lien" as you suggest. It's a simple form you fill
You believe you know about liens, but in reality you don't. Yes, things
end up in court, and that's what courts are for. But, the attitude of
"I'm not paying you" may hold leverage against the kid cutting your
yard. Doesn't scare anyone who actually in the contracting business.
I'd just as soon put a lien on a problem payer, than have a secretary
make a phone call. It's that simple. And, once the problem payer pays in
full, let them sue me to get the lien off. Business is business. If you
can't handle a contract, being a homeowner, retain a lawyer for crying
The sniveling ilk of your kind, is repulsive.
Nothing smartass at all about it. I'm simply pointing out that even
with govt contracts, contrary to what you claim, disputes arise
because the contract may not have covered everything. You expect
Miami, or a typical homeowner, who maybe has demo work done once in
their lifetime to be omniscient. Well, they aren't. I can see
someone overlooking specifying that all nails and screws are to be
removed from the stud faces.
Oh really? And what do you then do with that little piece of
paper? Does my house become worthless just because you put a lien
on it? In fact, unless I'm selling it or refinancing, it doesn't
amount to squat. Unless you're some timid little homeowner, about to
be intimidated by a contractor who you believe failed to perform all
the work required.
First, refusing to pay in full is the right thing to do, because if
one just pays in full, that is one piece of evidence that a court will
look at. As in, if the work was unaceptable, why did you pay in
full? Second, just telling the contractor your not going to pay is
the first step. Now, as the contractor, are you going to waste your
time screwing around with a lien over the remaining $300 or are you
going to just take out the nails or make a reasonable counteroffer.
Hmmm, OK, maybe you would go file your mechanics lien. My next move
is to sue you in small claims. There a judge will decide who's right
and wrong, not you. The matter is resolved in court, where either
side could win and goodbye big bad lien.
You make the foolish assumption that all states have identical laws
regarding liens. They don't. Take a look at the below description
of some of the requirements and steps involved. Pay particular
attention to the last part, about having to FILE A LAWSUIT TO
FORECLOSE THE LIEN WITHIN A SPECIFIED TIME. You make it sound like
there is no due process, all it takes is your word that someone owes
you money and bingo, you have a lien and they must pay. Fortunately,
it doesn't work that way. Basicly, the mechanics lien is there to
prevent the property, which you enhanced, from being sold without the
matter be RESOLVED. Note, RESOLVED and decided in your favor are two
very different things.
Creation and perfection
Under the statutes, the lien is usually created by the performance of
labor or the supplying of material that improves the property. Just
what type of contribution counts as a valid basis for a mechanics lien
varies, depending on the particular state statute that applies. Some
common examples are:
Laborers, carpenters, electricians, and plumbers working on the
Lumber yards, plumbing supply houses and electrical suppliers;
Architects and civil engineers who drew up the construction plans and
Offsite fabricators of specialty items that are ultimately
incorporated into the project.
Often, there is no simple dividing line that is useful in every state,
or even in every case, for determining this eligibility. Deciding
whether a party has a legitimate lien right may depend on examining
court cases that have either upheld or rejected lien claims in the
Unlike other security interests, in most states, mechanic's liens are
given to contractors and material suppliers who may or may not have a
direct contractual agreement with the owner of the land. In fact, this
is often the norm because in most cases, the owner of the land
contracts only with a general contractor (often called a "prime
contractor"). The general contractor, in turn, hires subcontractors
("subs") and material suppliers ("suppliers") to perform the work.
These subs and suppliers are entitled to liens on the owner's property
to secure their payment from the general contractor.
However, to have an enforceable lien, it usually must be "perfected."
This means that the holder of the lien must comply with the statutory
requirements for maintaining and enforcing the lien. These
requirements, which contain time limits, are generally as follows:
Providing the required preliminary notice to the property owner
disclosing the entitlement to the lien (some states).
Filing notices of commencement of work (some states).
Filing notices in the required public records offices of the intention
to file a lien if unpaid (some states).
Filing the notice or claim of lien in the required public records
offices within a specified period of time after the materials have
been supplied or the work completed (all states). The law varies from
state-to-state on both the triggering event and the timing of this.
Some states require the filing within a period measured from the time
when the claimant completes its work, while others specify the event
as being after all work on the project has been completed. The filing
time periods after the triggering event vary, with 4-6 months being
Filing a lawsuit to foreclose the lien within a specified time
I think readers here can figure out who's repulsive and how you run
your business. You immediately classify someone like Miami who has a
legitimate disagreement over work performed into basicly a dummy and a
"problem payer." And then you indicate you make customers sue you to
take a lien off after having been paid in full. Real professional.
Funny thing is, guys like you are the first to not pay someone else,
like a sub, when they aren't happy with the work.
Leins must be placed withing 30 days? This varies by state, Perry
Mason. In some states, you are required to give pre len notice before
you start to retain lien rights, so if the owner didn't sign such a
notice, the contractor couldn't file a lien anyway.. I'll stand by
my post. The OP shouldn'tt pay the guy until he asks him to send
someone over to pull the nails. This is hardly risking a lien.
Let me clarify the situation further. This is not a confrontation between
me and the contractor. I am merely asking questions and doing homework
before I ask him. He has not refused to remove them, I just wanted to make
sure removal of them is standard. Yes I failed to state this in the
contract, but I incorrectly assumed if sheetrock goes the nails and screws
go, my bad.
Here are a few pictures so it is crystal clear what I am talking about:
Ceiling sheet rock removed:
see many of the staples and screws still have bits of sheetrock with them.
Here is a view of some of the framing with the door jamb and the rough
opening removed. Apparently some of the lumber were nailed from the other
side of the sister studs, so we got long nails sticking out:
Is it reasonable to expect those to be removed?
No it is not stated in the contract, so if it's not spec'ed then it's not
covered, then obviously I made a bad assumption and a back breaking lesson
if I have to do it myself.
Trying to follow the thread, you mentioned you visited the site
frequently... This would've been a perfect time to bring it up while
the workers/boss was there. Saves him time and effort.
Why would you remove the RO? (changing a wall?) I'm just a DIY person,
but those headers don't seem to have enough support. Did you go too
far in lumber removal - too expose the header nails?
BTW, protect that wire!
"If things get any worse, I'll have to ask you to stop helping me."
The interesting thing in this thread is that no one has answered the
actual question. And that is if anyone has had similar demo work
done, if it's not specifically called out in the contract, did it
include removal of the sheetrock nails, screws, etc that are on the
My own oppiniion is that it should, because the nails/screws are part
of the sheetrock surface that is specd for removal in the contract.
The contract also says all debris are to be removed, which might also
be construed to mean the nails still in the studs, however I think
viewing it as part of the sheetrock surface is more appropriate.
I don't think the contractor should be required to remove the nails
left sticking out that were driven in around the door frame from the
other side. Those nails were not part of the material being removed,
but are part of the rest of the structure.
Well since I did not specific in the contract, then it lies with me. I will
try to get rid of the ones on the studs myself, and perhaps hire the drywall
people to deal with the ceiling ones.
I don't think there is a tool designed to remove exposed nails/staples
I haven't followed this thread much. From looking at one picture of the
ceiling, it looks like you might do better by just removing the furring
strips, rather than the nails. I sympathize with your situation, but I
sure wouldn't want to pay skilled drywall installers to pull nails.
Have you questioned them as to whether they can cut off the nails?
Might go a bit faster, and surely they have had similar situations.
A 12" pair of electricians pliers and a "twist of the wrist" works for me in
If it weren't for the remainder of the paper and rock around the nails, you
could just bang them in flush with yer hammer.
Hit those tiny staples with a framing hammer (notched head face) and
watch the remains fall too the floor. Pull some nails and/or hammer
some. Be done with it. If the job appalled me or I was not able to do
it myself. One laborer can!
"I don't have anything against work. I just figure, why deprive somebody who
really loves it."
If you were doing this project for yourself and by yourself I
doubt that you would remove all nails and staples. You might
hammer then all flush. You would probably miss some and still be
hammering them flush when you go to install the new finish.
The nails at the jamb certainly do NOT look like something for the
demolition man to handle.
You can certainly ask, but if I had contracted it with you the
most I would consider would be to hammer to flush on the ceiling
(grudgingly, I might add) and I would do nothing at the jamb.
Perhaps it would be a better approach to ask how much the fella
wanted to clean it all up. It might be fairly inexpensive. There
is something really strange going on at that jamb. It is almost
as if the last guys used a used header or two on something. The
nails are not normal and are old. If they had been nailed into
what was just removed, they would be shiny.
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
I am a general contractor and here is my answer. I have had
both scenarios and there is no definitive standard. I have
had a lot of demo done by others and generally, if the demo
subcontractor deals with the nails/screws, they do not remove
them. They drive them in or bend them over. They do not do a
real good job of this, so I always assume that I will be doing
some prep work for drywall.
I do not allow them to leave the drywall remnants on the
screws as the OP has in his situation. In the process of
removing these bits, the demo guys will usually break off
screws and bend over nails.
Sometimes I do not want the nails and/or screws left in, and
in those situations, I put a guy or two with the demo crew to
oversee and help with REMOVAL of said fasteners.
Every situation is different, but in general, I expect the
demo guys to do a rough clean of the studs. I always expect
to do SOME prep work to get ready for wall coverings.
Thanks for the advise. I talked to the demo guy and he felt it should not
be part of the demo project but should be done by the drywall guys. He
thinks for him to pound in or remove every staple or nail will take
"forever". So I have to do it myself or hire the drywall prep guy to do it.
A lesson learned definitely. Next time my contract will be detailed to the
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