Home builder repair hell

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Hi,
I know this is the bob villa group and all... not the complaint group but i could sure use some of bob villas help right about now. If anyone posting here can take a look at my friends pictures: (click on photos once you get to the site)
http://www.freewebs.com/niesioa/index.htm
and give me their "professional opinion" on the drywall... the hardwood floors... the doorjams/stain I would be deeply grateful (and would also travel to a website and try and help you if i can). Huge mistakes have been made (you can only see the "cosmetic" ones from the photos) and we need as many opinions as we can get. Please post any comments to the guestbook?
Thanks in advance,
TNChief
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Bob V is useless

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All I can say is what I say to people with ludicrous haircuts .......
"You paid money for THAT?"
Steve
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On Jul 12, 3:19 pm, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

No thanks. I clicked on the first link to see the pictures, and agree the stuff doesn't look very good, but your behavior is nothing more than retaliation done in a childish way.
I would imagine that you will have another law suit on your hands with you as defendant. The lawyers are the only ones that win when people approach problems in this manner. Any judge seeing your nonsense will view you as a PIA and take that into account. That's kind of a shame because the pictures would lead one to believe that you were in the right. You are not helping yourself.
An adult that is old enough to enter into a contract should know there are right and wrong ways to behave. I'm disappointed that you chose the latter.
R
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If this was my home, I'd be heartbroken. These builders are not only unskilled, they simply don't care about the quality of their work. They get the cheapest material, hammer, paint and run. As for lawsuits against you, the homeowner, I suspect the letter from R was written by a builder of some sort who gets many complaints, maybe some legit, probably lots not, and he's fed up with everyone. I think your complaints are well founded, but you're probably on your own repairing things. Good Luck!
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On Jul 12, 5:09 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

As would I.

A lot of people would call you an asshole for making a comment like that, but I'll give you the respect and refrain from doing that. The OP asked for professional opinions. I am a professional and I gave him my opinion. He even thanked me in advance.
The OP is attempting to "get even" with the builder through some childish retaliation. Printing bumper stickers bashing the builder is not an appropriate way for adults to behave. He's one of those idiots that puts a first amendment "warning" on the web site in the ridiculous belief that that entitles him to say anything at all. It doesn't.
You are right about one thing. I'm fed up - fed up with people acting like children. I expect adults to act like adults and don't put up with whining from kids or adults.

I think the OP's issues with the construction are probably valid, but his way of dealing with the problem isn't.
R
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On Jul 12, 1:19 pm, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

You look like an ambulance chaser. Wanting to sue everyone that has done you wrong. Be real careful, you have not demonstrated that this company did the work described in the photo's. I look forward to reading the AP report on this lawsuit
John
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Extremely poor craftsmanship. The drywall can be fixed by removing the tape and redoing it. The floor and door are not structural problems. OTOH, the concrete work might be. I would expect those cracks to leak like crazy and possible to break through (second foundation photo).
Didn't you do an inspection before taking final possession on it? Didn't you check on the progress as it was going on? Yes, the builder did a lousy job, but so did you for taking possession instead of dealing with the problems earlier!
Mike D.
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R...when my house was built there were lots of nasty little hidden things that the builder did to save money that didn't crop up until later...a stair rail screwed right into the drywall instead of the studs, no support under the acrylic tub so it cracked a few years later, shoddy plumbing. Builders and their crews shouldn't have to be watched as if they're sneaky children...they should be professional adults who do their job as if their own family will be living with the work. Many consumers do end up acting like children, but they feel powerless when a contractor and his crew have no pride in what they do, know full well they're doing something wrong when they do it, take the money for work they didn't perform well and don't care about the consequences.

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On Jul 13, 9:56 am, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I'm sorry to hear it. There's no excuse for bad work. None.

The dollars and potential damage/injury are great in larger construction projects. Even small projects - installing a handrail for example - can have dire consequences. Unless you have loads of construction experience and legal training, it's almost impossible to protect your own interests. You have to rely on other people to do that for you. Someone's uncle who worked a few summers in construction back in his college days is probably not the person they need. Some people use the architect as their protection to help keep the contractor in line, others try to use lawyers or hire a construction manager. This is more or less the standard way it's done, and it has its advantages, but it also often builds into the project an adversarial relationship. That rarely helps matters.
Another way of protecting your interests is to realize that the number one most sought after trait in a contractor is the ability to do what he said, for how much he said, and when he said it would be done. Regardless of any other positive or negative aspect of the contractor's business, that is the most important thing. People that can do that can charge more than those who can't. They don't have to advertise as much as those who can't do it. They're harder to find, have longer waiting lists, and are in much greater demand. It's tough to balance a person's "I want this, for this much, and I want it now" with the contractor's "I can give you any two of fast, cheap or good. I can't give you all three." Obviously it's not as easy as saying never hire the lowest bidder, or that the highest bidder is always a good contractor.
You have to do your homework on the contractor beforehand, and it has to be thorough. Visit job sites and previous jobs - not just the recent ones. See how the contractor handles the job site. If the place is a mess, cigarette butts and lunch debris strewn around, lumber in heaps instead of in neat piles and up on blocking, you should be concerned. A good contractor treats your home as his and won't allow subcontractors and workers to muck it up.
There must be a tight set of contract documents. If you architect doesn't know how to tie up all of the loose ends, you'll just end up paying through the nose for them in the end. An architect is not a lawyer. Architects love to use AIA contracts because that's what they've always used and because they protect the architect more than anyone else. You need a lawyer or construction expert familiar with your state's laws to make changes to any contract that is presented to you to cover your interests. If your lawyer goes overboard and makes a contract that is so one-sided that it's tantamount to the contractor slitting his own throat, you can expect the contractor to walk away. It's always a two-way street.
It's a business for the contractor, and it should be approached that way. That doesn't mean that it can't be enjoyable. Any construction is unsettling for an owner, fraught with risk, with remodeling while living in the house particularly upsetting. As in any close relationship, both parties need to show respect and consideration for the other.

I commiserate with people that find themselves in such situations. We've all been there at one time or another. You feel like you're being held hostage and paying for the privilege. Of course it's not limited to contractors. I've had that feeling with computer companies, trucking companies, a whole host of companies in fact. Having that feeling invade your home is never a good thing. It's also never a good thing to start acting like a kid, and stomping around yelling. That doesn't solve anything and frequently exacerbates the situation. You've got to keep your eye on the ball and take your ego out of the equation. You must figure out the desired result, and pursue that end as calmly as possible. That's how adults act and people respond well to that.
R
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I had a contractor do similarly bad work; only he also substituted cheaper windows than the contract called for, charged extra when he found he couldn't cut corners as hoped, decided the plans were silly for requiring tyvek, etc. I sued him and recovered about a quarter of the damages; barely enough to cover the legal fees. The judge stated that I should not have expected a contractor to do work properly!
The website might be the better approach.
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Are you saying that abusing someone on the internet is a way to get them to cooperate? That can't be right. Are you saying that abusing someone on the internet and bashing them with bumper stickers is a way to get them to want to fix stuff on your house? That can't be right either. What are you saying?
As far as your own experiences, you learned an expensive lesson. I had the luxury of working for others as a construction manager in the early part of my career so my learning wasn't on my dime and I had big time experience show me the ropes.
I have a clause in my contract that states that the prevailing party gets court costs and legal fees. The clients' lawyers _love_ that clause - they figure if I mess up I'm toast. I _love_ that clause because I don't mess up. Keeps everyone honest. I have lots of other clauses that protect my interests.
I'm not sure who was responsible for supervising your project, but as soon as the cheaper windows were delivered to the site they should have been rejected. The other nonsense was just nonsense, obviously, and your contractor apparently felt he could do what he liked. Effective supervision would have eliminated that concept from your builder's mind. Then the builder would have had the choice to walk away and get spanked, or stick around and live up to the contract. In tough situations it may be better to negotiate a settlement so both parties can part ways more or less amicably - you _definitely_ don't want a hostile contractor working on your house under duress.
Oh, and as I'm sure you are aware, the judge you mentioned was an idiot. Judges are not immune from accountability. You should have filed complaints with the bar association, your congressman, Channel 12 news, etc. NY has this: http://www.scjc.state.ny.us /
The OP is also an idiot. There are really only two flavors. The first is the type that invests huge amounts of time and effort in something that doesn't pay to anything else but their ego. It won't make them whole. Once the project hits the skids you're in damage control territory. First rule of damage control is to limit the damage and stop it from growing. Investing time in a losing endeavour doesn't help. Feeding on the anger and outrage doesn't help. Those things end up making you and yours miserable. Life's too short for that.
The second flavor of idiot - and I'm half convinced that the OP is this type - starts as the first but has a marketing angle. Printing up bumper stickers, starting up numerous web sites (why would you need more than one?), etc., points towards someone who with only a little bit of a push would turn into a spammer. I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that the OP starts spamming these newsgroups with his hate sites and will make money off of Google AdSense, click-throughs or something like that.
R
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Well, probably not, but legal action didn't seem to work.

To be sure! I actually won, so I would have gotten legal fees.

I complained about every problem as they occurred. After I complained about a dozen or so items, and the contractor just ignored me, my lawyer advised me to stop protesting it and just document everything. His reasoning was that the house was torn open (this was an addition) winter was coming and we had a newborn. If the contractor got angry enough to refuse to finish, he could put a lien on that would prevent me from doing anything for a year or two. I might ultimately win, but it would be a disasterous win. That turned out to be bad advice; the judge thought I had an obligation to object more. Of course, the lawyer might have been right; the alternative was pretty bad also.

He actually fell asleep at one point. My lawyer thought any action would be counterproductive. On that he was right. 15 years later I had a case that was literally 250 times larger than the house suit go to appeals court; my future kinda depended on it. Guess who one of the judges on the appeals court was. This time he ruled for me. It doesn't pay to make enemies.
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That's because the OP is trying to correct his mistakes legally, after the fact, when he should have corrected them contractually and logistically before work was started. I'm not talking about the contractor's mistakes, I'm talking about the OP's mistakes.

I think that we should hold an immediate grassroots peoples' referendum and insist that _all_ contracts and _all_ lawsuits automatically include "prevailing party gets legal fees and court costs". It would free up about 60% of the court's time, people would act line grown ups and learn to seek to agree, and there wouldn't be so many of these newsgroup retaliation posts. Only one problem - every lawyer in the country would fight it tooth and nail, and a large proportion of politicians are lawyers so there'd be no help there.

Your lawyer had it ass backwards. You probably signed the contractor's contract, right? Did you have your lawyer review it? I don't know if that would have made a difference with what you're saying about your lawyers attitude, but if your lawyer had written up the contract and protected your ass-ets, you'd have been able to fire the guy for breach of contract, would have had the contractor sign lien waivers as the work progressed, and would have had all of the court costs, legal fees and lien indemnification included in the contract.

Putting a lien on the house does not prevent you from having someone else complete the work. It messes up your finances a bit and it can get messy, but no one would expect you to live in a holey shack because a contractor cut corners and didn't want to live up to the contract.

Golf buddies?

Oh, so he got it wrong twice? ;)
R
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Although that sounds like a nice idea on the surface, It's oversimplistic.
Consider the scenario of an average Joe who has a reasonable claim against a corporate giant (or anybody with deep pockets). No one would ever sue someone with the capacity to purchase a huge team of high-powered attorneys, because the possibility of a loss would devastating.
Court costs? Sure. Maybe provide judges with some latitude to impose punitive damages for frivolous claims
-Steve
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Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


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On Jul 13, 7:55 am, "Stephen M"

Who posted the above? You or me?

Maybe we should get the lawyers involved in drafting it up so it will lose its simplicity. ;)

It would eliminate the "well, I almost have a case" lawsuits which shouldn't be in court in the first place. But, you're right, there should be efforts to minimize lawyers milking cases and their ridiculous billing hours. How this transition would happen, I don't know - it's like asking the fox guarding the hen house how to get rid of the fox problem.

Why should the suit have to be frivolous to get court costs?
R
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You are right about that also. I didn't go to a lawyer until things started to ball up; my architect said the contract was reasonably standard and reasonable. I thought the fact that he violated his own contract would be important, but it didn't matter to the judge.
I don't know (or want to know, at this point) the fine points of contractor law, but my lawyer was a partner at a major firm and I followed his advice. Of course, it is only the judge's opinion that matters.
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Toller wrote:

Can't know (and like your interest in the law itself, don't really care :) ) all the pertinent details, but the problem is undoubtedly in the details that aren't detailed here.
And, unfortunately, unless this was a very expensive suit, a partner in a larger firm was probably not the best choice for representation -- you were likely "too small a fish in too big a pond" to get anything more than a few minutes of attention once in a while when something forced him to act. An individual in a smaller firm or in his own practice might have been a better choice. Judges come in all flavors, too--unlike Lake Woebegone children, not all can be above average. That aside, the problem in such instances for the claimant is normally that the law is very specific in what it takes to prove a claim and what may seem "right" may not be sufficient to require a judgment against the defendant. And, of course, the remedies allowable may not seem to be anywhere up to what one might like.
--
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Explain to me how posting examples of someone's poor workmanship is abuse?
wrote:

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Explain to me how printing up bumper stickers saying a someone's company sucks isn't abuse.
R
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