<Apologies if this shows up twice, original post doesn't seem to have
made it out.>
Back in May, we hired a contractor to do some remodeling in our house.
The scope of the job was basically a kitchen remodel, plus knocking
down a couple walls on the main story, and installing some new
flooring. Throughout the job we've had some problems with the
contractor (code violations, lies, shoddy work, etc.) but that's not
the most serious issue.
The work (which began around May 7) was supposed to end, according to
the contract, by August 30. I'd estimate the work is about 30% done
at this point: The demolition and framing have been done, electrical
and plumbing roughed in, sheetrock up, painting done (by me), and
cabinets are going in this week. Still to go are countertops, sinks,
slate flooring, hardwood flooring, new stair railings, french doors,
finish carpentry, finish plumbing, finish carpentry/trim, finish
electrical, install woodstove, install appliances, etc. Now, with
less than 3 weeks to go, it is obvious that most of this work will not
be done by the deadline.
Had the schedule been blown due to changes by us, or material
shortages, unexpected difficulties, etc. I could be forgiving. But
the truth of the matter is that for most of the summer, he has ignored
our job. Over the 16 week period of this contract, there have been
spans of up to 6 weeks when zero work was performed. There has been
far more inactivity than activity. The only time he works on
something is when we call to bug him.
He's claiming now that he'll be done by the 30th, but as I said, we
know he's a liar, so I don't put much stock in that. The question is,
what recourse do we have when the 30th comes and goes and the job is
not done? The contract specifies no specific remedies. It also
mandates arbitration as the mechanism for resolving disputes.
We're being denied the use of the entire first floor of our house
during this remodel (we're living in the basement eating microwaved
food), and we're weary of it. I guess what I'm looking for is some
monetary compensation for his failure to perform.
Do we lock him out on the 30th, hire a lawyer, and see what we can get
through arbitration? My sense is that the arbitrator (specified by
the contractor) will probably side with the contractor, since that's
where their business comes from.
I guess my questions are:
What can we reasonably ask for as a remedy?
How do I go about this?
What can I expect from arbitration, if that's the way the go? Do they
usually grant anything to a homeowner if the contract was not
completed in a timely manner?
Thanks for help or advice,