Should I expect this from all house painters?

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On Sep 9, 10:26 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Agree. Particularly bizarre is the idea that the homeowner is at fault for not actively supervising the work being done. Many homeowners have jobs and aren't going to be there when the work is being done. On multiple day jobs I would definitely take a look each day, if possible, to correct anything, but as you say, that doesn't excuse a contractor from trampling plants if they were possible to avoid. And if they were not possible to avoid, I'd say the duty to point that out falls on the contractor BEFORE they damage them.
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On Sat, 10 Sep 2011 06:00:36 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

enough to the house to require trimming before he could paint and offered to do the trimming, or have me trim it before he started.
As he also trims trees as part of his handi-man service I told him to trim it as required. ALL the trimmings dissapeared like magic - not a sign left behind that any trimming had been done. My cost - IIRC, was an extra $25. It was only a few branches - and nothing big - but it was done right - just like the rest of the job.
When A roofer does a re-roof he darn well better pick up all the nails too - or HE pays for the flat tire when the homeowner pulls into the driveway and the tire finds the nail.
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news:91ce2934-ef17-42e0-80df-
<stuff snipped>
<<You can not go back after the fact and try to hold an unsupervised contractor responsible for items you neglected to specify in advance and since you voluntarily decided not to supervise the work in progress>>
Not true. You can easily hold them to what is called a "reasonable standard of care" in many cases. If the contract doesn't hold the contractor harmless for *any* mishap, then all sorts of legal avenues open up if there's damage caused by their actions or inactions.
Those "hold harmless" contracts are rare and usually reserved to things like cement delivery. If the owner/builder asks the delivery driver to go beyond curbside delivery they are almost always asked to sign a contract that holds the delivery company harmless for going beyond the normal state/county road surface.
Why? Because they know the first kiss of a 10 ton truck on almost any kind of landscaping is not a pretty sight. They crush conduit, collapse septic tanks, take parts of the house structure itself down and more. The visibility from the cab of a cement truck is not just not very good, the size so huge and weight so heavy that it's unreasonable to expect they won't harm anything. SO many trucks have crushed SO much stuff SO many times that a "total indemnity" contract became industry standard. Getting it signed curbside and not when the main contract is signed is also, unfortunately, an industry practice as well. )-: People are reluctant to sign "hold harmless" contracts and that's one reason why they are usually not found in single home painting or other kinds of maintenance contracts entered into with casual labor.
<<you gave up any ability to renegotiate the conditions of the work as it took place and have to live with what you have unless you can prove intentional vandalism of your property...>>
Hmmmmm. Also not true. The civil courts would be empty except for dust and spiders if liability for damage ended where you claim it does. If the contractor can bring another painting specialist or some other authority to testify that Painter A did not exhibit a "reasonable standard of care" when performing the job, they are likely to recover some money. Small claims courts are clogged with this sort of litigation because either the contract was oral, or it was a two paragraph "I will paint your entire house for $5,000. Old paint will be scraped off."
As for a renegotiaton after completion, it happens all the time. If I thought the contractor was a real flake and performed horribly I'd fill out a small claims court form in advance, asking for the maximum damages I thought I could get. Then I would meet with the contractor (who would not be paid the last installment without my final approval) and say "You really tore up my landscaping. I think that's at LEAST X$ in repair work. He might get pissed but he also might agree to a rebate - hence a post job renegotiation. If he was a real hardass about it, I'd serve him (informally) with my papers and ask one last time if he felt that he wasn't careful enough and an adjustment was in order.
If he still thought he did an A-1 job he would now get the chance to prove it in court. I might even buy a postal money order in the amount of the last installment due to attach a copy of to the court filing, indicating it wasn't lack of funds that caused me to sue. The contractor surely wouldn't be getting the last installment if I thought he did significant damage because of substandard work practices. I would also have a *lot* of before and after photos to submit as evidence, which I would have shown to the contractor during our final negotiation.
The deal is *mostly* done when there's a "meeting of minds" about how much the job was worth in reality, factoring in things like damage to landscaping, poor quality work, etc. An interesting side note: if a contractor used substandard materials, below the quality of the contract specs, the statute of limitation can be suspended because of fraud and start running again only when that fraud comes to light.
Contractor "fall off" is the main reason most smart people pay in installments. If they get all their money up front, contractor interest "falls off" greatly. (-: I have seen numerous cases where contractors have done a job in a clearly substandard way and their workmen even admitted so in court! (A good reason not to pay them in Popsicle sticks.)
In the big leagues it often has to do with concrete that didn't meet test specs. In the homeowner's arena it can be as simple as not prepping a floor before refinishing or cleaning a wall before painting. The contractor (and this is the part that makes them really, really hate the court system) can be liable for the additional cost to remove his work, in addition to him not getting paid for the original job.
That is a pretty good reason for contractors to have a good boilerplate contract. If you don't, and if you did a substandard job, you could really lose in court. There is a possibility of not only not getting paid and you could have to pay the cost of bringing the job back to the condition where you screwed it up. Making the client "whole" again can get incredibly expensive in the world of skyscrapers or bridges built with substandard cement. Expect "tons" of litigation to come out of the NYC concrete inspection scandal.
http://www.fieldofschemes.com/news/archives/2009/10/3889_yanks_latest_st.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/30/nyregion/30concrete.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/21/nyregion/21concrete.html
(That last story is the scariest - it says NYC officials haven't decided whether they will retest completed buildings that were never correctly tested in the first place. They KNOW how many cases of cans of worms that would open all at once. I'm also sure lawyers have already contacted the building owners to explain the statute of limitations to them and how if THEY don't test, THEY could become liable for a building collapse!)
Unreasonable standards of care can certainly cost a lot for any contractor. There are so many good contract templates out on the internet free that it's crazy for a contractor not to download one and modify it for his particular needs. Yet they often don't bother and wonder why they end up in court.
-- Bobby G.
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Michael Angelo: Thanks for alerting me to a possible moisture problem. Why do you think it’s on my siding? The peeling spots certainly were caused by moisture, but not from the inside.
'Prolly' excess humidity in house?
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,212675-3,00.html
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