I wanted to rebuild a deck next to my pool because the staircase to the deck was made of steel with iron rails and was rusting to the point of collapse. I decided I wanted to use ipe wood because of its ultimate durability and beauty. No one in this city had even heard of the wood, let alone used it. I contacted 4 contractors, Three came out to look at the project, one despite literally 15 calls would never even give a bid. Two said that they also did not want to bid because they had never worked with the wood. One was enthusiastic and gave me a bid. I felt that if I wanted to use ipe wood, I had to use this contractor.
After starting the project there were multiple arguments over "extra labor" charges including charges for installing flashing (standard construction technique from everyone I have asked, charges for inspecting wood (2 hours), picking up materials (3 hours), even water and ice charges, (none of which are outlined as possible charges in the contract) the project is in its latter stages. I am satisfied overall with the look and construction although I now find that he has constructed the stairway to the 2nd story deck at a less steep angle than the original staircase in order to incorporate a 4 foot landing partway down. Although I guess this looks good, the less steep angle of the stairs now means that when going up the stairs, I would hit my head at least in three spots going up since the stairs are right next to an eve of the house. He did suggest placing this landing to me and I agreed to it, although I never would have agreed if I realized that this would cause this problem. The stairway is 42" wide, and the eve extends perhaps 15" into the stairway, so it is possible to go up the stairs without problem if you walk on the side away from the eve.
Do other builders think that this was an incompetent mistake on the part of the contractor? I really am so frustrated by this whole project, I cannot bear the thought of telling the contractor to rebuild the stairs. At the same time, every time I go up the stairs I will probably get upset with the way they are built.