I hired a contractor to put in a cathederal ceiling in my house. He
hired a structural engineer, pulled the permit, removed the old
ceiling and put the new cieling up to the ridge line of my roof After
it was done the inspector said that the LVL beam that was put up is
blocking the ridge vent now and roof venting is needed.
When I called the contractor he tells me that since my contract with
him was just for the framing he is not responsible for putting in the
My question is since the venting was fine before the cathederal was
put in and he pulled the permit shouldn't he be responsible for fixing
the problem identified by the building inspector? btw this is
Massachusetts if it matters.
Thanks in advance for any help
If the contract says he doens't get paid until it passes inspection he is
screwed. On the other hand, depending on how the contract is written you
may be responsible for the extra cost. Also the engineer may have some
liability. Lawyers are expensive. Sit down with everyone and resolve the
Thanks Art I thought it was something like that. If I remember
correctly the contract mentions that he will pull the permit but I
don't think there is anything about inspections. I will have to look
at it again tonight.
I agree, using a lawyer for something like this would be overkill.
I'm just building a case for when I call the contractor back. If he
won't do it I will just hire someone else to do the vents, more money
but less headaches.
...posting order corrected...
Sounds like it wasn't addressed in the design that the contractor hired
the engineer to do the structural but probably didn't provide him with
the necessary inputs to know where the venting locations were to design
around existing or account for them for the incorporation of existing
That it was in a gc's scope to ensure that would also be somewhat
dependent on how contract was done -- were you the gc subletting work or
was the contractor the actual gc? That may have bearing depending on
The "sit down, work it out" advice is well given, but the details of who
actually had responsibility isn't possible to be determined from
information given here. I venture a guess (but it's purely that) that
you probably had the actual overall responsibility but the contractor
didn't really do all he should have done, either, but if he's a picky
sob may be able to shirk. If you're lucky and have good relationship,
might be able to at least get some shared responsibility. But, as
stated, that's purely a guess on the basis that to get the permit it
used the "homeowner limited project serves as own gc" clause of local
law which took the contractor off the hook as the actual gc...
I'm wondering if the OP will post a link to the contract so that we can see
what the contract and bid actually stated? Scan them and put it onto
tinypics or some such website. As you stated, it would be nice to see if the
contractor hired was limited, by bid, to a specific scope of work, or if he
had the authority to subcontract with other trades. Did the bid specify just
the structural work with the OP acting as GC? Or was the bid for a GC to
develop the scope of the work needed to be in compliance with all affected
If I hire someone to re-do my ceiling, and that is all my bid called for,
then the only permit needed would be the specifications for the things
needed to properly support the ceiling. The contractor wouldn't assume
responsibility for oversight of roofing contractors or HVAC specialists.
on 10/12/2007 12:41 PM snipped-for-privacy@Jiffysoft.com said the following:
Did the builder leave all the attic rafters and ridge beam in place and
just put up ceiling panels (sheetrock) on the original rafters along
with the LVL beam as a decoration?
I can't see where the ridge vent would now be blocked if he left
everything in place, or he put in insulation without leaving an air path
between the soffit vents and ridge vent. You have soffit vents, right?
No this isn't decoration, he cut the roof joists, replaced the old 2x6
ridge beam with a lvl and re-hung the joists on the lvl. The problem
as that the lvl is significantly wider than the old 2x6 so it covers
where the plywood sheating was cut to allow air flow.
And no I don't have soffit vents and these weren't part of the
contract so I'm responsible for them.
on 10/12/2007 2:04 PM snipped-for-privacy@Jiffysoft.com said the following:
OK. We got problems! You're gonna need to cut a wider ridge vent slot
and a get a wider ridge vent.
They make wide ridge vents, some as wide as 15.5 inches.
See here for an example of various widths available.
I forgot to add. Maybe you can call the contractor back and have him do
it. Maybe he'll cut you some slack on the price since he was partly, or
completely, at fault.
Perhaps you can have him do the soffits at the same time. Your house,
Hope it works out.
On 12 Oct, 14:04, snipped-for-privacy@Jiffysoft.com wrote:
Totally uneducated opinion here:
Before the work was done, the structure was code compliant. An
engineer drew up a set of plans that the contractor followed. I can
see the contractor saying "Hey, I just followed instructions. I don't
know anything about venting codes." In that case, the fault would fall
to the engineer.
What if you had contracted to have door put in a wall that had
electrical wires in it? Would you expect that when the work was
completed the wires would be runnning across the floor? Of course not.
In both cases I would think that the engineer who drew up the plans
would have taken the venting (or wires) into account and included
dealing with the issue in the plans.
OK, now if that's correct, the next thing to look at is this: If the
original plans had dealt with the venting, what would have changed?
Would roof vents simply had been added to the plan or would the
existing vents been worked around in some fashion - and what would
have been the cost differential? If roof vents would have been part of
the original plan, then you would have been responsible for the cost
anyway. If you have someone do them now, you have not been
significantly harmed, so just go do it.
However, if the original vents could have been left as is and a
different type of beam used - at the same cost - then any extra cost
should be the responsibility of whoever caused the structure to be non-
compliant - i.e. the engineer.
Bottom line - if the "fix" will cost you more than an original plan
that dealt with the venting issue in the first, the engineer should
bear that cost.
I don't necessarily agree--if the engineer was only contracted to design
the structure and wasn't provided the other information, his
responsibility started and stopped w/ providing adequate construction
details compliant w/ local codes.
He can not be expected to compensate for conditions/constraints unknown
to him owing to that information having not been provided to him or
beyond the scope of his requested effort -- which it sounds like was the
structural design of a beam of sufficient strength and construction
detail for same. It would not be at all unreasonable for him to expect
the HVAC/vent/electrical/etc. was in the purvey of someone else given
his design for the cathedral ceiling structure.
The inspector said that roof venting is needed? They actually have
regulations and standards for that sort of thing where you live?
You also say you have no soffit vents. where's the air that's supposed to
exit these roof vents going to come from?
I'd move to a more regulation-friendly clime.
On Oct 12, 12:41 pm, snipped-for-privacy@Jiffysoft.com wrote:
I talked with the Building Inspector and got a better explanation
about what's going on. It appears that when the new roof was put on
about 10 years ago they only cut the plywood on one side of the Ridge
cap. This wasn't an issue because there was an Attic, the air could
flow from one side to the other easily.
Now that the Cathederal is all the way up to the rafters Air can't get
from one side to the other so the side that hasn't been cut needs to
be fixed. The contractor was right that he was not responsible.
Thanks to all for posting.
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