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Old 09-28-2006, 03:23 PM   #1
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bid low...my fault or contractors


I am currently using a contractor to build my house. We gave him the plans and we liked his bids and final cost.

However, we just went to pick our light fixtures. We got the amount back and we are over by 2,000. We did not upgrade any fixtures and in fact we got rid of some fixtures we did not need.

Looking at the bid...we are at our limit with only the recessed lightings and fans. With no extra for any other lights or fixtures.

We contacted our contractor and he admitted he didn't count the amount of lights, fixtures and fans. He said "i've done $500+ homes without this many lights. Your home should have 1/2 the lights. So I made the bid according to that"

Ok...is it my problem or should he take up the costs to cover the other lights and fixtures, since he didn't even count the lights to begin with and had our plans. What if he want's to drop 1/2 our lights?

What should I do?

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Old 09-28-2006, 03:56 PM   #2
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bid low...my fault or contractors


I imagine he put an "allowance" in for lights. You should have been well aware of this "allowance" before you went to pick out lights. His price was lower because he may have only had $10 per light for an allowance and you picked $20 per fixture lights. I think it is something you both need so sit down and talk about. There are a number of other items that are probably based upon an allowance. If you dont know what they are and how much he allowed, you need to get that list from him so it does not happen again.

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Old 09-28-2006, 03:59 PM   #3
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bid low...my fault or contractors


His fault for bidding it low; yours for accepting it. Reponsability should be stated in the wording of the contract, as will the steps to resolve it.
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Old 09-28-2006, 04:10 PM   #4
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bid low...my fault or contractors


As I see this, you said you went to pick out light fixtures...so they were not part of the plan initially? I mean you didn't show the contractor what you had in mind for him to allow for in the budget? I am not defending your GC, but as an experienced contractor, we don't have supernatural powers. When I pick out fixtures, and the customer signs off, that is it...and they invariably will want up-grades through the project. I add a margin to all bids for this, sounds like he didn't.

If it were me, and you are happy with his work, except for this one issue with the light fixtures, I would consider less expensive fixtures to save your budget, and upgrade on your own later.
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Old 09-28-2006, 05:43 PM   #5
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bid low...my fault or contractors


Hey, and allowance is an allowance. Even if you had 100 light fixtures, and he put in a 500 dollar allowance, that's not underbidding. You can get a 5 dollar light fixture. It just doesn't look very pretty. Shame on him for not giving a realistic allowance, and shame on you for accepting such a low allowance. The blame, if there is any, is equal. I say, either scale back your tastes or fork over some dough.

The recessed light thing is a little weird, because that's normally part of the EC's price.
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Old 09-28-2006, 08:11 PM   #6
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bid low...my fault or contractors


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Originally Posted by joasis View Post
As I see this, you said you went to pick out light fixtures...so they were not part of the plan initially? I mean you didn't show the contractor what you had in mind for him to allow for in the budget? I am not defending your GC, but as an experienced contractor, we don't have supernatural powers. When I pick out fixtures, and the customer signs off, that is it...and they invariably will want up-grades through the project. I add a margin to all bids for this, sounds like he didn't.

If it were me, and you are happy with his work, except for this one issue with the light fixtures, I would consider less expensive fixtures to save your budget, and upgrade on your own later.
We used his interior decorator and she had samples (packages) of the lights that he normally uses at our allowance. I used the package she had put together and even deleted fixtures from that package. He is getting the lights cheaper than what we could buy them.

How we would know what the allowance should be? Especially when he makes us go to a specific lighting store. We didn't just go into some lighting store. This was all put together by him and his decorator from the beginning.

I asked on each allowance to have extra put on so that I would be covered. He assured me that each allowance was more than ample for our house according to the plans.
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Old 09-28-2006, 09:08 PM   #7
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bid low...my fault or contractors


Too many variables to be answered here. It should all be covered in your contract documents.
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Old 09-28-2006, 09:14 PM   #8
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bid low...my fault or contractors


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We used his interior decorator and she had samples (packages) of the lights that he normally uses at our allowance. I used the package she had put together and even deleted fixtures from that package. He is getting the lights cheaper than what we could buy them.

How we would know what the allowance should be? Especially when he makes us go to a specific lighting store. We didn't just go into some lighting store. This was all put together by him and his decorator from the beginning.

I asked on each allowance to have extra put on so that I would be covered. He assured me that each allowance was more than ample for our house according to the plans.
I would think that if your using his packages already set up by his designer he shouldf have known the cost of the packages that were being offered - poor bid by him IMO
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Old 09-28-2006, 09:29 PM   #9
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bid low...my fault or contractors


I agree...with the added information, it look slike he underbid...but you are still left with a home to be finished. Good luck.
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Old 09-29-2006, 12:27 AM   #10
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bid low...my fault or contractors


Read your contract. Talk to your contractor. Get an explanation. Understand this problem and find out if it exists on other areas of the contract. Only your contract and its interpretation can answer these questions for you.

He admits he didn't count the fixtures? What else did he just pull out of his pocket? Sounds like you need to put some reality checking to his numbers and quick. This might just be why he was the lowest bidder.

Someone is confused here. Maybe its me. You say his "decoractor" put the package together, the one she "normally" puts together at this allowance? And the place that sold these fixtures is the place they "normally" get lighting for this size house for $500.00 dollars in allowance? Does that mean that they "normally" underallow by $2000.00 on lighting for a house this size?

Did you check his references?
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Old 09-29-2006, 07:46 AM   #11
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bid low...my fault or contractors


Your GC would have had no idea what fixtures you would pick out. He gave you a spending limit that does seem to be pretty low though. If you are on a super tight budget, I would pick inexpensive light fixtures and replace them later when more money is available. BUT, to me, lighting is super important. It's one of those things that shows, that people will look at. Just wait, you still have to pick out things like bath and kitchen sinks, faucetts, etc. Even the doorknobs get expensive!

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