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homeowner12 10-10-2009 01:38 PM

Concrete Contractor and Masonry Contractor made a huge mistake
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I am here in Illinois and was wondering what my rights are as a homeowner for a large rehab I'm doing to my home?

I hired a concrete contractor to pour 20" wide x 10" thick footings for a new room addition and a new attached garage. He did pour the footings and get them all in. I also hired a masonry contractor to build a cinder block foundation wall for the new room addition and new garage. He did get the block in and it all looked good.

When the carpenter started to frame on the new foundation he found the new foundation for the new room addition to be 6" out of square and said it was unusable for him to build on. After a three hour fight with the concrete contractor and the masonry contractor it was resolved me moving one end of the new foundation 3.5" and the other side 3.5". I was supposed to have a solid 40' wall from the garage to the new room addition but now i have a 3" step out on the new room addition. but it is square now.

The concrete conctractor took the blame and eate the cost cause he said he set the pins. But both the Concrete contractor and the masonry contractor said they did not square anything. and the Masonry contractor just laid his block and said it's not his problem to square the foundation since the concrete contractor set the pins.

Now the builder is on the garage and it is 3.5" out of square on a 28' wall. 5" out of square if you measure the four corners diagonal.

So now I am fighting with the two contractors again about fixing this problem. Both are saying it's not the fault and both are saying they did not square anything. The entire garage has been backfiled and ready for flat work but now it all was to be torn out and started over about $7,500 - $9,000 of work to be re-done. I am blaming the masonry contractor for not squaring anything and moving his block on the footings to make square. The Masonry contractor is blaming the concrete contractor for setting the pins.

The good thing no one was been paid a dime yet and is not until fixed. Question do I have to pay them anything or can I fire them both and start all over with new contractors? Do I have to let them fix there scew up even though I let them fix the house and it still isn't right according to the blueprint we just made it work.

All of this is on a construction loan from a bank. The Concrete contractor said he would buy all materials for the masonry contractor to redo the garage foundation and the masonry contractor said he is doing his labor for free, and the concrete wants to excavate the garage his self. I don't want that I want the excavator who has down the entire job to do it again because his work was done excellent and he has underground insurance. The concrete contractor and the masonry contractor does not want to pay for the excavator. And lastly both the concrete contractor and the masonry contractor said they will not layout the work or setup the pins for square if I make them redo everyhing and that will be on me to layout the work and the square.

The pictures attached are the first one is of the foundation that was out f square and to fix they bumped it out three inches past the garage notice bump out.

The second picture is of the garage that is 3.5" out of square as it sits right now.
Any suggestions?

Termite 10-10-2009 01:51 PM

I'll preface this by saying that this chatroom is focused on DIY work, and issues regarding legal and monetary dealings with contractors have no place here.

However, discussing squaring footings and foundations is relative! :yes:

Typically, the footing guy places his footings based on stakes set by a surveyor and by following the plans. If he's competent, he's going to check that they're reasonably square before placing concrete. But with spread footings there is a little room for error.

When the walls are formed for concrete (or blocked in your case) it is absolutely critical that the wall guy square his work and not rely on the footings to be exact. Doing it that way is irresponsible and will just about always lead to problems...And it tells me he doesn't know what he's doing or take much pride in his work. With poured concrete walls, the forms and rebar are placed, and then the forms are squared up using stringlines and measurements...They're adjusted as necessary before placement of concrete. It is very common for a foundation to not be perfectly centered on a footing and instead slightly offset. He should've laid out his first course and set stringlines, then checked for square.

homeowner12 10-10-2009 01:58 PM

thanks for advice
Thanks for your advice I was thinkingthe exact samething about squaring the footings and the block work.

Sorry if I posted this in the wrong forum or on the wrong site. I was just looking for advice on this problem

12penny 10-10-2009 02:01 PM

Could'nt agree more. The GC bears some responsibility here too. Shoulda been on it.

homeowner12 10-10-2009 02:03 PM

No real GC
Well I guess there is no real GC since I am the homeowner and I have been hiring all the trades to do there work. So I guess I am the GC and the Homeowner all in one. I still feel the trades should check and square there own work.

12penny 10-10-2009 02:08 PM

They should. Welcome to being the guy in charge.

jomama45 10-10-2009 02:19 PM

Sorry to say, but your post is a good "advertisement" for GC's/builders, & why they charge what they do. If you had a good GC, this would be HIS problem right now instead of yours. Instead, your probably going to have to seek the help of an lawyer.

I agree with KC, BOTH of these contractors should be checking the footings much less their own walls. There usually is a statement on either the blueprints or contract that states something along the lines of: "if any subcontractor finds a problem with another trades work, the discreancies should be immediatly reported to th eGC or Architect." This is added to stop compounding problems & "finger pointing." When it comes to the block walls, anyone who is laying block walls of that length @ 5" out of square without noticing it at the corners while working ISN'T truly a professional.

Legally, I believe you have to give the original contractor's ample oppurtunity to correct there mistakes. This is why you need to speak with a lawyer with these kind of questions. Looking/hearing about their work tells me these contractors have the upper hand with the legal background in this situation. Meaning: this isn't the first time they screwed up & may not get paid in full.

On a side note, 2 other things you may want to look into:

- There's no garage floor ledge in what appears to be the garage.
- You may want to check code requirements for block basements & sill plates. Here in WI, if the top of the wall isn't capped/closed, a full width sill plate is required. I have no idea why a mason would lay caps on the top course, but yours didn't.

Good Luck.

willcmjr 10-10-2009 03:45 PM

I'm not sure it's on the concrete guy, unless the pins were so far off it was impossible for the mason's to run square.

But a quality mason would have set his corners square, plumb, and true (the hard part). Then run mason lines and filled in the field (the easy part). Sounds like a shotty contractor if he just ran cinders over the pins. I would sue him for every penny you can get. I know I know... no legal advice!

Daniel Holzman 10-10-2009 03:51 PM

This is an obviously unfortunate case, but I agree with the post that stated you will need a lawyer. In a case such as this, the subcontractors are responsible for doing whatever their contract calls for, provided it is a legal contract (i.e. you are not asking them to do something illegal, against code, or something that is physically impossible). So you are going to have to get some help from an attorney to determine what exactly you contracted with each subcontractor to do, i.e. who was responsible for layout, who was responsible for checking the work, etc.

If you do not have a written contract, or you have a vaguely worded contract, things get very difficult, since of course the parties will have different opinions about what was intended. But figuring out liability is what attorneys do for a living, so there will undoubtedly be a local one who will be happy to help you (for a fee).

Knucklez 10-10-2009 03:58 PM

4 Attachment(s)
i am absolutely sure that if there was a GC on site he would claim it was not his fault either because {insert lame excuse here}.

they should definately not be digging the hole out themselves as they are not pros in this area and obviously are just saving a few bucks because of THEIR problem.

but if you can't get around that... get a permit for the excavation work and have the city inspector give the OK for proper excavation. cost of permit is born by the concrete people as your compromise to allow them to do the digging themselves.

glad you didn't pay anything.. watch out for leans being put on your home.

hope it works out for you. please keep us updated.

stadry 10-10-2009 10:30 PM

don't be a cheapskate & cut more of your nose off as its only going to get worse,,, hire a retired gc/superintendent, or competent carpenter foreman to oversee the work,,, yes, its going to be an unanticipated expense but, adding in new legal fees, you're already over budget,,, how much nose do you want left for the housewarming :eek:

really surprised your lender's not concerned so i'll bet they aren't aware yet ! ! ! its possible they'll ' suggest ' you find someone - good advice if you ask me !! :thumbup:

concretemasonry 10-10-2009 10:53 PM

If you try to be a General Contractor, you have to accept the results of what you control and solve the problems with your abilities and experience in a new "business".

If you do not have contracts, specification and some inspection (private or free permit inspector), you don't have much to stand on.

Tscarborough 10-10-2009 11:52 PM

Hey Mr. General Contractor, guess what? It is YOUR responsibility to make sure that the subs do each segment of the work to plan. YOU, as GC are responsible for setting grade and initial points. YOU as GC are responsible for making sure the footings are placed correctly. YOU as GC are responsible for making sure that the foundation is laid plumb and square.

As the General Contractor, it is up to you to enforce contract provisions. I assume you have plans and specifications and contracts?

stadry 10-11-2009 05:29 AM

dontcha just LOVE the way these guys have w/words ? ? ? :yes: no woosies allow'd in THIS thread :laughing:

joasis 10-11-2009 07:36 AM

I was primed to jump in, but a few of the guys laid it out.

It all goes back to the foundation....if it is off, nothing following will be right, and now you know...when a problem is discovered, you cannot "adjust" to make it right.

As advised above......hire a retired GC/builder/ inspector that can oversee this project. Bear in mind that the 10% fee is peace of mind. We know it is hard to admit that you are in over your head with issues like this, but a GC has the advantages...they "know" most in the business, and subs treat them much differently, since there is a recourse from a GC....they talk. These subs will see your money and the job one time....a GC's opinion leads to lots of other jobs...bad opinion = no more work....good opinion = referrals.

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