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Old 01-04-2009, 07:20 AM   #1
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Contractor Obligation

This fall I had a contractor do some concrete work. When it came time for them to poor the concrete the weather had left the lawn rather soaked. The truck tore up the lawn while trying to back in. Also two trees were damaged in the process.

I was upset about the trees and jokingly asked if his insurance would replace them. He answered with a rather sober "no". He did offer to repair the damage to the lawn (which he made sound like he was doing as a favor instead of an obligation). Supposedly he had some sod from another job that they were going to lay down. Weeks went by and they never did.

Snow now covers the area and will remain this way into spring. He sent me a bill for the remainder of the contract.

Is he obligated to repair the damages to my property, can I get him to replace the trees as well? If so, should I be withholding payment of contract until he repairs the damages?


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Old 01-04-2009, 07:40 AM   #2
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he's the contractor,,, if he allowed the truck access, its on him,,, have never had a driver go anywhere onsite we didn't approve whether residential, commercial, or hgwy,,, better send the registered letter QUICKLY outlining damages & repair costs before you lose claim rights,,, at least you're still holding some $ - always an ace in the hole.


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Old 01-04-2009, 08:18 AM   #3
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concrete trucks in our area will make you sign a waiver prior to entering your property. The contractor directs the driver where to go. The contractor is liable.
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Old 01-04-2009, 08:43 AM   #4
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Lawn Damage

If the contractor did not ask your permission then he is responsible for the fix. As a contractor it is my call and we eat it if there is damage. A friendly call or letter is the first way I would approach it
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Old 01-04-2009, 09:34 AM   #5
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I'm a contractor, and we always clean up. Ruts be damned, they get fixed and reseeded, usually the day after the pour. We always include a line item in the bid to show we cover landscaping repairs. The customers that use us, know it and appreciate it. The folks that think we're too high, well, they get what they pay for. And everyone here is spot-on correct: the delivery driver requires us to sign a waiver, and we as the contractor direct them where to go, so it is absolutely on us to take responsibility.

Folks have to educate themselves, also, but a good contractor will spell that stuff out. The more folks know about what might happen, the more they will require of the contractors while taking bids, so the more likely they'll get what they want. A good contractor will spell it all out and communicate up front what's included, what the screenplay will be for the project, where they can save money, what problems may crop up and aren't included (unforeseen obstructions underground is the biggest), etc.

In my commercial contracting company, our scopes of work are lengthy, and they spell out what's going to happen, from the moment we get there to the moment we leave. Sometimes folks actually take our scope and shop it out to other contractors (even with the copyright mark and notice of confidentiality), which is uncool, but we get enough work and ultimately we avoid those types of prospects. But the clients know what they're getting. My other company is a residential DIY consulting and engineering firm, and no matter if they DIY or act as their own GC, they get an education from me on what to look out for and what to expect, how to talk the talk, what the science is behind their project, how to write a scope, how to specify material, etc.
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Old 01-04-2009, 10:02 AM   #6
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Unless you told him that you wouldn't pay the extra for a concrete pump, he has damaged your property and should be held liable.

However, if you're witholding payment, be sure that the amount you withold is reasonable to make the necessary repairs and no more. If he's done work and doesn't get paid for it (minus the cost of repairs), that doesn't look good for you if you end up in claims court.

He should also be given the option...In writing...To satisfactorily make the repairs to the lawn. If the trees require an arborist's care, set that as a condition.


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