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Old 08-19-2009, 12:52 PM   #1
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What to do when a contractor doesn't deliver...


So I recently hired a contractor to build a deck for me and I got burned pretty bad. What he said and what I got are two different things. He used stainless steel lag bolts instead of galvanized, nails on the deck boards instead of screws, and the footer inspection is shady. The numbers are not the same as the one on the permit and lists a different address.

Obviously I am most concerned with the footer inspection as I do not know if they are solid or not. Now I have no way to check. He hired an inspector for the final inspection, which I find shady as the county provides one for free. He had already blown the timeline by 2 weeks (only worked a few hours a day over a period of 3 weeks), so its not like that was the issue. The deck looks solid, but what do I know after all thats why I hired someone, so that it would be a professional and safe job.

Using screws instead of nails was a verbal deal, not in the contract so that's on me. I thought it was just common sense? The stainless steel, he insists that they are not - me I don't know now. The inspections, I am still trying to figure out how they all go together. It could be an admin error, but the contractor is unwilling to explain it to me. I had another contractor take a look at it and he confirmed my suspicions - so what is the next step? I am getting nowhere talking to the contractor (valid license, insured/bonded, been in the biz 25+ years, no pending litigation issues found on the web/state contractor site).

I would rather settle this as adults than going the arbitration/legal route or whatever. I did my research, checked references, and took 4 estimates before I went with this guy, so I thought I did everything right...what now?

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Old 08-19-2009, 01:13 PM   #2
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What to do when a contractor doesn't deliver...


Casey, the first thing you should do is take a trip down to the building department. Find out what they have on record in terms of permits and inspections for the job. If the city has inspectors, I don't know why they would even get an outside inspector, nor do I know if the city would accept those results.

Did you do an internet search for the guy and/or his company? Maybe the guy who did your project was using the license of another reputable contractor.

In regards to the nails/screws, may not be much to do there depending on what was included in the contract. However, you should ask the town if they can do an inspection for you, and get a written list from them of the issues that are not to code and need correcting. If he refuses to correct these free of charge, then go to his insurance/bonding company. If he is truly licensed/bonded, you are a step ahead of other people who get burned by guys who just have a van and no insurance/license, and are usually untraceable.

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Old 08-19-2009, 02:18 PM   #3
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Please understand that this is a DIY site and isn't the appropriate forum for dealing with problems that contractors cause you, unless you need help fixing those problems yourself. Since there is some potential good info posted I'll leave it open.

Understand that stainless fasteners are FAR BETTER than galvanized fasteners. They're also 4x more expensive. I'd gladly take the stainless over galvanized.

As for screwing the deck boards down over nailing them down...That's better too!!! Not seeing a problem here.

As for the footing issue, as stated by Green Giant, speak with the town building official. Hopefully they can be of assistance in shining some light on how the contractor can hire his own inspector, which is a glaring conflict of interest.
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Old 08-19-2009, 05:05 PM   #4
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I would check with the building department on the permit. It may be a clerical issue or it may be a fraudulent permit. Virginia does allow the use of third party inspectors and this in itself is no big deal. The third party inspector may also have been contracted by the locality. If the inspection was done after the footings where poured then I would worry more about this as most likely he didn't get the holes inspected like he was supposed to.

Stainless is better than galvanized if they are indeed stainless and not just being passed off as such. I have seen guys try to pass off zinc as stainless. The inspector would catch that during inspection. As far as nails versus screws if that is what you wanted you should have had it specified in the contract as you already stated.

Any contractor you bring out to look at this deck should have a BLD classification and be done on a consulting basis. When talking to contractors make sure to get a rate for consulting and as a possible expert witness should this go to court. Normally this is done on an hourly basis and a written document or report with concerns and findings should be issued to you.

You should also check with the company who's name is on the contract and verify that it is a legit contract. License fraud does happen on occasion. That said to get a permit issued in the first place requires a copy of the contractors license be submitted with the application as well as the appropriate business license(s). You should ask for a copy of the license to be included with the contract or at the very least request to see the carry license.
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Old 08-19-2009, 05:48 PM   #5
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What to do when a contractor doesn't deliver...


Manatee County in Florida uses mainly independent inspectors hired by the contractors. It has its good and bad points.
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Old 08-19-2009, 06:11 PM   #6
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What to do when a contractor doesn't deliver...


Pertinent info has already been nicely covered by others in this thread.

Nails over screws in deck boards: What did the contract and discusssions specify? Deck boards are still installed with nails. But they are also installed with screws. Using nails does not nullify the deck build. It's about what the agreement states.

As stated - look into the permit at your local building dept. = simple way of taking care of that matter.

Timelines mean nothing, unless it was part of the agreement. Projects rarely get done on any projected date. (Weather and other delays)
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:52 PM   #7
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What to do when a contractor doesn't deliver...


Quote:
I would rather settle this as adults
Ayuh,... Settle What,..?? I fail to see a Problem.....
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Old 08-20-2009, 10:15 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
Ayuh,... Settle What,..?? I fail to see a Problem.....
Huh...a deck 10 ft in the air with no footing inspection? And a permit number that doesn't match my address at the county inspection office? I guess it's your opinion, so thanks for the advice.
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Old 08-20-2009, 10:18 AM   #9
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Have you verified if a permit was pulled?
Possibly they gave him the wrong paperwork, or a clerical error
What does the local Inspector say about the footing inspection?
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Old 08-20-2009, 10:23 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
Please understand that this is a DIY site and isn't the appropriate forum for dealing with problems that contractors cause you, unless you need help fixing those problems yourself. Since there is some potential good info posted I'll leave it open.

Understand that stainless fasteners are FAR BETTER than galvanized fasteners. They're also 4x more expensive. I'd gladly take the stainless over galvanized.

As for screwing the deck boards down over nailing them down...That's better too!!! Not seeing a problem here.

As for the footing issue, as stated by Green Giant, speak with the town building official. Hopefully they can be of assistance in shining some light on how the contractor can hire his own inspector, which is a glaring conflict of interest.
Okay, I see your point on that. I will keep it to the DIY aspect of it. I apologize for causing some angst here in the community. I just want to make sure that this deck is safe for my family and have received solid advice here since I joined. I let my frustration overshadow my professionalism. Thank you all for your input, it is very much appreciated.
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Old 08-20-2009, 10:33 AM   #11
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What to do when a contractor doesn't deliver...


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Originally Posted by Casey12081 View Post
Okay, I see your point on that. I will keep it to the DIY aspect of it. I apologize for causing some angst here in the community. I just want to make sure that this deck is safe for my family and have received solid advice here since I joined. I let my frustration overshadow my professionalism. Thank you all for your input, it is very much appreciated.
No sweat, we just want to keep the thread topics in line with the DIY aspect. Your frustrations regarding the footing and the permit sure do sound justified. We're happy to advise with the deck stuff whenever you need. I mentioned the DIY thing just to try to keep the thread from becoming one on legal advice or advice on dealing with a contractor.

Please keep us posted!
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:26 AM   #12
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What to do when a contractor doesn't deliver...


How do you met this worker? He did not listen to what you want in the project, I think he is fraud and trying to thrift your money for the materials. In the first place before making a move, make sure everything is great like the workers are licensed and with no counts. I hope you say straight forward what output you wanted that would make great to do an intelligent way to hire another one.
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Old 05-01-2011, 02:39 AM   #13
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What to do when a contractor doesn't deliver...


Aside from the suspicion with the permits, what is it that worries you with the footings? do you think it was done improperly?

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