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Old 10-06-2007, 06:05 AM   #1
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Ethics? Contractor and Employer responsibilities




Frustrated,
Disappointed, In general at a loss.

On the other hand, maybe I am over reacting


My definition of a Contractor: The person one hires to manage and coordinate the completion of a specific construction project. He hires the workers and tradesmen such as plumbers, carpenters, painters, and electricians to work on a specific part of the project. He will order & purchase the necessary materials such as paint & lumber. He might work with a decorator and/or an architect. He can order and purchase items like doors, sinks, lighting systems, and floor coverings. For these services he is paid a fee, usually a percentage, 20%, of the total invoice for labor and materials.

Hi,

I just don't know what to do! I don't know what I to do if anything. I am a bit put out by my contractor. Below are several question, questions with specifics actually happened.

(Obligated is a strong word, think of it as “reasonably expected.”

Without a contract,
1. What are the basic responsibilities of a contractor?
2. To his client/employer?
3. Responsibilities of the employer to the contractor?
4. Concerning costs & spending: If the employer directly requests quotes, is the contractor obligated to provide them?
5. Is it normal practice for a contractor to replace or purchase and install, say a cabinet, without consulting the employer?
6. If the employer does not want the contractor’s cabinet, and the $56,000.00, 13th century Tibetan Cabinet is long gone, is the contractor responsible? Is he obligated to make restitution? Of course mediation is the first option. If this were not possible what would the courts do?
7. If the name, address, tel. and hours of operation were just applied to the front door, and the contractor, without consulting the employer replaces it is the employer obligated to keep it?
8. Is the contractor responsible for replacing the door sign?
9. Is the contractor obligated to inform the employer that the space cannot be occupied w/o CO?
10. If the project is a - gut and build for immediate occupancy- is the Contractor responsible for obtaining the CO?
11. If an inspection fails and a permit is denied, is it the contractor’s responsibility to have the problem fixed?
12. Who is financially responsible for the corrections?
13. Can one move into space without a CO? What could happen?
14. Even if you have most or all of the Permits?
15. Example: An acoustic dropped ceiling is poorly installed, the tiles are not on the grid straight, some are dirty and gaping holes were cut in areas where the tile had to fit around trusses. The work was totally unacceptable. Is it normal to be charged for replacing dirty tiles?
16. Is it normal to be charged for fixing the holes and straightening off center tiles?

17. Moving to the new store: I scheduled the movers, they do all of my deliveries and help when a new shipment arrives. The contractor had never heard of them. They left the bill at the store, it was addressed to me. It had the new address and the temporary add. Yesterday, when I opened the invoice I went into shock when I saw a copy of the mover’s $2025.00 bill plus 20% attached to the contractors invoice. Is this proper?
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Old 10-06-2007, 07:59 AM   #2
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Ethics? Contractor and Employer responsibilities


Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
My definition of a Contractor: The person one hires to manage and coordinate the completion of a specific construction project. He hires the workers and tradesmen such as plumbers, carpenters, painters, and electricians to work on a specific part of the project. He will order & purchase the necessary materials such as paint & lumber. He might work with a decorator and/or an architect. He can order and purchase items like doors, sinks, lighting systems, and floor coverings. For these services he is paid a fee, usually a percentage, 20%, of the total invoice for labor and materials.?
That is not the proper definition of a "contractor". It is, however, the partial definition of a "General Contractor".


Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
(Obligated is a strong word, think of it as “reasonably expected.”
Without a contract,
First off, there are NO "detailed" obligations that can be expected when there is no written contract.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
1. What are the basic responsibilities of a contractor?
Again, you must mean a General Contractor. The basic responsibilties can vary according to the agreed upon arrangement, whether verbal or written.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
2. To his client/employer?
Same answer as above. It is on a per agreement, per project basis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
3. Responsibilities of the employer to the contractor?
Same answers as previous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
4. Concerning costs & spending: If the employer directly requests quotes, is the contractor obligated to provide them??
Quotes for WHAT?? Most General contractors will quote the costs of the whole job. Some may arrange their costs into categories or sub-projects within the scope of the overall project.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
5. Is it normal practice for a contractor to replace or purchase and install, say a cabinet, without consulting the employer??
No (I think).... but then again, as with all your questions thus far...you are completely vague with your questioning and lack of details.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
6. If the employer does not want the contractor’s cabinet, and the $56,000.00, 13th century Tibetan Cabinet is long gone, is the contractor responsible? Is he obligated to make restitution? Of course mediation is the first option. If this were not possible what would the courts do??
Can't answer: We don't know anything about the details or the overall issue...and frankly, I don't think I want to know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
7. If the name, address, tel. and hours of operation were just applied to the front door, and the contractor, without consulting the employer replaces it is the employer obligated to keep it? ?
Again, can't answer: The results are provided, but no real details of what the conversations were between the two parties ... are given.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
8. Is the contractor responsible for replacing the door sign? ?
Can't answer, no details given.

Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 10-06-2007 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 10-06-2007, 07:59 AM   #3
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Ethics? Contractor and Employer responsibilities


Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
9. Is the contractor obligated to inform the employer that the space cannot be occupied w/o CO??
Was he hired as the actual General Contractor or just a contractor who would do certain phases of the work? If he was hired as a GC, is he registered and licensed to do so?
Regarding a "Certificate of Occupancy", you as a property owner also would bear some responsibilty to ascertain such details, as they would be part of your obligations with the local town/city - if you were the Property Owner.

Also, if "YOU" hired him to work under you, while you over-saw the project as the "acting" GC, then that would be your responsibilty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
10. If the project is a - gut and build for immediate occupancy- is the Contractor responsible for obtaining the CO??
Not if it's not in in his contract. A General Contractor usually looks into all these issues and is thus paid sums on top of the actual project for this portion of his work. Again, if the GC is licensed, registered and qualified to do so.

But, then again, you keep referring to him as simply a "contractor".
Is he simply a "contractor" that was hired to do portions of the work, and was not hired to oversee the entire project and it's required inspectional paperwork? (- which would then fall on the Property Owner or Client's shoulders if he didn't).

Again, my answers are in multiple format, since your questions are so generalized and completely lacking in any comprehensible details.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
11. If an inspection fails and a permit is denied, is it the contractor’s responsibility to have the problem fixed? ?
If it is written in his contract. Otherwise, that is the Client's or Property Owner's responsibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
12. Who is financially responsible for the corrections? ?
See above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
13. Can one move into space without a CO? What could happen??
You would be kicked out and fined by the local inspectional offices. If you want, you could try it and really see what happens...

Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
14. Even if you have most or all of the Permits? ?
See above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
15. Example: An acoustic dropped ceiling is poorly installed, the tiles are not on the grid straight, some are dirty and gaping holes were cut in areas where the tile had to fit around trusses. The work was totally unacceptable. Is it normal to be charged for replacing dirty tiles??
Again, details are left out. Who got the ceiling tiles dirty? Was the contractor given used or old materials to install? Were they dirty to begin with? Are they new tiles that have new fingerprints on them? Are they dirty because they were stored improperly? blah, blah, blah = NO DETAILS GIVEN.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
16. Is it normal to be charged for fixing the holes and straightening off center tiles??
Not usually, but again, we don't know the details of the agreement or the required work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boodog View Post
17. Moving to the new store: I scheduled the movers, they do all of my deliveries and help when a new shipment arrives. The contractor had never heard of them. They left the bill at the store, it was addressed to me. It had the new address and the temporary add. Yesterday, when I opened the invoice I went into shock when I saw a copy of the mover’s $2025.00 bill plus 20% attached to the contractors invoice. Is this proper?
I don't understand any of this. Contractors or General Contractors are usually not involved with "moving".


Overview: Sounds to me like you hired a hack to do the work cheap. You feel as tho you paid out a lot of money, but you ultimately got what you paid for.

No Written Contract = misinterpretations = misunderstandings = problems = disagreements = arguments = frustration.

That is the equation that generally happens without a written contract to denote what each party is expected to do and is responsible for. You chose to not have a written contract, you will not have much luck in any mediation or pursuit of restitution.

Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 10-06-2007 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 10-07-2007, 08:52 PM   #4
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Ethics? Contractor and Employer responsibilities


My definition of a Contractor: The person one hires to manage and coordinate the completion of a specific construction project. He hires the workers and tradesmen such as plumbers, carpenters, painters, and electricians to work on a specific part of the project. He will order & purchase the necessary materials such as paint & lumber. He might work with a decorator and/or an architect. He can order and purchase items like doors, sinks, lighting systems, and floor coverings. For these services he is paid a fee, usually a percentage, 20%, of the total invoice for labor and materials.

Sort of...if you are referring to a general Contractor
But all the GCs I know don't get paid a "fee" of 20%
They keep whatever is left over after the job is done
Could be 75%, could be 5 bucks


Without a contract,
1. What are the basic responsibilities of a contractor?


Nothing without a contract...hence the term "contractor"
Or should I say: whatever is in the contract
If you are referring to what a general contractor does, they usually contract and coordinate various trades in a project that requires multiple trades to work together to achieve the goal
I'm sure there are dozens of other ways to define that


2. (What are the basic responsibilities)To his client/employer?
Do not for one moment confuse a contractor with an employee
The legal and govt. definitions for each exclude the other as possibilities
It's either a contractor, or an employee
And w/o a contract, the answer is nothing really

3. Responsibilities of the employer to the contractor?
Do not for one moment confuse a contractor with an employee
The legal and govt. definitions for each exclude the other as possibilities
It's either a contractor, or an employee
And w/o a contract, the answer is nothing really

4. Concerning costs & spending: If the employer directly requests quotes, is the contractor obligated to provide them?
Do not for one moment confuse a contractor with an employee
The legal and govt. definitions for each exclude the other as possibilities
It's either a contractor, or an employee
The contract shouldn't have been signed w/o a price determined ahead of time
That's why it's a contract
If there are unforeseen circumstances beyond the "contractor's" control, there is usually a mechanism for that in the contract
If you are still on the "w/o a contract" thing, then no
The contractor is not obliged to provide anything

5. Is it normal practice for a contractor to replace or purchase and install, say a cabinet, without consulting the employer?
Do not for one moment confuse a contractor etc...
But basically the answer is no
It's usually in the contract, or not

6. If the employer does not want the contractor’s cabinet, and the $56,000.00, 13th century Tibetan Cabinet is long gone, is the contractor responsible? Is he obligated to make restitution? Of course mediation is the first option. If this were not possible what would the courts do?
Again, there's a huge difference between and employee and a contractor
The rest of this one is so far over the top, I can only say that if it wasn't in the contract for the contractor to remove a piece of furniture and replace it, well I'm no lawyer but I'd be confident the courts would have no problem awarding you restitution
Same if it was an employee...that's theft
A contractor w/o a contract however, you may take it to court and good luck
You may just want to consider it tuition to the school of hard knocks
This is really getting kooky

7. If the name, address, tel. and hours of operation were just applied to the front door, and the contractor, without consulting the employer replaces it is the employer obligated to keep it?
Of course not...whether it's a contractor or employee

8. Is the contractor responsible for replacing the door sign?
Was it contracted?

9. Is the contractor obligated to inform the employer that the space cannot be occupied w/o CO?
...to me, that's common sense
But I suppose someone not familiar with commercial spaces might not know about COs
I'll go out on a limb and say this really should be in the contract, or at least discussed at the...whatever happened...sale...agreement...hiring....however this person ended up being responsible for this stuff

10. If the project is a - gut and build for immediate occupancy- is the Contractor responsible for obtaining the CO?
Not if it's not in the contract

11. If an inspection fails and a permit is denied, is it the contractor’s responsibility to have the problem fixed?
If it's in the contract...yup
If it's not...then no

12. Who is financially responsible for the corrections?
That depends on what's in the contract

13. Can one move into space without a CO? What could happen?
You'll get kicked out

14. Even if you have most or all of the Permits?
Yup

15. Example: An acoustic dropped ceiling is poorly installed, the tiles are not on the grid straight, some are dirty and gaping holes were cut in areas where the tile had to fit around trusses. The work was totally unacceptable. Is it normal to be charged for replacing dirty tiles?
Normal?
I don't think anything about this is normal any more...
What's really going on here?

16. Is it normal to be charged for fixing the holes and straightening off center tiles?
No, not if you hire a ceiling contractor...and sign a contract

17. Moving to the new store: I scheduled the movers, they do all of my deliveries and help when a new shipment arrives. The contractor had never heard of them. They left the bill at the store, it was addressed to me. It had the new address and the temporary add. Yesterday, when I opened the invoice I went into shock when I saw a copy of the mover’s $2025.00 bill plus 20% attached to the contractors invoice. Is this proper?
I must say, not trying to be mean, but I did LOL at this one
Then I realized that you (obviously) were serious
This 'contractor' must have balls of steel, or truly needs to lay down the crack pipe or lay off the meth
I have difficulty believing this person is a true GC, and does business in this manner, w/o contracts etc...
Does this person even have the proper lic. and ins and/or any other papers your state requires?
Who is this person?
What's going on here, really?

If you really hired someone to gut and remodel your store w/o a contract, that was a mistake
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Old 10-08-2007, 12:56 AM   #5
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Ethics? Contractor and Employer responsibilities


Thank you very much for responding, there is more to it and I will try to keep it short and to the point.

I owe a couple of you more info. I reached the word limit in the original letter. But quickly, yes, he was a General Contractor.
No, I don't see him as an employee.

I get it, a contractor, ha ha!

I found a great location for my Cultural Artifacts and Ethnic Folk Art store. The space I found was a restaurant/catering biz. It had to be gutted. I dew up a very simple floor plan, (attached) and decided on an exposed ceiling with the AC running down the middle w/ extended vents. I was rounding up some men from my Dad's company when someone mentioned permits. Ooops, it just got complicated. I need a GC. It was so simple and straightforward to me, that I never thought of a contract and he did not mention it.

Sorry I have to go, but I will finish this tomorrow. Again thank you!
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:53 AM   #6
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Ethics? Contractor and Employer responsibilities


Ah...I see

Well, I can't make a fair judgment as to his adding 20% to every bill inasmuchas I suppose things in the contracting world could be different in Texas, but that wouldn't fly over here. (but that doesn't mean someone wouldn't try it)
To me that's a sign of someone w/o the proper lic./paperwork/ins. working around the law

If he is charging 20% to collect and coordinate the "subs" and other trades, then I'd assume he is supposed to get the permits/CO etc.
The problem is, w/o the paper saying so, he can duck out on each and every last thing

An employee (say a manger) would be a different story
...but not much

W/O hearing more, or knowing more about Texas law, it's hard to make a judgment, but from here it does sound like he found himself a gravy train

No matter how you slice it, I think you got hosed
You may want to contact a local lawyer to find out your rights in your state
But more info would be great
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:07 AM   #7
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Ethics? Contractor and Employer responsibilities


ditto above advice...run this by a local lawyer. In FL two parties can have a verbal construction contract up to $100k that is inforcable by the courts. Contract is a "meeting of the minds" driven understanding. No Meeting of the minds...no contract.

You may not legally owe this "contractor" anything. Ethicly you will need to fiqure it out.
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