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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I contracted a company to replace my drain field, they gave me a contract of $4200 to replace my field. They wrote in "Price subject to change if OCHD requires extra work then listed above. Dirt out $450 a load , dirt in $450 a load."

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When they got the required size of drain field they came out and surveyed the yard and marked where they were going to lay the new drain field. After they dug up the location they then told me that the tank is farther over than they though and that they were not going to be able to install the field in that location because they needed 6' x 43' and with the 10' easement they only had 5' x 43'. This is my first question. Would it not fall on them and not the county for making them put it in another location because they should have probed where the end of the tank was and known before digging that it would not fit in that location? (I live in Florida, very easy to probe down through the sand and locate where the end of the tank is at.) After digging up and saying they did not have the space they told me they were in talks with the county on where they needed to put it now for 4 days. I ended up calling the county myself and telling the situation and got a new plan and location in one conversation same day i called. They came back after the weekend and started digging in the new location for the field. The new location was just dirt whit nothing in it on either sides of the septic tank. After he finished installing it had now been a week and a half since they started. The inspector came and the installer failed the first inspection. The header pipe was sloped the wrong direction by just over an inch and so were 2 of the runs. they also installed 2 of the runs to close to the tank. and was asked to uncover the main water line into the house to make sure that it was schedule 40 and not copper. He was instructed to take the 2 runs up that were to close to the tank and move one of them to the right side and add the run back there. He then performed that work. (partially)
The inspector then came back out. He was failed again for the header pipe still being sloped the wrong direction and still did not uncover the main water line for him to see. The installer then fixed that again. We couldn't get an inspection until the next Monday. It has now been 2 weeks since starting. The inspector then says that you have a pass fail. the field looks fine but the main water line was still not uncovered and he was not going to pass it until he can see what the main water line is. Now we are waiting for the inspector to come back out today and and inspect the main line. My next question is if the dirt that had to come out to move the field was not dirt that had to be hauled away or brought back it was just moved and then put back on top would i be charged the $450 per load in and out for extra work?

I talked to the owner and he said that the original drain field dirt that he hauled away was 450 and the dirt he had to be back was 450 and wanting me to pay an extra $900.After speaking with him he said that he would compromise and only charge me $450 extra. Should i be charged any extra at all is my main question? Would the initial removal and leveling out all be in the $4200? if he just moved dirt because he surveyed the yard incorrectly and then only moved dirt to put it back over the field there was not load removal or brought in extra at all. The whole time i am speaking to the inspector directly and i am getting much different answers from the installer than i am the inspector.

If anyone can please help me with this question i would greatly appreciate it.
 

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You lost me on your long description of the events, but sometimes, you can't know exactly how much work is involved until you start digging. If the extra work sounds like something they legitimately did not envision, extra charges seem reasonable. Quote is hard to read, but looks like it was worded that extra charges are possible.
 

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If they guessed at the location of the underground tank and were off by a bit … that might be a reasonable upcharge. None of the extra work for failed inspections should be additional. Uncovering the water line might be additional, and the cost to correct the pipe if it’s not correct. Especially if the water line was not part of their scope.

I dont understand the description of the extra dirt hauling. Why did they have to do that work?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If they guessed at the location of the underground tank and were off by a bit … that might be a reasonable upcharge. None of the extra work for failed inspections should be additional. Uncovering the water line might be additional, and the cost to correct the pipe if it’s not correct. Especially if the water line was not part of their scope.

I dont understand the description of the extra dirt hauling. Why did they have to do that work?
They did not have to do any extra dirt at all. When the moved the location of the field that was all clean dirt that they dug up put the field down and put back over it. There were no extra loads from what was originally scoped to do in the 4200
 

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$900 is just enough to not make it worth fighting over.
Up here we do not get inspections, these guys just have to submit a plan of what they did to some office and the customer is stuck with what ever they did wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
$900 is just enough to not make it worth fighting over.
Up here we do not get inspections, these guys just have to submit a plan of what they did to some office and the customer is stuck with what ever they did wrong.

So you are saying not enough for me to fight over or them?

I should just pay it?
 

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He already gave you $450 credit. I would not fight over it. Putting in a drain field is not an exact science until the digging is done and they did warn you that the price may fluctuate. I think you got a bargain.
 

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They did not have to do any extra dirt at all. When the moved the location of the field that was all clean dirt that they dug up put the field down and put back over it. There were no extra loads from what was originally scoped to do in the 4200
This is a different story from your original post … right? Or ... how do you know its the same?
If it was the same, don’t pay any extra. But your story is confusing.
 

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After they dug up the location they then told me that the tank is farther over than they though and that they were not going to be able to install the field in that location because they needed 6' x 43' and with the 10' easement they only had 5' x 43'.
Wait … are you saying they completely dug the hole, then discovered it wasn’t big enough and had to redig in a new location?
 

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Ok. I can understand them submitting a proposal based on a visual exam, but i would have thought they would have planned a little better before actually starting to dig.

And when did they ask for more money? As soon as they discoved the field would not fit … or after the inspector failed them twice?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok. I can understand them submitting a proposal based on a visual exam, but i would have thought the6 would have planned a little better before actually starting to dig.
Exactly my point. I am in central florida. Very east to probe down and find that the edge of the tank is within the needed space. Also it says $450 per load in and load out of dirt. There were no extra loads of dirt in or out. To me it seems as he is trying to recover some of the money lost for his installer not surveying properly and his installer failing 3 inspections and finally passing the 4th today..
 

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Thats a huge red flag. He should have told you immediately upon learning it had to be moved, and get your PRIOR approval in writing before proceeding. You are correct, he is trying to recover expenses for substandard work. You should refuse to pay any amount above the original agreement. Politely tell him to contact your lawyer.
 

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Naildriver
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If he dug up an area that was not suitable for a drain field, and he didn't know where the tank was in the first place, I don't understand ANY upcharge, although $450 is not unreasonable, considering. His failed inspections red flag it for me. Any installer who knows what he is doing will do it right, usually the first time. Just be glad you had a competent inspector.
 

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In contractural speak, they are claiming a “changed site condition”. Things that were or should have been apparent to a reasonable competent contractor at a prebid site visit or disclosed to the contractor are not eligible for more money for a changed site condition. Things that were not apparent or disclosed are eligible for changed site condition additional payments. As an example, if you hire someone to move a wall and after opening it up asbestos is discovered, a changed site condition occurred. I am not a judge but in my opinion they should have located the tank before bidding. If it was thousands of dollars, I would fight it. For $450, I would pay. It is not worth the fight. It could have unfolded better, but you are where you are. For any work you contract out you should have at least 10% extra money (I go 15% or more) for contingencies so you don’t go broke if unexpected things happen. You found your contingency.
 

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OT ... I agree up to a point. In this case the contractors timing is what queers the deal. They should have alerted the customer to the additional costs immediately, not wait until the second or third failed inspection.
 
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