Contractor misread zoning

6 Replies

So I hired a design build team to add a second story to my house (~1000 sq ft). We went through all the planning, I got a new loan, submitted the plans to the city, the city came back with some changes, submitted to the city again, then the city came back and said that the coastal permit wouldn't allow the addition and even if it did, the local code would only allow an addition of 400 sq ft.

I live in San Diego and this should have been picked up at the beginning when drawing up the plans (before I refinanced for the construction). My question is, what recourse do I have against the design-build contractor for missing the zoning requirements? Obviously any payments I made directly to them would be refunded but can I get the costs for the loan, including the higher interest rate? Anybody else go through something similar?

Appreciate any help.

You said "we" went thru the planning , you and the contractor . I dont believe you have any recourse with the contractor . This is something that should have been checked prior to financing

Agree with Mathew. On a true design build you usually have total complete price up front, which I doubt you did due to them needing to verify the proposed construction through the permitting process. It seems the city didn't even realize at first the addition couldn't be built, but would allow 400 sf. I see no recourse, and wouldn't automatically assume you're entitled to money back that you already paid for sensing, permitting, etc. It doesn't matter what you or I think is right or fair, it's largely dependent upon the contract you signed for the design and construction, which is why contracts exist.

Did you have a licensed architect involved, or did the contractor just sketch some stuff and put it on construction plans?

If there was an architect involved, the zoning laws and other items such as ADA Compliance, Title 24, and other design-related items usually fall under their purview. If the zoning restrictions were not "designed" into your construction plans, then you may have some recourse against the Architect.

If you didn't have an architect, then the responsibility would fall to whomever the contract says is responsible.

Did you use a standard AIA contract?

@Paul Brockland

Yes there was an architect involved but I don't think it was a standard AIA contract. The zoning restrictions were definitely not "designed" into the construction plans. I'm taking a look at the contract again and the company is trying to talk to a consultant to see if there is a possible variance but not holding my breath.

@Paul Brockland

Hi Paul,

Please keep us posted. I also live in San Diego. I work for a design build but on the administrative side so I don't have any great advice. Our company usually takes care of the permitting for the client and any errors like that we'd usually eat.

I hope all goes well. Good luck.

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