Licensed Contractors' civil responsibility and integrety

13 Replies

Hey guys, I hope someone who may have been around the block may be able to steer me in the right direction.  This is my first time working with a sub-par contractor.

I had a roof replaced recently (shingles and boards). I am not completely satisfied with the outcome, however it is acceptable for its roofing functions.  To have it done to what I want, it would basically need a re-do down to the joists.  During the work, i was lied to about what the joists looked like, which I later found out and had repaired afterwards from the inside.

With that said, I have not paid the bill in full yet and want to re-negotiate the contract based on the outcome.

To have some leverage on negotiation, I want to know whether it is a Licensed Contractor's civil duty to point out things that not to code and not continuing with the work until that is fixed.  I assume this is something that would jeopardize his or her license?  

What is a contractor putting at stake when he/she does not get permits prior to performing work?   I suspect this was done also.

The first question is - what did your contract say the contractor was doing? Replacing the roof, or making the framing perfect?

Is there a civil duty? In Georgia, the answer is no... no civil or legal duty to point out flaws. Such a requirement could mean that a contractor that was out to fix your roof, and your house later burns down because of inadequate wiring, could be held accountable for the house burning down - even though he was not working on the wiring.

As for permits... this again depends on the city and state requirements. In Georgia, a roofer is not always required to pull permits... only in some municipalities that require, for example, a felt inspection.

Was a GC hired to assess the structural integrity of the roofing and framing system or did you hire a GC roofing contractor for a re-roof? That is the main question at hand. If you have a GC overseeing the project  (as in the construction processes), then this is something he should have accounted for. If it was simply someone you hired for a shingle job, then they cannot be counted on for structural assessment.

Sounds like you have a framing issue at hand; this is a structural issue and may be outside the realm of a tear off roofing contractor. To play devils advocate, if you were simply quoted a re-roof, then the contractor likely did his job. Even if the joists were off, it may have been something the crew missed. Most joist/framing issues requires skilled carpentry work and usually requires outside labor (aside from the shingle labor).

That said, you would hope that even a shingle crew would notice a glaring framing issue. However, often the labor just carries on with the job at hand...

interesting.

they were hired to to replace the roof and boards, but were to notify me if any joists were damaged.

they told me joists were all fine, however I was notified by someone on the downlow that wasn't the case as one of the joists was broken and they decided to just cover it up.  I'm not talking about the joist sagging slightly or not parallel with the other joists. I'm talking about obviously damaged.

 I had some drywall removed from the interior to confirm, and it was indeed damaged and had it repaired after.

I'm in VA and permits are required. Is the Contractor not doing his due diligence by not doing this, and what type of risks are they accruing by not doing this?

A roofer isn't a framer.  Sounds like you should of hired a carpenter to fix the framing before roofing.  Or inspected the joist yourself while they pulled the sheet off

You seem to be putting a lot of stock in the testimony of your "downlow" person.  On what other basis do you suspect or attribute malicious intent on the contractor's part?  Have you spoken with him directly?  They may have missed it, they may have mis-assessed it, etc. As others have mentioned, roofers are not necessarily qualified to recognize, assess or repair structural damage. 

If they fulfilled their obligation under the contract i.e. installed new sheathing and shingles, I think you should pay them in full.  

We had a similar issue whereby the 'sag' (in the additions roof line) was not rectified during the repair. But the 'sag' was specifically itemized as our Ins Carrier was refusing to insure the roof. It was eventually repaired at their cost. We have learned to make any contracts for roofing repairs more detailed than just tear-off & replace.

We inspected a potential duplex that boasted of a new roof only to discover that the absentee landlord had obviously contracted a bargain priced 'fly by night' roof repair. We discovered that most of the old cedar & roofing debris was left in the attic & the weight was starting to collapse one of the ceilings.

Roofers are generally subs paid by the square.  They move as fast as possible and will do the minimum.  Either way a joist repair is not a roofers compentancy it's a carpenters.

This has certainly been a valuable learning experience for me.

I know I still got decades ahead of me to shine, so this is little bump isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

I did exercise my negotiation skills and we agreed on a 25% discounted price.

@John Ma - Roofers have some pretty huge margins in most areas whether licensed or not, nor whether they have to pull permits.  That being said the 25% discount would sound good in my book, unless you paid like a retail buyer would who does maybe one roof in their lifetime.  I approach every contractor as an investor and reward good work with plenty of follow up work on a future project. I agree that people should get paid for doing good work, but not paid well for doing mediocre work, and not paid at all until the job is done right in the scope of what is estimated.  

I have a good friend who is a landscape installer and quoted a 2 day job for x amount.  The owner then wanted another full days work or he would not pay anything, nor pay more for that extra day of work.  That's why you need these things in writing for both sides.  The roofer if permits were needed could easily put a lien on the property if the 25% discount you agreed on is not on paper and signed by both parties.  Cover all your bases as well as Cover all your bases for Him you will have to give an account to in the end. 

Originally posted by @John Ma :

This has certainly been a valuable learning experience for me.

I know I still got decades ahead of me to shine, so this is little bump isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

I did exercise my negotiation skills and we agreed on a 25% discounted price.

Probably the last time that Roofer will want to work with you.   If he is just a roofer they are easy to find.  However, if you pull these tactics with other contractors they won't want to work with you again.  Keep that in mind.    

@John Weidner Thats the last time I want to work with him.  He knows what he did wrong, i didn't even begin to describe the other issues we've had.

For one, hes not even a real roofer. I discovered this half way through the project. Most of his jobs are cutting grass.  For home renov work, he gathers up latino workers to do jobs for him.  His first group of guys decided to leave on the day of the job complaining about the pitch of my roof (its roughly 45 degrees).  

He borrowed my guys for a couple days because he was short on labor. 

Several items were not finished including a missing gutter, unfinished trim, and completely covered a bathroom vent (the duct now vents into my attic).

quite a few columns of nails completely miss the joist (I was able to see this after opening up the interior)

I ate the cost of two additional dumpsters because he didn't know what size he needed.

I'm not going to eat any additional cost due to his shoddy business operation. My discount that i negotiated is fair.

Doesn't sound like the contractor is licensed to me.  He probably didn't want to waste time scabbing or replacing the rafter if he thought it was solid enough to work with.  Many contractors do go overboard with the amount of wood they replace at the request of the homeowner or because it will line their pockets.  If you hit the wood with a hammer and it doesn't start to fall apart then it's probably solid enough to work with.  Sometimes you will get some rot on top of the rafter but the bottom part is mostly solid and workable so it can be a little subjective.  It doesn't take a specialized trade to replace or repair a rafter.  If they didn't do it when it was really needed it's because they thought they could get away with it or because they didn't really feel it was a problem.  The only time I've really seen contractors pull permits in Hampton Roads is when it's required to upgrade electrical service or when a property is condemned and the city is asking for them.

Originally posted by @John Ma :

@John Weidner Thats the last time I want to work with him.  He knows what he did wrong, i didn't even begin to describe the other issues we've had.

For one, hes not even a real roofer. I discovered this half way through the project. Most of his jobs are cutting grass.  For home renov work, he gathers up latino workers to do jobs for him.  His first group of guys decided to leave on the day of the job complaining about the pitch of my roof (its roughly 45 degrees).  

He borrowed my guys for a couple days because he was short on labor. 

Several items were not finished including a missing gutter, unfinished trim, and completely covered a bathroom vent (the duct now vents into my attic).

quite a few columns of nails completely miss the joist (I was able to see this after opening up the interior)

I ate the cost of two additional dumpsters because he didn't know what size he needed.

I'm not going to eat any additional cost due to his shoddy business operation. My discount that i negotiated is fair.

 Haha, in that case, you should sue him, the first thing is, I do not think he is a contractor, he is a guy with tools and no workers. Next time, if you want work done right, hire a professional, it is going to turn out the same expense without the headache.

You get what you pay for.

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