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All home improvement contractors must die

By robo_dev ·
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//begin rant 1.0//

Why is it that when you pay somebody to do work, they never do it right the first time? Is it a lack of education, poor genetics, lack of pre-natal care? Did their mother smoke (crack?) during the pregnancy?

Why does it fall on me, the homeowner, to educate the contractor about building codes, best practices, and common sense?

For example, right now I am getting the raised wood deck replaced on my house. I did LOTS of due dillgence, checked references, etc.

And yet....

I'm having to explain to them:

- why a 'temporary beam' to pass inspection is a bad idea
- why soil contact with wood is bad
- why 3/8" bolts are not code-compliant for guard-rail attachment
- why it's a bad idea to tap their ungrounded extension cord into the 30AMP service-disconnect for my AC unit.
- why joist hangers exist, and the startling news that there are even different size joist hangers for different sized joists...so therefore using a 8" hanger on a 10" joist is not correct.

Or why it's a bad idea to let one of the worker's 8 year old son roam unsupervised under the deck (on temporary supports) for three hours last Friday. (have that on CCTV footage)

Today I found they installed the posts in the ground, using only the (code minimum) 12" of concrete in the hole, the rest filled up with soil. Technically it 'meets code' but keep in mind the Southern US is second only to Hawaii for termites.

After a somewhat heated argument with the owner of the deck company, I have made the vow...never again hire anybody to do anything. I used to do it all myself, and I guess I need to get back to that again.

//end rant//

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All of the above

by Slayer_ In reply to All home improvement cont ...

Its a combination of all of the above, and they just dont care about you.

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One word... Money

by cmiller5400 In reply to All home improvement cont ...

As long as they get their money, they don't care how the work is done (if you are lucky to have the work done or some of it.)

Lets hope they fry themselves up a lesson when they tap into your 30 AMP breaker (or at least shock some sense into them ).

I am a strong supporter and follower of the philosophy of Mike Holmes from Holmes on Holmes. "Spend your money wisely and do it right the first time" is a paraphrase from him.

At least you caught the guy red handed and can have these things fixed early in the game. Just curious, did the contract you signed have anything about how the structure was to be built? (minimum code, materials used etc)

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Man.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to All home improvement cont ...

Even I know better than to try most of those approaches. Was this bozo bonded and insured?

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This company is #1 rated on:

by robo_dev In reply to All home improvement cont ...

Angies List, Kudzu.com, Home Reports.com, has a perfect BBB rating, their references check out. I verified their W/C and Liability insurance. These guys are supposedly the 'deck guys to use'.

To be fair, there are some things they did well, The quality of the carpentry is excellent. They miter the corners on the framing, router and/or sand the corner of every board you see. It's a pretty deck. It's just when the termites come, or when the twister comes, I don't want to see a heap of splintered wood in my backyard....plus things like the guard-rail attachment is obviously important, as the deck is about 12 feet off the ground.

The beauty of video surveillance it that today during a slow time at work I am going to review EXACTLY how much concrete went into each hole. If I see them shoveling construction debris into the holes.....

The mistake I made was that the specifications, while fairly detailed, were not detailed enough.

I assumed that the post holes would be filled with concrete, as that is normally how it's done.

Again and again I heard from these guys 'we've built a hundred decks like this, and they all passed inspection' and look at me like I'm some perfectionistic geek.....(well that part is true).

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Just because it passes inspection

by CharlieSpencer In reply to This company is #1 rated ...

(by the guy's brother-in-law) doesn't mean it 'right'.

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Perfectionistic geeks

by Tigger_Two In reply to All home improvement cont ...

Robo, I disagree with the idea that, because you have standards, they are unreasonable or that you are BEING unreasonable.

Once upon a time, I had wall to wall carpet through every room in the house save the kitchen, bathrooms, and utility room. It was a light grey color.

After my husband died, it became apparent that the carpet had become fodder for an episode of CSI. The stains included every possible bodily fluid and a variety of other things, none of which were willing to relinquish their hold on what wasn't an attractive or durable floor covering to begin with. Replacement of said carpet was the best choice.

I interviewed a number of highly rated flooring companies on the way to choosing one. They were all required to provide references and I made sure to have my mother in law at each meeting.

The resulting job was done well, but I had a few issues that I felt strongly that they needed to revisit- the carpet on the stairs came loose, one board in the middle of the room that should never have been used, gouges left when the contractor dragged something over the newly laid floor.

Were these things minor? Probably. Could I have dealt with them myself? Possibly. Was I willing to? No way in h*ll. I had paid a lot of money for the job and I expected it to be done to my satisfaction.

To their credit, the company not only resolved the issues I had, they paid a cleaning person to come in for four hours at my direction. They met, and exceeded my expectations. I recommend them to anyone looking to do their flooring. Since they also do kitchen remodels, I will call them when I am ready to do that. When they learned that I was looking for a painter, they offered me a referral to someone who was not only well priced but also did an outstanding job.

The dark side? There are household tasks that I can no longer do. I have been in search of a cleaning person for ages. I have tried three so far and have yet to find someone who even MEETS my expectations, much less exceeds them. Each time, I have clarified what I need done and provided checklists of tasks.

Am I being too picky? I don't think so. As long as I am the customer and paying the fee, I believe I have the right to call the shots.

I don't think that you are out of line at all. Unfortunately, in this case you may not have recourse. You DO have the ability to voice your honest opinion of the job as well as your misgivings to Angie's List and any other site you used that allows for customer feedback.

(((hugs))) Robo. The fault isn't with you in this.

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The trouble here is defining Common Sense

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to All home improvement cont ...

Why does it fall on me, the homeowner, to educate the contractor about building codes, best practices, and common sense?

They are probably right that they have built hundreds of decks and they look great but how do they look after the first big storm hits or lets say 5 years after they where built?

Most of these places only look at the finished product when it's first built and don't give a Rats what happens down the track.

Also no matter what you specify they do things to a price, doesn't matter what you wanted or specified they do things as cheaply as possible as it makes them look good to their bosses. They also very rarely need to repair the mess that they have made so they simply do not care.

Like for instance my mother bought a fridge it was actually delivered on the 10 January 2010 and on the 9 January 2012 one of their Authorized Techs had been out looked at it and reported it as Unrepairable. Apparently a Gas Line inside the cabinet had ruptured allowing the refrigerant gas to escape and preventing it from being regassed.

The Company in question makes a Big Deal out of being Green but I really fail to see how sending a unit to Land Fill after 2 years and before the warranty runs out is in any way Green.

Or the Daughter had a tree fall on her house yesterday. She rang the people who owned the yard that the tree fell from and their first question was Does your house have any damage? Doesn't matter that there is a 80 foot tree lying across the roof or that it's a perfectly still day with no wind or rain just how the hell are you supposed to know exactly how much damage there is?

The owners Representative said well as there is no rain entering it can not be too bad and we'll see about getting it removed within the next month. I just do not understand these people or even begin to understand how they think for a single second that they will not have to pay for the damage that they have caused.

OH and Robo why don't you say exactly what you think? I personally wouldn't pull any punches when describing substandard work that needs redoing correctly but maybe that's just me and my family as I know that my father did the same thing when he had his house built. He drove the Builders Nuts with complaints as did my brothers when they had their houses built.

Col

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This AM I had a real 'animated' discussion with the owner of the company

by robo_dev In reply to The trouble here is defin ...

It was like arguing with your cat....it did not go well.

He was going on about how burying a post in the dirt meets code, but I explained that I expected it to be done differently.

I said to him, what if you gave your wife a pile of cash and said "Go buy a shiny new Black Lexus Sedan" and she came back with a Black 1994 Honda Accord. They both 'Meet Code' in that they have four wheels, brakes, and meet all the Federal safety standards, so what's the big deal? They have a steering wheel and seats and so forth.....

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Unfortunately provided that they meet minimum requirements

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to This AM I had a real 'ani ...

They have done the work properly as far as they are concerned.

Doesn't matter that it's not going to last any time at all and need expensive repairs in a few years they have done what they said they would. Well at least as far as they are concerned.

Like most places provided that it looks good it's good. Last year we had some contractors here after the son fell through a railing on a deck about 15 feet off the ground and hit the ground. Apparently sticking a Coach Bolt into the outside of a bit of Pine meets the Minimum Regulations here and the railings don't have to be inside the uprights so that the wood actually holds it in place you can bolt it in place and it's not your problem till it fails and someone sues you.

Anyway they did a lovely job in replacing the badly made Railings and the rotted decking material and left it bare unpainted. Not even so much as any undercoat covering the wood Of course the nails that they used to fix the railings went rusty in very short order and now the railings need replacing again. But they lasted 6 months and look great.

I opted to screw in some very long Coach Bolts through the sides of the uprights into the top rails which where very expensive. The 6 Bolts cost me the massive amount of $8.00 and it took all of 15 minutes to drill the holes and bolt them in. And the bolts where Galvanized so they are not going to rust.

I really fail to see how they saved anything by doing half the job but they felt that they saved me money.

Shakes head as he walks away. :^0

It's the same with computers I was asked to fit a WiFi Card to a Desktop recently and when I went to get a couple of PCI Cards they tried to sell me some cheap ones which will do but I opted for the More expensive ones with a 3 year warranty. They where very expensive the cheap ones where $18.60 + 10% GST to me and the expensive ones where $19.20 + 10% GST, for the 66 cent difference I failed to see why I would bother with the cheaper cards.

Col

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Why you would bother with the cheaper cards...

by AnsuGisalas In reply to Unfortunately provided th ...

That's common sense, don't you know?
It's simple, if you don't, the owner of the store will have to swallow their idiotic purchase of a large pile of capacitor bloat waiting to happen... all by themselves.
It's common sense that it's better to share that kind of burden with others

That's another problem with common sense, it's NOT "common" as in "same from one person to another".

This is one of the funniest threads I've read in a long time, thanks to all!

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