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Contractors must die: "accidentally" hanging jacket over my security camera

By robo_dev ·
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[Part Two of my saga about getting my wood raised deck replaced by a contractor who means well but sometimes fails to deliver].

On Thursday I about blew a gasket since I thought they destroyed or vandalized a security camera. I am at lunch with my boss, and I check on the live video via iPhone, and suddenly one camera just goes all fuzzy and dark. This is a vandal-resistant wall-mounted dome camera.

So I drive home, ready to kill seems that the contractor 'accidentally' hung his hooded jacket on the end of a ten-foot board and 'accidentally' leaned it directly onto the camera. I took a photo of that, then moved it.

The good news is the project is now 99% complete, no punches have been thrown, I did not have to call the cops, and no lawyers are needed at this point.

We figured out most of the issues, and once they pass final inspections we're done. For all intents and purposes, I have a well built good looking raised deck, built on budget.

It DOES have rail posts that have both 3/8" and 1/2" fasteners in each notched 4x4 post, the corner post centers are notched-out (making them much weaker), and the posts are set in concrete, with dirt backfilled into the hole (soil contact is bad).

Plus there is a big $1600 engineered beam that is there only because they goofed on the the plan, and it was too late to fix it once we got there. I argued them down to around $800 on that. (I also noted that they ordered the WRONG beam the first time, which delayed the project by a day).

There are still a couple of issues that are, in my opinion, done poorly, but it 'meets code' and someone with no knowledge of construction would never notice.

At this point I am so 'over' the whole project, that I would really prefer that they just get off my property and and I can fix these things myself.

Key Learning: Before a project, SPELL OUT EVERY DETAIL

Don't assume they will use the correct fastener, or even any fasteners at all, get it on paper. Require detailed specs about EVERYTHING and get it all ON PAPER. Inspect EVERYTHING and photograph EVERYTHING every step of the way.

After the fact, I figured out where they made mistakes from photos. For example, I have photos that show the concrete pad for the stair landing was poured AFTER the stairs were installed, which explained the goof around the pad.

I THOUGHT I had done all this right; I asked a hundred questions and had what I thought was a fairly good plan. Wow was I wrong.

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have you ever watched

by PurpleSkys In reply to Contractors must die: "ac ...

Mike Holmes? I love his shows. He "makes it right" after folks have work done by contractors that do a shoddy job or have a bad house inspection before buying what they believe is a good quality home. :) for some of his work!

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Great show...I watch it with mixed feelings.

by robo_dev In reply to have you ever watched

To some extent you tsk-tsk and get mad at contractors who did what they did....without knowing who they are.

Would it not be more fun if Mike chased the guys down and rubbed their nose (literally) in their awful substandard work?

If ABC can do that 'catch a predator' show, then surely Mike Holmes could 'catch a contractor'??

Also, surely the contractors who did the bad work also did the same thing to MANY others, and they might still be in business doing the same lousy work.

It almost seems cruel for one of those others to see how Mike makes it SOOO perfect for that one family. Sorta like taking one homeless starving guy off the street and giving him a $1000 dinner, vs somehow helping 1000 people with $1.

Somehow if there were a business providing 'poor workmanship' insurance for each home project, so that you pay a few bucks and if it goes right, no problem, but if it all goes to heck, then the insurance pays for Mike Holmes (or Norm Abrahms) to come and fix it.

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Insurance could work...

by AnsuGisalas In reply to Great show...I watch it w ...

And it would make the insurance company keep track of a number of decent contractors... which would in the long run improve the odds that the good guys make a better living than the homegrinders...

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Oh boy...

by cmiller5400 In reply to Contractors must die: "ac ...

I'd have burst an artery if that had been me. How DARE they mess around with the security system. Probably a good thing it wasn't me, my temper of late hasn't been my strong suit...

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Trust me, I almost did burst an artery

by robo_dev In reply to Oh boy...

I was ready to call in the cops, seriously.

When I watched the video, it looked as if somebody had smeared something on the lens. If he had done that, I was going to charge him the full retail cost of the camera, which is something like $450 and maybe charge him with vandalism. (Granted, I got it for $20 on eBay, but that's not the point).

Of course, there is the chance that the video might end up on a certain popular video sharing service :) I do have some good ammo in terms of both photos and high-quality video footage.

Did I mention that I have a GeoVision PC-based security DVR AND an Everfocus pro-grade DVR that record at the same time? Thus each video channel is recorded to three hard drives at the same time (PC has raid mirroring). Of course these are in a locked server rack in a locked room covered by a camera.

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How'd it go down?

by AnsuGisalas In reply to Trust me, I almost did bu ...

Did it look like they did it on purpose?
Also, you can compare shots of before and after to see if any of your stuff "magically" shifts around in between... even if they found nothing worth taking, knowing if there was intent to burgle would help you decide what to do next...

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you don't seem to be having much luck with them.

by .Martin. In reply to Contractors must die: "ac ...

but at least it is nearly over.

and as the saying goes "If you want a job done, do it yourself"

hope there is not too much more pain for you

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i have had the asame issues

by markp24 In reply to Contractors must die: "ac ...

Im not a contracter, but im qualified enought to do my own "handyman" services" and when i renovated my house, i could nto be there all the time, but when i was, i was correcting the contractos guys on, everything from roof shingles to sistering floorbeams, to proper insulatinging and not using Screws in framing but nails!
I even had to redo some tile work because the guy didnt use the plywood and concrete board i cut to size and supplied to put under the tile (over the hardwood floor), (i actually only broke 2 tiles pulling them up!) (opnly reason i notices was because i saw a piece of the plywood in the garage, with the markings "use for entranceway tile" marked on it,.

unfortunitly you do need to monitor them ever step of the way. I wish i had the time to do it all myself. (but again, theres alot i still can learn too)

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To Answer Ansu's question

by robo_dev In reply to Contractors must die: "ac ...

From a thievery perspective, all the work was done outside the house.

My dog would eat them if they did work inside, and believe me, I would rig up temporary cameras with sound if they were doing work inside.

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Then there's just the risk of prep work to account for...

by AnsuGisalas In reply to To Answer Ansu's question

If there are parts of the security or powerline setup that can be attacked or prepped for sabotage from within the view of that camera, double check them.
Better safe than sorry, eh?

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