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Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help

 
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Old 08-10-2010, 05:22 PM   #1
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Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


Hi,

I'm a HVAC Contractor but also do minor handyman stuff on the side, I was ask to renovate / clean etc. a condo that was extremely filthy, the tenant live there for over 20 yrs. What makes this job hard was the Home Owner Assoc. (HOA), tellling me i need forms for this, that, can only work certain hours, etc. So I told them I'm a Heating contractor, not a GC. The waived the insurance requirement cuz this was a simple yet tedious job. Mostly painting and flooring and fixtures.

I have friends in different trades who help me with this. Painter did a good job, flooring guys did a fantastic job. To make a long story short, I spent about 3 months on this job as it was a favor to a friend who owns the condo.
The flooring/baseboards were done back in May, and i finished the final cleaning in July. The same day a tennant moves in i get a call the the place is flooded and i need to come there immediately. I go there and see water all over the lobby/ceiling, good thing the unit is on 2nd floor and not the 15th. So I went to the unit and maintenance was already tearing apart the wall, and a plumber was there to fix the leak. What happen was when the floor were done, new baseboards were also put in using 2" nail gun. There is no way anyone could have known a pipe was immediately behind wall, it didn't leak for 2 months.

The HOA is claiming contractor negligence and trying to sue either me or the owner or both. The repairs are not too difficult, it's the restoration and prevention of mold that is. So it costed $5000 for lobby and $300 for unit, not including repairs.

So I need you guys help here as to what I can do. The pipe behind the wall should have had a protective plate and/.or a floor plate, but it didn't.
My friend is a construction defects lawyer and he says it will take a very long time and thousand or million in legal fees to defend this, so he wasn't much help to me. Attached is a report of damages i made up. The first bill already came in asking for $10k, just for the common area. Whats worse is the tenants have bee staying at hotel for a month. I spoke with them the day it happened and told them my plan to repair everything...........but the HOA will not let me back in and even if the did my insurance would be in HVAC, how would that help. This HOA, I believe, should be paying me for damage to the work I did. Had someone were to hang a picture or shelf in the same wall, the same thing would happen.

Please see attached pics or go to Photos section


Any advice?
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Nightmare Job, extreme damage, need help-pic7.jpg   Nightmare Job, extreme damage, need help-pic-5.jpg  
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Last edited by lw3192; 08-10-2010 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 05:45 PM   #2
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


I think that you are in a wack of trouble..... This is why you should not do work that you are not licensed and / or insured to do....

I know this is not what you want to hear but you made Your bed now lie in it!!!!

Call your lawyer buddy and beg for his help.

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Old 08-10-2010, 05:49 PM   #3
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


who waived the insurance requirement? I would say you are probably ****ed, not in a nice way either. You assumed the responsibility when you took the job. Good luck! I would have them pusuue the owner claiming that he authorized said work and knew full well that you had no insurance.
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Old 08-10-2010, 05:55 PM   #4
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


Should there have been a NS1 there? Absolutely!
Should the owner have hired a licensed INSURED contractor to do this job?You betcha'...
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:07 PM   #5
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


Quote:
This HOA, I believe, should be paying me for damage to the work I did.
Thats something. I bet the HOA has proper insurance and that insurance is willing to spend whatever it takes to recover damages from you.

I would take this as a lesson learned and Pay up.
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:08 PM   #6
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


One less hack we have to deal with THANKS!!!
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:32 PM   #7
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


If you need your lawn mowed are you going to hire a landscaping contractor? And you need one door painted, you hire a painting contactor. Change a light switch.....hire a license electrian? Better yet lets say a Union Company cuz they are the supposedly the best. Those of you in other trades, I'm sure you've done work outside of your trade. The issue here is Uiniform Plumbing Code 313.9 was violated. And what about the plumber who fixed the leak, if he did not put in a protective plate, then he also violated that code section and it will happen again.

The HOA knew my license was in HVAC. If licensed contractors would have been hired the cost would have been over 10x as much cuz owner would need and electricain, a plumber, a flooring contractor, painting contractor. Hell all we did was clean the unit up to get ready for rental.
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:53 PM   #8
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


Quote:
Originally Posted by lw3192 View Post
If you need your lawn mowed are you going to hire a landscaping contractor? And you need one door painted, you hire a painting contactor. Change a light switch.....hire a license electrian? Better yet lets say a Union Company cuz they are the supposedly the best. Those of you in other trades, I'm sure you've done work outside of your trade. The issue here is Uiniform Plumbing Code 313.9 was violated. And what about the plumber who fixed the leak, if he did not put in a protective plate, then he also violated that code section and it will happen again.

The HOA knew my license was in HVAC. If licensed contractors would have been hired the cost would have been over 10x as much cuz owner would need and electricain, a plumber, a flooring contractor, painting contractor. Hell all we did was clean the unit up to get ready for rental.
i do hire landscapers to mow the lawns of my properties.
i do hire electricians to change light switches
i do hire painters to paint. (mostly cause i hate painting)
it costs more money, but if something happens the proper people are in place to fix it, or at least have insurance to pay for it.

we had a hardwood flooring contractor patch some floors in an old house. he used some 2-1/2" finish nails on one edge and hit a copper pipe in 3 or 4 spots. the flooring contractor ponied up the $ to pay the plumber and the drywaller to fix his mistake. thats how its done in the professional world.
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:00 PM   #9
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


Quote:
Originally Posted by lw3192 View Post
If licensed contractors would have been hired the cost would have been over 10x as much cuz owner would need and electricain, a plumber, a flooring contractor, painting contractor. Hell all we did was clean the unit up to get ready for rental.

If all you did was clean the unit .... why would have it cost 10x the amount charged by you to bring in the right guys?

Oh wait.... cause the right guys are licensed and have the proper insurance for the job.....
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:02 PM   #10
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


Am I missing something here? I know I'm not a trim carpenter, but 2" nails for BASEBOARD???
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:09 PM   #11
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


Should have used carpet tape to put the base boards up, duh!!
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:09 PM   #12
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


Quote:
Originally Posted by DBBII View Post
Am I missing something here? I know I'm not a trim carpenter, but 2" nails for BASEBOARD???

Ya it's a good thing you are not a Trim Carpenter.......As a trim Carpenter I would use a 4" to 6" Nail.....Now let that be a lession for you!
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:13 PM   #13
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


I feel sorry for you, but you are truely up a creek.

This is why GC's are required to carry higher insurance and why our insurance is so expensive. Sometimes sh*t happens that you cannot plan for.

You keep saying you just "cleaned the place up," but in reality you were putting nails in the wall of an existing home (always a risky task).

If you shouldn't fix the damage, who should? Should it be the HO's or HOA's responsibility to fix it? The only way it could be the plumbers mess is if it was recent plumbing work and the pipe, where hit, was passing through a stud w/o a plate (it doesn't seem to be the case from the pic).

ETA: I looked at the pic again and it does not appear to be passing through a framing member where it was damaged. Therefore, a plate is not required under any building/plumbing code. Sorry.

Last edited by jhark123; 08-10-2010 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:14 PM   #14
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


Quote:
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Hell all we did was clean the unit up to get ready for rental.
I didn't know clean up involved baseboard and 2" nails
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:16 PM   #15
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


Quote:
Originally Posted by DBBII View Post
Am I missing something here? I know I'm not a trim carpenter, but 2" nails for BASEBOARD???
3/4" baseboard plus 5/8" GWB equals 1 3/8", resulting in only 5/8" fastener embedment

To the OP. You are so screwed.

Many fully licensed and insured contractors wont work on condo's because of the legal liabilities. Much less a poorly insured scab.

Last edited by Anti-wingnut; 08-10-2010 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:18 PM   #16
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


And why do you claim to be a HVAC contractor and under trades you list carpenter?
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:25 PM   #17
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


Quote:
Originally Posted by lw3192 View Post
To make a long story short, I spent about 3 months on this job as it was a favor to a friend who owns the condo
Still friends?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lw3192 View Post
This HOA, I believe, should be paying me for damage to the work I did.
Good luck with that



Quote:
Originally Posted by lw3192 View Post
Hi,
Any advice?
Since stupidity is not a crime, I guess i needn't remind you to not drop the soap in prison
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:30 PM   #18
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


Sheet rock 5/8 + baseboard 9/16 + previous layer of paint 1/16 = 1.25. A 2" nail leaves 3/4" to go into a stud that is not there. What is not shown in pic is that water line goes 45 then 45 after the exposed section so that there is clearance to the rest of building. Just not where it comes through the floor. Other areas (bathroom wall also has no floor plate, could move wall just by pushing it. I posted more pics from a different angle.

All i know is the owner signed something where he said he'd be responsible for any damages done by me. I'm just trying to resolve this. No i am not a carpenter, but I know any wall needs a bottom stud to nail to
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:48 PM   #19
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


Quote:
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All i know is the owner signed something where he said he'd be responsible for any damages done by me
May or may not mean anything except his lawyer will be coming after you with fangs sharpened.

Like they say "it sucks to be you".
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:48 PM   #20
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Re: Nightmare Job, Extreme Damage, Need Help


Ok, I have been doing a lot of work in condos as of late. The condo associations more or less will all follow the same basic principles in most states, so here we go...

1) Something tells me you don't have a contract. At least in Florida, entering into a contract without the appropriate licensure and insurance pertaining to said contracted work renders the contract unenforceable. In this case, the state will almost always side against the contractor. So, no contract, and if contract exists, it's unenforceable = you're screwed.

2) Associations almost always require proof of licensure and insurance before you even step foot in the building. Further, they will amost always have an architectural review form where the board approves the work being done in the unit and the contractor performing said work. While having this form would give you "approval" by the association to execute the work, it does not indemnify you from your responsiblities to carry the licensure and insurance appropriate to this kind of project. You're an HVAC guy. You're not licensed to do GC work = you're screwed.

3) Usually the condo's underwriter will not allow them to waive insurance requirements without their specific written permission. Meaning that just because the owner's buddy on the board says you can waive the requirement, that don't make it so. If the "waiver" was on paper, you can pretty much wipe your a$$ with it = you're screwed.

4) You can't make a claim against your policy as an HVAC guy because your policy is only there to cover damages incidental to HVAC work = you're screwed.

5) The damage occured after you did the work. It is YOUR fault. You ARE on the hook for the damages to the common areas and other people's units. Was the "sub" that did your base licensed and/or at least insured?

6) You're gonna love this one now... ...Ok, so you spent 3months doing touchy-feely paint, trim, and cleanup, and absolutely no other remodeling right? RIGHT? Alright, since you didn't touch the plumbing at all, in any way, shape, or form, cause you didn't have any plumbing whatsoever in your scope of work, you are basically saying that the last plumber in the unit to install that copper that was punctured did not do it to code. Well, unless someone touched that pipe in a past life, that's the way it was installed when the unit was built. Meaning, that the pipe was (theoretically) inspected and approved when the building was built. Meaning that regardless of whether or not you think the pipe needed a kickplate, there was an inspector that thought it was fine the way it was. It's your responsibility to be aware of how pipes and wires are typically installed, and use the correct-sized fastener when installing your trim. Basically, your argument about a kickplate = you're screwed.

7) The head MOFO in charge, which would be the GC, or the person alleged to be acting as a GC, carries the responsibility for ALL eventualities on a job, and the burden of proving otherwise is on his shoulders. Meaning, you're screwed.


The condo's insurance company will take the losses out of your hide, and unfortunately, you should consult your lawyer about how to best limit the damages that you will be on the hook for. I'm sorry, but your guy that did the baseboard for you put you into the "you're screwed" position, and there is no way out.

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