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Responsibility for jobsite materials

26595 Views 47 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Unregistered
I'm taking a break and building a deck at my own house which has created a situation that is making me think about job site materials.

I just had 2100 ft of Brazilian walnut decking dropped in my driveway, nothing stopping it from walking away but the quality of the neighborhood I guess.

Got me thinking, about having materials dropped in the driveway of a customers house and the liability of who is responsible for them should some of them mysteriously get up and walk away.

Does anybody cover themselves with a waiver? I'm thinking maybe it should be something discussed with the homeowner and have them sign a waiver, letting them know if there is no way to store materials on their site in the garage or somewhere safe that they acknowledge that they are responsible for the materials and replacement of any if they happen disappear. Some of this stuff is expensive and I don't want to replace it.
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O.K. the roofing was a bad analogy as that might be considered a failure in the product, installation or protection of the work.

Maybe the difference is in the type of services being offered. For a service contractor I see the point that it is yours until complete. The original post kind of splits between service and construction. For large scale construction projects, I still belive the ownership and risk slowley phases over to the owner.

Even the property tax collector pro-rates property taxes based upon percentage complete.

Regardless, this thread has made me want to review the clause in my contract pertaining the owners liability.
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that sorta stuff is what this site is for.
I agree with you Don. I don't know if it's a law but for me it's common sence. I said previously if I am a cusotmer I am buying the finished product, not the pieces that make that product.
Damn, I swore I wasn't going to reply to this post anymore!

Grump your last post was like a light bulb going on in my head. I think I now understand where a division lies in a lot of the thinking on this subject.

Grumpy said:
if I am a cusotmer I am buying the finished product, not the pieces that make that product.
That statement is the difference between what you do and what I do and what a lot of others do.

When you do a roof you may take a deposit or not (I don't know your biz practices) but you probably don't take another payment until the job is done. So you see it as get the job, do the job, get paid. I'm also going to assume your jobs are usually pretty short even though there are exceptions, but it might not be unusual for a crew to complete a lot of jobs in less then 3 days from start to finish.

In a remodel it works a lot differently (or at least it can) doing a custom kitchen may take 60-90 days and you do not just get paid at the end. If you are smart you have a payment schedule and if you are smarter it isn't based on time, but on completions or major deliveries such as a payment is made after the demo, another at framing, completion of plumbing, electrical, mechanical, another at delivery of cabinets, delivery of appliances, another at installation of cabinets, or flooring or counters. It becomes much more of a pay as you go because the time frame is so long. As the work is being completed or materials are being delivered the customer is paying for them as they go. The customer is actually buying the materials that make up the project. When they buy a $5000 range or oven to be installed they pretty much own it when it shows up, because if you are smart you are getting installments that are coinciding with the major material purchases.
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I don't see the difference. You do remodeling? I do remodeling. You do interior and exterior? I do exterior only. None of my materials even have the option of being inside. Some of your materials have the option of being behind closed doors.

The way I see it I have more reason to complain, but I am complaining less.

I do more than just roofing. Infact I prefer when I get a whole exterior remodel job. Roofing siding, gutters and windows. On a job like this. I take progress payments due upon completion of each stage. Materials are delivered just before each stage begins. Roof done and ready for windows? Ok deliver windows. WIndows done and ready for siding? Ok deliver siding. I just call that good planning.

Regardless of WHAT I do... unless I have a written agreement with the customer and I am sure the customer is aware that these materials are his from the second they are delivered to the job site (which I think is unfair to make the customer take responsibility) then I consider those materials to be mine until installed. The customer is buying a finished product, unless my contract states otherwise.


We can argue this forever but to me this is a conscience/moral issue. This is not an indoors outdoors issue. I may talk like a hard ass from time to time but overall I am a good guy. I take MY responsibility seriously and try hard not to blame others for my mistakes. I make this comparison as my final statement in this thread because I think it is accurate and valid:

I would not sue Mc'Donalds if I drop hot coffee on myself. It is my fault for being clumsy. At the same time I will not blame the customer for missing materials. It is my fault for not securing the materials properly. End of Story.
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Well said Mike.

Our projects last about 8 months each and are several hundred thousand dollar contracts. I guess that is why I was so far on the other side of the topic.

I don't think I would even know if someone stole a few bundles of shingles or 20 sheets of plywood from one of my projects. I was looking at this as how to handle a much bigger loss.
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Grump - I think the fact that you can't see the difference or understand their is or even could be a difference is explained more by your use of the word argue to describe a discussion here and your use of the the word crucify to describe a discussion of another statement you made in another thread. Florcraft said it best -"that sorta stuff is what this site is for." Nobody is trying to change your methods, you seem to have turned this into a personal attack on your ethics, which it never was, but it is also not even close to a moral issue, not even close. It is business, and I can assure you that your choice which you think is based on morals isn't even your choice, it is your employers who dictates your job policies. Further if your employer decided to change his policy which you believe is based on morals, your "morals " would be changing too or you would be looking for a new job. Business decisions are rarely based on moral convictions, they are based on profit and loss, and risk assessments. It would take years to explain the difference to you and be an incredibly uphill battle based on your current misbeliefs that your business decisions are so personally decided and morally based. I didn't take a last stab at this issue as and attack on you, my last post was simply a further discussion, but I realize now its wasted on you at this point anyways.

As unregistered has stated it is about bigger losses. Your employer takes enough big losses where he starts missing paychecks and you might be surprised how fast company policies change in order to prevent it, and you might be left scratching your head wondering where the moraility went?

By the way Mcdonalds didn't pay out the settlement for coffee being too hot. The plaintif had to take them to court because they wouldn't even help her out with her med bills. Once in court the jury made the award only because Mcdonalds took the course of having no remorse and was seen as a huge uncaring corporation where money was the only thing that motivated them, so the jury hit them in the pocket book. It had nothing to do with spilled coffee or culpability, it was about a bad attitude towards the public.
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Chill Grump...

You said...."I take MY responsibility seriously and try hard not to blame others for my mistakes. "....

We are not talking about our mistakes here we are talking about a loss caused by a source that is beyond our reasonable control.
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