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Hi all, I'm Mike from B.C. Canada. Since I've been reading all the great feedback on this site I finallu found a scenario of my own I'm hoping you can help me determine.
Though I normally am general on my contracts this winter started slow so I took on a subcontract framing to lockup job to help a friend out. This house is a prefab, panelized wall kit of which my friend is a dealer & had contracted with the HO to supply. Though I got the job through him, my company has it's own labour only contract to construct the kit as per plan to lock up. I didn't like the arrangement of contracting to the homeowner directly since he isn't a direct link to the manufacturer & there would be more than 1 "go to" guy, but that's how it's ended up. For me there's no real identifiable general. Anyway, to make a long story short, as a matter of good practice, in winter, I do take all necessary steps to ensure that nothing gets nailed together with snow or ice present,& once a wall is up we go so far as to lay plate poly on top till trusses go on, to further ensure walls stay dry as long as possible. As well, we do normally keep subfloors clear of snow, however, this is quite a large & detailed design, meaning it's taking a longer than average time to get to trusses & watertight. Add to this that we are experiencing unusual rates of snowfall followed by thawing periods, makes the labour required to keep up to it quite significant. My query is, when I'm GC I expect to have to clear snow to both protect the structure, as well as give my subs a clear & safe working area. In this case, no one has jumped up & said " I'm the GC " or even the go to guy, so who's responsibility and cost should the snow removal be under: mine, my buddy the kit dealer, or the homeowner ? I've been in this business 18yrs & have actually never run into a situation like this, your opinions would be appreciated.
 

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Head Grunt
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Welcome to the site, great question actually. I think i would sit them both down and explain your concern of the extra time and expense of the snow prevention and snow clean up. Does you contract state anything about this type of situation? I know mine does as far as time reference due to weather.
 

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Hi Mike, It sounds to me, that the HO is the general but doesn't know it (typical).
Any monkey can do it, right.
I would say, that you would be resonsible for keeping the jobsite clear for you and your workers.
Anything else, like access to the site, is the HO's resposiblity.
Just ask him directly if he is acting as his own general.If so have a friendly disscusion with him about your needs and expectations.
I'm not quite sure where Blind Bay is.
 

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Would you be losing your azz if you were GCing this job and keeping up with the snow at this time of year under these current extreme conditions? Would you pay extra to your framing sub, if this was your GC job?

...having framed and GC'd up a bit south of the great white north eh ... I'd say you should know better and unusually frequent / heavy snow events are weather related issues nobody can control. It eats on everybody's bottom line.

Never hurts to ask for more money, though.
 

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As a GC I would expect to share in the snow removal. I normally frame my own homes, but if I had a sub there I would expect to show up after a major storm or send a laborer to assist my sub.

If it's 2-4" at a time have you tried a big backpack blower?
 

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I think you're probably going to be stuck with it, but I'd sure try calling the H.O. first: "Hey, my framers can't work in the snow. Do you want to send a guy out to clear it or do you want me to have the FNG do it and I send you the bill? Your call."

Edit: Change that: It doesn't need to be even that tiny bit of manipulative. Just educate the guy. Explain why as the G.C. he needs to get the snow out of there. You'll clear where you're working, so you can work safely, but he needs to have the bigger picture - the protection of the structure, in mind, and he ought to get a guy out there with a shovel. If he wants, you'll have the FNG do it and you'll send him the bill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I do have mother nature clauses in my contract however they are focused on relieving me of liability for delays rather than responsibility for action on. On my own jobs, if it snows one night, the next day I or a labourer clears every area that may effect a sub. However we start with access to the site & go from there so if a sub needs an area clear before we can get there they clear it themselves, that's just winter, however,no sub is expected to maintain an area they are finished working in. On this sub contract my feeling is that my buddy, given he took a fee for organizing trades, should had made clear with the HO what would be expected of him once the job started so the trades he referred didn't run these type complications. I have no issues with telling the HO my expectations, but I am curious what other sub trades & GC's have for a working understanding on snow removal.
 

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I can't imagine what life is like having to shovel anything just to go to work. I think I would rather sell insurance then do that chit.
 

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... should have made clear with the HO what would be expected of him once the job started ...
Not realistic. I wouldn't blame your buddy at all. HO GCs rarely have any clue about anything, and it's nigh impossible to give them a clue, without becoming a full time, unpaid handholder/CM/advisor.

This sort of thing is just a typical cost of working with an HO GC, which is why many subs either won't bid those jobs or will bid higher.
 

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I can't imagine what life is like having to shovel anything just to go to work. I think I would rather sell insurance then do that chit.
It's just part of life and you get used to it but it does take diligence on your part. You have to keep your path cleared to your house, car, and street. You have to get out a little earlier in the morn to brush or scrape off your windshield. You learn to keep your yard clean of tools or you wont see them until spring.

At work, you don't leave chit lying around or ice forms around it. You shovel while it's fresh or you're working on slippery ice in a few days. And you have to keep a propane heater around to heat up your tools so they work better. It's all about getting it off the ground while it's fresh. Of course some winters are relentless.

My kids in front of the house a few years back.
 

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Californiadecks said:
I can't imagine what life is like having to shovel anything just to go to work. I think I would rather sell insurance then do that chit.
I hear you there. I once worked on a parking deck during the winter . Every day we had to uncover the deck, labs would shovel blow of the snow and we would work.

Watch the weather and work like mad setting rebar and then cover again. Then pour the next day. Well as luck would have we got about 14" one night on the tarps that were over rebar.

We spent 6 days carpenters and labs shoveling snow to get the tarps out, getting the snow out the rebar and the fing ice.

Shortly after that I went on vacation and went on my own. That's just one horror story of working in winter I been though.
 

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Whoever is signing your cheque is responsible for access to your work site. They in turn can try to relieve their responsibility onto someone else, but that's up to them. As for shoveling off the deck so you can continue framing or standing walls or whatever? That is up to you. Your work site once you get there
 

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our whole crew is expected to shovel around the jobsite so its clear for us to work. we clear the snow so that we can walk around the site no problem along with setting up cut stations and scaffold
 

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I'm a Mac
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It's January in Canada and you should be happy to be working as most are not this time of year, and this should have been foreseen by someone who wrote the contract. Anyways, I'd say the GC is responsible for a safe work environment, just ask your local Ministry of Labour when someone gets hurt who gets the biggest fine. On the other hand, since it wasn't discussed I'd say you are responsible for it if you want to keep working in the winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It's January in Canada and you should be happy to be working as most are not this time of year, and this should have been foreseen by someone who wrote the contract. Anyways, I'd say the GC is responsible for a safe work environment, just ask your local Ministry of Labour when someone gets hurt who gets the biggest fine. On the other hand, since it wasn't discussed I'd say you are responsible for it if you want to keep working in the winter.
Interesting... I actually expect to be working all 12 months of every year, of which I'm always happy, why wouldn't I. I get the impression that some think my situation with snow removal is a big deal to me, which isn't the case at all. I was mostly just curious what arrangements other trades & gc's throughout N America have as a standard.
 

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We are in Ontario and work outdoors, I will say we are fortunate that we have year round work, but many take the winters off as a lot of employers do not want to pay the costs associated with winter building.
 
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