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Sawdust Sweeper
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I started a new project yesterday afternoon.... A nice sized deck job, a deck on the first and second floor, outside dimensions being 32'x10' and 40x7 on the first floor and 32' x 4' and 18'x6' on the second floor. The HO tore out the old deck on the first floor, but I am responsible for the tear out on the second floor as it is around 14' above grade. No worries...

So I arrive yesterday afternoon to begin my endeavors. I threw down tarps for the "drop zone", set up some scaffolding, and got crackin'. I tore out the old handrails. ripped up the old decking (some of which was rotted all the way through), knocked off the rim and began cutting off the joists. "Cutting off the joists?", you may ask. Yes, cutting off the joists, as the deck was constructed by cantilevering the floor joists 4'. Not a bad idea and felt pretty solid still despite rotten deck boards and moderate rot in the 2x10 joists 26 years after construction. 26 years and no bounce.

On I went, loaded the trailer up so I could insure that I had could leave a clean site for the weekend, and had some time left so I figured I would keep working until dark to make up for a late start on this job for the day.
Had the old skil 77 humming as I cut the joists an 1" 1/2 off the wall and threw them down into the drop zone behind me. With about 4 joists to go in the 32 foot section I cut the joist not quite all the way through, went to break it off and it broke off easier than anticipated (had a little more rot than the others) I bobbled it and dropped it.....

CRASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!:eek::eek::censored::mad::wallbash:

I dropped it right into a 6'3"x3'0" home built wood window on the first floor. (The glass is sandwiched between a 5/4x4" trim board on outside and a 3/4" clear fir on the inside. Thankfully the joist only broke the outside pane of the window (Thank God for double pane) The HO hearing the crash opened the door on the second floor and asked "what happened?" I sheepishly acknowledged that I had indeed broken the window... The HO responded quite well in fact, they couldn't have been nicer about the whole thing...The first serious damage that I have done to someone's property while on site in years... I offered to replace the glass and they decided that they were just going to replace the window with a vinyl one and so I will be installing the window for free. Sounds like I might be the first of many to be replaced... we will see.

The moral of the story is: Sometimes it does not pay to stay late...:laughing:

And a question: What is the worst damage to a HO house that you have incurred and how did the HO respond?
 

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Super Moderator
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We framed an addition last year that could only be accessed by driving about 500 ft through the owners yard on a slight down grade. Everything went well until time to set trusses. It was raining that morning, so we put off setting until later in the day. It was supposed to rain all weekend, so Monday woulda been soggy too. We got the crane in with no problem, but as expected, he had some trouble getting out. Come to think of it he had a lot of trouble getting out. Had to send out another crane to drag him out. Totally tore up the yard. Homeowner actually wanted to pay me more, as he thought the crane company charged us more for sending the other crane out.

We also had our trusses fall at this job (no damage, luckily fell back towards house!) and we also had a few other smaller problems. This homeowner talked us up to several of the other subs. The mistakes you make are not what really matters. Its how you deal with them afterwards that sets you apart from the rest.
 

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Balding quickly
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Nothing on a homeowners house, but I dropped a bunk of rock 5 stories thru the side of a hotel once. That pretty much the only thing I have done on a site. My double barrel compressor came out of my truck when I was turning and a lady cut me off kinda mid turn and it flipped out of my truck and nailed her car at like 30 mph
 

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My regular plumber couldn't show up for a job so I went to a guy that had a lot of trucks on the road. The guy shut down the house valve and it didn't hold completely so he stuck a 5 gal. pail to catch the drip FOR THE WEEKEND!

The HO's came back from Europe late Sunday and I got a call about 12:30 PM that their home was flooded. It was! that little drip ended up costing them about $250K.

It was embarrassing but they gave me the repair work following the explanation of the sequence of events.
 

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DavidC
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The mistakes you make are not what really matters. Its how you deal with them afterwards that sets you apart from the rest.
Therein lies the truth.

Nothing sticks out in my mind as monumentally the worst incident. We've had our share of rutted lawns, a couple of roofs that leaked when we didn't beat the rain stripping, that sort of thing. It is how you deal with them that counts.

Framing a house once we had the second story walls less than 1/2 up at quitting time. An overnight wind storm clocked 55 mph and took down a good portion of them. The HO showed up next day while we were all hands on working to get back to where we left it and wanted me to stop and explain to him what happened. I was a bit busy and asked him to stop back.

He stormed off to the GC's office and demanded I be fired. GC told him to pound salt because it wasn't his house yet.

Fast forward 18 years and my salesman takes a lead that is the same house, same guy. He still holds a grudge against me and tells my guy to hit the road. His job got started but now has a tarp draped over the front entrance. The neighbor reports that he fires every contractor he hires.

Good Luck
Dave
 

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I guess it wasn't as bad as my screw up.....in a hurry yesterday, on my own home project, my big scissor lift was hung up, and I dropped the bucket on the T200 and slipped into the forks, without locking them down, and got behind my scissor lift for a push, lift is still running, and the bounce caused the forks to lift, into the engine housing, busted the cooling fins off the motor....about $800 worth of damage.....just because I was in a hurry.
 

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I took a job as supervisor at a construction company that had a landscape division. Shorthanded I volunteered to join the mowing crew to help them finish their route. The lawn was perfectly manicured sod in an upscale neighborhood. The grass was Really thick and I opted to used the zero turn ride on to do the hill in the front. About half way up the very steep incline the grass clogged and stalled the mower, no power means no steering. I rolled back wards and slid sideways to the bottom where it caught and rolled over. I was able to get out of the way by some freak chance of luck. With me in full adrenaline mode I rolled the massive mower back onto its wheels as the owner comes home. her first words were "MY LAWN!!!" I replied "Don't worry I am fine, thanks."
 

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Carpenter
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After reading these stories (entertaining by the way) I can't help but think how accommodating your HOs are about the damage.


$250,000 damage and they gave you the additional work?

Catching bedroom on fire?

It got me thinking. Here in Washington DC area it doesn't matter how you handle the situation as the contractor. The GC would be canned for punitive reasons. People here need a scapegoat.

Maybe just the nature of DC. People here are pretty up tight and hold grudges forever.


Worst damage for me plumber tied in new basement bathroom drain to existing main on a Friday. However it wasn't the main that the tied into.

Monday morning we found a basement full of a weekend's sewage. Somebody must of been sick that weekend.
 

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KemoSabe
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I was repairing a section of subfloor in an area between an old house and new addition. I was talking to the owners daughter while my helper was cutting the decking. HOs dog"Lucky", who was partially blind, didn't realize the floor was missing and fell through to the basement.:eek: HOs daughter screams "LUCKY!!!" and goes running. I couldn't help but think to myself "He ain't Lucky today.":whistling
 

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I don't know if this qualifies as damage but.....
I reversed the siding colors on a house I was siding once. Trim and main body was the reverse of the contract.
Cost me $1000 to make the HO happy.:eek:
 

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Grand Rapids Remodeling
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Two stand out for me: It was my house but the ground floor was a rental unit. I decided to make the old roof that covered the front porch a deck. Got all but one of the supporting posts out, supported the old ledger board with a couple of 2 X's and hooked up the tow strap to the remaining post and the work truck. With the neighborhood out watching I gunned the Chevy and yanked that old post right out. Unfortunately the roof didn't come with it, in fact the old tin flashing acted like a hinge and the roof slammed HARD against the front. It blew the front picture window and sidelight glass through the front bedroom and clear into the living room. My renter was not home at the time nor was he happy when he got home.

The second was a job, drywall finish on a long hallway to a upstairs apt. The tenants were two (alternative lifestyle) guys that had a dinner party getting started. Finishing up the very last part of the sanding I had a impressive cloud of dust in the small confining hallway. One of the guests opened the door and whoosh that cloud disappeared and got sucked into the apt. descending on the party. Those (alternative lifestyle) guys came unhitched. :w00t:

www.phbconstruction.com
 

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the old tin flashing acted like a hinge and the roof slammed HARD against the front. It blew the front picture window and sidelight glass through the front bedroom and clear into the living room.
:w00t::laughing::laughing:
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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No major disaster, but a rather embarrassing episode for a friend of mine. He built a small addition which included a full bath and a laundry room. You'd have to see it to get the full scope, but the plumbing was pretty tricky (we do it all around here without calling in specialists--unless we're just not experienced enough).

He got it all done though, and finally tied the water lines into the rat's nest in the main house--which had been well worked over several times over the years. Sink, shower and bath worked okay, drains worked okay. Not much left but a small punch list.

Then he gets a call from the HO wondering why the commode kept filling up with hot water. Turned out that he hooked up the primary feeds for the addition backward. :laughing:
 

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Had a truck delivering concrete to pour into a crawl space for a (back) addition (about 5 cu. yards) on a Monday morning and had already cleared with the homeowner that he would have a small tree removed so the truck could access.

Truck arrives earlier than expected, - - homeowner had changed his mind about removing the tree, - - it had rained all weekend, - - truck driver decides on his own (while I'm doing some last-minute preparing) to swing (completely) into the neighbors side-yard to avoid a swale, - - and gets his truck stuck a foot deep in the neighbor's yard. :rolleyes:

Now we had to wheel all the concrete and get it finished before it could set up, - - and they had to send another concrete truck and chains to tow that one out of there.

What a frikkin' mess they made of that neighbor's yard.

Next day I get to the job . . . "Where's the tree"??

Homeowner says he decided to remove it after all . . . :censored: :laughing: :rolleyes:
 

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Palisade Point Const.
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Tom's post reminded me of one that happened to my dad. He had ordered concrete for a slab, that was suppose to arrive at 9:00. He gets there at 7:00 to finish up a few things before the truck gets there, and he's not quite done when the truck pulls in at 8:20. My dad had intended to walk in front of the truck as it was driven around the house, since there were a few swampy areas in the yard, where the truck could get stuck. However, since he still had a few things to do, he told the driver to keep the truck as close to the house as he could, and he should be fine. The driver started driving around the house, comes around the corner, swings way wide, and sure enough, sinks in. Intent on getting out, he floors it, and sinks right to the axles.

Anyways, the ready mix plant is literally a block away from the job, so the driver radios over and they send out a loader. Their plan was to use the loader to yank the truck out, but my dad points out that they need to get the mud out of the truck, or it's not going anywhere, so they start using the loader to move the mud from the truck to the forms. They make two trips with a yard at a time, and it's working real good. On the 3rd trip, either the loader driver or the truck driver decided it was going to slow, and decides to load the bucket full.... 4 yards. The front tires immediately sink away, and the driver tries to drive out, and only succeeds in getting the rear tires to drop into the ground as well. Keep in mind, this is a big loader, with 5' tires, so when these tires dig a hole, it's no small hole. They had to shovel the rest of the mud out of the bucket of the loader, and wheel it over with wheelbarrows, and then call for a second loader to get the first loader and the truck unstuck.
 

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Shiloe
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27 Posts
Ok, so this isn't the worst, but definitely the strangest. We remodeled a bathroom in a condo and in the process, installed a magnifying mirror next to a vanity. About two weeks after we're out of the building, the homeowner calls and quite calmly states that there's been a fire. Here's what happened: Beam of light comes in through bathroom window, hits magnifying mirror *just* right, bounces to the back of the door where a robe is hanging on a hook, catches the robe on fire, then the door, then the casing, fire is extinguished before spreading further. The HO in this case was more baffled than mad, because as you can imagine, the first theory was spontaneus combustion on behalf of the robe. :)
 
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