CONSTRUCTION DEFECT INVESTIGATIONS AND RECONSTRUCTION
Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu
A homeowners first intuition is the best indicator that negligent construction has been performed of their home. If you have a residential property that has undergone a remodel, or in the construction process, and you believe something is not right. Do not wait for the contractor to finish. Do not rely on City Building Inspectors to find fault in your contractor's work. We provide construction investigation services to homeowners, attorneys, and insurance companies. In the long run, it will be less expensive and aggravating to stop the work immediately. An independent third party inspections company should review your plans, specifications, and then thoroughly inspect the work in progress. The last thing you want is the contractor to cover defective workmanship with stucco and drywall.
General Contractors (ie., licensed, bonded, and insured) come dramatically in all levels of knowledge and experience. Almost always I am asked by new clients; ''How did this happen, is the city inspector liable?'' I have been a licensed general building contractor since 1985. The sad truth is that your renovation is only going to be as good as the construction team you have hired. With real estate prices moving sideways homeowners typically gravitate to the cheapest bidder. I always hear about crushed homeowners embarrassed in admitting to hiring the cheapest architect, engineer, and/or building contractor. It is safe to say that in the construction business you really DO get what you pay for. Many homeowners hire the low bidder and hope that the city's plan-check system and army of building inspectors will insure the work is performed correctly. Sadly this is furthest from the truth.
It all starts with the building department stamping their approval stamp on your plans. If you read their stamp, the city takes no responsibility in the correctness of your drawings they just approved. They just check the plans for general compliance with the city or county standards. They are not guaranteeing to the homeowner that the approved plans are fully complaint with all codes and standards. The City and County engineers rely on the owner's design team to make a detailed analysis before submitting drawings to plan-check. It is the same in the field with city job-site inspectors. On most projects building inspectors are so over scheduled, that they can only 15-20 minutes per inspection per site, through out the day. Inspections are often a random inspection of job-site conditions.
In a recent trial case, the Chief Building Official for a city testified that the building inspector cannot guarantor of good construction. ''It is not the building official's job to make sure the entire home is built to plans ans code.'' So if it is not the inspector's job to make sure the home is built correctly who's job is it? That same building official testified that while construction may go on for 10-14 hours per day, his inspectors were at the same job about 30-30 minutes a month performing inspections. His point was that the building officials while trying to do their job well are only on the project a very small percentage of the time during construction. The Chief Building Official explained that; ''Because the building inspectors are on the project for such a short amount of time, that they must heavily rely on the builder's construction experience to follow the plans, specifications and know what the building code requires, and then comply with it's requirements. Sadly, municipal building inspectors are protected by ''Sovereign Immunity'' meaning that they cannot be held liable for their negligence (ie., defective workmanship or building code violations) unless it is an intentional act, malice or criminal intent. In summary, city/county inspections should realistically be thought of (as best) as only ''Speed Bumps'' to constructing a defect free building. Not the ''Roadblock'' they are often incorrectly assumed to be.
Then there are a growing group of homeowners who were OK with placing their biggest investment in the hands of an ''unlicensed contractor.'' All I can say to that is; ''We at Samuels Construction pride ourselves in ending the client/contractor nightmare.''
There are times when cost saving was not the object. I have reviewed projects where only top companies were hired. The architectural drawings were perfect, the engineering drawings were legible and easy to implement. Strangely, it was the highly recommended General Building Contractor who failed the homeowners. Upon a simple field inspection, it was clear that the job-site was not being properly supervised. You have to ask yourself: Was your contractor's workers sufficiently supervised by a foreman. Or in an attempt to save costs did your contractor simply drop off his workers and let the house build itself. If it is the latter, you can ''Take-It-To-The-Bank'' that a majority of the construction work was completed by unqualified, poorly trained, illiterate ''laborers'' who often are unable to read, write, or converse in English. Depending on the contractor's workload, you may never, or rarely see him supervising your job after the project commences. This is the recipe for disaster.
We at Samuels Construction can provide a multitude of client services.
- Provide inspection services of the existing construction. Provide in documentation a list of present construction defects.
- We can provide courtroom testimony as an expert witness.
- We can assist the homeowner in retrieving monies through the State Contractor's License Bond, and Contractor's License Board.
- Provide construction management services to oversee the existing contractor's efforts (insure the work is being completed correctly, approve payment vouchers)..
- Provide complete construction services to finalize your project.