I expect the following showdown to take place tomorrow between two trigger happy, gun slinging sides:
Our builder will present us with our house. We will not accept it, though, because there is still evident rain damage in two areas. Currently, the builder is claiming he “did not allow for painting these rooms”, an interesting excuse by any account; then again, shouldn’t he have allowed for adequate rain protection? Reject!
Our builder will invoice us for the work he has done. Most of it would be fine, but there will be two items we will rejecting:
- We expect the builder to provide a single invoice for all the house’s paint work. However, given that a significant part of this paint work was done to fix rain damage taking place under his watch, we would like him to demonstrate a separate invoice for his side of the work. He won’t have it – it’s virtually guaranteed he intends to dump all the work on us. Reject!
- The builder already told us he would issue us an invoice for painting the house’s new door frames. Great, only that as far as we are concerned this work was already included in the original scope of the paint work; the reason why the builder deems them separate is to do with him ordering the doors gradually in order to cater for his cash flow. This has resulted in the painter coming in to do the painting before the doors were there, and then having to come back again – apparently at extra cost – to paint the door frames. Should we care for the builder’s lackluster project management skills?
The story doesn’t finish there. The builder further argues the painter did not quote for the door frames in his original quote because he did not know they had to be painted. An interesting argument were it to be true: in actual fact, the painter did paint the door frames upon his initial bout of work; only that he painted the old door frames that were later replaced. Besides, if the builder is unable to properly define the scope of work to his contractors, should we carry the blame? Accepting this invoice could, theoretically, open the floodgates for us accepting further claims on every miscalculation the builder had made. That is exactly why builders ask their customers to pay extra for variations and changes to the original plans. In our case, though, the door frames are no variation because they were included in the scope from the very beginning and did not change. Reject!
The more interesting question is why did it have to come to this? And even more interesting is the following question: if the builder sees the light and common sense prevails, which is not an unlikely outcome and which is definitely the outcome we are looking for, why did he let us feel as cornered as we currently do? What is he trying to get out of all of this?
My proposed answer to that last question is that the builder is trying to make us desperate and thus allow him to get away with stuff he wouldn't otherwise. Ignoring the poor ethics on display, I would argue this attitude is a bad long term business strategy. Or is it that all builders conspire to be just as bad, an hypothesis that seem to be supported by everyone I talk to?
Image by Garrettc, Creative Commons license
31/8/12: Builder came good, promising to fix remaning issues on Monday. Looks like you might be all clear, kid.