My contractor is late on the completion date, what can we do?

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Posted by: from Guelph
7/12/2013 at 4:34:11 PM

We signed a contract to have the basement completed by July 10th. We are now on July 12th, and there is still so much to do. The contractor still needs to do the mudding and taping on all the walls. All the floors need to be done. The bathroom needs to be finished (plumbing is done) including all the tiling and installing of the tub, sink and toilet. And only after all of this is done can they paint.

The contractor has just been making empty promises saying he will show up and complete something and then doesn't. Now he is saying by next Friday it will be done, which I don't believe at all because there is still so much to do.

Can I give him less money for missing the completion date? Is there anything I can do legally to push him into getting the work complete?

I just want the basement to be finished! We're talking less than 600sq feet!

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Date/Time7/12/2013 at 5:09:07 PM

You can get an estimate from other contractors to get the job completed. Subtract that from your quote from the other (no show) contractor. Pay Your no show contractor for what has been done (keep in mind) pay him a lot less for whats done. He did not commit to the contract, he is in the fault.

Hope this helps.

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Michael A. from Imperial Home Services in Ottawa
Date/Time7/12/2013 at 5:58:43 PM

Sorry to hear about this as it can be frustrating for sure. I myself have gone over on a few projects over the happens at times.

However unless it is specifc in your contract that as an example you will deduct $100.00 per day for each day off the the Fixed completion date you cannot legally do that.

You can however threaten to cancel the contract if he continues to neglect your project entirely as it seems he may be doing.

It is always however better to contact the contractor via certified mail threatening legal action and telling them if it is not completed in (a specified time Say 2 weeks or someting like that.

At which time you will be forced to hire others to complete your project and take legal action against strong and accept no bull.


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Date/Time7/12/2013 at 7:13:57 PM

General comments is all I can give but a lawyer is in the best position to advise you about your legal rights and responsibilities.

First of all, you say you have a contract, what are the remedies in the terms and conditions of your contract. If your contract does not specify remedies due to this situation then its subject what you should do on your own initiative. The contact needs to, in lay term, provide you with your rights and the contractors obligations. Contracts are based upon curtain elements to which all must be fulfilled in order to become a valid legally binding contact. However, work has been done so monies will be owed for that.

Second, the contractor is only 2 days late from the scheduled completion date, which may not be enough time to try a legal avenue. Questions arise, was the contractor late due to your change request? Was it a condition outside of the contractors control that causes the completion date to be missed? Saying that, and assuming that all legitimate factors were not present to cause the delay, you may want to send an official notice to the contractor along with supporting evidence via photographs.

Third, your recourse will be to do with Specific Performance and not so much the Consumer Protection Act 2002. However, there are many in's and out's to legal protocols and it would be best to first negotiate with the contractor and make all efforts to resolve the situation as the cost of an attorney may be more than the renovation itself.

Forth, should you withhold monies without proper legal consideration, the contractor may have rights under law to claim monetary damages, in addition slap a Builders Lien. So be careful.

Its best to negotiate with the contractor and provide a reasonable time for him/her to complete the work after-which, you can consider obtain another contractor to rectify what have not been done.

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Date/Time7/12/2013 at 7:45:08 PM

When I write up a contract with a homeowner, payments are made on an installment basis and also as portions of the job are completed. That way, it protects me and the homeowner. If I fail to perform, I don't get paid and the homeowner keeps their money.

In your case, I don't know how the contract is written, but I would be reluctant to hand over any more money until the job is completed. You also have to understand that sometimes delays occur because of problems that slow down the contractor. Also, sometimes supplied need to be ordered and are late. However, If you are just talking about drywall, tape and mud/sanding-figure 5 days to get that done. There are a lot of inexperienced contractors out there and they bit off more than they can chew...

Why are the plumbing fixtures installed and the drywall is not complete? We finish all the drywall and at least have it primed before we install fixtures.

As far as the contract going overdue, I don't think 2 days past the due date is cause for alarm, but I would tell them to get going or you may be able to cancel the balance of the contract and hire someone else to finish. Perhaps you should consult a lawyer..


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Date/Time7/12/2013 at 8:02:47 PM

Basically there is no value to going over the due date unless its clearly stated In the contract. We've been on jobs and the client falls in love with the crews n the quality that goes into there home but they wanted us out long time ago.

2 things in the construction world that do not mix and never will .. speed n quality.

Don't pay the contractor until the milestone payment stages are meet n not sooner. Either he abandons the job or puts it into high gear. Be patient.



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Date/Time7/12/2013 at 9:05:36 PM

It's a little early to threaten with layers etc. Give him more time and please show everyday. If no significant progress in a week than there's cause for cancelation of agreement.

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Date/Time7/12/2013 at 9:54:34 PM


You don't have to pay anything unless the job is complete. You should have a contract with your builder and hopefully this is stipulated in the contract.

FIY. a basement at 1000sqft we are done 5 weeks all day Long.


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Date/Time7/12/2013 at 10:20:25 PM

My first question is, we are talking about same year here?? I'm just being silly, well it can be done if you get crew in, it can be done. I know that, I was in situation, not pass the dead line, but like week before or 10 days on the hi-rise, once you get crew in, you'll be surprise.

Now, I don't know your contractor and I'm not gonna go in that corner, but do you have anything in writing? Reason to that is, I was in another situation where costumer went not 3 days, not even 3 weeks, job went 3 month over, but I couldn't do anything because I didn't have in writing, I wouldn't do it anyway, it was lady's fault, because when they go shopping, it's like kid in the candy store, she didn't know what to pick, she want it all. It's funny now, but then it wasn't, because I had another low riser on the other side of town and it's not funny with those gas prices out there, but on the end, I finished it.

Look something, we all gonna be somehow costumer to each other, and we all have something to say out there, I can hear it, I believe you can too, I would pay him for what he did and closed the door in his face. And get yourself somebody that knows what he's doing, from what you said, there is some work left, it's not like building the addition, but still, he supposed to have concern, specially if you guys living there, no one likes to live and clean dust every day and have a meals in dusty environment. Did he poly the exits so the dust can't escape in to living area? He should, however, giving him less money won't change the thing, you will be still on the same spot. Sometimes going cheaper isn't the answer either, so legally you could fire him and ask him to provide the bill for what he did and get rid of that "lady".

Do you know that contractor or not? Maybe he doesn't know to do things and he studies on the line so he can finish it ? It could be anything, he could be doing another job and push you on the side,, on the end it's damn 600 sqf and that's beyond stupidity ! There's a lot's of guys out there that would eat that work, and there's a lot of guys out there that would like to go to beach on a sunny days, on the end I do agree with you, and sorry you have to go through this, also try this one,, tell him that real owners are coming from vacation this following weekend and that you are only tenant, I bet he will leave on his own !

Good luck, Sir/Mam.

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Expert Handyman in Ottawa
Date/Time7/13/2013 at 9:08:47 PM

First if I might be so bold, take a large breather and then possibly a pill. The job may look more or less unfinished to you but I'd get a solid opinion from a third party that is also in agreed upon by the Contractor.

If you were smart you made sure he was a BBB accredited business. You should be able to get a mediated solution for $150 and get it done. Often when this has happened its simply because the Contractor has agreed to timelines and didn't allow for unforseen issues. Stay cool and be flexible.

Good luck with the mediation.

Norm R.

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Date/Time7/14/2013 at 9:46:46 AM

Hi Nichole,

If You can prove that contractor delaying project cost You loss of income, you can subtract from contractor. Even court will rule your way if it ever comes to that. If you can't show loss do to a contractors delay you really don't have a case.


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Date/Time8/26/2013 at 9:57:55 AM


1st off if you have a contract with them you cannot just fire them for no good reason, he can sue you or keep money already paid.

He obviously took several jobs and is slacking on yours. You cannot keep money either unless it is in contract. You can however hold back money for work not completed until he finishes it.

Unfortunately you hired the wrong guy "probably the cheapest guy" and have to live with it till it is finished to your satisfaction, or you may let him go if he agress to it and you have paid him for work done to the point, then you can find someone else. He will obviously not get a reference from you.

Good luck

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