Issue with contractor work (garage build)

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Posted by: from Calgary
7/5/2021 at 2:04:28 PM


I am looking for some advice for a family friend. Recently they decided to build a garage, so they found a contractor who quoted them a price, they agreed and so they signed the quote. Few weeks went by and one morning a concrete team arrived and began prepping the ground to pour the garage foundation, not sure what went wrong that day, whether they ran out of cement, but the foundation was not completed properly. As well the original contractor did not show up that day, only the concrete guy.

After inspecting the work, we found the foundation was not high enough nor did they use any anchor bolts (we learned after this is ok as they can be installed after). After meeting with the contractor he agreed it was not done properly, however, during this discussion his friend the concrete guy was always present and said it was completed properly and instead of having a normal conversation he threaten the family and said he was going to put a lien on the house. After that incident my friend told them to leave the property.

So about a month as gone by, my friend as tried on multiple times to reach out to the contractor to resolve the issue with no luck, instead they get a invoice for 6k for the concrete work from the concrete guy. Eventually the contractor did return their message and agreed to fix the issue but was going to use the same concrete team. My friend was not ok with this as he was threatening and did poor work.

To further show proof that the work was done incorrectly, my friend had 4 other garage builder companies come by to inspect the work and quote what it would take to fix it and finish the project, all of them agreed that it would cost roughly 2500 dollars to fix the concrete.

Just to add to this the original contractor did not get any permits to start the work and last week we noticed the concrete is always cracking on the sides with cracks extending from the surface to ground level.

Guess at this point they need advice, they are not open to paying the bill since the work was done incorrectly and would settle on an amount but the contractor does not agreed, its an odd situation because the concrete guy who my friend should have no dealings with since its the contractor they hired not the concrete guy.

Anyway looking for advice on how to proceed, my friend has another builder lined up to fdix the issues and continue the build, but not if they can since there still dealing with the original contractor. Any input would be appreciated.

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Date/Time7/5/2021 at 7:24:19 PM

Tough situation.

Whenever you are building/ adding/ renovating a home permits are key to starting off on a good note. In this case my advise would be to hire a contractor who has a engineer that will be able to draw your garage and indicate all the necessary details that the city will need to approve. This being said how do you know if the city will approve your new garage being built?

The engineer will apply for all permits needed and the drawings will inform the contractors the details they need for the structural footings, electrical, framing etc...

You can hire a engineer yourself and have the drawings stamped. Submit the drawings to your city permit department. Once approved find three good contractors and ask for referrals.

Ask the referrals if you can visit and look at the garage that was built.

Hope this helps!

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Date/Time7/5/2021 at 5:18:30 PM

Good day, as I professional engineer I always recommend using an engineer to provide the proper recommendations to find the most efficient and cost effective solutions for these issues. Good luck.

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Ian in Edmonton
Date/Time7/6/2021 at 1:55:17 AM

The Alberta Building Code specifically requires that anchor bolts be installed. These are L-shaped bolts embedded in the fresh concrete. Drilling in Hilti anchors instead is not the same, however it is also commonly done that way.

Foundations are supposed to project a minimum of 6" above grade by Code and there is no exception made for garages. Best thing is to form a curb and pour it together with the slab; however once again this is not always done.

A garage slab can actually be poured without a building permit and the permit pulled prior to starting on the framing as the garage slab is no different than a parking pad and doesn't yet meet the definition of a 'building'; you just have to be sure you are building it to Code (with anchor bolts and 6" projection above finished grade) and positioned correctly, etc.

It is common for any concrete pour the size of a typical 2 car garage to develop cracks. You haven't said if re-bar or wire mesh was installed. Who knows how much work went into the site prep? Sorry to say but without knowing more it's hard to say whether your friend simply got what he (theoretically) paid for. $6K for a garage slab sounds like a bit of a bargain basement price.

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Date/Time7/8/2021 at 9:45:19 AM

Technically it is best to let the general contractor fix it and he in turn will want the guy he hired to fix it as he is on the hook to pay this guy. He also is on the hook to hire a new guy if the 1st will not do it but then he must still pay the 1st guy who can still lien your property if not paid. Your friend has no choice but let the original contractor deal with it as the sub can put a lien on and sue them. If your friend just goes and fires everyone without giving them the option to fix it then they can all lien & sue them and probably for work done to date but doubtful they will win according to the description or will even try but if they are stubborn enough they could lien your friends property messing up their credit rating. Unfortunately your friend hired a bad general contractor who did not supervise the work and a sub was utilized who sounds bad too. They could offer to pay the original contractor a reasonable offer on some or all of what they are owed to get rid of them then hire a better contractor and write it off as a expensive learning experience on how to hire a reputable contractor. Considering how long this process can take and the stress it will cause it may be worth it in the end. Only lawyers win in these situations. Welcome to contract law!

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