What are my consumer rights if deck I had built is not to my satisfaction?

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Posted by: from Kitchener
6/18/2015 at 11:17:13 AM

The contractor we hired just finished our deck, a large 550sq ft built around an oval pool. He is demanding his final payment and we are hesitant to pay him since there are still problem areas to be addressed. The area around the pool has a few spots where there are no supporting joists so when stepped on the boards actually flex down an inch or so. There are other minor issues as well that are more aesthetic in nature that contractor said would be fixed and haven't been.

What can I do to ensure these things get fixed?

Also, it took 6 weeks to build the deck and it only got done during the 6th week because I sent an email demanding it or I would stop payment altogether. Hated that it came to that but contractor was only on site on average one day a week to do the work!

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Date/Time6/18/2015 at 12:06:22 PM

Any sort of contract in place? Or email stating that these things would be done?

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Date/Time6/18/2015 at 12:26:29 PM

What is the contractual arrangement?

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Date/Time6/18/2015 at 12:28:21 PM

If you owe him more than what the cost to repair from someone else would charge than I would not pay him and advise him he will be paid upon full satisfaction on your end. If you have a contract you can tell him this as well. If you don't have any type of contract then it's his word against yours. He cannot lean your property nor can he come a cause damage or remove and installed material. He although can remove any material that has not been installed.

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Lisandro from L.P.Donan Construction in Waterloo
Date/Time6/18/2015 at 12:30:24 PM

Hello Chris,

As a consumer you have every right to withhold the last payment, if you are not satisfied with the work and/or if there is work not completed yet. As per the previous answer, did you have a signed Contract? This is important because it should be clearly specified in the contract, the conditions for final payment to be issued. I would advice you to contact the contractor and set up a meeting with him, to go over the issues with the deck. Make sure to create a punch list that you and the contractor can agree on. Make it clear to him that as soon as the all the issues are corrected and have been signed off by you, he will receive the last payment. I hope that you and the contractor can resolve this situation without resorting to any type of legal action.

Good luck!

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Date/Time6/18/2015 at 12:32:43 PM

if a permit was needed or issued, there should be professional inspections to follow. Inspector can order contractor to fix issues. If no permits were issued or needed, then revert to the contract. You should have created a contract outlining payment schedules, conflict resolution an overall timeline. If none of that was done, then I doubt you have much recourse other than lengthy and expensive civil litigation.

I Hate to hear horror stories. But where is the contract in "contractor"?!

Good luck.

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Chris in Kitchener
Date/Time6/18/2015 at 12:53:10 PM

Thanks for the responses.

The agreement we have states "Balance paid upon completion". We have had the pool enclosure permit inspection done and there are 2 things that need to be fixed and the deck permit inspection later today. I don't know how in depth the deck inspection will be and I am very concerned for safety where, as I stated in my first post, the boards actually flex down when stepped on close to the pools edge. If the inspector doesn't catch that can I expect the contractor to fix it? If we get it fixed either by ourselves or another contractor can we subtract that amount from last payment?

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Date/Time6/18/2015 at 1:19:05 PM

You don't have to pay him untill the job is complete and you are satisfied.

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Date/Time6/18/2015 at 4:37:36 PM

Hello Chris,

its pretty simple, don't pay until your happy. Customer satisfaction is a major part of our business. Be polite and explain to him there's some things your not happy with and you would feel more comfortable not paying until they're fixed. If he's any type of a contractor he will discuss the issues with you. Just remember to be polite and calm and explain your problem to him.

Al Bartlett

A Bartlett Construction

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Date/Time6/18/2015 at 8:03:19 PM

Gotta get contracts signed before work is started. All you can do now is hold final payment till is done to your satisfaction or to code.

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Date/Time6/18/2015 at 8:09:59 PM

Hi Chris,

Tough position to be in but like all the guys have said, if you are not happy because of some obvious deficiencies, you don't pay! You can certainly point things out to the inspector especially if they are safety issues.

A good formula to use for payments is 30/30/30/10 based on different landmarks. The 10% is the hold back for deficiencies.

I think Al nailed the way to handle this. Calm and polite but make your points and don't back down.

Good luck with it!

Jim Kuzma

Kettleby Handyman

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Patrick from War Bunnys Carpentry in Beaumont
Date/Time6/18/2015 at 8:53:32 PM

At this point it sounds like a stale mate. I would as a home owner fire this contractor and explain to him that you are withholding final payment and hiring another contractor to fix the mistakes and complete the project. If the contractor was from here write an honest review.

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Chris in Kitchener
Date/Time6/19/2015 at 10:54:48 AM

Thanks again everyone for weighing in, I have asked the contractor to make all necessary repairs and I'm hoping they will be done today as deck inspection is later this afternoon.

I will be writing a review when this is all said and done to help others avoid mistakes we made as well as ones the contractor made.

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Chris in Kitchener
Date/Time6/19/2015 at 3:07:01 PM

An update:

The deck failed the building inspection, drastically. Lots of work needs to be done to bring it up to City code at this point. Just hope the contractor gets it done in a decent time frame or at all!

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Chris in Kitchener
Date/Time7/8/2015 at 10:09:59 AM

Another Update:

Deck passed inspection, then it failed...many things still not done right according to City Building Inspectors. Now contractor is threatening to come and rip the deck down if we don't pay them the final payment immediately. This has become a nightmare.

City is meeting with contractor on Friday to go over the deficiencies and I said once those were all done and the deck was therefore complete I would make the final payment. This is the 8th week of construction we are in now and still don't have a final product...and the contractor is mad at us!

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