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  • Limit your Liability

    First the disclaimer, I am not nor do I pretend to be an attorney. My opinions are just that my opinions based on my experience as both a contractor and a consultant for plumbing and mechanical litigation.

    The common denominator I see in most of these litigations is a lack of documentation. Whether it is between a contractor and the property owner or a contractor and the developer it needs to be in writing. Years later when you are in the middle of litigation everyone’s recollection of what transpired is a little different. If you have memorialized your conversations and agreements in writing it’s easier to find the truth.

    Never make getting the job more important than your common sense. If you are told you are the high bidder live with it. If you knew your business when you wrote your bid it was accurate. To undercut your bid now means one of the following, you had too much fluff in your bid, you’re going to cut the quality of your work or you are going to lose money on the job. A large percentage of the sub contractors I represent are out of business. There is usually a pretty good reason for them to have gone out of business. An honest contractor who knows his stuff generally stays in business.

    Most General Contractors and Developers require a contract which causes the sub contractor to protect the General or Developer in the event there is a litigation which includes the sub contractor’s product. This is reasonable assuming your work product creates litigation. However, more often than not the contract is used to drag the sub contractor into a litigation to help fund the cost of a disagreement between the property owner and the holder of the contract.

    I review contracts all of the time where I ask why in the world would you agree to this contract? The answer is always the same “I wanted to get the job”. There is not a job in the world which is worth compromising who you are just to get the job.

    If you have a question regarding a contract hire an attorney to review the contract before you sign it. For a contractor to review a contract he does not understand makes as much sense as an attorney building an building he does not understand.

    Mark
    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

  • #2
    Utah,

    I know this will once again add to my already poor reputation on this forum. But I have to again say that I don't approve of what you do. I see you as a hired gun for attorneys. Now you are giving legal advice. So be it. You have that right.

    But from everything you've posted, I have to conclude that you go where the money is. I've not heard one of your stories where you told your client that they were wrong.

    The honest truth is, I'm not sure any of your stories are true. I'm not saying they are false either. I don't know.

    I do know this: The contractors on this forum should beware. They may admire you today, but how will they feel when you are sitting at the table of the attorney who is suing them. Of course that won't happen, because they know what they are doing. So be it. I don't own a business, but I work for those who di. I care.

    the dog
    the dog

    Comment


    • #3
      Plumbdog10,

      Again you are welcome to your opinion. One of my jobs is to evaluate whether it is worth it for a client to hire me. Sometimes I tell a client yes the trade person screwed up but it is cheaper for you to correct the problem than pursue the tradesperson. I’ve also had to tell insurance companies they are better off paying the claim than hiring me because the Plaintiff’s estimate is within reason.

      Because I work both Plaintiff and Defendant I also defend Developers, Subs and Manufacturer’s. When a sub is sitting across the table from me asking me to defend him against a litigation which he feels he is innocent of what should I do? Perhaps I should tell him sorry plumbdog10 does not approve of what I do so you cannot be defended.

      I’m not sure what has gone so wrong in your life that you feel compelled to judge everyone else. It does not sound like you have accomplished much in the trades or your life and that’s Okay by me. Everybody grows in their personal life and the trades at their own speed. I was where you claim to be now, back in the mid 70s but I got bored with it and have gone on to other things including opening my own shop.

      When I am working a case it has nothing to do with the money. Sure I like to get paid but first it is about trying to improve the trades and providing an honest opinion of a plumbing and/or mechanical problem.

      If I’m defending a plumber who did a bad job I try and find the best way to repair it without costing the insurance company anymore than it has to.

      When I am representing a homeowner who has everything they own into a home and the plumbing is failing I come up with a repair that will make the homeowner whole while costing the insurance company the least amount as possible. If you have a problem with that it is your problem.

      Mark

      [ 08-07-2005, 10:31 PM: Message edited by: ToUtahNow ]
      "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

      I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

      Comment


      • #4
        Plumbdog10,

        As a side note have Rick send you the photos of the job in Inglewood. These are condos owned by under privileged people who can barely afford their mortgage payment let alone all of the temporary repairs they've had to endure.

        Why don't you explain why those owners don't deserve to have someone help them get what they paid for? Then again maybe that's the quality of work you feel is appropriate and you approve of.

        Mark
        "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

        I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

        Comment


        • #5
          MARK, REMEMBER WHO YOU'RE DEALING WITH.
          SOMETIMES "THE DOG" IS FOAMING AT THE MOUTH, SOMETIMES YOU CAN PET HIM. I THINK HE WAS RESCUED AT THE POUND AND JUST TRYING TO FIND A GOOD HOME?

          WELL THAT ASIDE, I ASKED FOR YOUR OPINION AND YOUR PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE. ANYONE THAT DOESN'T WANT IT SHOULD JUST IGNORE IT. I THINK EVERYBODY IN THE TRADES CAN USE SOME REAL PRATICAL ADVISE AND THEREFORE MAYBE NEVER NEED TO WORRY ABOUT WHAT SIDE OF THE TABLE YOU'RE SITTING ON.

          IF YOU KNOW OF AN ISSUE OR PRODUCT THAT MIGHT CAUSE A LIABILITY, I'D LOVE TO KNOW ABOUT IT. THE KOHLER/ FLUIDMASTER BALLCOCK ISSUE WAS A PRIME EXAMPLE. DON'T THINK THE DOG USES A TOILET. MAYBE A HYDRANT WOULD PERK HIM UP.

          MARK, KEEP US INFORMED.

          DOG, KEEP US ENTERTAINED, I NEED A GOOD LAUGH WHEN I'M GETTING READY FOR BED.

          RICK

          Comment


          • #6
            Mark is right on the money with his comments.

            In a Construction Law class I took 2 years ago (which in no way qualifies me to do anything in the legal field) working towards my certifigate in Constuction Management the lawyer who was teaching the class hit on exactly the same items as Mark has brought up, and the biggest was lack of documentation for either side.

            That documentation needs to be produced as it happens (within reason) if possible, not months after the problem is discovered, walls are closed in, insulation installed, etc. If you have a problem with someone elses work (interferences, differing/unforseen conditions, etc) it is good to have a few photos and fire off a speed memo to the CM ASAP (you are protecting your work and contract rights here, not pointing fingers) or bring it up at the job meeting than to slug it out in the trenches with a guy (other contractor) you will end up working another job with down the road someday. If a condition(problem) is made known (to the client and/or CM or GC) and ignored (no action taken to correct the condition) then it can (as I understand it) be said to have been accepted in some cases. Foreman's daily logs, time reports, jobsite material delivery dates, weather conditions, and more can factor into court decisions.

            Documentation is the reason that the GC, CM or PM, and sometimes the client will have photographers on the job to document when and how work was/is completed. You might not always see them, sometimes they come around on weekends or after work hours, but when you get to court and they start flashing photos of suspect shoddy work or work that is not according to the contract (even though it may be installed in a workmanlike manner, to code, etc.) you will be fighting an uphill battle trying to get the judge to see your side.

            If you run work for yourself or others, and you have not considered taking any college courses, I would like to suggest that you do so. Check with local colleges and find one that has Construction Management. I you work for someone else your employer might be willing to spring for the course cost (in my opinion you should pay for the books because you get to keep them) IF you pass the course. He (the employer) gets a better employee and you gain knowledge that can increase your worth to employers. You don't have to go for a degree, just get a couple courses under your belt that will give you some knowledge of the Uniform Commerical Code(UCC), contract law, project management, and project control. Even after 25 years in construction (including my UA apprenticeship), I learned quite a bit that has helped me since, and made me a better mechanic no matter if I am just turning wrenches or running work. I only need 6 more credits now to get my Construction Management certifigate, I should finish this Fall. If you can only afford the time or money to take one course at a semester, its is still worth doing in my opinion.

            After all, when you know what the other guys job is he will have a harder time BS'ing you on something and you will be able to give him a better product, present yourself in a more professional light, and gain the respect of those whom you would like to do business with again.

            Comment


            • #7
              Good points Bob, not to mention it gives you a place to go if your body fails before you have enough time in, or money saved, to retire.
              Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

              Comment


              • #8
                Utah,

                You wrote: "I'm not sure what has gone so wrong in your life that you feel compelled to judge everyone else."

                You make a living judging everyone else.

                the dog

                ps. Hell, I'd have a beer with you anyday. Don't take my opinions personally. I'm as full of crap as they come. But, I have my opinions.
                the dog

                Comment


                • #9
                  thank,s mark,this is valuable info. as a small remodeling contr, i feel at risk most of the time. we all need a little reminder now and then.
                  thank god dr. laura,s 1st lt. is on the watch! otherwise us old timers wouldn,t know how to live our lives. i,m guessing i had 3 stripes in the corps. when jr. was falling of his trike. please keep the info comin. tool
                  I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Plumbdog10,

                    As a clarification, I do not judge people I judge their work product. A guy can be a complete jerk and still do a good job. As for not reporting where a plumber did a good job in the other thread you are correct. However, having a contractor who did a good job didn’t seem to fit in to a thread named “UNDERQUALIFIED CONTRACTORS, PLUMBERS, and INSPECTORS.”

                    Getting in to this line of work was an accident. The doctor had just told me too many jobs with big pipe had taken out my elbows and I wasn’t supposed to touch a pipe wrench for a couple of years. At about the same time a kid I taught to surf in the 60s called me and said he was defending a property owner who was being sued. I told him I’d look at it for free but did not want it as a job.

                    It seems during a heavy rain a man slipped in a Liquor Barn and broke his leg. As the man was diabetic he lost his leg. The man I was defending blamed it on Liquor Barn’s cooler leaking. Liquor barn was long out of business but their insurance was still around.

                    I was able to prove a roof vent leak caused water to run 50’ across the warehouse floor and leave a puddle where the cooler use to sit. Since I found my guy was responsible I figured it was my last case. The adjuster instead thanked me from preventing them from spending money defending a bad case.

                    My next case I defended a plumber who had not reamed the copper in a high rise condo building. The more walls I opened the worst the job looked. The Plaintiff wanted $6,000,000 from the plumber. I explained as it was localized velocity erosion all they needed to do was change the fittings at the circulating riser stub outs of each floor. I told them the 12’ of vertical piping between floors did not need replacing from lack of reaming as there were no fittings.

                    The Plaintiff accepted $900.000 from the sub contractor's insurance company to repair the problem. Now that I was two for two losing cases I figured I was really done. Instead I have been as busy as I care to be for the last 17-years.

                    Mark
                    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                    Comment

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