Archive for the ‘Construction Litigation’ Category

Friday, February 7th, 2014

How To Hire A Building Contractor For Your South Florida Commercial Or Residential Property

If you are considering building or remodeling your South Florida commercial or residential property, you will start your project on the right foot by taking your time to find the best contractor suited for the job.  With countless of contractors in our area, this could be an overwhelming task for those property owners new to the industry.

When hiring a contractor, it is important to diligently research while relying on strong recommendations from family, friends and business associates.  Interview the top three professionals and don’t be shy in asking lots of questions.  Remember, no question is too obvious or impractical when seeking out a contractor who is trustworthy, ethical and has ample experience.

Here are some of the more important questions to ask when interviewing possible candidates:

 

1.  How long have you been a contractor?  What is your background?

If possible, hire a local contractor, as it is much easier to gather information on their credentials and reputation if they work within your community.  Not only that, you want someone who will visit your project frequently and be able to address any problem quickly and efficiently.  Always select a builder that has a close relationship with other local subcontractors and don’t hesitate to request references and follow through with contacting previous clients for their thoughts and opinions.  Don’t neglect to check their background and contact the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed. You can also verify their license by visiting: www.myfloridalicense.com

 

2.  Who are your suppliers?

Are you considering a contractor that changes suppliers frequently or one that has used the same businesses over and over?  There could be a reason why a contractor moves from one company to another, so be sure and contact suppliers and ask for their opinion regarding your contractor.

  •  Does he or she pay their bills on time?
  •  Have any clients filed complaints?
  •  Is work on time or constant delays?

If at any time a contractor is reluctant to give you any information on their subcontractors, then it’s time to continue your search.

 

3.  Who will be in charge of the job?  How often will you visit?

It’s necessary to find out if a job foreman will be handling the day-to-day operations or if the contractor will be the daily contact.  If it is the former, then this calls for a little research as well.  Visit the current job where the foreman is working and look over the project and see how well it is moving along.  Ask the current client if workers arrive on time each day and if there are many delays.  Also inquire if the project is staying on budget and if they are tidy and clean up at the end of each day.  Finally, ask the client if they are satisfied with the communication and if they are being kept apprised when a problem arises.

 

4.  What is the scope of the work being performed?

Do not use a contractor based on a verbal agreement. Make sure you have your agreement and scope of work in writing and read it carefully. The written contract should be as detailed as possible, including exactly what the contractor is going to be doing and how it’s going to be done. If there is something in the contract you don’t agree with, ask for it to be removed or find a new contractor.

 

5.  How will invoices and bills be handled?

Whether your project is big or small, getting a detailed bill in a timely manner that is not full of surprises should always be the rule and not the exception. With an itemized bill, it is easier to determine where you can cut costs in other areas should an unexpected repair come up and threaten your budget.  No professional contractor will ever balk at this and it should be a standard procedure.

Also, determine when a contractor is paid and that this information is well documented in the contract.  Never hire a contractor that demands full payment up front.

Finally, stay clear of any contractor uses intimidation or bully tactics in order to secure your business.  Other big warning signs:

  • Insists their verbal word is good enough
  • Prefers under the table deals
  • No identification or proof of current license or insurance

Without the proper documentation, you have no guarantee, paper trail or receipt of the work you have had done and little to no recourse.

 

6.  Are permits required?

Permits are very important and are often overlooked or ignored. Some contractors may even tell people they don’t need permits for work that requires one. You should call your local municipality building/permitting department and as if the work they are doing requires a permit. A building official will inspect the work to ensure it is completed safely and properly.

 

 

Major Roof Leak?– Or Something Less Serious?

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

You’re a real estate professional and a new couple has contacted you regarding one of your listings. These prospective buyers are absolutely in love with this house. So you set up an appointment and take them in, showing them all the wonderful features of the house. It almost seems like this house was built for this couple. It’s absolutely perfect. As the couple looks around for a bit, the wife lmiami roof inspectionooks up and notices some paint peeling on the bedroom ceiling near the air conditioning vent. The husband reaches up and touches the peeling paint and it’s wet. There was a rainstorm last night so the husband immediately believes it’s a roof leak. The couple informs you that they don’t have money for a new roof, and they would rather just keep looking then to waste time and money on continuing with this house.
I’m sure many real estate agents have seen similar situations to this more than once. But a bit of knowledge could mean the difference between this couple walking away immediately, or at least waiting until Miami home inspectors can fully evaluate the situation.
Finding moisture around air conditioning vents is extremely common in South Florida, especially in older homes. While the cause of the moisture could be anything from a roof leak, plumbing leak, or some other deficiency; it is more commonly caused by condensation of the vent or the ceiling box (also known as the boot, or ductwork boot).
commercial building inspectionCondensation occurs on a surface that is below the dew point of the air. The temperature of the cold air in the ductwork could range from 50 to 65 degrees (depending on many different factors). During our summer months the temperatures can reach upwards of 100+ degrees which dramatically raises the dew point of the air. The temperature is even higher in your attic which raises the dew point of the air even more. When the cold metal on the ceiling box or the vent register gets below that dew point, condensation will occur.

Repairing this is often very easy. All that needs to be done is to prevent the hot air of the attic fromroof inspection touching the cold metal surfaces of the ceiling box or vent register. There is a wide variety of insulation or ductwork sealants that can be used for this. The problem is usually an inadequate seal between the ceiling box and the vent register due to improperly cut drywall. Hiring a contractor for this repair could cost anywhere from $75 to $150 per location. This is a huge difference from a roof repair that could cost $500 or worse, a roof replacement which could cost tens of thousands of dollars! If you need someone to check out your roof, use our Miami roof inspection services.

Popular Drug Store Demolishes Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Improvements

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Building Inspection Services was recently hired to perform a rather interesting commercial building inspection. Before I tell you what we’ve been hired for, let me give some background information.
The owners of this 15,000 square foot commercial building leased the property for a number of years to a fitness center. It was an upper scale fitness center which included a swimming pool, running track, wet and dry saunas, masseurs, etc. Recently, this fitness center decided to move out so the owners got a new tenant, a widely known drug store chain.
In preparation to move in, this drug store performed major demolitions to the structure including removing all the interior partition walls, the electrical system including panels, plumbing, flooring, running track, showers, restrooms, drywall etc. In addition to that, they dumped all of the construction debris into the indoor swimming pool which destroyed the pool. If you walk into this building, all you see, for the most part, is just bare concrete floors and walls.
For some unknown reason, this drug store decided they changed their minds and did not want to lease the property. So after destroying all of the interior improvements to the building, they just walked away. This is where we came in for a litigation inspection.
We were hired by the owner of the building as a construction expert witness to determine the cost of the improvements that the drug store demolished because there is a pending lawsuit on the matter. We are still working on this case, however first estimates are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.