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Wouldn't it have been nice to have a General Contractor to keep all of this stuff straight? - A Suburbs Boy Living a Country Life [My Flickr Photos]
October 12th, 2006
09:53 pm


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Wouldn't it have been nice to have a General Contractor to keep all of this stuff straight?

I got a letter today from the electrician.  He's reiterating that he thinks that his extra charges for trips to do punch-list items are appropriate.  My reply:

[happypete] & [prettypammie]


12 October 2006




VIA FACSIMILE [Fax number]


Dear [Owner]:


Thank you for your letter of 10 October.  Also, please pass on my thanks to [Son of Owner] and [Foreman] for all of their hard work.  When I spoke to [Other Employee], it was not possible in the space of a short phone call for me to fully express my exact concerns.  I apologize that I did not immediately follow up with a phone call or letter to you or [Son of Owner].  I will detail my concerns for you now.  In your letter, you told me that I was billed only for the things that were not part of the original proposal.  However, on at least one of the additional trips charged, your employees performed the following:


  1. Installation of voice/data/video drop in the Master Bedroom per our original walkthrough.

This drop had been incorrectly installed on the opposite wall.  They ran the drop, but have not yet installed it in a box as they did for the other drops.

  1. Installation of light/fan control module and switch in Master Bedroom

The installation crew had incorrectly thought this was an extra controller for the two living room fans.  They had left the controller in the pile of extra items for me to discard.  Luckily, I went through the pile instead of just taking it to the dump.  I noted a fan controller that matched the style and finish for the fan upstairs, which was missing its controller.


In addition, the following items remain incomplete:


  1. Installation of second data drop in loft area.

This drop was run, but was the one incorrectly installed in the Master Bedroom.  In the interest of time, I did not insist on having this corrected then.

  1. Installation of correctly colored plate and switches.

Due to shortages on the truck, two white “sideways” single pole switches were installed in the kitchen next to the sink.  A white plate was installed in the Master Bathroom covering a GFI outlet and two sideways switches.

  1. Installation of box and plate for data drop.

See Item 1, above.

  1. Delivery of annotated plans.

At the start of the job, I gave [Son of Owner] a set of construction drawings marked “Electrical.”  He told me that if I provided him that plan he would provide us with detailed annotation of our “as-built” electrical installation.

  1. Installation of replacement globes in [Q]'s room.

[Foreman] indicated that the globes on [Q]'s ceiling fans were too large to fit.  I worked with [Supplier Sales Rep] and have arranged for alternate globes which I hope will fit.

  1. Installation of back-ordered outdoor lighting.

I believe all lights and globes have now arrived at your office from [Supplier].


Regarding the lists above, I certainly believe that a “trip charge” is appropriate for items seven and eight, as the delays and problems with those items were not your responsibility.  That said, since you have already charged me a trip charge for a trip that I think should have been considered a “punch-list” trip, I ask that you take care of items four through eight above at no additional charge.  Item three, the incorrectly placed drop, is a minor problem for me, but I don’t think it’s worth tearing up the drywall to fix at this point.


I understand from talking to [Son of Owner] that you are concerned about our past due balance.  By now you should have received [Some money]—the best I can do at this moment.  I also ran a business of my own, and I understand how difficult aging invoices can be.  Please be assured that I will pay you in full.  I ask for your patience, as the end of construction and completion of our move into the house has temporarily put us in a financial hole. Pam and I will [have money again, soon].  Will the [Some Money] I came up with so far, and the balance mailed [soon] be acceptable?


I hope now that I have taken the time to put all this down in writing, you understand better what my concerns are.  Since I understand from [Supplier Sales Rep] that she has delivered all of the remaining items to you, I hope you can schedule that trip at your earliest opportunity.


Notwithstanding my concerns—which are really just a few “finishing details”—[prettypammie] and I appreciated your excellent workmanship.  For that reason, I would appreciate it if you would contact me or [Barn contractor] at your earliest opportunity to discuss a quote to install the meter base and electrical service to our barn.  Construction of the walls has begun, and we may already be ready for the meter base.  This is an agricultural building on a zoning permit, so an electrical permit will not be required.  That said, I am asking each contractor to provide us documentation by a certified private inspector that the work has been done to residential codes.  This will enable us to go for a building permit at a future date when we elect to build a barn apartment, without having to tear open walls, etc., for inspections.  As always, I can be reached at [Cell number], or by fax at [Fax number].  [Barn Contractor]’s number is [Phone Number]. 



Current Location: Home Sweet Home
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
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(6 comments | Leave a comment)

Date:October 13th, 2006 02:33 am (UTC)
*Note to self: Never have a house built*
[User Picture]
Date:October 13th, 2006 04:22 am (UTC)
Sigh. You were reasonable in your presentation and your requests, in my opinion. I hope it goes well, and that the barn goes more smoothly.
[User Picture]
Date:October 13th, 2006 02:23 pm (UTC)

Um. Yeah.

General Contractor DEFINITELY makes things go smoother.

I know our house project was fantastically smooth.

HOWEVER, with our previous house, the builder was an aboslute PITA to work with, so it all depends on just how good the G.C. is.

I think your requests are reasonable and well presented. Good luck!!
[User Picture]
Date:October 13th, 2006 03:08 pm (UTC)

Re: Um. Yeah.

The joke here is that we did have a general contractor.

He was not just a PITA to work with--he almost never actually did anything.
[User Picture]
Date:October 13th, 2006 07:36 pm (UTC)

Re: Um. Yeah.

OK. A GOOD g.c. makes things smoother. :)
[User Picture]
Date:October 13th, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC)
Not whiny enough. Put in more "oy vey, my foot hurts, my kid is gevalt, I have more guilt than gelt, and my schpadoinkel is meshugganah!"
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