My builder did not rent a porta potty

ShmomeyJanuary 7, 2013

We are about two weeks away from moving in our home. Our lot is on a steep hill. Our builder did not rent a porta potty. His construction crew is using our toilets. A couple of times the construction crew did not clean up after them selves. Is there a residential construction code or rule to require porta potties on a job site? I feel we should get a discount on the total cost due to this possible requirement. I estimated on a 12 month build the builder saved about $2500 dollars.

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worthy

Indeed, there is evidently an OSHA requirement to provide toilets on a construction site.

And your builder did provide them: yours.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 12:39AM
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renovator8

If you wanted the workers to use a portable toilet instead of your toilets you should have put that requirement in the construction contract so the GC would know to add the cost of a portable toilet to the Contract Sum.

By your estimate, it appears that you saved yourself $2,500.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 6:32AM
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nini804

Gag...I would have him rent one NOW at least. And get the baths disinfected before you move in.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 7:15AM
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cleanfreak0419

$65/month rent here. That's only $780 for 12 months. A porta potty is required by code here. The building dept will not even do a first inspection unless there is a porta potty on site.

Once the plumber sets the toilets in the house, usually during the 4 month of construction, we have the porta toilets removed to save on cost and the workers use the toilets in the house.

Oh yeah, OSHA will come after you (the homeowner), the GC, and the rental business if it is not stocked with toilet paper or if there is no paper in the house for them to use when the toilets are set.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 8:55AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Yes we did have a portapot on site... though I did catch the mason peeing on the building anyway.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 9:23AM
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chris11895

I don't think I really want to know the answer to this but I feel compelled to ask....

Where did they go to the bathroom before you had working toilets?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 9:51AM
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worthy

Portable on site or not, I'm never surprised to find a healthy deposit of "honey" on the front doorstep or hidden in a basement niche.

It's a message to "the Man". No different than the experiences of a friend of mine who used to take his 911 whaletail in every year to repair the keying.

I provide a portable from day one to the days the keys are delivered to the owner. (As a former hoser hang-about, I remember guys I hung with who regularly used rest-room sinks as urinals.) Seen more than I want to.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 10:11AM
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bevangel_i_h8_h0uzz

I think this is one of those things that shoddy builders sometimes do to save themselves some money. Since OSHA requires that toilet facilities be on site, and builders are supposed to comply with the law, individual contracts should not have to specify that the builder provide porta-pottys. To me, the cost of a portapotty - at least until the house plumbing is in and working - SHOULD be considered a cost of doing business.

That said however, we actually wrote it into our contract that the builder was required to provide a porta-potty. Our builder STILL didn't get one! We figured it would be the first thing on site. When it wasn't there when the foundation was framed and poured, he told us that they would be delivering it later because he didn't want to risk having the cement trucks run into it. When it wasn't there while framing was going on, he kept saying he had ordered one and that they were supposed to deliver it next week. We kept bugging him about it because, even tho our lot is heavily wooded, WE did not want the workers having to squat in the woods. Human beings on a work site simply should NOT be treated like animals. Plus I did not want to risk stepping in something while walking thru my woods.

When it reached the stage where our house was mostly framed up and there STILL wasn't a porta-potty on site, we put our foot down and notified our builder, in writing, that he was to stop all other work on our home UNTIL he had complied with that contract provision. That finally did it and he got a portapotty on site immediately.

Then a month later the thing disappeared! We noticed it missing on Friday afternoon. Couldn't get a hold of our builder but I happened to have a picture still in my camera that I'd taken a few days earlier from an angle that showed the portapotty and it had the supplier's phone number painted on it that we could read. So we called them to report that we thought the portapotty had been stolen. That's when we learned that they had picked it up that morning because our builder had failed to come in and pay the second month's rent in advance. They also told us they normally extended credit to builders but would not rent to our builder anymore unless he paid in advance because he had stiffed them several times in the past. And of course the amounts owed, even for an 8 or 9 month build, were too low to bother taking any legal action to collect. We told them to start sending the bills to us and WE would pay them and they brought the portapotty right back out that same afternoon.

Of course it turned out that the portpotty thing was just the tip of the iceberg of problems that we had with our builder and a few months after that, we fired him and took over the build ourselves. At least it sounds like your guy was okay otherwise.

At this point in your build, it seems to me that this is an issue that you should probably just forget about. Yes your builder saved himself some money. But the amount is simply not enough to fight over. I know it's galling but it would cost you more to bring a claim for reimbursement than you could possibly collect. Besides, the workmen who had no facilities to use are the ones who suffered. Let it go. But if your builder ever asks you to be a reference for him, I'd definitely mention the failure to provide a portapotty when talking to his potential future customers.

For now, put a sign up in your bathrooms (in English and Spanish) asking the workmen NICELY to please treat your home as they would their mother's home. Drop by with doughnuts or pizza every couple of days and you shouldn't have any problems. Workmen are human beings...albeit, sometimes a bit thoughtless and messy. But if you treat them decently and ask them to respect YOUR HOME, they'll respond.

As for workmen using the indoor plumbing once it is installed, I have to disagree with nini804. Their "business" isn't any nastier or any smellier than my own or that of my family and friends. Why worry about them using the facilities so long as they clean up after themselves?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 11:14AM
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worthy

Why worry about them using the facilities so long as they clean up after themselves?

They won't and they don't!

(But maybe I'm too "anal".)

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 11:44AM
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nini804

Well, I don't think their business is worse than anyone else's...but I'd like at least the ILLUSION that the toilets in our beautiful new custom home that we saved for and spent gobs of $ on were indeed brand new and not previously "sat upon." Would you want them heating up their lunch on your brand new range?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 12:42PM
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renovator8

An owner cannot enforce OSHA regulations and asking OSHA to inspect the site is not a good idea so if a homeowner wants a portable toilet on site it should be stated in the contract or the homeowner could provide it themselves; the homeowner will be paying for it either way. Only if the contractor owned a portable toilet could it be considered to be part of their overhead.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 2:30PM
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worthy

Only if the contractor owned a portable toilet could it be considered to be part of their overhead.

I sure expense it as a cost of the build and obtain an input tax credit on our lovely 13% HST (Harmonized Sales Tax).

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 2:47PM
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worthy

Duplicate

This post was edited by worthy on Tue, Apr 1, 14 at 14:16

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 2:48PM
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dreambuilder

The new build across the street has not had a dumpster or a porta-potty since day one. I was walking with my kids and we saw human feces all along the property line of the house--it was disgusting. Who knows where they are dumping all the trash...probably in the woods! Another reason I'm so glad for this site--I will definately have that clause in the contract along with no smoking once drywall is up (the workers smoke in the garage daily).

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 3:09PM
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xc60

Our builder did not rent a port potty also. It was horrible, there was mounds of toilet paper all over our treed 2 acres in the summer. When I complained about the lack of a porta potty he claimed he would make sure the trades used one on another of his sites a couple minutes away. I don't believe they ever did.

Once during the winter when we were with the site supervisor we discovered someone hired to do the stucco had taken two huge human dumps on our brand new garage pad! Oh my gosh!!!! And when the snow melted in the spring we found at least 5 pairs of poopy underwear thrown around our yard and more mounds.

This post was edited by xc60 on Tue, Apr 1, 14 at 17:57

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 7:10PM
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jimandanne_mi

We were owner-builders and supplied the porta-potty from day one. When the toilets were hooked up, I mentioned to the builder that we hired as a consultant that we were going to keep the p-p, so the workers wouldn't use our toilets. He advised against that, partly because it was winter and using the p-p in the cold was not fun, but also because he insisted that it was better to treat them like anyone else and let them use the powder room toilet. We didn't turn on the water to the others or put a seat on them, but they were in more inconvenient locations anyway. We had no problems.

Anne

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 10:18PM
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jimandanne_mi

We were owner-builders and supplied the porta-potty from day one. When the toilets were hooked up, I mentioned to the builder that we hired as a consultant that we were going to keep the p-p, so the workers wouldn't use our toilets. He advised against that, partly because it was winter and using the p-p in the cold was not fun, but also because he insisted that it was better to treat them like anyone else and let them use the powder room toilet. We didn't turn on the water to the others or put a seat on them, but they were in more inconvenient locations anyway. We had no problems.

Anne

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 10:21PM
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sweet.reverie

Ahhhh!!!

These stories are insane! I cannot imagine finding poopy underwear and turds on my driveway! omg...

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 1:30AM
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xc60

Yes, it wasn't nice at all, the worse part was the turds were actually "in" our garage on the cement. If we were to build on an acreage again we make sure it was in our contract.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 9:44AM
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EVanschepen

I don't believe that there is a requirement to have a portable restroom on site. I have seen several companies not provide restrooms at private homes that they are working on. Because of this, the workers either use the in home bathroom, or start scoping near by homes for construction sites with portable restrooms. Mostly this passes on the burden of providing this service onto everyone but themselves. I would say to contact the contractor and ask why a restroom wasn't provided. You could also take to the internet and put negative reviews on their online profiles. Trust me, people actually do care about google reviews

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 3:34PM
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MFatt16

This is making me gag and laugh all at the same time. We have a porta potty but who knows if anyone uses it. I am assuming they pee outside as the back of the house is a little hard to get to the porta potty but I am 100% sure that they #2 in it. I would be livid if I found feces from the crew at my site, livid.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 7:18PM
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gabbythecat

We were owner builders and supplied a porta potty from ground breaking until the plumbing was hooked up - the crew was gone at that point. It was always clean; since it was placed close to our street, some of our neighbors used it when out jogging, so did our mail carrier. I kind of felt sad when it was gone - everyone appreciated it, and it was a way to get acquainted with our mail carrier. Since then, I've offered our new house as a pit stop for her if she ever needs it - this is a rural area and her route is long.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 7:24PM
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War_Eagle

Required by city code here.....and believe me the city was here A LOT inspecting.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 8:12AM
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annkh_nd

Anne, your consultant wins the "Most Respectful" award.

I haven't built a house, but it wouldn't occur to me that people working in the house couldn't use our bathroom. I did leave towels in there for them to use.

And I am horrified with the way some subs are treating peoples' property. I can think of a lot of solutions to a bathroom emergency that don't include leaving a pile on the garage floor. I shudder to think what that person's workmanship was like.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 12:54PM
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worthy

Such prudes we are!

Open air relief is the way of 600 million people in India.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 2:32PM
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gabbythecat

Worthy - that article presents a really depressing picture of what open air relief does to the people of India - malnutrition, etc. Also, in India don't most people wear long robes/clothes that make defecating less of a public task? Ugh! On the other hand, I hike, have taught classes on back country travel, Leave No Trace, etc. There is nothing wrong with pooping outside as long as you do it in a way that doesn't impact the health of those around you.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 2:56PM
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worthy

I don't believe that there is a requirement to have a portable restroom on site.

There is, according to OSHA. (See link further up thread.) But, as pointed out by R8, the less disruptive approach would be to simply include the builder's obligation to provide portables in your building contract.

****
Public sanitation has likely been the single largest life-extending advance in human history. But you'd hardly know it from some of the building sites you see.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 4:24PM
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