Builder won't take responsibility for permit omission
This post is long, but I would be grateful for any advice you might have!
Anyway, my builder and I are having a dispute over who is responsible for omitting the fireplace from our permit sets. It's a problem for 2 reasons:
1) It cost us $800 to add the fireplace to the permit set. The builder may also want us to pay the architect who drew up the amended plans.
2) Our ability to move in is being delayed by 2 or 3 weeks -- we don't yet know. (And this, on top of other delays that have left us living with my sister for over a month!)
By way of back story: This is a modular home. In the earliest factory floorplans, the fireplace was on the plans. About a year ago, the builder omitted the fireplace, saying it didn't need to be on the factory floorplan since he would install it on-site.
Several months later, my builder said that he didn't think he could install the fireplace himself. He thought it was too complicated for his guys. He told me to find my own subcontractor, which I agreed to do.
Several months after that, the permit plans were submitted, using the floorplans created by the modular home manufacturer. The fireplace was not included on the permitting plans. Nobody noticed, though conversations about the fireplace had been ongoing, and it was an item on the builder's estimate. (Strangely, he did include on the plans a chase to accomadate the flue.)
My argument is that, as a layperson, I don't know what needs to be in a permit set. That's why I hired a builder. Isn't it his job to make sure that the permit set is complete? That it includes every item requiring inspection?
Right now, he's saying that the absence of the fireplace from the permit sets was "not an error. It was an omission." I asked him why he omitted the fireplace, and he said it had never been on the floorplan (not true, though he did remove it a year ago). My guess is that he just plain forgot about the fireplace, so didn't notice it's absence on the permit sets.
I also think he might say that because I hired the subcontractor, it was my responsibility to get the fireplace permitted. Is that reasonable to expect of the client? If so, shouldn't he have said, "You're going to need to have the permit amended before the installation." I mean, the inspector almost issued a stop-work order when he saw the fireplace wasn't on the permit. Clearly, this was a serious oversight.
Lastly, it seems he could have suggested that I wait until after inspection to install the fireplace -- something he did suggest with other items.
So, who's fault is this? Any thoughts on how to argue this with him?