How do you deal with GC mistakes?

eleenaMarch 15, 2013

Just curious.

I am not happy with his business model. He assigns tasks to his people in the morning and then leaves for the day (or a good portion of it). Most of his folks have no decision making power or qualification and, most of the time, do not know the ultimate outcome and/or what's involved. IME, that is not good. Keeping employees informed and involved really pays off.

I have to "hoover" all day long instead of going to work. I find the entire process pretty inefficient. If his "guys" did not understand the task and I tell them to do something differently, it often comes to a stand-still till the boss shows up. IDK if having ADD is a job prerequisite but half of what we discuss each morning before the work starts gets "forgotten" or misinterpreted. Writing it down has no effect.

The mishaps are accumulating and are costing me, both in terms of $$$ and my time that I have to take off work. Seriously, I won't be surprised to find on Monday that I do not have a job after not showing up today - again - b/c he left w/o telling me he was leaving and did not come back when his guys expected him, so I waited for him all day.

B/c of all the delays, I have a very tight timeline and it was imperative to have a piece completed this week before the next stage could start.

The quality of work is good, for most part, but not spectacular.

Also, I have heard from many *trusted individuals* that there is a psychological factor at play. They simply don't like taking orders from a woman and it is cultural where we live. When DH shows up, they treat him differently even though he doesn't know a thing as I have been the one doing everything for this remodel. And I am not rude or bossy, trust me, but I insist that things should be done in a certain way that is sometimes different from what they are used to. BTW, I have this forum to blame for that, LOL.

The next stage will be carried out by a kitchen company but the GC has to come back for additional "general" work after that. I am tempted to call it a day and find somebody else. However, I know from experience that it is next to impossible to find someone truly better around here. My previous GC was even less involved.

Should I just bite the bullet and overlook a few $$$ (that are summing up to $$$$) or look for someone else? I have read stories a lot worse than mine here on GW, so I am wondering if I should lower my expectations?

WWYD? Any words of wisdom?

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Sophie Wheeler

Things should be in writing. Simple writing. Pictures of what you want included. That should be posted in the work area for everyone to see. If it's clear enough that a 6 year old understands and has simple pictures, then you might get what you want. And have the GC repeat back to you what you just said. Again, put it in writing.

Mistakes by the GC and his crew are paid for by the GC, not you.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 9:29PM
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I would have this conversation with the GC if it were me. To answer your question title "How do you deal with GC mistakes?", you can refer to your contract and withhold payment where appropriate.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 9:29PM
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What sort of mistakes are we talking about here? Are you not happy with the final results or are their methods upsetting you? Its hard to tell whether you are being reasonable without details.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 9:58PM
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Putting in writing did not help and neither did repeating back.

I cannot put pix of things that do not exist.

I like that "might get what you want" thing, LOL.

The problem is mostly with communication. I discuss with him what needs to be done, then he tells his guys. I wish he had them involved in our conversation so less info would be "lost in translation". Also, when he is gone, they are sometimes hanging around with not much to do but I am paying hourly for things that were hard to define and, thus, not included in the estimate.

I actually questioned the last two invoices that were way to high for the work done. They also leave some things unfinished for unknown reasons and it takes up to 3 iterations to get them completed. And I have to take time off for all of that.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 11:55PM
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It is easier said than done. :-)

Yes, I can withhold a payment and I even did it once. The real problem is that I am afraid to call it quits b/c the next guy may be worse. Several of my friends remodeled or built houses and I know only one success story but that guy does not remodel, only builds new housing. The rest are nightmare stories. I leave in an area where truly qualified professionals are far and between. For comparison, we have a rental where we used to live and things are a gazillion times easier there.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 12:04AM
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I'm a bit confused by the communication problem. Can you give an example? Are they doing the wrong sort of work? If the ends result is how you want it then does their method matter as long as they aren't cutting corners?

The paying for time when they aren't working I understand. How do you know the invoices were too high for the work done? Perhaps they ran into unanticipated problems? I don't want to sound rude, but are you a construction expert? Perhaps you can arrange a set fee for the work you want done? That way they won't get paid for wasting time.

Why must you take time off constantly to supervise the workers? Do you not feel comfortable with them working alone in your home? Could you possibly leave them alone and then inspect their work at the end of the day and make comments on the changes you want?

I don't want to insinuate that you are hovering over the workers constantly, but it sort of comes across that way from your post. That may be part of the issue. Presumably the workers are professionals with a fair amount of experience. It is likely they do not like being watched like a hawk and told how to do their job. I am not saying they are acting in the proper manner, but I can understand why they might be a bit put off.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 12:10AM
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Hi eleena,
i have a similar experience to you. all of the GCs that I dealt with, treat DH so much more respectfully. I think chauvinism is a prevalent part of the trade. My workaround is I ask DH to take the reigns and give out the orders to our GC and guys. I basically act as "puppetmaster" and tell DH what to tell our GC and workers each day.
It takes a bit of effort, but it does save time because whenever I explain something to the workers, they simply kind of smirk and shut me out. Also, explaining to DH and using him as a go-between is sort of filter for frustration.

Switching GCs can be risky. It for sure leads to a lot of delay (time getting quotes, negotiating, letting new GC takeover half-finished work, etc.). Potentially the new GC can charge more since he knows you need him to finish the job. Also new GC can blame previous workmanship for any issues that arise, and the new GC may not have accountability/warranty for any work done because he can again blame the previous GC's work. That said, sometimes you just have accept the risks and fire an incompetent GC (which is what I ended up doing).
good luck to you!!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 1:20AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Are you paying for the job hourly? Or by the job? Construction work should be always quoted by the job. There's no temptation to milk the hours then. The faster they do the work, the faster they are on to another job and making more money.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 7:50AM
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