contractor change order - please help
Hi all, we have had some serious problems with contractors low-balling us in the past. We are doing a gut remodel of a new home, and just started work with a new contractor on a large project.
I'm so frustrated and amazed by the rampant dishonesty and incompetence we've experienced so far that I'm not sure if I'm being reasonable, paranoid, or have completely lost my mind.
The demolition line item for our 1200 sqft 2br/1ba unit (taking everything down to bare studs including flooring, all cabinetry, appliances and fixtures, all drywall, and removal of several interior stud partition walls) was ~$10k line item in our proposal. This was inline with other bids we received.
Now demo is nearly complete, and the contractor is saying a big change order will be necessary, ~$5k - $7k.
"90% of interior wall finish was not sheetrock, as assumed in the bid, but was plaster and lathe, which takes more time to demo, and incurs larger dump fees because of heavier weight".
This is in San Francisco fwiw, where I expect dump fees are exorbitant compared to most places.
This reeks to me. In truth, ~60% of the wall surfaces were plaster and lathe. Patches of the plaster and lathe were exposed during walkthroughs, so if it's so much more expensive, you'd think the contractors would be on the lookout for it.
I can't imagine this is legitimate, it would imply that demo of everything (floors, stud walls, windows) expect for plaster and lathe is extremely cheap.
How you can help:
• Do you have experience/expertise with demo, and have an informed opinion as to whether this is an unreasonable change order?
• Do you know of other online resources/forums I can check where I could ask a community of contractors about this?
• What would you do, is it even worth trying to fight back on this CO, or is this a big enough red flag that you'd jump ship now?
I feel so beaten down. We've been burned so much, and are trying so hard to do due diligence in selecting contractors. I was really hoping this new contractor would help us turn a page - great reviews on angie's list and yelp, a 20yr license record, detailed bid with reasonable prices (not too cheap, not too $$).
I don't know if I'm trying to fool myself into believing this CO is ok because I can't take any more of this, or if I'm so raw that I'm being overly sensitive.
Sincerely appreciate any help you can provide.