Suddenly I need a new slab of granite

censt6July 28, 2014

So, I'm editing this to be more accurate. I received a CONTRACT from my granite fabricator and have not made any changes. I've paid for 3 slabs based on their calculations. Now they are telling me their calculations were inaccurate and I need a 4th slab of granite to do the double layer edge on my island. This double edge was included in my original CONTRACT. I'd like everyone's thoughts on where the responsibility lays and how this should be is typically handled. They of course want me to purchase the extra slab. I feel it was their mistake and they should be in responsible. I do like the fabricator, but business is business. I mean if I told them I couldn't pay the $16k, I mad a mistake and only had $13k in my bank account they wouldn't eat that, why should I eat their
mistake. I know it's an honest mistake, but I chose them based on their final cost not that cost pulse the price for this extra slab. Also, they were $3k more than the next closest fabricator. I liked their attention to detail, reputation, etc. This obviously doesn't fit that mold.

This post was edited by censt6 on Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 11:34

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Try elsewhere for a quote. There are a couple of reasons besides for what they stated, that you suddenly need another slab. Do NOT let them cut anything till someone else does the math.

Many fabricators keep extra material after a job... this is often what we consumers find sold as remnants. Does your fabricator have a lot of remnants on their worksite?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 7:49PM
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Was this new quote presented to you before you signed anything? Has any money changed hands yet?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 7:49PM
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Well, a quote is not a contract, so it really depends where in the process you are. If you truly would have needed the fourth slab, then if they'd gotten it right in the first place, you would have had to pay for that extra slab. For that reason, I agree that you should probably get your job priced by another fabricator or two to see how many slabs THEY think you need. If its four, it's four.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 7:53PM
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I think you should be glad you've got a fabricator that tells it like it is. Do you think they were happy finding out the job would cost more?

This isn't the time to niggle. If you believe in these guys, pull the trigger. If not, move on.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 8:34PM
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Yes, it's great to hire someone who tells it like it is the FIRST time. Not the second and oh whoops, the third time is great.
You have all the time that you want to vet this... it's your money after all. Liking a contractor is not a good reason to blindly trust him/her. Maybe you will need four slabs, but it shouldn't hurt anyone's feelings if you asked for other opinions.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 9:15PM
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I think it depends on where you are in the process. If you just received a quote and they are telling you they made a mistake on the first quote, that is one thing. If the job is done and they are asking for more money, than that is another. Get another estimate if it makes you feel better.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:13PM
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Treb, I'm interested to know, you're not at all worried about the fact they got the math wrong and were off by a slab?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:04PM
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I could see how the math might have been tight on three slabs then realizing a fourth is needed to get the job done.

If you pay for a whole slab you GET the whole slab, though. If you pay for what you use remnants belong to the fabricator. Right?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 12:05AM
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Did you pick out slabs before they quoted you? Maybe they thought they were a certain size and then they found out they were not. Or were there any parts of the slabs that you did not want to use?

We purchased our slabs and fabrication separately. We got a quote for the fabrication and were told we needed 3 slabs. When we found slabs that we liked, we gave the fabricator the size and they checked their layout calculations and told us they would need 4 slabs because the ones we wanted to use were a little smaller than what they calculated in the estimate. We double checked their math, and they were right; we did need all four. The stone was just a couple of inches too narrow to do the L-shaped layout as originally planned. I'm sure that was one of the reasons those particular slabs were priced at about 1/2 what the same granite was at other stoneyards. (But the ones we picked had the prettiest color).

One thing we noticed when looking at all the stoneyards was that there was quite a variation in the sizes of slabs. Sometimes different lots of the same stone had different sized slabs.

Have you asked why the original quote was incorrect? Maybe they forgot about the double layer edge on the island only. I'm not necessarily defending them, just pointing out that they could have just made an honest mistake. I guess it depends on if you've paid money or not, if you think they will do a good job, and if your budget can tolerate the additional cost. Maybe you can negotiate and meet somewhere in the middle.

Doesn't hurt to go ahead an get another quote.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 2:02AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Skip the buildup on the island and stay with the 3 slabs if you don't want to buy that 4th slab. You don't get something for nothing.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 7:30AM
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"Treb, I'm interested to know, you're not at all worried about the fact they got the math wrong and were off by a slab?"

In the countertop business, you can be made "off by a slab" by just a few inches. I used to get teased by other fabricators because I would only have a handful of scraps on my solid surface jobs. The extra labor of piecing together edge build-up was easily worth the cost of another half sheet of profits leaning against the wall of my shop.

It's no different in the stone business, except the drops are much less useable. You either have the material or you don't. They calculated it close then found out it wasn't happening as designed.

When my stove dies, I'm going to get a slide-in. This means I'm going to have to fabricate a 2" x 30" rear piece with cove out of half a sink cut out. Yikes. Or spend $500.00 for another sheet. The rules apply to us too.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:38AM
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I should have mentioned this was a contracted price. I have already paid. They say I now need to pay for an additional slab.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:22AM
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Well, that might (or might not) change things. Was it a contracted price for a specific design that they templated and you approved (including the builtup edges)? Does the "fine print" say you have to pay for extra material if its needed to do that design, or does it say "X" dollars for this design in this material?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:38AM
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If they are changing contract terms, ie the price, after the fact, you are not obligated to continue with them. I would get a couple more estimates and decide from there what to do, ie, purchase from them or another outfit or get a less expensive counter altogether.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:58AM
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I think you need to read your contract and look at exactly what was described and what other terms are included, then talk to your fabricator. They are the only ones who can help you resolve this.

I would talk to them about why this has come up now (math error, contract error, size of slabs off a bit from expected, edges, cracks or other issues with the slabs). All we can do is guess and say yes or no to whether they should eat the cost -- and there will always be some folks on both sides of that equation. Your contract and the details spelled out govern IF it addresses the situation. If not, you have to work it out. The best solution is one where you talk with your fabricator, perhaps even go look at the slabs and go over the templating with them, and then talk reasonably about how to deal with the difference.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 12:24PM
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I am a fabricator.

Put simply; their mistake should be at their cost. Figuring material and laying out a job is part of what they are supposed to know how to do.

If you have already given them down payment money then you can force the issue. IMHO a quality fabricator would not be asking you to pay for their error.

Consider; if they had dropped a piece or made another fabrication mistake and had to buy another slab you wouldn't be paying for that.

I am an owner and don't like paying for mistakes but my employees are people and sometimes they make mistakes.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 1:34PM
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If the double edge was included in the first contract and you signed that contract and the granite place signed that contract, and you paid based on that contract, I should think it would be the contract that governs the transaction. Why bother to sign a contract if a few days later, you are presented with a second, different, contract?

On the other hand, if you prevail in getting what you ordered for the first contract price, are you confident that the fabricator will provide you with the perfect job you are expecting? Or will he be an unhappy person being forced to do something he feels he shouldn't do.

The solution might be for him to allow you to pay for the fourth slab at his cost and to throw in the fabrication for free.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 1:44PM
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Thanks everyone for the responses. The contract reads that the pricing is based on my measurements an if those measurements are inaccurate and additional slabs need purchased its at my cost. Caveat here is that they did all measurements of slabs, they had my blueprints from the kitchen designer.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:02PM
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Well then, based on what oldryder said it sounds like the onus is on them, in pretty straight forward terms. Their measurements, their responsibility.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:14PM
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Correct me if I am wrong - I thought the OP was saying that the granite place used the blueprints she gave them to get their measurements?

If they used the measurements the customer gave them and the measurements are now found to be incorrect, it seems like their contract protects them from this kind of inaccuracy (even if they just made an computational error).

If the granite company actually came to the house to measure for countertops, then the cost for the extra slab should be borne by them since they screwed up the measurement.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:43PM
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jerzeegirl, I went to read back through the thread to see if the OP had stated where the error lay, and she has edited the first post for clarification. She said that the error was in their calculations, not with the measurements provided via blueprint.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 4:16PM
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In light of the latest information, I'm inclined to agree with oldryder. Eating mistakes is a cost of doing business, just like the light bill and rent.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 4:19PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Personal experience here, but please note, not all businesses are created equal.

We had several bids on a granite project here, and we chose the guy we liked the best (local, friendly, hungry) with the cheapest bid.

Holy hell broke out! He really had no idea what he bid on, but he stuck by the contract, and he did eat his profits in overtime and extra expense. It was a learning experience for him, but he was gracious. If he ever gets a project like we gave him, I'll bet the bid will be on the high end.

He took photos of the finished thing, and everyone who visits calls this their favorite room. Custom is custom, but a contract is a contract. They should eat that extra slab in my opinion.

Our project was difficult because of an extreme curve intercepted by posts. The granite cracked twice, and the wood backing it popped off like a boomerang! Tough project, but been in place for a year, and all is good.

Oh, here is a link to what they did at our house. They were all out here last 4th of July trying to finish prior to our guests coming! They did go the second mile, and I would highly recommend this company local to us!

Here is a link that might be useful: Granite Bar Top

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 4:38PM
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I'm not sure I'd want a place that was eating a $3,000 error to be installing my countertops. Their profit is already shot to hell, so I am not picturing a particularly happy installation.

If someone miscalculated my job and let me know before they started the work that they made a mistake, I'd be inclined to let them off the hook and either buy the other slab or find another fabricator. Mistakes do happen and since they haven't started the job yet, it seems like a situation that can easily be walked away from.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 5:09PM
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She said that the error was in their calculations, not with the measurements provided via blueprint.

The way that contract is worded means to me that unless they actually come to your house and measure the space themselves, they have an escape hatch in the contract. The contract only addresses the measurements being given to them by the homeowner; it appears to be silent about any bad math that might occur.

I think I would get a few more estimates.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 5:31PM
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Blueprints and actual construction results can be off a bit. Have they done an actual measurement or template? Is that how the discrepancy came about -- or just off the blueprints?

Either way, if they haven't been out to do an actual measurement and/or template, I would make sure they do and verify whether another slab is actually needed. Unless these slabs are smaller than average, that's a lot of stone. I used 2 slabs for my kitchen plus breakfast room hutch.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 6:20PM
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What those clauses mean (and it is a common one which makes perfectly reasonable sense) is that companies will be responsible for their own measurements, not anyone elses. If you want to provide the measurements, they are not going to be responsible if they are wrong. There is no related escape hatch due to their own bad math simply because a homeowner has supplied dimensions. The two are independent responsibilities and issues. The homeowner's dimensions did not cause their math error.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 6:33PM
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Sophie Wheeler

It's common to give an estimate based on blueprints or homeowner measurements. Then a deposit is taken to secure the slabs and get on the schedule for an actual template. Measurements and dollar figures are ALWAYS up in the air until the on site template occurs.

What is not clear is if the on site template has occured. If the template occured and the figures needed to be revised from the inital estimate, that's 100% normal. If the template occurred, they confirmed the original estimate, told you that no more slabs would be needed,but when they went to lay out the templates on the slabs and needed more stone, then that's on them. They should't have confirmed the estimate until they could check the actual slabs amount of footage against the template.

In addition, if you are doing a bookmatched mitered edge buildup, that will reuire quite a bit of extra stone to be able to match up the patterning. If you changed from a standard non matched stacked edge to a bookmatched mitered edge, that would be the extra slab right there. Anyone who would be able to do that job correctly would need the same amount of stone.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:05PM
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