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  1. brendanalbano | | #1

    That sounds tough :( Standard "I am not a lawyer, but..." my understanding is that whether or not you have much leverage to lean on your builder to resolve these problems will depend greatly on the wording of your contract with the builder and the quality of the drawings you bought. Written correspondence is likely to hold more weight than verbal as well.

    Does your contract with the builder specifically reference the drawings that you purchased? If not, how does it define the scope of work, ie, how does it describe the work you are paying for? Does it outline the protocols for making changes to the scope of work? Does it outline procedures for dispute resolution (mediation, arbitration, litigation)?

    Big heavy-duty commercial architectural and construction contracts will outline all these things and much more in great detail. Some residential contracts might as well, but in my (somewhat limited) experience in the residential world seems to indicate, contracts can be significantly more vague.

    All of the avenues forward are likely to be unpleasant, but starting off with a careful reading of your contract and reviewing the drawings is a good place to start.

    Things that are in the drawings but didn't get built (like the light fixtures) ought to be simpler to resolve. Things that are ambiguous or missing in the drawings, but communicated through pictures, like the vaulted ceiling on the porch may be more challenging.

  2. Expert Member
    MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #2

    Kimber04,

    You need to consult a lawyer specializing in construction law and contracts. Asking the opinion of posters on a site devoted to green building techniques isn't going to get you the answers you need.

    Good luck resolving your problems.

  3. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    Kimber,
    Malcolm is right. None of us can provide useful advice on this matter, so you should consult a lawyer.

    Remember, though, that if this dispute ends up in court, your legal fees may exceed the value of the disputed work. Keep this fact in mind as you weigh the advantages of two possible paths, which may be expressed this way: (a) paying for a change order to get the house you want, vs. (b) paying a little more to get to your goal with the help of a lawyer.

    Remember, homeowners don't always win in court. Sometimes, a judge rules in favor of the builder.

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