The Countdown

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Take That and Rewind it Back

Welcome to our first financially painful lesson. Let's hope this is a short list.
Based on the facts that we hired a geotechnical company to come in an do soil borings, in addition to the fact that the GC never mentioned anything to us about additional funds during the grand-mack-daddy dig, I very naively assumed we were not liable.
I read a lot of contracts in my line of work, so you would think my mind would have jumped here when this situation arose. Lesson number whatever: READ AND UNDERSTAND your contract. Turns out a burned down house five feet below the surface counts as what legalese likes to call "unforeseeable circumstances."
At Friday's meeting, the Builder showed up to deliver the bad news, an apology for not discussing the situation sooner, and the fat invoice for the additional equipment and soil that was necessary. We listened in silence, processing. It's not what we wanted to hear, and I know it's not the Builder's fault. There is inherent uncertainty in digging up a lot which hasn't been inhabited in decades. Before we cough up the cash, we have to think this through. Do we point fingers?
Who's fault is it anyways?
Yes, the soil borings were done RIGHT AROUND the location of the debris. Oops. That is really just unlucky coincidence.
Who could have known? The former lot owner? Is it their fault for not disclosing the history of the site? Perhaps. However, we would have to prove that the owner knew and intentionally did not disclose what lay beneath. Which means more delay, more money to lawyers (unless we win), and more frustration.
If it was an amount that would break the process, we would consider the latter scenario in order to continue. The truth is, the invoice is enough to hurt, to make us put off or rethink if we will feasibly be able to buy some of the "wants" we had planned on, but it isn't enough to break the process. And the thought of delaying the process in order to go down that rabbit hole doesn't sound very appealing.
We are all in agreement that the Builder should have let us know about this when we were all standing around, looking at the enormous pit of debris, instead of after the foundation was poured. When it comes to money, I want to be upfront, clear and documented - in matters of business especially. But in reality, it wouldn't have made a difference, removing the unusable material had to be done regardless.
So we have our first major sting of the construction process. The Builder is getting his own as well. Because they didn't check the sanitary sewer prior to contract signing, they are finding out that it is much deeper than they anticipated. They will have to saw-cut the street in order to tie in, instead of just directional drilling to the line. That's several thousand dollars on the Builder's tab. Looks like they're going to drain their contingency in the first couple weeks of construction. Good times all around.
We are hopeful that the "unforeseen" portion of construction is behind us, and that there won't be a freak tsunami or anything that takes out our neighborhood. The coming week should see the sewer being connected and the framing on the first floor starting. I will provide too much photographic evidence, I'm sure.

Week 3 - We have floor. Not to be confused with flooring.

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