Marathon Life

Saturday, May 14, 2011

And the Drama Continues with the Patio

Oh, where should I start with this damn patio/door project? This is a very long post. I just need to document it all for my own sanity. The project began on May 4 on the patio above my unit. They had to basically demolish the patio and re-pour the concrete. The contractor told me he wasn't going to know if the door could be reused until they took it out (a few days into the project). Of course my neighbor DH (not using real name), who owns the unit above mine, said he would like to order French doors instead of a sliding door, if the door needed to be replaced. I told him that the association would only pay up to the $800 price we were quoted for the new door and he would have to cover the difference. He agreed.

Steve, the door subcontractor, told us the sliding door could be reused. So that was good news for our association as that reduced the bid to $8,100 from the original $8,900 price. I told DH that if he still wanted the French doors he would have to cover the entire cost (about $1,500). We also would need to get it approved by the rest of the board. He agreed and the board approved the new door. So I thought everything was fine...

Then mysteriously our laundry room sliding door was broken the next day! One of the double panes of glass broke (see photo to left). Someone must have deliberately done this as it is very difficult to break these types of doors. I asked Steve how much it would be to fix this and he said it would be as much as a new door, around $800. Hmmmm, I was skeptical but he told me that essentially it is the cost for a pane of glass that size, about $600 and then the labor to put it in. I have my suspicions about this and will see if I can get more quotes on just fixing the glass. I have called a few contractors and the same story. These doors are not cheap and basically you need to buy a new one.

Meanwhile, DH said he would be happy to sell his old patio door for $800 that he won't need since he is buying the new French doors. WHAT? He even said he was planning to sell it on Craigslist! I thought the doors were the property of the HOA since it is facing the outside? We previously were told all windows were part of the HOA. That is the exact reason why the HOA is fixing his door and patio. I confirmed with our management company that the HOA does indeed own the door.

I sent DH an email and CC'd everyone to communicate this. Then DH lashes back saying he is very upset that we won't pay him for the old door, considering that we didn't even offer to pay for the new French doors. He said we weren't being "good neighbors" and that when he was on the board tried to be reasonable with everyone's concerns. He said he was reconsidering ordering the French doors now.  I reminded him that it was HIS DECISION to purchase the French doors even though the sliding door was perfectly fine to leave as is. I told him this in an email:

"Our rationale: Why should the HOA pay for a different door for your unit than one that is perfectly acceptable to use? Steve determined that it was fine to reuse, so that was the recommendation, but you decided to buy a completely new door.  A door that was not necessary and you AGREED to pay for the full replacement of it. You took an opportunity to try to reduce your costs for the French doors at the HOA's expense. That is not neighborly at all or reasonable.

We are watching out for the bottom line of the HOA and taking the most cost effective means necessary. That means if you end up choosing not to reuse your door, we will take the existing slider door and use it for the laundry room, saving the association the $800 replacement cost.

If you had decided to not buy a new door we would have had to pay $800 for a new one in the laundry room. Yes, you are correct. But that isn't the situation at hand. The door is the property of the HOA. You have no right to it. We shouldn't be responsible to finance part of your new French doors by paying you back for the HOA's own property.

If Steve had recommended that the existing door needed to be replaced, then we would have had you pay the difference for the French doors. That isn't the case now though."

We ended up having a meeting that night with the full board and DH and it wasn't pretty. He knew he had no case against the HOA. After a rough start, he agreed to let us use the door that was rightfully ours.  He proceeded to state that he was inconvenienced the project started when it did and that he would have preferred it started during his 2 week vacation on May 19. I told him upfront that the contractor was available to start May 4 or he would have taken another job. We had to get him when we did, otherwise, we would have been back to square one, searching for yet another bid. He then threw in that he is paying $500 for dog daycare due to the on-going construction and that the HOA should pay him for this inconvenience!! Then, the other board members blew up at him. I told him it's not the HOA's issue that he has to bring his dog to daycare. The other board member said "Oh, do you want to pay me because I was trying to sleep on my vacation during the construction noise?" He said that DH should have spoken up about the start date and I agree.

If DH had told me that he was going to have to pay for dog daycare and that was the reason why he wanted to start the project on his vacation, then I would have asked the contractor to move the date (if he even could). It doesn't matter. DH was just trying again to recoup money from the HOA. Pardon my French but FUCK THAT.

One other item was how the patio was going to be finished. We originally agreed it would be a standard finish to match the other patios. DH had tiles on top of his patio before the demolition. He said he called the HOA mgmt company and asked if he is allowed to have the tiles put back on. Our rep apparently told him he could even though at the last HOA meeting in March he agreed he would not put tiles back on the patio once they are taken off since that was a contributing factor to the water leak. It wasn't the main factor, but the contractors agreed that the tiles certainly didn't help with proper water drainage. Also, he supposedly did not use a licensed contractor to put the tiles on. He used his dad, according to the other board members.

In the end we agreed DH could get a custom concrete finish that is nicer than the standard gray. He can get spray texture or stamp concrete up until a certain budget that I worked out with the contractor. I just wanted to guarantee that he would not put tiles on there again. I need to look out for the overall HOA budget and my own property. Considering I have not had ceilings and walls near my patio doors since Dec 27, 2010, I DO NOT want a water leak every to happen again in my ceilings and walls.

The project should be complete within a week or so. They will get the door next week and do the final finish to the concrete. Supposedly one of the workers asked DH for guidance as to where to cut inside of his unit since they have to replace a sub-floor board due to all the water that came in and rotted a portion of it. They will have to dig up the floor and then replace a portion of it. Another big job but it was included in the contract price. Under no circumstances should a construction worker ask anyone but the lead contractor what to do. They have the specs. They should know what to do. They should NEVER take any guidance us.

This was the email I sent to the contractor to document my concerns:

Last night DH told me that one of your workers (Francisco?) asked him for guidance as to how far he should cut into the floor on the inside. This was detailed in our contract that you would "remove 2 feet of sub floor INSIDE the unit to replace a 2 foot by 6 foot section of 3/4 inch plywood due to having a rotted area which was inspected from the unit below."

I noticed only a 3 inch by 3-4 feet section of wood was placed there yesterday.

Francisco also had trouble putting the door back in temporarily and had to cut into the already finished waterproofing. He said to DH,  "I hate to do this but it's the only way to get the door in." He then was going to cut into part of the door and Eric told him to stop and called me. I told DH to call Steve or you, or that Francisco should be calling you directly. I called Steve and he confirmed with me everything was under control with the door.

He also asked DH to get 2x4s and plastic to set up for today's work inside.

This is not acceptable. We should not be advising or directing any workers on this job. As the contractor we expect you to supervise your subcontractors and workers and have them make the right decisions to keep the job moving forward. We expect you to be more available and on site to manage the process properly.

I expect that the waterproofing is redone or fixed. If Francisco cut into it, then it has to be redone. We cannot take any shortcuts, especially on the waterproofing. If it was compromised in any way, then we are at risk for leaks in the future.

Next steps:

DH is placing the order for the French doors today with Steve. He is also meeting with Jason today to review the finish options for the patio (spray texture or stamp concrete). As a board we authorized this either method at our capped price point to advised you earlier.
The patio work will continue with flashing, sealant, etc until the door comes in next week. You will call DH and confirm anything that happened last night and find out from Francisco what was "cut". You will take care of the inside and mark the area that needs to be cut into to replace the subfloor. This will be done next week as well.
The contractor and I discussed this. I guess there were issues with getting the door back into place temporarily and some of the flashing that was installed was damaged. They are going to re-do this work. I just wanted to make sure no shortcuts were taken. It was all in the email and documented. After watching several HGTV shows about construction mistakes, horrific contractors who scam people, I didn't want to take any chances should we have to take legal action in the future.
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posted by Anthony at 8:38 PM 2 comments

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