Legal Question in Construction Law in California

I had a contractor do some remodeling starting May 28. According to the contract, he stated as taking 4 weeks,was not completed until 15 weeks later. Contract did not have dates only time. We did have change orders amounting to less than a week of extra time. General contractor hired subcontractor and never came to job site to check subcontractor work.

A window was not to fire code and also not to plan (too large) but this was not discovered until final inspection, Aug 19 (and when I moved in a piece of furniture meant to fit in a location next to the window). The contract has clearly written as a "new" window and the size is also stated in the contract.

He tried to repair it but the retrofit (not new) was a little too big (They forced it to fit causing ugly work). Still owe him last payment. Now trying to close with contractor. Can I ask for credit since the window is not "new" and the retrofit does meet good quality standard?

I am thinking he has had ample chance to repair the window. Just wrote a letter on job performance and stated how to settle the issue (compromise of sorts).

If he will not do what is asked in the recent letter, can I ask for abitration under California law?

I have no intention of not paying for other work just want someone else to do the window.

Asked on 9/19/13, 3:53 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Nick Campbell Builders Law Group

If he failed to properly do the work, you are entitled to withhold 150% of the amount reasonably in dispute without risk of statutory penalties (wrongfully withholding amounts legitimately due to the contractor could subject you to a 2% per month penalty on the unpaid balance, plus costs and attorneys' fees). So, you can withhold payment but only for 150% of the cost to repair his mistake.

If you can't reach an agreement to settle then your choices are to let it go, file a complaint with the CSLB and/or initiate a lawsuit. You can't force arbitration unless there is a valid arbitration agreement in the contract (initialed by both parties) or both parties stipulate to arbitration (you would probably want binding arbitration). Quite frankly, depending on the amount in dispute, arbitration might be too costly.

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Answered on 9/24/13, 12:18 pm

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