Legal Question in Construction Law in California

My licensed california general contractor is refusing to install my AC unit until he completes ALL other work I contracted him for first as "insurance to help ensure that I pay his final draw." Is this allowed? I already paid for the AC many many months ago, which he gave me a receipt for. I have paid him all monies owed to this point and only one more draw is due on completion of all work. Put another way, does he have the right to dictate the order of work yet to be completed and to refuse my request that he immediately prioritize install of an item I have already paid for? It gets very hot here so having an ac is a safety issue as far as I am concerned.

Also, must he bring the AC unit to my prioerty if I demand it? Is it legally considered my property and could It be reported stolen if he refuses to bring it to the project site within a reasonale time frame?

Note.... He has long past contract and change order deadlines and work is still not done.

Asked on 3/22/16, 6:12 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

There is nothing that requires a contractor to perform work in any particular order unless the contract specifically calls for it. However, with that said, your contractor has committed a serious violation of California construction law by billing you for equipment that has not been delivered to the job site, unless you as the property owner specifically consents to it being stored elsewhere until installed. So you can demand it be delivered, but you can't make him install it.

It sounds, however, like he has billed ahead of the work performed and materials delivered and consumed in the construction work, and that is a serious red flag, especially when coupled with a very over-due project. I suggest you contact the Contractors State License Board at about filing a formal complaint and possibley a claim in his contractor's bond unless he delivers the AC and any other materials you have paid for, and gives you a drop-dead date for completion.

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Answered on 3/22/16, 7:06 pm

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