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rated:
So I hired a licensed contractor to do a parking lot re-pave.  During tear out of the old parking lot, he hit the gas line for the building.  The utility came and capped it off near the street. 

Gas co said they will send him the bill for the emergency call-out, but they have estimated the cost to re-run the gas line as 5-8k roughly. 

There was a dig alert for the property a few days earlier, but it was requested by a different contractor doing other work, and the line was marked out (although not visible after asphalt was removed on day 1 of the job).  The contractor that damaged the line claims it was not buried deep enough (he claims 6-12 inches) - the gas co claims it was burred correctly.  The gas service is not used at the building currently, but may be in future.  With the contractor installing a new parking lot, I do not want to leave it capped at the street only to have to bust up the parking lot in a couple years to re-run the line.  Currently the contractor has finished pouring the lot but left a 12 foot strip (so that when it is finished it will somewhat match the saw cut pattern) open from the building to the street. 

I also want to proceed as quickly as possible with re-running the line as most of the parking lot is inaccessible with the strip open (I will look into a temporary solution of moving some dirt to make a path across it)

Contractor has been paid approximately 17k out of 38k total for the job so far and is requesting another 13k or so progress payment early next week - despite contract language stating 17k after tear out and remainder after "completion of work".

What are FWF's thoughts? Obviously I don't want to pay anything relating to this damage, and want the line re-run/ parking lot finished ASAP.  I don't believe contractor will step up voluntarily to pay for it.   He does have a $15,000 bond.  

Is this a situation where I will likely end up paying for the repairs then taking him to small claims or going after his bond? 

Withhold further payment until he pays gas co to fix and finishes pouring lot? (in this case I would guess he will stiff the concrete supplier and they will place a lien on the property - concrete bill is approx 12k so far)

Thanks!

 

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rated:
"call before you dig" is the law.

He risks his contractors license!

rated:
Yes. I guess he figured since it was already marked out he was good, but after talking to my other (more experienced) contractor he said no, each contractor who is digging needs to call for the markout and get their own confirmation number. Utilities will not come out twice, but will issue separate numbers.

Regardless, this is not really my concern now. I just want to get it fixed and paid for by him ASAP.

rated:
Tell him he has to make it right or you will report him, not pay for the remaining balance, and take him to court if he fights it.

Not much else you can do now other than legal threats. Hopefully that gets his ass in gear.

rated:
Have the gas company fix the line and have them bill the responsible contractor. My excavator hit the gas line going to my new house and it cost him $5k for the gas company to come out and do an emergency repair. I only paid him $10k to dig a 2000sqft basement and 1200ft long driveway than included 6" of stone in the drive. I don't think he made money on the job.

rated:
I would tell him you need lien waivers from his suppliers showing paid to date. Do you know who he bought materials from ?

Once in hand, you can withhold further payment until he repairs the broken line and completes the work.

Does he have GL insurance ? it should pay for damage to the existing line, not sure if it will help him with the utility co charges. Not sure if Utility can come after you for their charges... I think that is all on the contractor, but YMMV.

rated:
There are standards of how deep each utility needs to be buried. Most are at least 3 feet. Let the contractor fight it if it was really 6-12 inches. Then the owner of the utility (gas company) would be responsible to redo it and go after their contractor who did not installed it correctly.

As far as the call, if the previous call was related to the same contract or project, you can get away with one call.

rated:
Well, at least no one got killed.

rated:
AbbaZabba said:   During tear out of the old parking lot, he hit the gas line for the building.  The utility came and capped it off near the street. 

Gas co said they will send him the bill for the emergency call-out, but they have estimated the cost to re-run the gas line as 5-8k roughly
 

  Why re-reun? Cut out the damaged section and splice in a repair piece. $200 or $300 if it's just 6-12 inches below ground.

rated:
atikovi said:   
AbbaZabba said:   During tear out of the old parking lot, he hit the gas line for the building.  The utility came and capped it off near the street. 

Gas co said they will send him the bill for the emergency call-out, but they have estimated the cost to re-run the gas line as 5-8k roughly

  Why re-reun? Cut out the damaged section and splice in a repair piece. $200 or $300 if it's just 6-12 inches below ground.
 

  
Gas company will not do it.  They say the contractors pulled the line up and it is no longer deep enough to meet code.  Contractor maintains the line was not deep enough to start with and that it's not his responsibility.

He is refusing to provide his insurance company info.  I have an inquiry out with his bond issuer but I believe it would be vaild as it was just issued two weeks prior to the job.  Regardless I'm hoping this issue can be settled by him simply digging a trench for the new line and discounting his work by the amount the gas co charges for a replacement line. 

Some rough math shows with what I owe him still, I can pay the concrete supplier, the gas co to re-run the line, and another contractor to finish the strip.  So if he walks away I'm basically in the same position I would be in as if he never hit the line. 

It was actually not him personally, but a subcontractor (also licensed concrete company) he hired who hit the line.  So I'm thinking I should really be looking for their insurance info. 

Gas company has lowered their estimate to <5k.  But will not be sure for another week or so.

rated:
I realize i'm not an expert here. But i was expecting one of the IANYL people here to bring up a point. lacking that I will. please educate me where I may be mistaken.

I realize this is a problem for you. But its not actually "your" problem. You have a contract with the Contractor. Don't you have to abide by those terms? If i understand correctly those terms state you will pay him 17k at tear out and remainder upon completion. IF you paid him the 17k, then pay him the remainder Upon Completion. his request for payment at this time is understandable and i would sympathize with him in this request. Unfortunately this isn't completed and payment wont be forthcoming until it is.

At this point with the lot unusable and a strip not asphalted in there shouldn't be any confusion about it being completed.

The tricky bit is making sure that the gas line is properly addressed "before Completion"

rated:
daviduthegreat said:   
The tricky bit is making sure that the gas line is properly addressed "before Completion"

  That's pretty easily isn't it? Just call the gas company and ask if it's repaired correctly

rated:
rufflesinc said:   
daviduthegreat said:   
The tricky bit is making sure that the gas line is properly addressed "before Completion"

  That's pretty easily isn't it? Just call the gas company and ask if it's repaired correctly

  So once again, Im not an expert.

But you can easily verify if the gas company is happy. verifying isnt the tricky bit.  The tricky bit is what do you do when the contractor decides he believes the job is "complete" and you dont.  Say for example he ignores the gas company and paves over that strip. now they all go to court and a judge decides if the job is complete and who pays for what.

Much better to keep in constant communication with ALL parties involved.  encourage cooperation and help where you can. All while maintaining that you'll pay for the job when its completed.

Isnt this the whole reason you hire contractors? so that you dont have to deal with each individual entity?  he gets his margin for handling this stuff, make him handle this stuff. Then pay him according to the terms in the contract, not sooner.

rated:
AbbaZabba said:   
Contractor has been paid approximately 17k out of 38k total for the job so far and is requesting another 13k or so progress payment early next week - despite contract language stating 17k after tear out and remainder after "completion of work".

 

oh hell no

rated:
solarUS said:   
AbbaZabba said:   
Contractor has been paid approximately 17k out of 38k total for the job so far and is requesting another 13k or so progress payment early next week - despite contract language stating 17k after tear out and remainder after "completion of work".

 

oh hell no

  
Agreed.  The issue here is he owes ~12k to the concrete supplier now for the concrete.  And they can/will place a lien on the property if not paid.  He doesn't seem to be very solvent, so I believe I will end up having to pay the supplier directly to ensure their bill is paid. 

rated:
rufflesinc said:   
daviduthegreat said:   
The tricky bit is making sure that the gas line is properly addressed "before Completion"

  That's pretty easily isn't it? Just call the gas company and ask if it's repaired correctly

  Gas co will be re-doing the line themselves. 

rated:
AbbaZabba said:   
solarUS said:   
AbbaZabba said:   
Contractor has been paid approximately 17k out of 38k total for the job so far and is requesting another 13k or so progress payment early next week - despite contract language stating 17k after tear out and remainder after "completion of work".

 

oh hell no

  
Agreed.  The issue here is he owes ~12k to the concrete supplier now for the concrete.  And they can/will place a lien on the property if not paid.  He doesn't seem to be very solvent, so I believe I will end up having to pay the supplier directly to ensure their bill is paid. 

  That is something I hate. That a 3rd party you never contract with can put a lien on your property, not even for doing labor but delivering materials....they should be put lien on the contractor!

rated:
AbbaZabba said:   
solarUS said:   
AbbaZabba said:   
Contractor has been paid approximately 17k out of 38k total for the job so far and is requesting another 13k or so progress payment early next week - despite contract language stating 17k after tear out and remainder after "completion of work".

 

oh hell no

  
Agreed.  The issue here is he owes ~12k to the concrete supplier now for the concrete.  And they can/will place a lien on the property if not paid.  He doesn't seem to be very solvent, so I believe I will end up having to pay the supplier directly to ensure their bill is paid. 

  
That's why lenders won't finance a new build unless the contractor provides signed releases from all suppliers and subcontractors.
Although I can think of one instance where a GC forged the signatures so he could get paid for a house he didn't pay for.

I'd simply demand proof of payment for the concrete before making final payment to the contractor.

rated:
taxmantoo said:   
 
  
That's why lenders won't finance a new build unless the contractor provides signed releases from all suppliers and subcontractors.

 

  How does lender know the list of suppliers and subcontractors is complete, if they cut one check to the GC?

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