Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Hiring contractors requires care

Editor,

In 2002 we hired a local, well-known contractor for a basement remodel including 2,000 square feet of wood flooring. In 2013, the floor lifted due to moisture and rusted nails.

We discovered the floor lacked the necessary vapor barrier, a proper seal to the cement slab, the standard pressure treated sub-flooring and galvanized nails.  We were told by the contractor that he cannot help us with any part of the fix which includes removal of everything down to the cement slab.

This is devastating to us financially and emotionally and, ultimately, it will likely affect our ability to remain in our home long-term.

Here are very important considerations when hiring a contractor:

— Confirm a valid license and current bond and insurance through the Department of Labor and Industry.

— Ask about any prior complaints, lawsuits or liens and how long the contractor has been in business.

— Lawsuits can be filed only within a certain time period once the work is finished per Washington’s laws.

— Make certain any contract designates  the time period for a guarantee of the work completed.

— Ask the contractor who will supervise the project if the sub-contractors licensed and bonded, and how often he will be at the project site. Our contractor was rarely on site and failed to communicate promptly.

— Monitor all expense reports and pay only for materials and work completed as defined in a contract.

— Never provide funds for a so-called “planning phase.” Include all project changes or requests  in writing  to the contractor and confirm changes in costs.

Unusual delays in the project should reflect a penalty to the contractor. Keep a log of conversations and check weekly on the progress.

The contractor we hired did not care about this project when compared with more profitable opportunities. He did not exercise due diligence over the workers he hired and, apparently, takes no responsibility for the huge burden he has placed on my husband and myself.

Requirements for obtaining a contractor’s license are inadequate and fail to protect homeowners.

Of consequence, homeowner’s insurance will not cover any contractor’s work that was done improperly.

PAULETTE BECKER

Langley

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