Paving contractor not responding to complaint?

 
 
Posted9/26/2021 6:00 AM

Q: I hired a contractor last year to repave my driveway with concrete. The work seemed OK at first, but it turned out that the pavement doesn't drain toward the street. Now my next-door neighbor complains that drainage onto his property is causing moisture problems in his basement.

When I called the contractor, it took five days to get a return call, and then he just made excuses about why he couldn't come over to take a look. The village inspector approved the design before the work was done, but she was only here once during the installation, and I heard her say to the contractor, "You know what you're doing, so I see no need to come back." That seems to have been a negligent approach on her part. At this point, I'm not sure how to proceed. What do you advise?

 

A: Complaints against negligent contractors have become commonplace, and yours definitely warrants attention. In summary, the facts of your situation are these:

• The concrete driveway is not properly sloped and is causing faulty drainage onto your neighbor's property.

• The contractor is slow to respond, offers excuses for not addressing your complaint, and shows no apparent interest in the problem.

• The village inspector apparently failed to perform the duties for which she was employed. It was her job to perform a final inspection, rather than excusing the contractor because he seemed to know what he was doing.

My advice is as follows:

• File a formal complaint with the state agency that licenses contractors. A formal notice from the state is an attention getter for most contractors.

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• Get some advice from an attorney who specializes in construction defect law. A strongly worded letter from an attorney should further dispel the contractor's disinterest.

• A complaint should also be filed against the village inspector, if possible. The attorney can advise you in that regard.

Q: All of the windows in our home were replaced in 2019. Since then the windows facing west have been replaced twice because of leaking and bad drafts. Right now we are waiting for new windows to be delivered and installed. Meanwhile, there is a musty order in the rooms where the windows were leaking. Who should we hire to check the walls where the water came in?

A: The musty order is a likely indication of mold. Water inside the wall cavities may have caused mold to grow on the framing and the interior surfaces of the drywall or plaster. To have this evaluated, look up mold inspectors in your area. Remediation may be costly but is likely to be covered by your homeowners insurance policy.

There may also be fungus infection on the wood framing inside the walls. To determine if this is the case, contact a licensed pest control operator (commonly known as a termite inspector).

• To write to Barry Stone, visit him on the web at www.housedetective.com, or write AMG, 1776 Jami Lee Court, Suite 218, San Luis Obispo, CA 94301.

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