Title says it all, just got a request for an inspection in which the homeowner explained he is having issues pop up with a bunch of renovations/repairs and he wants a report so that he can sue the contractor. He already has a lawyer involved.
Would y’all take this one on? If so, what sort of expectations would you set with them?
Yes with the expectation that if I am subpoenaed or otherwise I am paid for all time lost at the rates I would charge for that. This means if I am subpoenaed or otherwise called and the hearing that day gets cancelled I’m still getting paid for the day.
The other expectation is all fees are due up front upon notification. Without payment I would not even bother to hold the time on the schedule for it. Some would demand a retainer which works just as well to help ensure you’re paid.
Thanks Emmanuel, will definitely collect the fee up front. In terms of ensuring that you are paid for lost time, do you just inform them of that or include something in the inspection agreement? I assume my costs would be covered by whoever loses in court, would you collect then or can you ask to be paid throughout by the homeowner?
I would politely decline, as a contractor some clients cannot be reasoned with or made happy no matter how hard you try. You don’t know the details between the builder and homeowner but I wouldn’t get in the middle of that situation. You would be more than likely brought into court as a witness… It just reals of bad vibes
Fight tunnel vision that occurs when the client points out issues he found and assuming he is telling you the unbiased truth. First look at the contract agreement between the homeowner and the contractor. The majority of the time there was no contract or a there was a contractor furnished contract basically stating what he was going to do, but rarely states any code compliance or quality of workmanship. Without a detailed contract the judge or jury, if it gets that far, will likely use the standard what would most contractors with equivalent experience would have done.
There will be an expectation by the homeowner your going to prove his case, which can be slippery slope and create a bias in your opinions to try and please your client. Many times this type of work falls under forensic engineering and the contractors attorney will try and shred your report with their own experts.
My best advice is look at all the work the contractor did good and bad and don’t be afraid to tell your client your professional opinion even if he doesn’t agree.
I would not touch it. What happens top your inspection customers while you are tied up with the lawyers? I turned down one of these jobs just this afternoon. Keep moving forward and stay out of court - on either side.
I would not touch it either. If they’re suing the contractor and already have a lawyer involved, adding you as a defendant because they didn’t like what you said compared to the next guy (or previous guy) is just a little more ink on a paper that already exists. Let them have their dispute, i’d keep inspecting things that aren’t involved in legal problems.
I wouldn’t want any part of it. Tell him to get quotes from another licensed contractor on what needs to be corrected and the estimate to complete the work. That should be more than enough to settle the case. It always comes down to money.