Incomplete Building Work

8 posts in this topic

Hello

 

we have agreed with local building company to do some renovation work on our house. This work is 80%-90% completed.  But for ca 6 months there has been no further progress, even though we moved in during February 2020. Emails are ignored, phone calls not answered. Every now and again a vague promise of action “next week”, that just comes and goes.

 

this is now impacting other tasks that cannot start until they finish. Eg the external/gardening work. 

Obviously a pause in March and April due to Covid is understood, even though the work was supposed to be already completed. But now time is marching on.

 

I’ve asked few friends who all just shrug, saying essentially building company has us over a barrel - we have no legal remedy as there is no formal “contract” specifying dates, and no chance even to apply any penalty if and when they eventually do complete the work. We could maybe ask other company to complete the work, but which building company wants to do last 15% of some other companies work?
 

anyone wish to offer practical advice?

 

CT

 

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9 minutes ago, CelticTiger said:

which building company wants to do last 15% of some other companies work?

Possibly a smaller company who would be glad of the work?

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What type of work is it? Internal / external? Some external works may depend on good weather (ex. roof work can be delayed by rain). No excuse for internal tho (not even covid - the construction industry hasn't been halted by that in most circumstances).

 

Do you have an email agreement with them and how much have you paid already? At this point, you should have only paid about 50% at most!

 

Can you specify exactly what still needs to be done in list format, send them this as a PDF in an email including the date each point needs to be done? They need to agree in writing (email and/or signed PDF depending on your relationship). If they still don't comply, assuming that hopefully, you haven't paid them yet, you can warn that after the agreed date you will be 'forced' to withhold payment until the job is done and/or enforce a Behinderungsanzeige (§ 6 VOB/B)It's a notice of disability, it basically states that the delay is now negatively affecting you. Look it up based on your type of renovation, there are online templates etc. One example of this measure is that you could start deducting a % from their remaining paycheck until the work is done, or you close the contract altogether with no pay. It has to apply to your particular circumstances though.

 

I would advise that it also needs to be fair. If the remaining 10% of works are things that you specified later on-site.. that is additional work and should be paid in addition. The quality level needs to be defined not at the end but at the beginning of the work. ...

 

Next time set a contract (or hire an Architect) ;)

 

Good luck!

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Hi

 

thanks MonaMon for detailed answer.

it’s big job for a family house, renovating and extending an existing property.

 

the Outstanding work is all external, but all could be done in almost any weather. We have an architect. She just tells us she is powerless, company is ignoring her too. She says it’s small work fur what is a relatively large company with lots of bigger jobs ongoing, but they have been hopeless since day 1. She is frustrated with them too, but much less frustrated than us. She’s not living in a building site. 

 

to give examples some walls are not yet insulated externally with Dämmung. It’s mostly done, but some gaps remain. External pipes not connected correctly for drainage. Some plastering incomplete. Building materials not removed. Windows in correctly sealed. It’s in my eyes about a weeks work with right equipment. But we can’t move to next phase and we’re blocked by this since we moved in in Feb.

 

we have paid, everything as per instructed by Architekt, already more than 80% of the expected total sum to this firm. I did so rather under protest, as I’d seen how poor this company  had performed during the project, but Architekt insisted. The only thing remaining will be the Schlussrechnung.

 

the Architekt sent them first final demand to complete these items in January, to be completed before we moved in. We had to move in before these items were completed. She’s set at least 10 deadlines in meantime. But it has no impact, talking to the wind.
 

I am trying really hard to “be fair”.

 

CT

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11 hours ago, MonaMon said:

enforce a Behinderungsanzeige (§ 6 VOB/B).

Is the contract governed by VOB? AFAIR it could also be governed by BGB (which has e. g. longer warranty periods). No idea whether that would be relevant but I´d try to find out.

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Hi Celtic Tiger, apologies for the long delay... for context, I'm an architect and have been trying to adapt to the working culture of the construction industry here myself. 

 

On 24/07/2020, 17:49:05, CelticTiger said:

She says it’s small work fur what is a relatively large company with lots of bigger jobs ongoing, but they have been hopeless since day 1. She is frustrated with them too, but much less frustrated than us. She’s not living in a building site. 

From what you say, in my opinion, the responsibility here lies entirely with the architect. I retract my suggestion of communicating directly with the contractor/company because if you have an architect that's their job (communicating with the contractor directly might confuse the order of rule causing delays and headaches for all). Also, it doesn't matter if the contractor has 'bigger projects' - this was simply bad management by the architect. Lastly, they should be 'living' on-site, that's the job.

 

 

On 24/07/2020, 17:49:05, CelticTiger said:

to give examples some walls are not yet insulated externally with Dämmung. It’s mostly done, but some gaps remain. External pipes not connected correctly for drainage. Some plastering incomplete. Building materials not removed. Windows in correctly sealed. It’s in my eyes about a weeks work with right equipment.

Sounds like some expensive mistakes.. strangely unprofessional considering the firm is big? ... 

But also, this will be an expensive 'return' for the contractor. As they now will likely need to rebook ex. a container at their cost etc. + specialized workers. ...

 

 

On 24/07/2020, 17:49:05, CelticTiger said:

The only thing remaining will be the Schlussrechnung.

How it's usually divided differs based on project. But the SR should never amount to less than ca. 30% of the whole, very generally speaking. Have you also paid so much to the architect? 

 

 

On 24/07/2020, 17:49:05, CelticTiger said:

She’s set at least 10 deadlines in meantime. But it has no impact, talking to the wind.

I'm very sorry to say but to resolve this you will likely have to incur some extra costs of your own OR keep up with this until 202X (and then pay for the weather/usage damage yourself). ...

 

What I personally would do (noting that my suggestions are based solely on the info available on this thread) is:

- get 2 or 3 feelers out: make the list (with photos) of the Restarbeiten. This needs to be complete and exact. Send it to 2 or 3 well-researched contractor companies for evaluation, timeline and cost.

- feed this back to the architect + an estimate of your losses.

 

(...)

 

I've been mulling over how to suggest the next steps... it feels super strange because I feel like I lack more info as well as the fact that this is an open forum... (whilst the topic is getting particular).

 

Either way, let me know how it's going so far.

 

Kind regards - Monamon

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Thanks for detailed answers.  after very stressful few days some progress has been made.

 

Whether wise or not, because we needed to get our drive laid and this was planned, booked, and now upon us, the (small family) firm laying our Drive did some small parts of the remaining work, just so they could themselves progress. The building company still had done nothing at all, but when informed the Architekt went completely ballistic. And was (overly) emotional too. Tears were shed. Horrible.

 

After everyone calmed down over weekend the building companies Bauleiter came on site, and Architekt, and us, and drive-laying firm, and ... a way forward was found. They have had workmen onsite every day since. Almost all open items are closed, though we need Architekt to validate the work. When doing so she discovered some mistakes, oversights on earlier work, but I hope nothing serious.

 

Couple of little things remain open - example is they had a box which was connected for Baustrum, not our box, but still needs to be disconnected and taken away. Sounds simple but apparently might take couple of weeks to organise. And our underfloor heating isn’t working correctly in all rooms, at least I believe so, though it’s really difficult to demonstrate in middle of summer. 
 

we’ve paid Architekt ca: 80% of her total bill. She was responsible for Bauphasen 1-8, not 9, as per HOAI. To be honest I’m ok with that aspect. We’re 2 years in since signing up for the project with her, and as written it had been mostly ok until we moved in. Slightly over budget and slightly late, but not dramatically in either case. We are also not perfect customer

 

But the most recent events have really shaken us. I’m musing whether to pay Gutachter to check Architekts work, especially around heating systems and building insulation. Sadly when trust is damaged it’s hard to repair. 
 

CT

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