Homeowner Pressured to Cut Costs on a Well-Funded Project?

And, We Must to Do All the Prep Work!

Can’t flush this B.S., so just sit back and take the abuse.

A Second Pre-Construction Meeting – December, 2011

The builder “won” the bid, then accepted and agreed to the plans and specifications. But, prior to a shovel touching the dirt, we were already having meetings to discuss cutting costs. How could that be necessary? If, there wasn’t enough money, that was now the bidders problem, NOT ours!

Items discussed at this meeting were follows:

• Concerns were expressed by all, regarding the lack of any additional funds to pay for extras.  Lack of additional funds? Yep, you heard it! It’s amazing that a Grant for $241K would provide little room for extras — when originally, the Borough Engineer said there was “too much money in the Grant!”

It was discussed, yet again, what items could be dealt with outside of the contract, to reduce costs. We, the homeowners were expected to do a large part of what the Builder bid on before he was awarded the contract!

We took on the cost and work of:

a.) Removal of asbestos shingles from utility room and paid to drop off.
b.) Dismantled new patio, front walk, raised beds, stone and blue stone path. Stacked everything neatly out of workspace and/or placed on skids and wrapped.
c.) Removed and burlapped all shrubs.
d.) Removed front fence, gate and posts for Engineer’s required drilling & soil testing.
e.) Removed rear fence panels for worker’s access.
f.) Placed all vinyl siding, that was removed from utility room, neatly inside home for reuse and savings. (Builder and helpers walked all over it).

Originally, the Borough Engineer said there was “too much money in the Grant!”

• Also presented at this meeting was the need for a “Schedule of Values,” so that as $$extras$$ came along, we could eliminate things from the end of the project, knowing their dollar value. These eliminated items could then be finished by the homeowner without interfering with the Builder’s permits. Hmmm, ok.

• Exchange of steel support members in garage area for engineered beams. Contractor was to obtain pricing for “significant” savings. What a joke!

• Discussed again, is elevating the house one additional course of blocks or 8 inches. Following the information that had been presented by the Borough Engineer and Architect, the home could only be elevated an additional 8″ without exceeding the town’s height ordinance. It was agreed by the Borough Engineer in front of the Borough Clerk, one Council member, the Builder and another member of the engineering firm, that – as long as the added blockwork did not exceed 38 1/2 feet, it would be okay. Truth being told, the Architect and Engineer were both using the WRONG ELEVATION NUMBERS and the final elevation of the house was truly 2 FT shy of the ordinance! We did’t know that yet and we foolishly believed what we were told by these so-called, well-paid, professionals. The cost of any additional work, such as this, was to be borne by the homeowner. The discussion then moved to what rate we would have to pay for this labor – i.e. prevailing wage or regular wage. Because the builder felt he could not separate the block work from the Grant-related work, it was determined that we would have to pay prevailing wage. The Builder was asked to provide pricing.

The construction start date was then set for March 5, 2012.

We, the homeowners were expected to do a large part of what the Builder bid on before he was awarded the contract! The removal of asbestos siding and paver patio.

Removing our patio.
Despite placing our patio pavers on a pallet and wrapping them neatly, the Builder destroyed them anyway.
What a Mess! Thanks.
A $241K Grant can’t cover these costs?

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act resposibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.


Author: Laurie