To What Extent Are Contractors Responsible For Defective Materials Used On Jobsites?
Updated: May 16
To what extent are contractors responsible for materials used on jobsite?
A building contractor is responsible for the results of any particular job they engage in, to the extent of the contracted work, as long as the materials are not the cause of any failure and the contractor could not know in advance about such failure.
Problems related to construction claims of any kind, should be looked at and distinguished from problems related to failing materials or improper installation procedures.
The separation in between adverse results caused by installation problems and adverse results caused by materials failure is a very important factor to define the contractor’s responsibility on any matter pertaining to adverse results on a building project.
That being stated, adverse results due to substandard, poor quality or defective materials that were chosen by the client, should rarely be the contractor’s responsibility unless that the particular defect or result was obvious to the contractor and can be proven scientifically and/or proven from a technical point of view AND contractor deliberately installed in a different manner than the manufacturer recommends.
Remember that the keyword here is — AND. Keep in mind that some materials don’t even have a recommended installation guidelines, specially Chinese tiles and other imports.
To obtain that kind of proof, one would have to go to unimaginable levels of forensics and exploratory work, sample collection and other procedures that would not justify the expenses.
A new installation, specially for cheap materials, would take care of solving any problems with installations of finishing products.
If anyone goes to the extent of doing lab tests, exploratory work and incurs such expenses only to obtain some kind of proof of culpability of a contractor, I would immediately discredit the results as a reason for financial gains.
Nowadays, anyone can get an expert to prove just about anything to corroborate your case. Insurance companies do that all the time! But I digressed.
A very common complaint I have experienced in these 25 years in the building and contracting business, is the failure of lower quality finishing materials.
These materials are usually anything that you can look at, once a building is finished.
Now here is where this post takes a twist. Since you read this far, keep reading to the end no matter how you feel about this post.
My posts are designed to help our friendly network of sub contractors, but I am sure that customers and prospective customers are reading this too, so hold on to your chairs.
At least in the cases that I helped, these failures are always caused by a particular type of customer, yes I said customer, whose main goal is to save money by choosing the least expensive materials, haggling over prices and never giving one single thought to the reasons behind a price.
These clients are the first to call a contractor like you and request a free redo i