Human is to err, so they say. And honestly, when we feel wronged, we can't resist the urge to cast blame - and the first stone! While a scorched-earth policy may feel good at the moment, it will only leave you feeling burnt in the long run - not to mention out of pocket. Besides, most commercial builders in Sydney are professionals who've probably made mistakes before. But they know how to fix them.
I mean, who doesn't? Are we invincible? Not by a mile. Well, if your contractor has made a boo-boo on your build, here's what you should do:
Take a Breath
It might sound counter-intuitive, but it won’t hurt to take a deep breath and calm down. It's only natural to feel upset when something goes wrong - especially if it's something you've been looking forward to for a long time. But try and remember that mistakes happen, and often they can be fixed without too much drama.
And hey, you're dealing with an expert who can rectify the situation. Ergo, take a step back, have a cup of tea (or something stronger - no judgment here!) and wait for the emotional tide to recede.
Talk to Your Contractor
Your next port of call should be your contractor. Most likely, they're aware of the issue, but it's important to touch base with them and discuss what could have gone wrong.
Usually, in the construction business, there are two (or more) sides to every story. Thus, before you start throwing around accusations, ask yourself - could it be that your contractor made an honest mistake? Are they pulling a fast one?
For context, my electrician once installed an outdoor light switch. It didn't work because the circuit breaker kept flipping, and I was convinced he was trying to convince me to pay for an extra job. It turns out, the outdoor light switch was just faulty. And once we replaced it, the problem was solved. So, before you accuse your contractor of anything, ensure you have all the facts.
Don't assume anything. To fix the problem, you need to first identify it. And who knows, maybe your contractor is working on a solution. Find out before marching in and demanding they fix it.
Get a Second Opinion
If you're still not convinced your contractor is being truthful, get a second opinion from another professional. This could be another builder or an expert in your contractor's service area.
For example, if they installed your kitchen benchtop upside down, get a carpenter to have a look and tell you if the mistake is fixable or if you need to replace the whole thing. An informed and objective opinion can help you deal with simmering tensions and also help you decide what to do next.
Determine the Cost of the Mistake
If the mistake is minor, your contractor should be able to fix it without too much fuss (or cost to you). However, if the error is more significant, you'll need to determine how much it will cost to repair.
Keep in mind some things – some items are irreparable. As such, a replacement would suffice. If the contractor is willing to shoulder the responsibility, great! If not, you may have to negotiate who will pay for what.
That said, it's not always about the money. The idea is to find common ground and a resolution that works for both parties. If it means adjusting your project's timeline or budget, then so be it. By working together to find a solution, you can avoid an all-out war with your contractor - which is never fun for anyone.
Consider Your Options
After establishing the cost of rectifying the mistake, start thinking about your options. If the damage is minor and won't set your project back too much, you could let your contractor fix it and move on. There's no point making a big deal out of it. Alternatively, you could ask for a discount on the final bill.
On the other hand, you may consider taking legal action for serious mistakes. This could mean terminating your contract, finding a new builder, or going through mediation to resolve your issue.
The same may apply if the contractor stands their ground and refuses to take responsibility for the mistake. If they're uncooperative, you may not have much choice but to take things up with their boss or get a lawyer involved.
Whatever you opt to do, act quickly and decisively. The sooner you address the problem, the faster you can get your project back on track.
Keep a Record of Communication
Throughout the process, keep track of all your communications with your contractor. We're talking about phone calls, emails, text messages, or letters. This helps refresh your memory if things get heated and may serve as evidence should you need to take legal action. Otherwise, the situation could get messy, and no one wants that.
Get Everything in Writing
Ensure you get everything in writing - especially if you agree with your contractor about repairs or discounts. This could be a simple email outlining what was agreed upon or a more formal contract amendment. You can avoid misunderstandings or disagreements later by ensuring you're both reading from the same script.
Plus, if push comes to shove and you need to take things to court, you'll have the documentation to back up your case - let's hope it doesn't get to that point. Even if you agree verbally, always get something in writing to avoid issues later. And by communicating openly and honestly with your contractor, you can maintain a good working relationship.
A formal agreement serves as a safeguard by outlining each party's responsibilities if something goes wrong. Without it, you'd be opening the door for debate over due dates, pay rates, and who's at fault - and we all know how that goes.
Construction mistakes happen, but that doesn't mean they have to ruin your relationship with your contractor. You can adopt a level-headed approach to deal with the situation and come to an amicable resolution - without screaming bloody murder! Well then, if you're planning to build or extend your home, consider talking to us or exploring our site at https://www.konnectbuilding.com.au/. We're not perfect, but we always aim to exceed our client's expectations - regardless of their project's scope.
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