• Protip: Profile posts are public! Use Conversations to message other members privately. Everyone can see the content of a profile post.

What would you do in this situation?

Sorry to hear about such a seemingly uncorectable screwup,or missunderstanding.As you read these replies you get the full range of usefull advice.I would not assume the builder is being a pr#$@ to you only,thats the bussiness :frown: I would if I were you determine what the real $ difference is in house value in this area using your real estate person with 8vs 9 foot foundations.It is silly to ask for other stuff without knowing what the damage is.You may still be able to get a 6.5 or 7 foot ceiling hieght in the basement if they can be creative with the hvac.
 
We all know the (hopefully) urban myth about the food being sent back and the new dish having some "special ingrediants". Do you really want to upset the builder when there is still 2/3 of the construction left, where he can cut corners to recoupe his money or screw with other aspects out of spite?

Using the burger analogy, If I ordered a cheeseburger and it came without cheese, I'd accept them putting cheese on it. I wouldn't expect them to throw the plain burger away and start over to build me a cheeseburger the way I ordered it.

If you can't roll with the punches, then having a home built isn't for you. A perfect house has never been built.

Personally, If I was the builder I'd say "Sorry, we obviously aren't going to come to terms, so here's your deposit back. Have a nice day."
 
Pouring the wrong foundation is not a trivial mistake by any stretch of the imagination. Had the wrong kitchen counters been installed, the incorrect crown molding package installed, or carpet laid where hardwood was paid for... well that would be much closer to the analogy of going back to the McD's counter and asking for the 'cheese' to be put on.

The wrong foundation is a fundamental issue that cannot be 100% solved by the removal or addition of anything. It is much closer to ordering a brand new RL from Acura and then a being delivered the previous year's model RL without the new features which were the reasons you bought the car. They both have the same make/mfr, similar but not equal performance, and the interiors look relatively similar. However, no matter how many options you throw at the old RL, it's still a previous gen car and not the new RL you thought you paid for. For example, you couldn't go back to the dealer and ask them to correct the fact that the 2003 you were delivered doesn't have the 2005 RL's sh-awd transmission or ask for them to make the chasis of the 03 look the same as the 05. This is the nature of a fundamental mistake. In order to truly correct it, one must start over.

Dave is absolutely correct in saying that no perfect house has ever been built and extreme patience is often needed when having a house built. However, most mistakes and problems have relatively simple remedies.... unfortunatley for jlindy, the wrong foundation is not one of them.

Docjohn makes a very good point in that you must in short order quantify what this mistake means to you in $'s. Time, moving expenses from first house, market changes since time of contract, and value of the 8/9ft blunder are all variables to be included. Certainly an experienced real estate attorney will be able to come up with a sound figure. From this point, it is much easier to determine if working something out is an option or if you must pursue leagal action.
 
The builder is being an a$$ if he is blaming you. Politely ask him who has the builder's liscense. Since you clearly contracted for the 9 foot, determine the cost delta for the extra foot. They did charge you for the 9 feet, right? Talk to another builder and get quotes for the difference. That will represent the actual cost that the builder saved by shortchanging you. So for him to behave that he does not owe you anything is ridiculous, and he would lose if he was in front of an arbitrator.
That value represents the lowest compensation you should get. Since the finished product value may be worth more than the cost, there could be room for more compensation but this is where it gets tough to value. I disagree that it is worth 10% of the house value, and think that most courts would too. It is a basement, and your perception of the reduced value is very different from future buyers. Most home resale values are determined by location, curb appeal, fitness for the buyer's needs and the wow factor of the areas that matter most to the owners. This matters a little, but not as much as you think.
 
T Bolen said:
The builder is being an a$$ if he is blaming you. Politely ask him who has the builder's liscense. Since you clearly contracted for the 9 foot, determine the cost delta for the extra foot. They did charge you for the 9 feet, right? Talk to another builder and get quotes for the difference. That will represent the actual cost that the builder saved by shortchanging you. So for him to behave that he does not owe you anything is ridiculous, and he would lose if he was in front of an arbitrator.
That value represents the lowest compensation you should get. Since the finished product value may be worth more than the cost, there could be room for more compensation but this is where it gets tough to value. I disagree that it is worth 10% of the house value, and think that most courts would too. It is a basement, and your perception of the reduced value is very different from future buyers. Most home resale values are determined by location, curb appeal, fitness for the buyer's needs and the wow factor of the areas that matter most to the owners. This matters a little, but not as much as you think.

Agreed.
 
Find out if they are willing to unbolt the plates from the foundation, jack the house up and build the foundation higher, either with block/masonry or by using wood to build a small "knee wall" on which to reset the house. It's probably way less expensive to do it that way. JMO
 
Dave Hardy said:

I agree as well with most of everything said. The builder is going to give us back the difference between the two pours, move around the HVAC so we recoup a more acceptable ceiling height in about 60% of the basement, (still not as high as we contract for though) and he will throw in a couple of extra basement windows. He claims it will cost them about $3,000 to do all of this so at least it is something.

Dave, we really arent THAT picky and expect a few little snags here and there. It is just that the foundation is not a little snag, just like Sig's analogy of delivering the old RL instead of the new one. We really love the house and don't want to start over especially since we already sold and moved out of our old house. The bottom line is that if the ceiling height is better than it should be, that just might have to be enough even if it is not as high as we would have liked. I still think it would be fair to throw in a couple of more options, or build a retaining wall for the trouble but I guess he is not on the same page.
 
Sig, you nailed it.
Good luck Jeff. Get what you paid for. The builder does not lose, let him right off the loss against his expenses and cost of doing the project. A luxury that he has, not the buyer. I would also make a point to visit the sight even more often now. Review your remaining build out blue prints. Make sure he doesn't forget to do anything else.
 
What would you do in this situation?

The same thing I do in all situations...not expect anyone to do their job correctly without me looking over their shoulders.
If it were very important to me to have 9 foot ceilings I would have called the builder 3 or more times and made sure he knew to pour 9 foot ceilings. Then I would have also met with him on the job site and repeated to him "I want 9 foot ceiling in the foundation" over and over until he repeated it back to me.
When the house was finished he probabbly would not like me but I couldn't care less what he likes. I am the one who has to live in the house not him.
 
Jeff,

At least you have a 3 car garage and you can get an NSX again to go with your Beast!! How is the M5 treating you? I have not driven mine for over month and yes, I did buy it!! Good luck with the house stuff, not much you can do now but get out of contract and build again with the basement the way you WANT it!!

Dan
 
Zman said:
Jeff,

At least you have a 3 car garage and you can get an NSX again to go with your Beast!! How is the M5 treating you? I have not driven mine for over month and yes, I did buy it!! Good luck with the house stuff, not much you can do now but get out of contract and build again with the basement the way you WANT it!!

Dan

The M5 is awesome, but don't like having it as my only car because I don't want to put the miles on it for my job. Not at a point where I can get another vehicle though. I probably won't keep it after the warranty is up because even a small glitch is an expensive repair.

We have looked around at other developements in our price range and haven't found anything that we liked that has 3 car garage, wooded lot, and a house that we liked. With all the duct work changes they are going to do, it won't be that bad, but we are still annoyed at the principle of the thing. If anybody in St. Louis knows of new or existing houses with the above, please let me know. :smile:


Sig, excellent analogy by the way. I was looking for a better way to verbalize my situation. :smile:

Len, great suggestion about going over plans again to make sure that nothing is missed. I have been over there every three or four days, but it is after the workers have left. We did bring them a cooler of beer and soda one afternoon to tell them thank you before all of this happened. Late afternoon is best so that we don't have drunk people working on our house. :biggrin:
 
I gotta weigh in on this one, as I am an attorney.

You have a contract which specifies a particular method of performance, i.e., you are entitled to receive a 9 foot pour in your basement.

The builder is in breach. However, this does not normally entitle you to avoid the contract entirely. To avoid the contract would require that the breach be material, which is legalspeak for "basically in violation of the fundamental essence of the contract, rendering proper performance impossible." Like if he built a 2 story house instead of a one story house. Something very major. Whether this is such a breach or not is up to a court to decide as a matter of law. But, if YOU materially breach and then the court determines that the other party's breach was NOT material, then YOU are the one in the hotseat. You are NOT entitled to breach a contract merely because the other party has himself breached it.

However, as the victim of breach, you are entitled to compensation for the difference in value between what you contracted for and what was delivered. Whoever says that this is hard to figure is full of sh!t. You get appraisers in there, expert witnesses, and they do an evaluation of how much more a house would be worth with one configuration versus another. Courts do this crap all the time. You think this is the first suit ever over a custom home? Happens all the time and courts routinely fix damages.

Your first step needs to be to figure out what your damages are. Certainly "lack of enjoyment" is worth something but don't expect to win a "huge cash award" like they advertise on TV. You haven't lost the enjoyment of your penis or arm or your child or anything serious. It's one less foot in a ceiling. You won't likely get squat for that. Essentially, your damages are roughly whatever the house is worth as delivered versus as contracted.

When the builder tells you that you can escape the contract and he can sell it for more tomorrow, tell him, and I quote, that he can shove that idea up his ass. If he is so confident of this, counter with the proposal that he sell it tomorrow and give YOU the excess proceeds and then you will walk away. I'm sure that'll go over smashingly with him.

Your tack of argument MUST remain: I don't give a sh!t what you can sell this house for tomorrow or if you can con your own damned mom into giving you her left nut for it, you are obligated to deliver this house AS CONTRACTED and that is what you are going to do. If you cannot do that, then we must discuss remuneration to me for your FAILURE to deliver this house AS CONTRACTED.

They are NOT doing you a favor by rerouting the HVAC and all this other bullsh!t in order to placate you. Find out how much the 8 foot pour diminishes the value of the home. Take the HVAC reroute, free windows, and plumbing joints PLUS the difference in value.

THEY are the ones in the wrong here. You are not. As such, you have to examine this from their perspective. How much will it cost them to conduct a court fight with you in which you stand a high likelihood of recouping your attorney's fees plus damages? THAT is what YOU should charge THEM for not suing their stupid asses.

The only thing THEY have going for them is that YOU really, really, really, really want this house and are willing to overlook their failure to perform in order to get a house. Car salesmen use this ALL the time to SCAM customers. So, they throw in some wood shift knobs to get buyers to buy a car they are not really happy with. This is bait and switch. Demand what YOU contracted for, what THEY offered, what you severally agreed upon and what YOU are paying for.

I mean, I see this from the plaintiff's perspective. You are going to let them get away with giving you a house of substantially less worth plus the cash necessary to bring it up to par with a 9-foot poured house. AND, they are going to additionally add value to it instead of spending the same cash value on their and your attorneys to fight a case they are going to lose. They KNOW that the $3000 windows are worth $1000 in parts and $500 of illegal day labor, whereas the attorneys REALLY cost $3000. IOW, it is in THEIR best interests to give YOU $x in value in the house instead of actually spending $x in cash because they can add that $x in value for way less cost than $x.

Also, they've got hotel bills to consider for all this extra time it's gonna take to complete, appraisers' fees, architects, experts, etc., all the costs you're going to pray for in your complaint.

First step, get a professional to assess the difference in value.
 
liftshard said:
I gotta weigh in on this one, as I am an attorney.

You have a contract which specifies a particular method of performance, i.e., you are entitled to receive a 9 foot pour in your basement.

The builder is in breach. However, this does not normally entitle you to avoid the contract entirely. To avoid the contract would require that the breach be material, which is legalspeak for "basically in violation of the fundamental essence of the contract, rendering proper performance impossible." Like if he built a 2 story house instead of a one story house. Something very major. Whether this is such a breach or not is up to a court to decide as a matter of law. But, if YOU materially breach and then the court determines that the other party's breach was NOT material, then YOU are the one in the hotseat. You are NOT entitled to breach a contract merely because the other party has himself breached it.

However, as the victim of breach, you are entitled to compensation for the difference in value between what you contracted for and what was delivered. Whoever says that this is hard to figure is full of sh!t. You get appraisers in there, expert witnesses, and they do an evaluation of how much more a house would be worth with one configuration versus another. Courts do this crap all the time. You think this is the first suit ever over a custom home? Happens all the time and courts routinely fix damages.

Your first step needs to be to figure out what your damages are. Certainly "lack of enjoyment" is worth something but don't expect to win a "huge cash award" like they advertise on TV. You haven't lost the enjoyment of your penis or arm or your child or anything serious. It's one less foot in a ceiling. You won't likely get squat for that. Essentially, your damages are roughly whatever the house is worth as delivered versus as contracted.

When the builder tells you that you can escape the contract and he can sell it for more tomorrow, tell him, and I quote, that he can shove that idea up his ass. If he is so confident of this, counter with the proposal that he sell it tomorrow and give YOU the excess proceeds and then you will walk away. I'm sure that'll go over smashingly with him.

Your tack of argument MUST remain: I don't give a sh!t what you can sell this house for tomorrow or if you can con your own damned mom into giving you her left nut for it, you are obligated to deliver this house AS CONTRACTED and that is what you are going to do. If you cannot do that, then we must discuss remuneration to me for your FAILURE to deliver this house AS CONTRACTED.

They are NOT doing you a favor by rerouting the HVAC and all this other bullsh!t in order to placate you. Find out how much the 8 foot pour diminishes the value of the home. Take the HVAC reroute, free windows, and plumbing joints PLUS the difference in value.

THEY are the ones in the wrong here. You are not. As such, you have to examine this from their perspective. How much will it cost them to conduct a court fight with you in which you stand a high likelihood of recouping your attorney's fees plus damages? THAT is what YOU should charge THEM for not suing their stupid asses.

The only thing THEY have going for them is that YOU really, really, really, really want this house and are willing to overlook their failure to perform in order to get a house. Car salesmen use this ALL the time to SCAM customers. So, they throw in some wood shift knobs to get buyers to buy a car they are not really happy with. This is bait and switch. Demand what YOU contracted for, what THEY offered, what you severally agreed upon and what YOU are paying for.

I mean, I see this from the plaintiff's perspective. You are going to let them get away with giving you a house of substantially less worth plus the cash necessary to bring it up to par with a 9-foot poured house. AND, they are going to additionally add value to it instead of spending the same cash value on their and your attorneys to fight a case they are going to lose. They KNOW that the $3000 windows are worth $1000 in parts and $500 of illegal day labor, whereas the attorneys REALLY cost $3000. IOW, it is in THEIR best interests to give YOU $x in value in the house instead of actually spending $x in cash because they can add that $x in value for way less cost than $x.

Also, they've got hotel bills to consider for all this extra time it's gonna take to complete, appraisers' fees, architects, experts, etc., all the costs you're going to pray for in your complaint.

First step, get a professional to assess the difference in value.

That is great advice. I don't think that I have ever heard loss of penis, arm, or child in the same sentence before. :biggrin: As far as pinning down the loss of monetary damages, I spoke with a defense attorney that usually handles claims on the builder's side and he said the same thing. However, both sides will have to spend money to have competing appraisers and you can bet their appraiser will say the value has not been affected. They are going to give us the $ difference between what the 9 foot cost and what the 8 foot cost, but it doesn't compensate me for any lost value in excess of that.

The advice we got was that we didn't want to get in a litigation over this because we could spend thousands of dollars to get a few back. They would do the same, but I know their pockets are deeper than mine. While not binding in court, it is a matter of ethics here. They SHOULD rearrange the duct work, but they should also give me something for my trouble because it would be a lot cheaper than doing it right.

The stupid free windows are only $350 per so we didn't get much there. They claim the moving of the HVAC was about $2500. We have to decide how much effort this is worth and I am getting worn out as it is. Sh!t or get off the pot right? :biggrin: If the ceilings are higher than they would have been before, does it make sense to spend time, headache, and lots of money for a few more extra inches? I'm not sure it does, but I just know my builder is an assjack that is more concerned with profit than reputation. At the very least, others will know what we have gone through, BBB, friends, news, etc.
 
Such is the nature of buying in a developer/builders community,esp if it is in a desirable spot :frown: But it sounds like you have the right attitude now,so just make sure you do spend more time at the site.Many builders can cover up short cuts with the drywall floors ect.. Your fun has just begun,as you deal with the miriad of finishes!Getting the frame up and such is the quick stuff,now comes the nickel and diming of what is and is not included in your allowances and going for upgrades without destroying your bugget.
 
Down in these parts, we do not have that problem. Got some land? Pick out your dream abode, and let them pull it over and you can move right in! I know what I am getting, because I was standing in it across town yesterday!

CASA DE SHUMDIT:
UTMobileHome.jpg


:biggrin: :wink: :biggrin:
 
Wow, this really brings up some bad memories. :biggrin: We are nearing completion of our basement and it has reminded me of this old thread. No need to read everything that was said in the past, but long story short, at the time of this in 2005 our builder screwed up our house and poured an 8 foot pour vs. a 9 foot pour. We were upset because we wanted to finish the basement in the near future and have normal height ceilings. After much arguing, the builder ended up moving HVAC to maximize the space, but we still have some really low spots that are only in a couple of small areas. Oh well.

Overall, it turned out great. I ended up doing a good portion of the post drywall work myself. (Bar, stone, tile, etc.) The ceilings are ok in about 90% of the basement, but it's that 10% that kills me. :smile: Here are a few basic pics. It doesn't hold a candle to all these "home theaters" I keep seeing lately but you got to stop the budget somewhere. ha, ha

<a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i5/jlindeval/mainarea.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>
<a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i5/jlindeval/bar.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>
<a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i5/jlindeval/halltostorage.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>
<a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i5/jlindeval/office.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>
<a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i5/jlindeval/presleyplayroom.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>
 
Nice work! And thanks for the follow up.Nice warming color pallet in you basement.So after it is all said and done how is the rest of the house!I assume the rest of the home was up to your expectation.
 
Nice work! And thanks for the follow up.Nice warming color pallet in you basement.So after it is all said and done how is the rest of the house!I assume the rest of the home was up to your expectation.

For the most part, things upstairs turned out fine except for a bit of truss uplift that we have been getting in spots on the top floor. We have done a lot of work getting the outside and inside near what we would like it to be. Never again do I buy a new home as they are more EXPENSIVE after you move in because of all you have to do. :wink:
 
What a great read this was. Your place looks great and I hopw you are more satisfied with it than you had supposed you would be with the mistake.

Just one thing, As I read the ENTIRE thread I noticed one big supposition: that it was a "mistake" that the builder made regarding the 8' pour. In my experience in the trades, unusual building requests such as yours often cost a lot more to do correctly than to "accidentally" do wrong.

Just my $.02
 
What a great read this was. Your place looks great and I hopw you are more satisfied with it than you had supposed you would be with the mistake.

Just one thing, As I read the ENTIRE thread I noticed one big supposition: that it was a "mistake" that the builder made regarding the 8' pour. In my experience in the trades, unusual building requests such as yours often cost a lot more to do correctly than to "accidentally" do wrong.

Just my $.02

Ah, never thought of it that way. However, I am not sure about the rest of the country, but it is not an unusual request for where I live. Most houses around here have a 9 foot pour and it is one of the first questions people ask when buying a walk about. Very common.
 
Consider yourself lucky......they don't even build basements in Houston(not even in Texas, that I know of). Looks great IMHO!

Regards,
- Z
 
Back
Top