An update, but still in limbo

It's been nearly four weeks since our previous builder walked off the job and left us with a half-finished house, large cost over-runs, and major deficiencies. It's been a very stressful time trying to get the project restarted and a brief update for friends and family who're following this story is probably due.

We contacted the subtrades and ensured that they had been paid. We were also given a staggering invoice from the builder, and according to the contract budget and the work done, I calculated that the invoice was four times higher than it should have been. There are many deficiencies and problems that hadn't been corrected. A lot of work was so poorly done that it has to be redone.

Significant structural work was left uncompleted. This is very disappointing as the City Inspector, the engineering firm we hired, and the architect's office, were all ostensibly monitoring progress and keeping things on track. However, the builder had made several unauthorized deviations from the plan, removing a critical part of the foundation and leaving out required steel supporting parts.  And although we had been invoiced and paid for the carport excavation, footings and structural work, no carport was actually built at all or even started.

So, this means we have jack posts with concrete pads to install in the basement, and we have to open the exterior walls and weld in some steel hangers, install and LVL beam, and add a Simpson strap and tie-down to a post that was supposed to be metal and for some reason was instead replaced with a stack of 2x6's by the builder.

In any case, after clearing up the trades we retained a lawyer to draw up a release letter to close things off cleanly with the contractor, and negotiated a settlement to pay half of what they wanted, which was still double what it should have been and leaves way more than that amount worth of deficiencies that will have to be fixed.

Then it turned out that the builders crew damaged the Hydro One power lines last fall during demolition and didn't want to pay for it.  Our lawyer said in no uncertain terms that this is completely the builder's responsibility, as is fulfilling all of his debts and obligations to his suppliers up to the time of the termination of the contract.

Evidently materials that were left by some of the subcontractors to come back and finish their work had also disappeared from the site as well. We know the builder's crew illegally broke into the property to retrieve a ladder, taking some private property as well.

We spoke to some potential builders and through some friends were put into contact with a company that is now working on firming up a contract to complete the work. Needless to say it will cost a lot more than we planned for and will take away most of our equity in the house that we had built up.  It has to be done, though.  And I guess it's necessary to take this time to get properly restarted with a new builder.  Hopefully next week I'll be able to write about the plan going forward.

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