ParrisWhittaker advises couple on construction claim

After one man recently made public his complaints about the performance of his contractor, another resident is coming forward to tell her story, claiming that shoddy work by her contractor which needs to be redone is going to cost her an additional $30,000.

Last week, Corey Damianos shared his experience of having a contractor work on his home for more than five years with it still not being completed.

Nicole Pinder says she and her husband contracted the services of Knowles Build-ers and Investors to build a duplex in the Lincoln Green Subdivision. According to her, work was supposed to have begun in December 2009 and was slated to be completed by December 2010.

However, Pinder alleges that the pace of the work began slowing down around October last year and eventually stopped, with the home being far from complete.

Pinder said she and her husband questioned the quality of the work that was done.
“My husband and I were very frustrated about the whole situation, just the mere fact of us not being able to move into the home at the time he stated and then at the same time we were paying all this interest at the bank,” she said.

“We started noticing that the quality looked a little off. Now, my husband and I aren’t contractors, but some things you look at and you can tell if it doesn’t look straight and whatever concerns we had, anything that we saw that looked funny we would always question him about it, and he would reassure us that the quality of the work was up to standard.”
Pinder said she and her husband decided to terminate the contract and find a new contractor to complete their home.

As they were advised to do by the bank which provided them with the loan, the couple paid a civil engineering firm to conduct an assessment of the work that was done to date, before they hired a new contractor. In the engineer’s report, the company found that there were a number of deficiencies in the quality of workmanship at the site. Among the engineer’s observations was that the construction of the exterior concrete block walls showed signs of poor installation and represented “a less than ideal install which is of lesser value than was contracted for.”
Additionally, the report states, the floors in the building are not level and have not been jointed, resulting in numerous cracks developing.

The engineer also indicated there are “very troubling concerns” as it relates to the roof.
It was recommended that the clients have the roof framing plans reviewed by a structural engineer and the framing inspected for conformity to the approved plans. An area of major concern according to the report, is a “belly” or lowly pitched area over the patio of the house, for which the roofer made a fix that the appraiser said is not sufficient and would likely result in numerous challenges in the short term. Some of the doors and windows in the building are installed in rough openings that are oversized, the report continues, an issue the contractor addressed by installing wood blocking to fill the void.

This “excessive blocking,” states the report, means that it will be extremely difficult to make the doors and windows structurally sound against wind loading. When they are finished with plaster, the report further states, it is highly likely that the plaster will crack and possibly the door or window not operate properly. Yet another area of concern that the report addressed is that some concrete beams and columns have been filled with too much concrete, causing the forms to swell and concrete to escape.

There are also areas where the reinforcing steel bars are exposed and not covered with concrete, and where the ceilings do not meet the walls neatly, with up to one and a half inch gaps left. The quality and workmanship of the installed materials show clear signs of insufficient supervision and unskilled craftsmen, the report reads, and the work is not at the standard typically found on the island. The engineer reported that a budget of $28,500 would have to be allocated to repair the work that was done improperly. Pinder said she and her husband were extremely upset to learn of this development. “We had borrowed enough to do what he proposed that he would do, and then because of his carelessness, he cost us an additional $30,000. He put us in a bind. We had no intention of having to go back and borrow all of that money,” she said.

The couple decided to seek legal advice from attorney Jacy Whittaker of the firm ParrisWhittaker, who communicated their concerns to the contractor’s attorney, J. Kwasi Thompson. “He (Whittaker) advised that we move ahead with taking legal action to try and at least get the monies back that we had to borrow in addition and whatever costs we ended up having to incur as a result of his negligence,” Pinder said. Thompson responded in a letter which indicated that his client denies any and all allegations that his company performed substandard work, and stated that all construction work was carried out in accordance with the contract and that all work was approved by the Grand Bahama Port Authority and the bank’s inspectors.

The letter indicated that Knowles denies owing the Pinders money and is claiming that he is in fact owed a total of $30,400 for work he had completed but was not paid for.

By K. NANCOO-RUSSELL | FN Senior Reporter |
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