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Randall L. Cox
Senior Member
Username: randy_cox

Post Number: 6
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 03:53 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I've been using/leaving in what seems to be standard language in Part 3: INSPECTION, directing (the installer?) to notify the Architect of defects or unsatisfactory preparation. I am beginning to question why reporting problems to the Architect rather than the GC is appropriate. (I understand that the specifications as all other correspondence is between the Architect and the GC, but what are we looking for here, assuming this is new construction?) Has anyone had any experiences that bear on the use of this phrase?
Ronald L. Geren, RA, CSI, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: specman

Post Number: 54
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 03:56 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The specifications are written for the GC, not the subcontractor. So, the language is correct in that the GC is to report to the Architect. Only the GC is contractually bound to the Contract, so therefore, all the language in the specifications should be written to address the GC.
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 82
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 08:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

If the defective or unsatisfactory work is new, and if the contractor is responsible for all work (as is the case), what is the point of reporting work that is unsatisfactory? Why would the contractor report something that would have to be fixed at the contractor's expense?
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 261
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 08:30 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

In Masterspec, many of the paragraphs requiring reports are part of an examination requirement, for which the Installer or Applicator must be present. By requiring a report on conditions, there is a burden placed on the contractor, and her or his sub, to be actively examining the conditions before signing the report. So even though the contractor is ultimately responsible, it pulls in the subs to some exent. It clearly is better to have the argument about substrates before the sub in question does their work, rather than after.

However, in my years of CA, I have never actually seen such a report produced.
Gerard Sanchis (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 06:56 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I agree with Sheldon, assuming that the contractor reports to the architect, what is the architect going to do about it? Report it back to the contractor? We may well have invented perpetual motion here.

Our specs simply state that the “in place work” is to be examined (not inspected as we believe only inspectors inspect on a job site) and that conditions detrimental to the installation of the product specified must be corrected before proceeding further. I don’t believe there is more to say, in fact it should be somewhere in Division One and said just once.
David R. Combs, CSI, CCS, CCCA
Username: davidcombs

Post Number: 3
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 08:54 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

See also A-201 General Conditions, '97 edition, paragraph 3.3.3 (3.3.4 in the '87 edition):

"The Contractor shall be responsible for inspection of portions of Work already performed to determine that such portions are in proper condition to receive subsequent Work."

So if "subsequent Work" is installed on an improperly-prepared substrate, the Contractor is essentially in breach of Contract. Additionally, it could be said that the Architect has a duty to reject the non-conforming work and, if necessary, withhold payment until it has been corrected.

Notification of the Architect in the event of the discovery of an improperly-prepared substrate never really enters into the equation, nor voids the tools the Architect has at its disposal to remedy the situation.
Kenneth C. Crocco
Senior Member
Username: kcrocco

Post Number: 7
Registered: 04-2003
Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 03:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

There is also a contract between contractor and subcontractor. That contract will typcally transfer some of the obligations of the contractor to the subcontractor. Therefore, in this instance, the subcontractor is obligated to the general contractor to inspect and report unsatisfactory preparation. The contractor has a right (through contractor's contract) to rely on this requirement. That is, if the subcontractor inspects the substrate and makes no report, the contractor can rely on the understanding that the substrate was acceptable after inspection. This requirement is for the benefit of everyone on the project; it protects the contractor as well. Specifications are requirements from the Owner to the contractor; we are not addressing the contractor per se, "dear ms contractor!" but rather using imperative statements of requirements for whomever they apply to for the benefit of the owner.
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 02:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I may be squinting at gnats, but I can think of several reasons to keep the provision, directing the contractor to report defects and unsatisfactory preparation to the architect, in the specs. I also think that, because it is a requirement of which we would like subcontractors to be aware, it is best stated in the individual sections rather than in the general requirements that are so often not passed on to subcontractors. Some reasons I came up with for keeping the provision were as follows:

-These defects and unsatisfactory preparations can affect the construction schedule and therefore may require a modification to the contract (via change order, CCD, ASI, etc.) Failure to promptly report these defects to the architect could increase the delay (and cost) to the owner, whom we are supposed to be serving. Justified or not, the owner will be more inclined to partially blame the architect if there is no provision requiring the contractor to promptly report the defects. This provision helps ensure that all parties understand that it is clearly the contractor’s responsibility to report the defects and unsatisfactory preparations, absolving the architect of all possible blame for not noticing the problems sooner.

-Sometimes defects and unsatisfactory preparation can prompt a change in design. The owner and architect may choose to use another product or process instead of spending the time to re-order a product or wait for demolition and re-preparation of a substrate. This provision allows the architect to have a voice, in the construction process, that he wouldn’t otherwise have.

-The owner benefits from the opportunity to assess the contractor’s competence, honesty, and control over his subcontractors. If defects and unsatisfactory preparation are consistently found that were not reported by the contractor to the architect, the owner may know whom not to include in the bid pool for the next construction project.

-This provision can help increase the pressure on the contractor to be honest about defects and unsatisfactory preparation that occur during construction. In the sometimes-volatile construction meetings, many contractors enjoy nothing more than parading the architect’s and spec writer’s errors in front of the owner. This provision in the specs gives one more weapon to the architect as the architect can now point out any defects discovered that were not reported to the architect as required. When the contractor knows that the architect intends to point out this provision to the owner every time an unreported defect is discovered, the contractor may very well make a more concerted effort to be honest and perhaps might even try harder to avoid such defects – okay, and then I woke up.

-Contractors should be expected to have integrity and be honest with the owner, but we all know it isn’t always the case. It cannot hurt to ask for it.

-Most of us spec writers know that the contractor is responsible for construction, but many owners, building users, and their legal entities might not be so easily convinced – or might not even care. Whether it’s fair or not, they will continue to expect the architect to have thoroughly examined the work and to have found all the defects and unsatisfactory prep work before they could become a big problem. The reality is - the more defects missed by the architect, the more willing the client will be to look for another architect for the next project. Regardless of the fact that many contractors are ignoring the stated provision, we are neglectful if we do not continue to seek all the help we can possibly get in finding those defects.

Owners feel better knowing that we have directed the contractor to cooperate and keep the architect well informed about matters such as this. Even if the provision is largely ignored by contactors and has little real value, we can only benefit from scoring points with the owner.

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