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Real Estate & Property Law

: Florida Community Association Construction Law Blog

HAVING A SAY ON WHO SHOWS UP TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPAIR PROJECT

By Alan E. Tannenbaum

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Most owners hire a general contractor for major repair projects based upon the track record of that contractor on similar projects.  But the reality for most general contractors is that performance varies from job to job.  Although there are a variety of possible causes for this variability, perhaps the most significant is the fact that different project superintendents and subcontractor crews show up to undertake one project versus another.  In essence, although your contract is with the "company", the odds of securing peak performance on your job is highly dependent on the particular superintendent and subcontractor crews who are assigned to your job.

In one job our firm was involved in (after the fact), it was disclosed in the course of discovery that the superintendent involved had been hired by the general contractor a week before the job began and was fired at the conclusion of the job.  In the end, the job in question ended up being the "tryout" with the company for this superintendent, a "tryout" that did not fare well, much to the detriment of the owner.

An owner can leave it to the discretion of the general contractor to assign the project superintendent and subcontractors for their job, hoping that the general contractor will assign their best superintendent and subcontractors.  But there is an option.  As part of the bid process, an owner can require that the bidders provide the resumes of the superintendents on their staff, as well as the subcontractors anticipated to be utilized for the job.  In inquiring of references, the owner can ask the references who the assigned superintendent and subcontractors were for their job.  If the owner wants to be even more in depth, it can inquire about who the crew chiefs were for the subcontractors on the other jobs.

Having vetted the available superintendents and subcontractors, it then becomes possible in the negotiation of the general contract to designate a particular project superintendent and particular subcontractors whom the general contractor must utilize for the performance of the work.  A provision could be added to the effect that if the general contractor due to exigencies outside of its control is required to replace that superintendent or certain subcontractors, the general contractor be obligated to find suitable replacements subject to the approval of the owner.  The result - - the owner has greater assurance that the best team the general contractor has to offer shows up to perform their job.

Full post as published by Florida Community Association Construction Law Blog on October 19, 2011 (boomark / email).

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