Friday, September 18, 2009


We are presently looking to see what our options are for pursing legal action against Paul David Plumbing. He has failed to deliver on the projects that he was contracted to complete, namely repairs to the roof, the chimney, and our gutters, supplying us with excuse after excuse after excuse.

He had said (and I should have specified further in our contract) that he had talked with a roofing firm who was to repair our roof and that he would only act as assistant. Now, with excuse after excuse, he's begun the work on the roof, himself. First he completed some work on the breezeway, which acceptable. Then he began to work on the main roof of the house. The slates that he had ordered were not long enough for the job, but he did not realize that. As a result, as installed, they do not have sufficient overlap. Further, the framing of our roof curves out, and the proper slate shims were not installed to avoid stress upon the slate.

This guy doesn't know what he's doing. He's taking forever. Right now, there's a big open chunk on our roof and we're screwed.

I bring up these issues and he just comes up with one excuse and then another. It's always going to be done in just a couple days, just a couple days more.

I just don't know how to handle all this. I'm freaking out because I feel I have no options. I'm not going to be able to meet the deadlines that the city has set for addressing the violations on the house, and I'm going to have a big hole open on my roof all winter.

On the plus side right now, and this is really the only thing on the plus side, the first gutter that was sent out to be repaired was returned today, and looks great. The gutter is copper, and they were able to roll out all the dents, thus that it looks like the rest of the gutters, or perhaps a bit better.


Karen Anne said...

One thing I would do is lodge a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. That will help others, and may get some of your money back. You can do this via the web.

Then, just imho, I would right away stop him from flailing around on the roof and get a responsible company to fix the roof, if your budget can handle it. It sounds like he is only going to make things worse. If nothing else, perhaps a new company can make sure the roof is watertight over the winter by some means until the real fix can get done.

I'd also throw yourself on the mercy of the city, bringing the contract with you and photos of the bad work, and ask for an extension in the deadline. If they know you were trying but ran into this mess, reasonable people should extend it. If not, maybe there is a supervisor or somesuch you could appeal to.

I don't know how useful small claims court is in retrieving deposits and partial payments...

Hang in there. Get the roof watertight and the city extension and you can breath easier and then sort the rest of this out.

Jennylou's Projects said...

If you fail to meet the city's guidelines and they aren't willing to extend them, you'll end up in court, I'm guessing, in front of a local magistrate (that's how it works just a bit west of you). Any reasonable magistrate will order the city to give you more time.

I suggest that you find a replacement for your contractor now and fire the one that you have. There still may be time to fix the roof before winter, depending upon how quickly winter shows.

Lynn said...

Contact the Cleveland Restoration Society and ask them for recommendations on contractors who are familiar with and have experience working on older houses. We've been very pleased with the contractors they've suggested. A $50 yearly membership in Angie's List will pay for itself over and over again.

artemis said...

You may also want to check out the Casa Decrepit houseblog (, and maybe email them---they had huge contractor issues with the firm doing their foundation a few years back and ultimately did end up in court. They still occasionally write up "lessons learned" both from the contracting process itself and from the legal battle, and 'm sure would also be happy to go into much greater detail on strategies/tactics offline.

Every city's different, but I now ours grants extensions for situations like this (although sometimes for a fee)....definitely worth asking!

Karen Anne said...


I remember reading the Casa Decrepit foundation saga. I know you are distressed now, but at least your house isn't falling into a hole, possibly taking the neighbor's house with it, like theirs was. And the guys they hired to fix things were great.

I hope you are feeling better. Just get the roof covered, and take a deep breath.

Dennis M Crookshanks said...


If you need some help with the roof let me know. I don't know if I can get the proper slate for the job before the snow flies, but I can seal the roof for the winter if need be.

Dennis M. Crookshanks

Chelsea & Liam said...

Woah, I'm so sorry this has happened. Did you check with the city...because they often have a list of contractors that are bonded and insured with the city and are reccommended.

BBB really won't get your money back unfortunately.

We never paid any contractors until they were done with the job and if it's point of sale, they shouldn't be let off the hook until they make sure the job is cleared by the city.

Don't worry so much about the city's deadlines. You can ask for an extensiion and in most cases, that should be granted. They only want to see that progress is being made.

You'll be okay. We had some really good contractors work for us.

Doug Sherma did our initial point of sale stuff. He was really professional, polite, timely, and even went beyond the contract to make sure we passed code. I don't know if he does slate roofs, but he might. I can get you his contact info, if you want it.