Electrician Talk banner
1 - 20 of 58 Posts

·
Registered
Electrician
Joined
·
4,474 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
First I would like to say that I have been "schooled" with this experience I'm about to explain.
Warning, this is a long story!

I have a customer that I did a job for a couple of months ago. It was running power to a building/barn on his property. This was feed power only, no work in the building. He wanted me to get someone to do the trenching so I hired a guy that I use for that.

I asked the customer about getting "locate" to come out and locate/mark anything that might be in the trench path. He said there were 3 things buried and that he done it himself and knew where all 3 were. The things were: a water line, a propane gas line, and a sewer/septic line.

Well when digging the trench I was watching for the guy trenching and just happened to see the water line before he would have hit it, so no problem there. Thing is, the water line was no where near where the guy said it was.:censored:

Then when digging where the gas line was said to be, we went over about 10' to avoid it. On the first scoop with the track hoe I heard the hissing noise, yep, hit the gas line!:mad: It too wasn't where the guy said it was. On top of that it couldn't have been over 8-10" deep.

Now to the area where the sewer line was supposed to be. We successfully went through that area without hitting or seeing the sewer line. We were all the way at the house by now finishing up where I was exiting the house with the feed. The bucket was hitting the footer so any noise wasn't alarming me any.

Then I saw water in the trench and the smell hit me. Yep, hit the sewer line. It also wasn't where the guy said it was.

Anyway, by the time we got all the hit lines repaired it was dark when the trench guy filled the trench back in. Then the next day it came a flood and the trench settled more than it would had it not rained that soon. The customer said he wanted the trench "dressed" better. He had talked to the trench guy about adding another septic system and he would have him go back over the trench then. So I was paid for the job and left.

Now to add to this already long story. The guy had already had someone rough-in the wiring in the building when I ran the feed. I told him then that it wouldn't pass inspection because he had the wrong wire in part of it and had put up drywall in some areas without getting a rough inspection.
So on my permit I stated what I did and told the inspector about the existing. Sure enough my feed work passed but the wiring inside didn't.

Now the guy asked me to finish wiring the barn and wanted me to ask the inspector what he wanted changed. Well the inspector was really lenient with him and only required a few things fixed/changed. One of which was just taking down a small section of drywall so he could see the wiring. There were a few other minor things so I told the guy I would do it. But I would only do it T&M since none of the wires were marked, especially the home runs, and I didn't know how long it would take to track everything down. So he agreed and I started the work.

Well to shorten this long story, I did the work and when I sent the guy the invoice he didn't want to pay until it was inspected and passed. I told him I usually get all but 20% when the work was done with the remaining due after a passing inspection.

Now the guy is refusing to pay me anything until the trench guy comes back and drags the trench again. He has decided not to use the trench guy for the additional septic system. Now the guy never offered to pay any extra for the repair work on the hit lines, was wrong about where all the lines were, now is just being a prick about everything and trying to hold up on paying me.

I've learned:
1). No work of this kind without a signed contract (I knew this but just am too trustful)
2). Have the customer deal directly with whoever does the trenching
3). Or have them sign an agreement saying that unless items are located and clearly marked I won't be responsible for anything that might get hit
4). Never work for a lawyer!!!

Any recourse for me on this?
 

·
IBEW L.U. 1852
Joined
·
5,261 Posts
Client is a lawyer so he is automatically scum........

Scum deserves to die..........

OP should shoot client.:laughing::laughing:
























BTW...........I hate lawyers:censored:
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,221 Posts
OP did work and had lots of trouble due to the clients ignorance. OP got paid.

OP came back to do more work, now the client is refusing to pay until inspection is passed. Client is a lawyer.
Ya gotta learn at some point to not go back to difficult customers, no matter how bad you think you need the money. Those people will just get worse.

Wait for inspection, play super nice guy, get payment and then NEVER answer his calls again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,508 Posts
If we are trenching then we are required to get a locate on utilities. We can also locate owner installed lines I would never dig blind. Waiting until you invoice to set payment terms is never good you should have your payment schedule agreed upon before work starts.

You need to dress the trench it was part of the original job. Your hitting lines was your fault for not doing a locate so I would not pay for repairs either. The client wants a passed inspection so get one.

all of this is a quick fix and you get paid so stop blaming the client.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,681 Posts
Anytime when digging, either you or a sub, they should do their own locating, including verifying other marked utilities. A locator should come with every piece of digging equipment. Around here 10-12" is typical for propane lines, NG is much deeper. The water line can be tricky but I would witch it out and verify with a probe, again with the sewer. My experience people never remember where stuff exactly is, or at what depth. Pretty crappy though when you run into these people, makes it harder than what it has to.
 

·
Registered
Electrician
Joined
·
4,474 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
And never do a job that the customer insists it needs to be done asap and no I don't need a contract. The gentlemen's hand shake agreement has past on and has been buried with common sense.
My area is still mostly "one's word/handshake" but is changing quick.

99.8% of my customers work this way and haven't had any problems with them.

But I'm taking this lesson and applying it to future jobs!;)
 

·
Retired Account
Joined
·
39,697 Posts
One thing I would suggest "NO Digging without a Markout"! If the customer insist let them provide the trench. :thumbsup:
True Dat

But those dig safe /on target companies are about as accurate as weathermen Spunk

So it all boils down to who foots the bill when bad news it extricated from Mother earth.....


~CS~
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,508 Posts
True Dat

But those dig safe /on target companies are about as accurate as weathermen Spunk

So it all boils down to who foots the bill when bad news it extricated from Mother earth.....


~CS~
I have found our locate service to be very accurate they can even give depth although they are not suppose to. If we do a locate and strike an unmarked utility then we are not responsible for the repair the utility takes care of it. Our locate guys will tell us to be one foot on either side of the mark . You strike a marked utility you pay.
 

·
Small Potatoes
Joined
·
5,515 Posts
Never work for any lawyer without a signed contract. EVER. Our worst experiences have been with lawyers and judges. :censored:
Don't ever work for anybody without a signed contract. No matter who they are! :no:

For the record, we have at least 20 lawyers, several are judges, for customers. They can be difficult to communicate with at times, but I've come to realize that as long as you are very clear about what you are going to do and how much it's going to cost, upfront, you shouldn't have a problem. Then again we should all be doing that with all our customers.

Doctors are the ones I find to be very difficult to do business with. :mad:
 
1 - 20 of 58 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top