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What if a contractor uses cheap materials on your building project?

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2023 | Construction Law |

When choosing a building project contractor, you likely have a specific vision. It doesn’t matter if you are having your dream home constructed or a free-standing garage; you want to ensure the job is done based on your needs and standards.

You may have provided the contractor with pictures and brand names of the materials you want to be used. Once the project is done, everything may seem fine, and then after using it for a while, you realize the materials you requested were changed.

Do you have grounds to take legal action if a contractor changes the materials without informing you or acquiring your consent?

Written agreements are usually required for material substitutions

You likely researched contractors before choosing one and made a hiring decision based on recommendations and reputation. Factors like the cost of the project and timeline likely played a role in this decision, too.

However, issues can arise. For example, a material may not be available, or the cost may have increased from when the project started. Communication issues between the contractor and subcontractor may also result in the person purchasing the materials choosing a lower-priced option rather than basing buying decisions on quality or brand name.

If a different material will be used, it is typically required that the contractor have you sign a substitution request or even an addendum to the original contract. If a substitution is made without your permission, it may be considered a breach of contract, which gives you grounds for legal action.

Determining if you have a claim against a contractor

You must assign a financial value to the situation to file a construction defect claim against the contractor you hire. This could be the difference in the prices of the materials and the cost of installing the agreed materials. Knowing your legal options and rights is essential if you plan to file a breach of contract lawsuit against a contractor.  


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