I recently bought an older house in Houston TX and contracted with
a bonded plumbing company to do a PEX repipe on the house. It
turned out that this company is a big marketing outfit out of
California, and the work is done by local sub-contractors.
The crew that came to the house were working fine till lunch time,
and then they left for lunch and did not return for over 3 hours.
When they finally returned, it was already close to 3:30 PM, and
it was clear a couple them were intoxicated. In a rush to finish
the job, they started to cut the sheet rock in a haphazard manner.
In some cases they cut the structural stud members (one of the
studs was hanging loose), or they would drill holes in the studs
to pass the pipes, and mis-calculate and abandon the holes and
start drilling elsewhere.
I immediately reported these issues to the plumbing company along
with detailed pictures, but they refused to help me initially
saying that their people did not cause the damage, but ultimately
they send a supervisor who said he can put a 40 cent patching
plate wherever the studs were cut.
I have been requesting the plumbing company to give me the
information for their surety bond company so I can 'tap' the bond,
and attempt to get their insurance company to assess the damage to
the structural members. But they won't give me this information,
and instead their lawyer send me a demand letter asking for
payment and attorney fees. I clarified to their lawyer that it is
not my intention to withhold payment, but I need help in assessing
and repairing the damage caused to my house. Their lawyer is
insisting that I have stolen their client's services and
materials. They also told me that my report of the damages was not
in accordance with Texas Residential Construction Liability Act
(“RCLA”). I was not aware of this statute, but have resent my
report of damages to the attorney noting that the notice was per
Their attorney asked me to make the property available for
inspection which I have agreed to.
My question is that
1. Is it advisable to continue to press this case, because looks
like as per the RCLA the plumbing company will inspect the
property and then provide an offer of settlement or propose
remedy....but they have already inspected the property in the
past..and the issues at hand are not related to plumbing but the
damaged studs and joists. How would a plumber assess structural
damage and why would they act against their own interest..It does
not look like I can influence who does the inspection. 2. Am I on
the hook for the other party's attorney fees? It is not my
intention to not pay them..I just wanted to get my house fixed,
but their attorney is threatening me that I am liable for their
Any pointers for me to navigate this messy situation? Thanks in
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