Surprises and Lies

On the day he was asked if he was interested in doing the project, and before he was given the job,  Yvan Haince - armed with a hammer - went from room to room, starting with the sunroom off the kitchen. He smashed a hole in several places, big enough to stick his head in to inspect the environment behind the drywall or plaster. He identified some dry rot in the sunroom, but other than that, pronounced that "there's no surprises around here, nothing to worry about".

Yet, over the next several months, the job consisted of endless and expensive surprises.

Two 2' x 4' Velux skylights were to be installed in the roof. Haince initially estimated the cost at about $3000  for skylights and installations. Because of "surprises" in the roof construction, the skylights wound up costing about $12,000.

The "surprises", which required extensive - and expensive - fixes, were relentless. He blamed most of them on what he called the capriciousness of the city building inspector.

The involvement of the building inspector quickly became a source or irritation for the clients. After Haince's departure, however, the clients obtained copies of the inspector's reports, and they were revealing. Many of the inspector's criticisms were not passed on to the client, possibly because they reflected badly on Haince's workmanship.

In one case, Haince had scheduled an inspection on September 24th, for framing and plumbing. The city building inspector even emailed the client to remind him - and the client forwarded the email to Haince. That evening, Haines phoned the clients to tell them that the inspection had gone perfectly.

However, a few months later - after Haince was gone - the clients were able to review the city inspector's reports. Buried in the pile they found a report for September 24, which said that the inspector had shown up at the scheduled time, but the house was locked and empty, and therefore no inspection had been done. Much of the work which would have been inspected had to later be ripped out and replaced, because it did not meet building code standards. Did Haince avoid the inspection to avoid a bad report? We can only speculate.
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