05:45PM | 03/29/04
Member Since: 03/28/04
4 lifetime posts
We recently bid out to have our basement finished. After getting 5 estimates for various construction types, we opted to go with the Owens Corning system even though it was a bit pricier than other traditional systems.

The sales representative took very thorough measurements and called his foreman to price the project over the phone. The estimate came back in line with what we expected based on our research of the product. According to terms of our contract the GC received a 60% downpayment upon delivery of the material and the remaining 40% upon "completion to our satisfaction."

The project is nearing completion and has mostly gone smoothly. There are a few obstacles that need to be addressed, but we anticipate completion within another two weeks. Here is where the problem comes in, though.

Upon completion of framing the walls we discovered the GC had delivered TWICE AS MUCH MATERIAL as was necessary for the job! We brought this to his attention and he assured us this it was customary to order extra. When we asked him how that affected the pricing of our job, he replied that it "doesn't affect it at all," as they just brought extra from their warehouse. The GC returned the extra material to his warehouse two days later.

We're still not convinced, mainly because the sales rep told us that they ordered material from Owens Corning by the job. We have tried to have the sales rep come out and talk to us about it, but his "schedule is booked for the next two weeks."

The price seems right (about $38/sq ft), but we're still not sure if we purchased additional material for someone else's project. Outside of refusing to pay the remaining 40%, how do we get the sales rep to explain himself?

Thanks for any suggestions you can offer!



08:18PM | 03/29/04
Member Since: 05/19/03
457 lifetime posts
I don't know about insulation to much but I am a paint contractor and when I bid a job I always bring more paint than expected it saves from running back to get more.

The job is bid at what they use not how much they bring in,so if I bid out your job for 30 gallons and I bring 50 gallons in, you still are only getting charged for 30 so when I return the other 20 no you don't get that $$ off because i never charged you in the 1st place.Make a little clearer for you?

If your math is telling you it is right then it most likely is otherwise you'd be about double of what your own figures are.

Maybe they have another job close by or needed some somewhere else and figured sense they are ordering it they will use it somewhere else thus not having to wait for delivery again.


05:33PM | 03/30/04
Member Since: 11/06/02
1281 lifetime posts
You agree to have a certain job done for a certain price.

You did not agree to buy X# bags of insulation, Y# studs, Z# nails etc. If you wanted to pay by the each, you should have asked for a time and materials contract, which would be open-ended at the top. You had five outfits to choose from and you made a choice. It sounds like you are getting a good job at a decent price. learn to enjoy it.

Like BioBill, When I was roofing, I always brought extra shingles to the job. It's wasteful to spend time running back to the farm. the leftovers always went on to the next job for starter shingles.

Excellence is its own reward!


10:10AM | 03/31/04
Thanks to both of you for the input; it does help me understand the process a bit better. I recognize that I accepted a contract and will pay accordingly; not being in the construction business, I just wasn't clear that what had happened here was the norm, but it sounds like it is.

I am a caterer and, as such, realize that you have to prepare more food than anticipated --- better too much than too little! But estimating the amount of food relies to a large extent on the number of guests the client tells you will be there. When I prepare extra food it is traditional for the client to keep it; if they choose not to then it is there for the taking for the catering crew. Anything else goes to waste, since you cannot use it for the next client. When my GC gave me the price, it was based on precise guess work or input from me. I guess that's the difference; I cannot use my extra "materials" on my next job, so there is no benefit to me buying extra food to use for the next client.

I see where you need to bring extra materials for a construction job and that the extras can be used for the next job in some cases. What I was having the problem with is the amount of additional material the GC brought to the job. That would be like bringing 60 gallons of paint for a job that would require 30 gallons (if all went well); likewise, bringing 100 bundles of shingles for a 50 bundle job.

I'm hoping that it was just an honest mistake, though from the advice I've gotten so far, it sounds like you're saying I should just ignore it and live with my decision. That's probably what I'll end up doing, but it would be nice to get an explanation.

Thanks again.


10:30AM | 03/31/04
Member Since: 03/28/04
4 lifetime posts
Thanks to both of you for your responses. Not being in the construction industry I wasn't sure if ordering twice as much material as needed was typical, but it sounds like you're saying I shouldn't worry about it. My problem isn't with my GC ordering/bringing extra material, it's with the amount of extra material.

I'm a caterer and know it's better to prepare too much food than too little. Here's the difference, though. When the catered event is over, my client has the option of taking any/all additional food home with him/her. If the client chooses not to take the food, then I can do with it what I want. By the nature of my profession, I am unable to use the prepared food for my next catered event. To prepare twice as much food as necessary would be foolish on my part.

It sounds, though, that in construction it's expected to order additional material and use any left over on the next job? Since the material doesn't spoil, I guess that's a good way to build up an inventory. I was just taken aback by how much additional inventory the GC brought with him...and then hauled back to the warehouse when finished. I certainly didn't have the option of keeping the additional material. That's like bringing 60 gallons of paint to a 30 gallon job; or 120 bundles of shingles to a 60 bundle job. An extra 10 gallons (20 bundles) makes sense to me; double the amount of material doesn't.

And Piffin is right, I did agree to a price for job to be such, I intend to honor the contract. But I don't think it's asking too much for someone to take a couple of minutes to sit down and address my questions. Is that expecting too much?

While a good job is something to strive for, it's how you treat the customer that's remembered most.


01:32PM | 03/31/04
Member Since: 05/19/03
457 lifetime posts
You could always sit down with him and gently ask him again why he brought so much insulation and ask if you were charged for all the excess.

Another way to do it is have him itemise (?? on spelling)the job and then bring it to another insulator or someone who knows the prices and see if you were over charged.

You are probably just wasting your own time by doing all this extra work and putting yourself thru the stress,but you never know.


01:37PM | 03/31/04
Member Since: 05/19/03
457 lifetime posts
You could go to the insulation board and see what they have to say about the price you are being charged.


05:29PM | 04/01/04
Member Since: 11/06/02
1281 lifetime posts
I see it from you POV ion your industry, and the sheer amt of what was left over does raise the old eyebrows, but the time for asking this kind of Q is before the job starts, IMO.

I'm a bit sensitive to this because While I now do mostly time and amterials jobs in custom projects, I used to do firm price contracts and they are two different worlds. What is "extra" on one makes up the diffference and is a shortage on another, so it comes out in the wash. We try to refine estimating process because if there are too many shortages, we lose money and if too many extras, we lose customers because that would mean that we are charging too much.

But since you have a contract, the most you could do is to sit him down for a heart to heart and tell him how happy you are with the work but wonderd if he may have id it too high, without a pressure atmosphere. His better sense might get the best of him in thinking about refereals, or just tell him what you said here about leftovers in your industry, but I doubt seriously that you will see a change.

Some reasons I can think of for having so much material - It could be that he was able to get a better price by ordering a full load to the one job. For instance, I figure in my nails for the amt I expect to use on a job, say 15#, but I always always buy them by the 50# box, because that is about the same price as 30# of nails.

or, take your comparison to painting...

Every job is different when it comes to coverages with paint. Some surfaces will give you 600 ft / gallon while others might only let you go with 250 ft/gal or two different men might apply it at different rates. I wason a crew once where this happened. I used six gallons to pain out a unit while another guy did the next unit with 2.5 gallons. That left the boss woindering whether I was st3ealing a few buckets of paint to take home, I suppose because he asked me why... until we went and looked at the job I did vs. the job the other guy did. You could almost see through his, and it had to be done again. Or spray it on with an airless sprayer instead of rolling and you are likely to use double the amt of paint.

Same idea with roofing hot asphalt on flat roofs. Temperature and other conditions can make a 30% diff in useage rates easily so you might see extra material leave the site.

Weather can slow a job down so that a two day job becomes a ten day job. in situations like that, you still pay the contracted amt., paying a set price for an agreed on product finished, in place and useable.

Excellence is its own reward!

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