Responsibility of installed pile locations

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    In one of our jobs we had timber piles and the subcontractor drove piles and finished. It was very important to call the surveyor to check the pile locations before the pile sub went away with his piling rig so we did. The surveyor came and checked the locations of the piles. And found that several piles are off from its required locations by more than 6”. 2 of them were off by about more than 1’. Naturally I called the pile subcontractor and told him that he needs to drive these piles again. But he said no, and he can only do it for extra money. He threatened us to take his pile rig away and we can do whatever we wanted. Although it looked clear that he would have driven the piles at correct locations and it should be his responsibility, he rejected it. He said it is normal for piles to be off because of the vibration when hammering it. When I asked about the piles off more than 6” and even 1’, he still did not agree. Therefore, it is very important to have in your contract terms that whenever a pile is off location, it is his responsibility and his cost to drive extra piles at the correct locations. As a general rule, in construction never assume that something “should” be somebody’s responsibility. Always spell out clearly in your contract what belongs to who in case something goes wrong. Because we could not delay the job, we agreed to pay him several thousand dollars extra for him to install additional piles at correct locations.

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