Why me?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Updog, May 9, 2005.

  1. Updog

    Updog LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    I just finished a 12k job and asked for the balance to be paid on the job. The owner says they can't pay me until I fix the septic system. The health inspector came to look at some problems they were having with the septic(these were before we got there) and noticed we had surfaced some gravel. He told the homeowner we had cut 4 lines and they would all have to be replaced not repared. I didn't realize we had cut the lines this was a two acre irrigation job. My problem is we called onecall and fullfilled our legal obligations why should I get stuck with a 1500$ bill for something I had no controll over. Another problem is the guy that installed the septic system is good buds with the inspector I feel they are trying to move the focus to me instead of the installer. It also seems to me you could repair a line not have to digg the whole freaking thing up. Any advice or sympathy would be appriciated.
  2. greenwithenvylandscape

    greenwithenvylandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 134

    We deal with sawage ponds and sewage systems all the time. Ask the inspector for his supervisors name and #. If you need to after this, call the supervisor.
  3. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,702

    If onecall is similar to our miss utility , they dont mark anything but the utilities , cable ,phone , electric and natural gas. they dont locate propane lines , downspouts , sewer or septic lines or any homeowner owned electric ( going to a garage or shed)

    A simple phrase in your contract that states that you are not responsible for anything buried in the property that is cut , unless its exact location is marked by the homeowner or their agent. And have them initial this section. Unless this was spelled out in your agreement , you can be held responsible for the repairs . I have been there , cut septic lines , pool lines , invisible fences , propane lines . My contract saved my butt each time.

    Other contract stipulations , loss of water pressure or flow , delays caused by others
    limit of liability not to exceede the contract price, binding arbitration clause . The entire back of my contract is all legal speak to protect me .
  4. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,274

    One call does not send anyone out to locate septic lines. Septic lines are the homeowner's private responsibility. You as the contractor had the responsibility for anything your trenching/pulling processes did. Your responsibility was to find out where the septic lines and any other unseen obstructions were. Things like homeowner installed gas and electrical lines, regardless of how deep they are buried. It only takes a few minutes to ask before tearing up something.

    I would call another septic installer for a second opinion however. The reason they want it replaced in beyond me. Possibly damaged the integrity of the drain field.

    I think you are going to have to eat this one, and chalk it up to a learning experience.

    Now another thing you could do is check with your general liability insurance carrier. That's what we buy that damn expensive stuff for. But you decide if getting something fixed for $1500.00 is worth getting the balance of $12000 for.

    Jerry R
  5. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    I agree it was your responsibility to ask the homeowner where the septic lines were in the first place before starting the work.Sorry!
  6. Updog

    Updog LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    I know I should of asked but were I am from they usually run 18-24"s deep I cut only 10 deep were I thought lines might be. My insurance will cover most of it but it seems to me there should be somthing to protect us from these things I guess I'll just adjust my contract.
  7. AceSprinkleRx

    AceSprinkleRx LawnSite Member
    from Wyoming
    Messages: 95

    Your General Liability policy will trigger coverage for this repair due to your "work". Just be thankful you didn't hit a fiber optic line and haf a dozen businesses were claiming a loss of income due to the downtime of their computers!

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