Customer says Houston-area storage is unusable

Customer says Houston-area storage is unusable

COMPLAINT: Jim Richard, Hitchcock

I hired SAS Contracting of Pasadena to build two 20-foot-by-24-foot buildings on my property for photography equipment storage and office space.

The buildings were supposed to pass all code inspections and the contractor was required to obtain all required permits. This was necessary because I needed to insure the storage of valuable equipment.

I gave the contractor half the amount, $7,600. As building materials began to arrive, 99 percent of the lumber was untreated, including the floor joists, flooring and trim. I mentioned this to the contractor. He said I didn't specify I wanted treated lumber.

It rained before the roof installation, saturating the flooring and warping it badly. The contractor said this was normal and they'd sand the floor down flat later. At one point, one of his workers showed me several serious flaws that would prevent the buildings from passing inspection, including no vapor barrier, an outwardly bowing wall and no galvanized nails.

The roof joists were also bending downward and there was no required windstorm strapping or tie downs. I called the city to inquire if the contractor ever applied for permits.

They said because he claimed the buildings were worth less than $2,000 each, no permits were required. When I told them the buildings were valued at $7,600 each, they said he needed permits. The contractor said he never filed for the permits because it would slow down the job too much, but if I waited until the job's completion, the buildings would pass inspection.

This immediately alarmed me. A few days later, the city inspector arrived and told me the work was extremely shoddy and wouldn't pass inspection. I contacted an engineer, who pointed out many major deficiencies: The floor needed to be replaced, the shingles were installed improperly, a vapor barrier was missing and panels were required between the studs and siding.

The contractor tried to make me pay for that and other repairs, but I refused. Ten days later, the city inspector ordered the buildings demolished.

DESIRED RESOLUTION: I want a $7,600 refund.

STATUS: Stalemate

Editor's note: SAS Contracting responded to Richard's complaint, declining the requested resolution. The company did not want its response published.

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