Is this standard/OK from a mason?

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Ediy

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I have a mason (and his crew) fixing part of my house's foundation right now. So far I'm not too pleased about a couple of things, but I want to check whether my expectations are reasonable since I haven't had much experience with masons and their work. Maybe what he's doing is standard and my expectations are just out of line... or maybe not.

Yesterday he and his crew arrived to do what we all thought would be a fairly minor job that would be finished in a day. While they were working, they found a problem in the foundation that meant it was suddenly a much bigger job than anyone thought. With the additional work needed, it would take another day or two. The mason explained the situation, I agreed to go ahead with the larger project. He told me what he was going to do to wrap up for the day, and what time he would come back in the morning to finish. So far, so good--I don't have a problem with any of that. (I mean, the additional problem he found was an unpleasant surprise, but the problem was there to be found--that's not his fault!)

Here's the part I have questions about: when he and his crew left yesterday, they left a hole in the wall at ground level (a missing brick) that would be perfect for mice or rats to come in through, and although there was rain in the forecast, they didn't do anything to stop rain from entering through the partially-disassembled section of foundation they'd been working on. I went downstairs this morning to find a large puddle in the basement. Is that to be expected in the middle of a project?

Maybe my expectations are out of line, and if they are I'd like to know that so I won't hold a grudge or write an undeserved bad review! But if I should be able to expect better than this, I'd like to know that too so I can make sure not to hire this mason for any of the other projects I have in mind.
 

oldognewtrick

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Leaving a whole in the wall, to me would not be acceptable for the reasons you described. If it were me, I'd in a very pleasant manner relay your concern to the guy in charge. Ask him if it was his house would this be acceptable. It may have been an oversight on their part hurrying to get home. If there's been no damage done, maybe just leave it alone and see how things finish up. Don't pay your bill in full until you have inspected the job and you are satisfied.
 

Ediy

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Thanks, @oldognewtrick! It's good to get an outside viewpoint. It actually hadn't occurred to me that it would be worth saying anything to the head mason, but you're right, I should use my words. I was assuming that he was aware of how it was left, but it's true that he might not even have known. And I will be pleasant! I'm not much of a yeller at the worst of times, and in general the more irritated I am about something like this, the politer I get. Though polite doesn't mean weak--I stand up for myself, I just do it very politely. :-D

I think they've left for the day, and at least they put a tarp over the opening this time. (The fact that I'm not sure if they've left for the day or if they're planning to come back later is a whole different problem. And yes, I'm going to ask for better communication around scheduling.)
 

bud16415

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Here is my 2 cents in general being a home owner for 40 years and dealing with contract people on and off with projects I didn’t want to take on as DIY.



There is a fine line to walk and it starts each and every time before they even start their work. On one hand they are the pro or at least think they are and I afford them the respect to stay out of their project. On the other hand I let them know my expectations up front and one of the things I want to see is them treating my property as if it was their own property. Things like picking up and closing up before they are done for the day is one. I want to know when they start and when they will be finished for the day. Things always come up that expand the project and when they do you shouldn’t be at their mercy from that point on. You are paying and they are working for you and you need to be firm but reasonable. If I saw them leaving the hole I would have stopped them before they left and if I didn’t then I would have called them and told them I’m going to stuff something in that hole and if there is damage from rain and such it will be on them.



My sister takes it way over the line and tries to micromanage her projects and she ends up with nothing but trouble. She had a guy doing outside painting and he packed up and left with open cans of paint sitting on her porch.

Finding the line is key as it is a deal where mutual respect is important.
 
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