Who Pays when the Wrong Windows are Ordered

How to Avoid Ordering the Wrong Construction Material when Building a Custom Home

By Mark J. Donovan

When building a custom home it is not uncommon for the wrong construction material to be occasionally ordered and/or delivered to the job site. In one of my more memorable experiences the wrong windows were ordered. These were not your ordinary double hung windows, but instead large plate glass custom windows that were specifically fabricated for the particular home I was building. Windows that were very expensive, but which had little value to anyone else.

As usual a combination of poor communication and lack of paying attention to details were the main reasons for the wrong windows being ordered.

As the general contractor I provided house plans with engineering drawings to the rough framing crew foreman. After the rough window framing was complete, I allowed the foreman to fly solo and meet with the window designer from the local lumber company. A big mistake! I should have been present on site with the framing crew foreman and window designer.

Between the two of them they reviewed the engineering drawings but did not confirm the actual measurements of the rough window frame openings.

It turned out that the rough window frame openings were not built exactly to the engineering drawings. As of result of only looking at the engineering drawings, and specifying the design of the windows to these dimensions, the windows were ordered incorrectly. This was only discovered when the windows were about to be installed into the window frame openings.

Unfortunately in this situation there was no way to modify the window openings without major engineering, demolition and reconstruction. The windows were designed for a wall of windows on the gable side of the home.

Immediately fingers began pointing with everyone laying blame on each other. The truth however was that all were at fault to some degree. I was at fault, because as the general contractor I should have been more closely monitoring the framing crews’ work and I should have been on site to meet with the window designer and framing crew foreman.

The window designer was at fault because he neglected to actually measure the window openings. And the framing crew foreman was at fault for not framing the windows correctly.

After a short debate the three of us, along with the lumber company’s owner (window designer’s employer), agreed to evenly split the cost of paying for the worthless wrong windows. Though I still took issue with the fact that both the framing crew and window designer had made gross mistakes, I came to the conclusion that if I did not share in this costly mistake my home construction project would suffer in both schedule and even higher costs.

By not sharing in this mistake I may have lost my framing crew and/or have had to eat the entire cost of the wrong windows.

Installing a New Window Ebook

The lesson learned from this experience: As the general contractor, leave nothing to chance and make sure when it comes to large or expensive decisions you are present and making the final decision. Also, sharing in both successes and sometimes mistakes, may be occasionally required for the overall good of the project.

If you need more help on choosing the right window replacement for your home, contact one of our pre-screened window installation contractors. They can help you select the replacement windows that are right for your home and budget, and perform the installation.

For more information on Installing Replacement Windows and Interior Window Trim

  • See the Installing a New Window Ebook from HomeAdditionPlus.com.  The Installing a New Window Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to remove an old window and install a new one. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.
  • See the Installing Interior Window Trim Ebook from HomeAdditionPlus.com.  The Installing Interior Window Trim Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to install interior window trim around a window. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.

Related Information

Additional Window Installation and Maintenance Resources from Amazon.com

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