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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 38129
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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The same GC I am referencing in earlier questions has billed

Customer Question

The same GC I am referencing in earlier questions has billed me for the materials to sound proof some walls where the language in the contract says that the GC is to sound proof walls as I made sure that this language was in the contract and that I wanted sound board used in the walls he was building. Now he claims amnesia and that putting insulation in the walls is sufficient and is considered sound proofing. I never signed a change order authorizing the sound board to be installed as he billed me for the sound board after the fact without giving me a change order. But now he has it on his final payment invoice, is this a customary practice and should I just disregard this amount and pay the difference once he has completed the final work? thank you for your response.
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  socrateaser replied 12 months ago.

Hello again,

The soundproofing materials must be installed as specified. If there is no specification for the materials, then the court would have to try to determine the objective intent of the parties, and where there is an ambiguity that cannot be resolved by the contract language or extrinsic evidence, then it is resolved against the person who drafts the contract provision.

The term, "sound proof" has a very different meaning than does wall insulation "R" thermal rating. Even a high R rating does not equate to "sound proof." The proper rating system is the STC system. Even the highest typical STC rating (66) is not truly soundproof. However, soundproofing methodology is far different from thermal insulation, and were I representing you in court, I would simply argue that insulation is not soundproofing, and the contract requires sound proof walls, which is at least STC 66.

If sound proofing is important to you, because of some fundamental acoustic issue in the environment (such as a shared wall with a neighbor), then I wouldn't pay. Otherwise, I might offer to pay some proportion of the bill, given that a complete tear out and replacement is probably unlikely.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

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Customer: replied 12 months ago.

To clarify, I challenged the GC when I insisted on the sound board because of the language in the contract while the walls were open and framed. The GC said that sound proof meant installation and I said no that is not sound proofing. So the sound board was used and he never once said that there would be an extra charge as I pointed out to him that sound proofing means sound board or sound deadening materials, not insulation. So after the sound board was installed I am billed for the material, a change order request was sent to me but I never signed it.

Expert:  socrateaser replied 12 months ago.

The GC will not prevail, because sound proofing is entirely different from insulation, the contract states sound proofing, and the GC installed sound proofing. There would have been no reason for you to sign a change order, because there was nothing to change.

That's what I would argue in court. And, it seems like a winning argument to me.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

Thanks again for using Justanswer!

Expert:  socrateaser replied 12 months ago.

Hello again,

I see that you have reviewed my answer, but that you have not provided a rating. Do you need any further clarification concerning my answer, or is everything satisfactory?

If you need further clarification, concerning this matter, please feel free to ask. If not, I would greatly appreciate a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

Thanks again for using Justanswer!