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dgodfrey

New Build- wrong size and heights of windows in master bath

Debra Godfrey
2 months ago

We discovered the windows in MBath are at different heights.
In looking at the blueprints, the wrong size windows were ordered. We had to preorder windows from subcontractor last year using blueprints. We signed off on specs but with 40 windows, we assumed window measurements matched the blueprints. Now the back window is too high for the tub and the transoms at top are uneven. Can’t live with this. Help!

Comments (102)

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    last month

    "So we are looking at various solutions including lowering the windows on the back so the sill is just above the tub so I can see the river. That will probably happen.
    This solution does not fix the issue of the non- alignment of the back windows with the side windows."


    The rear windows can be lowered enough that the tops align with the side windows.


    I think you're losing perspective here. Even if you did nothing, who is ever going to see this? Guests standing in your backyard in the exact position as when the picture was taken?

  • bichonbabe
    last month

    The homeowner is going to see it every time they walk into the bathroom. And window treatments will be very difficult to make look nice.

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  • bry911
    last month

    I know you mentioned that ordering the correct windows will take months, but that is really irrelevant to you. How long will it actually delay your getting into the home?

    I suspect that ordering the correct windows will not actually delay your living in the home.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month

    Order the correct windows and have them installed as the architect shows. You will get the house you asked for.

    It appears the window company is in error from the information provided.

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last month

    Agree with Mark. Get what you want.

  • PRO
    Charles Ross Homes
    last month

    "It appears the window company is in error from the information provided."

    Yes, and there's probably some "fine print" on the order absolving them of any responsibility for errors and omissions especially in the event that someone's "signed off" on the order.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month

    All true, but there is a fundamental source of difficulty when architectural drawings show one thing, and a supplier of materials offers up something that is suppose to be the same but different without explanation. I have had very few clients that have the wherewithal to properly review a window manufacturer's cut sheets, it is a tedious task.

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    last month

    There is no delay other than a half a day. Pull the high ones. Reframe. Reinstall. Move on.

  • bry911
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Windows are commerce and, unlike services, are governed by the Uniform Commercial Code and therefore the implied warranty of fitness for a specific purpose must be disclaimed in accordance with UCC 2-316.

    A disclaimer that is lost or buried in the fine print or the terms and conditions section of a contract is not legally enforceable. Additionally, the disclaimer must be printed in capital letters, dark or bold letters, a larger font than the text around it, and perhaps in a different color.

    The UCC is pretty brutal.

  • bry911
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @Joseph Corlett, LLC said, "There is no delay other than a half a day. Pull the high ones. Reframe. Reinstall. Move on."

    That isn't going to change the size of the windows. There are many compromises that you might find acceptable, but this isn't your house. The OP has every right to find a solution that satisfies them and I wouldn't be satisfied with your suggestion.

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    last month

    bry911:


    There is much more to my suggestion than you let on and you don't usually miss the big picture. There are thousands of compromises and tradeoffs to be made in building a new home. Evening up the height of windows that virtually no one can see seems a very small tradeoff for a "you owe me one" chit to play later on a more substantial issue.


    This foot-stomping-pouting-lower-lip-gonna-hear-from-my-lawyer nonsense is not productive or helpful. This is not the hill to die on. Frame and move on please.

  • bry911
    last month
    last modified: last month

    There are thousands of compromises and tradeoffs to be made in building a new home. Evening up the height of windows that virtually no one can see seems a very small tradeoff for a "you owe me one" chit to play later on a more substantial issue.

    @Joseph Corlett, LLC - The OP has stated more than once that having the windows 24" off the floor is important to them. I am not understanding how windows that are currently 40" off the floor suddenly become 24" off the floor by "evening up the height of the windows." If that does achieve the goal that was stated as important then do so.

    Compromise has its place but the quickest route to a house that you don't like is to compromise on the things that you do like. So a "you owe me one" chit sometimes isn't worth as much as a "I am sorry but this is not something I am willing to budge on" stance.

    No one here has suggested attorneys get involved. Some people have noted that the OP is responsible because they "signed off" on the windows. Correcting that assertion is not advising that anyone get an attorney, it is letting the OP know the position is reasonable.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month

    Is this project in Michigan?


    I can't remember who I lent my window stretching tool to.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    The OP paid a premium to have a home designed and built to her specifications.


    Yes, we all sometimes need to compromise, but getting the windows that were in the design and having them installed as shown on the design should only become an issue if there is a reason it cannot or should not be installed per the design.


    The GC is responsible for delivering a building that meets the design. Ordering the right materials to complete the job is the responsibility of the GC. There is no way that the framers could install these windows as dictated by the design. This does not mean proceed forward and do what you want. It means a mistake was identified and must be disclosed and addressed before proceeding forward.


    Getting the owner to sign the order form doesn't relieve the GC from their responsibilities. It would stop the owner from coming back and saying I wanted all black windows and they put in white windows or I was expecting all casement windows and these are all double hung.

    The fact that the size didn't match the design still falls on the GC. It was a general sign off saying it is the color and style that I agreed to.



  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month

    I think the sign-off was for all the specifications listed on the document signed off on, unless there was specific direction to the contrary.

  • PRO
    Charles Ross Homes
    last month

    @Jennifer Hogan,

    I sign off on lots of orders and shop drawings. Once I've signed off I own whatever is approved including whatever mistakes are present in the order or in the design. It appears that windows were ordered during the design phase--possibly before the project was under contract to a builder. Absent some additional information from the OP, I think the issue may be between the window dealer and the owner who signed the proposal.

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    last month

    "No one here has suggested attorneys get involved."


    bry911


    "An attorney would love to litigate this, even if arbitration is required."


    dan1888, 21st post down.

  • bry911
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Has the OP even asked about who is responsible or are people just that eager to assign blame to the homeowner?

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    @Charles Ross Homes - you are the professional. The person the average homeowner hires to make sure things are done right. You own the experience, training and knowledge and are paid for your experience, training and knowledge. Can't hold the customer who is paying you for your expertise responsible for your screwups. GC is selling their ability to make sure that the plans are followed - why hire a GC if they are not responsible for the screwups under their watch.


    The OP said she had to preorder from the "subcontractor". They already had the drawings. Didn't say she had to go and find a window and door dealer. Even if she had, if they agreed to order what was in the design and they prepared the order based on the drawings. If they wrote down the wrong size for 3 of the windows she is not responsible for them not ordering what was specified. Again, she paid them for their expertise.


    What if this wasn't windows, but was the number and lengths and strength of rebar needed to support the foundation walls. Is the owner supposed to know that you ordered the wrong number or wrong sizes? Are they responsible for knowing your job? Do you think the guys pouring the foundation would just use the wrong size or decide they didn't need to follow the plans or would they need to report the discrepancy and either get the right supplies or get an engineer to sign off on the change?


    This whole idea that people can relinquish responsibility for doing their job by asking for a signature from the person paying for their expertise is absurd.


    As a manager of a dept. that designs work processes and reporting systems anything done by my subordinates is my responsibility. It is my job to gather the requirements and make sure that whatever we produce is complete, accurate, timely and meets the agreed upon requirements. Kind of like a GC.


    When we complete the development our customer signs off that we produced what they asked for / that the business requirements were met. They can't come back and ask for new functionality without incurring costs, but if they use the process for a month and come back and say it isn't doing what it is supposed to be doing, isn't meet the business requirements that we agreed to deliver, it is on my shoulders to make things right and to correct the issues. We are the paid experts, we are the developers. The customer paid for something that works as intended and as agreed upon.


    Why would they hire us to create a process if what we delivered didn't have to fit their needs?


  • Debra Godfrey
    Original Author
    last month

    The windows were ordered after we signed off on our builder contract. We met with the window vendor, they had the blueprints. My architect is guessing they thought 60” versus 72” inches for 6’ throwing the whole length off. This apparently is an error that happens. Not saying that’s ok for a professional.
    If the lower part of the side transom is aligned with the top of the back side transom, do you think it might give some sense of alignment?
    Don’t lose patience with me. Just brainstorming ideas 😉

  • PRO
    Charles Ross Homes
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Based on the current long order lead times, a number of my clients have ordered appliances before contracting with my company to remodel their kitchens. I am not responsible for any issues with the appliances which they ordered. I could have missed something, but it's not clear whether the OP had entered into a contract with a remodeler at the time they ordered the windows. If they were, I wonder why they placed the order and not the builder. Perhaps the OP will clarify the order of operations.


    ETA: the OP and I must have been typing at the same time. @Debra Godfrey can you clarify the builder's role in your project? Is it an owner/builder project with a builder hired as "project manager" or a turnkey build?

  • bry911
    last month

    @Charles Ross Homes says, "I could have missed something, but it's not clear whether the OP had entered into a contract with a remodeler at the time they ordered the windows."


    The OP said, "The windows were ordered after we signed off on our builder contract."


    Can we please just stop looking for ways to make the homeowner responsible?

  • PRO
    Charles Ross Homes
    last month

    @bry911,

    Thanks for pointing out my oversight. In a long thread, it's not atypical to miss something, but that's just my opinion, not the findings of a peer-reviewed statistical study. I'm sure you'll want to cross examine. Don't bother.

  • bry911
    last month
    last modified: last month

    The OP had plans that specified what was to be ordered. The OP shouldn't have to sort out whose fault it was not ordered correctly. Let the builder, the architect, and the window sub figure it out. Only if they start blaming the homeowner, like so many here have rushed to do, should we have a discussion on whether or not they should.

    Again, has the OP asked who is responsible? Have the window sub, architect, and builder all refused to take responsibility?

  • shead
    last month

    I had the same issue with a framing subcontractor of my GC years ago not being to read a blueprint correctly. He framed all the door openings for the numbers he saw on the plan (i.e., it said 30 and he thought that was a 30" door so framed it 32"). I caught it the same day that I had placed the order for the doors. It was rectified but the GC yelled at me because "I had no right telling his framing crew they'd done their job wrong." My husband responded with, "If my wife can read blueprints, why can't your framing crew? It shouldn't be our job to catch your mistakes." The GC walked out and never came back....lol.


    It is not your fault this happened. I would make the GC and/or whoever actually entered the order incorrectly eat this one.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month

    People that wish to build a house, remember these words: "I do not understand this enough to approve it. Please explain it to me in depth."

  • J Sk
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @Mark Bischak, Architect, what is more worrisome that sometimes the owner of the built house has better knowledge than professional doing the job. Lot of subs have a hard time finding a measuring tape and using it. The same with level. Had one talented guy doing tile in my foyer who turned rectangular foyer into trapezoid. He said 2 " this way or the other what's the difference

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month

    98% of all houses are built by the lowest bidder.




    (I made that up)

  • J Sk
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Wished was the case regarding the money. We spent way too much. But the problem is sometimes you don't know how much GC pays his sub. You could be paying a lot of money for the house but still cheap people could be brought to do job by contractor.

  • Debra Godfrey
    Original Author
    last month

    Why would a GC not want to hold their subcontract vendor responsible when the vendor clearly made a mistake, but is instead trying to find a solution that’s going to cost the GC a lot of rework? Just wondering what that dynamic would be…

  • J Sk
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @Debra Godfrey, hmmm sometimes those GCs want to keep a good relationship with certain subs ( because it benefits them?) and need them for future projects.

  • PRO
    Home Reborn
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @shead - off topic, but wanted to weigh in on the claim that your framer made a 'mistake' in framing an opening at 32" for a 30" door. No construction drawings I have ever seen indicate anything other than the actual door size - I've never seen one that showed rough opening sizes. Same goes for windows - drawings show actual size of windows, not the rough opening size that the framer has to construct to ensure the window will fit. Plans show actual door and window sizes - the rough openings to fit them are always up to the framer to figure out. And the universal 'standard' is an inch on either side of a door and a half inch on all sides of a window.

  • bry911
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @Home Reborn said, "off topic, but wanted to weigh in on the claim that your framer made a 'mistake' in framing an opening at 32" for a 30" door. No construction drawings I have ever seen indicate anything other than the actual door size - I've never seen one that showed rough opening sizes."

    I don't think @shead said anything about the rough opening. Standard notation for doors and windows in blueprints is feet and inches (width then height if applicable). So a doorway noted at 30 would be 3'0" and window at noted at 3060 would be 3'0" wide and 6'0" tall.


    On most plans a 30" door would be marked 26. Maybe that is different in Toronto...

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    last month

    "This whole idea that people can relinquish responsibility for doing their job by asking for a signature from the person paying for their expertise is absurd."


    On the other hand, expecting a homeowner signature to mean anything is aparently just as absurd.


    In the store fixture manufacturing business, a fixture manufacturer submits wood stain color samples to the architect for approval. The architect signs off, the fixtures are stained with the approved mix, and everyone is happy.


    I built a built-in bench for a customer, prepared a stained sample from the same wood, had the homeowner sign the sample, cut it in half, gave her a section, and when the staining was done she cried "It's too dark!" and refused to pay to have it changed. I ate the bench and walked. They don't teach dealing with crazy at carpenter school.


    I had a commercial customer complain about the soft silicone joints in their very long Corian window sills needed to accommodate movement. I copied them the shop drawings with that detail with their architect's initials approving same. Never heard another word.

  • shead
    last month

    @Home Reborn, yes, @bry911 is correct. The framer thought that, for instance, a 30 door meant 30" and it meant 3'0" and that a 28 door meant 28" instead of 2'8". The framer knew enough to add 2" for the rough opening but didn't understand how to read a blueprint because he was "new" according to the GC. I had 7 doorways that had to be reframed on a Friday night on the GC's dime (next subs were coming the next day and the door framing had to be correct for them). GC quit on Monday. Oh well......I've learned enough in the process of building/remodeling several homes that I can at least speak with a certain level of education on most all trades. Some contractors enjoy that I am somewhat knowledgeable and others don't because they can't BS me ;)

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    @Joseph Corlett, LLC

    There are always crazy people - don't know how to get around that. . .

    But in your example with the built in bench I would expect that selecting the stain color is something the owner should have been asked to approve. On the other hand, closer to this situation, if the bench was supposed to fit into a 5' wide alcove and your drawings showed a bench that went from one edge of the alcove to the other edge of the alcove and you brought in a piece that was a foot longer than the alcove and showed her on the drawing that it said 60 and you assumed that was 6'0" and not 60" and since she had signed off on the order that said you were building a 6' bench that she should now pay you for making the bench and just make it work?


    When I had my sliding glass door replaced the GC gave me a contract to replace the sliding glass do as specified in the invoice. I picked the colors for the interior and exterior and the hardware package that I wanted. I verified that the colors were correct and the hardware package was correct. I didn't verify that the door he was ordering would fit the space or that all the parts he needed were included in the order. That is his job. He measured the opening. If he showed up with a door that was a foot too short he would have had to eat the mistake.


    Who is responsible for reading the blueprints and measuring and ensuring that the final product matches the design? Isn't that the reason we hire a GC or a project manager or even to some extent, an interior designer? If we could do it all ourselves and were experts we wouldn't need to hire anyone except the laborers.

  • bry911
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I can't understand why people are struggling with the concept of responsibility and the whole signing off thing. The law is jacked up, but in general, it is not going to allow anyone to absolve their negligence by hiding it while getting approval... it isn't that jacked up.

    I noted this earlier and will write it again, the law isn't interested in the last person to make a mistake, it is interested in the person who is most responsible for the mistake. Specifically, the person most at fault is the person who was, or should have been, in the best position to prevent the damages.

    In @Joseph Corlett, LLC's example of staining some work for a customer. The customer would be in the best position to select the stain color and would therefore be responsible when the color they selected didn't result in a desirable piece. However, had @Joseph Corlett, LLC selected the wrong type of stain or staining process the approval would not remove his responsibility because he, as the person accepting money for their expertise, would be the person who should have known what stain to use and how to apply it.

    ---

    I suspect this confusion has come about because contractors are generally expected to detect and prevent errors, so when they sign off on something it is likely that they will be held responsible. That is because they are often seen as the party who should have detected and prevented the error as that is a fundamental part of their job. It seems logical that they then look at the approval process as taking responsibility for that product or work, regardless of who is approving, so when it is the homeowner signing off on work they might believe the homeowner is responsible. That isn't often true, because even during the approval process the homeowner is not the person in the best position to detect and prevent errors.

    The situation described by the OP and @shead are perfect examples of this. It is completely reasonable that a homeowner might see windows on plans marked as 3060 and believe those windows are 30" x 60", rather than the 36" x 72" that they were actually marked at. So even after verifying everything they could be wrong, because they don't know how to read blueprints. The parties that do know, or should know, how to read blueprints are the parties who will be held responsible for the error regardless of an approval.


    ETA: what we are discussing is called common law indemnification and there is a lot of case law around this. I was bored this morning and fell into that interesting rabbit hole. Feel free to look into it yourself.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    @bry911 - thank you for succinctly stating the rule of law.


    Sadly, people often believe they can get out of responsibility by simply throwing the blame somewhere else. I always tell my staff they will not be fired for making a mistake, but I will fire them if they try to hide a mistake or don't inform me that a mistake was made.


    Mistakes happen, it is everyone's job to ensure that they are immediately addressed and corrective action taken when mistakes are discovered.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month

    I think the "sign off" is intended to be a review by a concerned party of the information to make sure it aligns with what is intended, to I identify any errors. I have had few client that I believe would be capable to perform such a task; and of those clients I believe all of them would have contacted me to ask the pertinent question, "What the hell is this?"

  • PRO
    toddinmn
    last month

    In the original posters case we do not know there role or any details of the contract. Typically if a person is gonna sign off on something such as a window order they should have the the knowledge to notice something as simple as a size being incorrect or quantity. The sign off is the final approval and is there ultimately to assign blame.

  • bry911
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @Mark Bischak, Architect - I understand your position and it seems reasonable... But if you, an architect, make a mistake in something that you have extensive training in and are licensed to do, how is it reasonable for you to be off the hook for that mistake because you got the approval of a homeowner, who is neither trained or licensed to do that thing?

    The approval process has value and it is certainly acceptable that you should expect a client to look over documents and approve them. It is a good process and does add value. However, it is completely unreasonable to remove any responsibility of an expert making a mistake in their field because an amateur checked their work. The entire idea of hiring experts is that you don't have the knowledge to do that thing yourself.

    @toddinmn said, "The sign off is the final approval and is there ultimately to assign blame." I have literally posted the statute that disproves that assertion in this situation. Feel free to run for office and change the statutes...

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month

    bry911 - I agree.

  • bry911
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Since we are on this discussion, in 2021 two separate appeals courts found indemnification clauses that were presented as condition of a transaction unenforceable. These are the types of indemnification (hold harmless) clauses that are printed on the back of contracts and receipts and state that the business is not responsible for damages and errors arising from their work. The courts basically said it was against the public good that a business could accept money for something and broadly disclaim any responsibility for it in all situations. I am sure this is going to get appealed to the Supreme Court and may be heard, but we will see.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    @Mark Bischak, Architect - But you are not answering the question of ultimate responsibility. Who is responsible for catching the errors that do happen? Asking for additional reviews may remove risk that an error is missed, but getting it right still only lands on one set of shoulders and usually that is the GC. (Can be the architect if the design is faulty). GC is hired to build the home according to the plan provided. Your asking the homeowner to check your work and then saying that they are responsible if you made a mistake and they didn't catch it? Who is being paid to make sure it is right?


    I think we can agree that no one noticed the issue until the windows were delivered. A mistake happened. Okay - even with the best process mistakes can happen. We build in multiple steps to ensure that mistakes are caught, but one slipped through the cracks.


    What happens next is where I get stuck.

    Why do these mistakes always seem to end up with the wrong thing installed and the owner finds the issue. Hello - someone installed the wrong windows. Can the windows be installed as described in the plan if they are the wrong size? The next step when a mistake happens is that someone has to address the issue.

    This is where the real failure occurred. The owner was not informed, maybe the GC wasn't informed, the windows were simply installed in hopes that the owner wouldn't notice.


    It had to be obvious at this point that the windows didn't match the design. Shouldn't that mean "STOP" / "REPORT THE PROBLEM"

    We have no way to know if the framers/installers stopped and reported this to the GC or if they just did what was easy and the GC failed to notice, or if the GC was informed and told them to move forward with what they had. What didn't happen was a conversation with the home owner / the customer.


    There is no excuse for why the homeowner was the one to discover the issue after the windows were installed. In my line of work someone would have been fired for covering up a known issue.


    What you don't realize is how easy you have things. Your discussions are always about a house. I worked in the humane industry where the mistakes were usually life or death. Oops, we entered your dog into the computer as an owner surrender instead of a stray, so the wait time before euthanizing him was shortened from 72 hours to 1 hour. Sorry - didn't mean to kill your dog. Oh shoot - those 2 cats that we had on a humane hold because the owners house burned down got moved to the next kennel where the 2 strays that were scheduled for euth were and someone forgot to update the computer. Sorry we killed the pets you left in our care. Oops.


    Pull up your big boy pants and go talk to the owner and be glad you didn't kill their family pet and just have to tell them that you ordered the wrong size window.





  • PRO
    toddinmn
    last month

    We going to court here before we know the facts?

  • bry911
    last month
    last modified: last month

    We going to court here before we know the facts?

    No, that is incorrect... I know it is a lot to read so I will summarize it. There are two discussions that were triggered by the OP's question. The first, is advising the OP on what they should do... which is the question they asked. The second is a discussion about if and when an approval moves responsibility as some posters immediately zeroed in on the fact that the OP signed off on the order.

    The discussion on professional responsibility might have been triggered by the OP but it is not specific to the OP's situation. Many Pro's here have discussed their procedures in their fields and we can assume that not all of them can be the OP's contractor, so obviously that discussion isn't necessarily on the OP's situation specifically just a discussion on the requirements in general.


  • freedomplace1
    last month

    These posts are always totally exhausting...


    I really do not think that anyone is trying to ”blame” the OP. The determinations made, regarding the OP signing off on the order, and hence now “owning” the situation - are simply based upon the facts and occurrences in this case; and this information is primarily being used as a barometer, to now determine the best course of action for the OP to move forward, from this point.


    What point is there for anyone to sign off on anything, if their signature(s) are - in any and/or all cases - worthless?


    Whether or not the OP knew what she was signing - she signed it. Also, the OP has stated that she, herself, put in the window order - sans contractor; and she did this AFTER the termination of contractor contract.


    As @toddinmn has noted, we really do not know all the facts in this case. Also, the OP has not, to date, even replied to @Charles Ross Home’s query regarding the specifics of her contractor/contractual arrangement.

  • PRO
    Jeffrey R. Grenz, General Contractor
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @Debra Godfrey - I've seen the exterior elevation of only one of the two windows. Typically the architect will call out or show tops of windows..... see that anywhere? Do you have the piece of floor plan or window schedule showing the sizes?

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month

    Does anyone really think they will find resolution on Houzz?? This is entertainment.

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    last month

    Good for a morning coffee read. Feels really good to not be in certain threads.

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