" An Owners Group not affiliated with the Condominium Association." 

 

Click this to hear the board's discussion on the fence lawsuit.

The facts concerning the lawsuit with Southeastern Ornamental Iron, Inc.

Our pool fence was only 4' high with a smooth top rail that allowed for easy access by trespassers. The board contracted with Southeastern Ornamental Iron to build a 6' high picket fence. Below are some pictures of their finished product. They demanded full payment before they would complete the project (contract stated they were to be paid upon completion of the project) and that led to the lawsuit against Oceana Condominium by the fence company. 

In the discussion about the brackets.  Un-welded fence pickets falling through the fence.  The contract was for a 6" fence for security against people climbing. 

 

There were 12 holes in the fence where the welder missed. They filled with putty. The contract calls for powder coating  for corrosion resistance. Post were buried unpainted. The welds were breaking as they were being installed.

 

It is apparent from the statements made by the board that they have not read the transcripts from the deposition, and are completely unaware of the facts concerning this project and resulting lawsuit. All contracts, drawings, and photographic evidence were presented at the deposition and are a matter of record. There was no mention of this or any of our evidence presented at the board meeting concerning this lawsuit. A rational decision can not be reached without board members hearing the evidence. An unjustified claim against our insurance carrier will result in higher insurance premiums for our condominium and higher assessments.  

Subject: Lawsuit with Southeastern Ornamental Iron Co. Inc.  

Wes Scheibel stated that “Steve Price signed off on all engineering plans and drawings. I have copies.” Mr. Scheibel repeated this statement numerous times during the board meeting. This is a lie. No one signed approval for the engineering drawings. We are not engineers and could not approve any technical drawings. They engineered the project and their bid was proposed after an extensive review of the area and measurements made by their engineers and project manager. This inspection process prior to engineering was utilized by all project bidders. Lowering the fence height specification would require rebidding by the other contractors to meet the three-bidder requirement. All bids must be for the same specification.

Wes Scheibel and Ron McVay agreed to, and each said, any judge would find for the fence company and we would lose the case. The fence company had gone “above and beyond the call”… “that girl is right”… we need to pay them the settlement offer. Actually a Judge (unlike the board) hears both sides of an argument before making a decision. Our evidence in this case is overwhelming and we would certainly win this lawsuit and not have an unnecessary claim against our insurance carrier. It would be prudent for the board to examine both sides before making wrong decisions, as they did in this case. The board’s unprofessionalism in addressing this issue cost the owners of Oceania in money and security.

Wes Scheibel told the board the total cost of the fence will be $8,500, if we settle, this is incorrect. Because the fence company abandoned the project prior to competition, another fence company was hired to complete the fence. Their cost must be added to the total cost for an accurate accounting of the true fence cost, which is over $10,500. Wes Scheibel and Bonnie Myers stated it was the board’s responsibility to tell the contractors that the 6’ fence was only 5’6” inches when they first began construction, this is nonsense. The contract was very explicit in the measurement requirements and the board members are not required to measure and inspect each element of construction. The proper procedure is to inspect when the project is reported completed by the contractor, or at a junction identified in the construction contract. The contractor chose to lower a 6’ (security) fence to 5’6’ (non-security) fence without notifying the board and requesting a change order. The contract was very specific regarding the fence height.

Wes Scheibel’s argument in favor of the fence company included these items:

Arbor Over The Gate: The fence company chose to add the “arbor” between the gateposts at the side gate instead of pouring a stronger base because they miss-engineered the project. The choice of the “arbor” instead of pouring a base for the gatepost was their choice. We allowed this change-order to help the fence company.

Thickness Of Metal: We have no idea what he is talking about. The thickness of the metal is found nowhere in our response.

Brackets: The fence company forgot to put bolt tabs on the gap extensions, resulting in the fence hanging at all corner locations. It was their engineering and construction mistake.

Drill Into Concrete: Wes Scheibel said the contract specifically calls for drilling into the concrete. My copy of the contract does not say anything about drilling into concrete. The fence company removed some pavers and tested the earth beneath; they knew there was no concrete below the pavers prior to their bid. Why he told the board this is a mystery. I can only assume is part of the deal  (we will file a claim against our insurance carrier and get you paid… if you will give us a better deal on future repairs). Not ethical in this or any situation.

Gap Between Posts? The fence contract calls for a 6’fence. The bid was for a 6’foot fence. This height was determined after investigation by Mr. Ed Yarbrough of Yarbrough Security who stated “anything less than 6’ feet would invite trespassers to climb over the fence. It must be above their line of sight to be completely effective”. Wes Scheibel said 4” or 4’ high wouldn’t make a difference, how ridiculous a statement. The gap issue was resolved before construction began. Reducing the fence height was not an option. The fence company was well aware of this unchangeable specification, and they were notified that the fence didn’t meet specifications soon after construction began, but they installed it anyway. They said everything would be corrected before completion but chose to abandon the project instead of completing the contract.

Elements of contract not addressed by board:

Powder Coating: The fence contract calls for a powder-coated fence (to protect it from corrosion in the ocean air). This is a very important part of the specifications. When the fence company made the fence sections too short and then welded extensions to the post, they set them into the ground without powder coating as contracted. The lifespan of this untreated aluminum will be greatly reduced. This was reported prior to setting the post but the fence company chose to set the post without complying with the specifications as identified in the contract.

Shoddy Workmanship: Before the fence was reported finished by the fence company, it began to fall apart. The welds on the gate were breaking and the fence pickets began to fall through the rails. There were 13 burn holes in the fence components where the welder missed the welds completely. The fence company denied the holes were present (pictured) until shown to them by the board. They repaired the burn holes by squirting white caulking into the holes and around broken and missed weld joints and refused to finish the fence unless they were paid in full. The contract is specific in payment procedures. Another fence company was hired to patch-weld the broken gate welds, add a closure device (as per code), and then add a support rail around the entire fence to keep the fence from falling. This is evidenced in our deposition. The picture below shows the repaired fence with the the support rail bolted to each picket.