" 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.
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.
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.