How should I handle a engineer screw up?

7 months ago

I’m building a house in Washington state. I consulted an engineer because the city forced me to. The engineer never provided a bid or contract but did the work anyways. He did way more than what was asked of him and what he did was not to the specifications I asked for. He also screwed up some calculations and incorrectly sized some beams.
When I found these mistakes I fired him an did not pay his bill. The job was only supposed to be for a few areas of the house plan that the city wanted clarification on. His bill was about $6k. I have never paid more than $2k for an entire house plan before.
I told him directly that what he did was more than I asked and out of the scope of work I wanted and that he screwed up many parts of it and his screw ups cost me more than his bill also he created design challenges I couldn’t fix and for those reasons I wasn’t going to pay him anything. He sends me a bill by email every month and includes interest too. What should I do? Just keep ignoring it and him or what.

Senior Legal Associate Levelset
472 reviews

There’s no single way to respond to claims made by an engineer. Rather, it’s up to an owner to decide what course of action makes the most sense in their particular situation. Though, ignoring a problem is rarely the best way to make it go away. For clarity on how to move forward, consulting a Washington construction attorney could really help to clear things up.

With that being said, if an owner is refusing to pay their engineer due to defective work, it’d probably be a good idea to provide some form of written documentation – like a Notice of Default or Notice of Breach. This documentation would typically (1) identify the issues with the work, (2) put the recipient on notice that the contract has been breached, and (3) state that payment won’t be made as a result of the defective work. But again – reaching out to a local attorney will help identify what options are best for moving forward.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is not legal advice and should not be construed as such. Rather, this content is provided for informational purposes. Do not act on this information as if it is advice. Further, this post does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you do need legal advice, seek the help of a local attorney.
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