Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Composite Decking could Cost You as a Contractor

Composite Decking Liabilities

We published a poll where we asked;

Who should pay for the labour to remove and replace faulty composite decking?

The Home Owner (12%)

The Builder (34%)

Your Insurance Company (0%)

The Manufacturer (even if you have to sue) (54%)

People seem to be of the opinion that if you sell it to them--you are partially liable for replacing it when things go wrong.


The important consideration here is that since the manufacturer refuses to pay for the removal, disposal and installation of the replacement decking (under warranty), YOU as the BUILDER may well be shamed into, or worse still forced to through litigation with your own client.

In my mind any external factor that could put you at odds with a happy client is simply not something we as high end builders should ever risk. I don't like having to tell people "No Maam, even though I sold you composite decking--and it turned out to be defective, I couldn't possibly replace it for you for free". The majority of our builders have steered clear of it for this simple reason and the fact that we don't believe it to be the best material to use.

In the act of selling people composite decking you must make clear that in the event of a warranty claim you will not be supplying free labor to replace the deck should the materials turn out to be defective. You need to tell them verbally and include it as a term within your contract. If you don't make this perfectly clear up front, your act of selling the product could leave you vulnerable later.

The other trouble is that once you tell people you won't replace defective materials for free--they just may not buy from you.
The Company that was the largest deck builder in Canada staked their business on composites--and in the last couple of years they have watched 10 of their franchisees close their doors, (1 joined I am not sure if that is due to complications of composites or just management issues in general.

As deck builders we need to choose what we sell carefully. We need to look at the warranty and decide if the risk is worth the potential gains. It is your deck business and only you decide what you will or will not sell.

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