Whether you’re unhappy with being blamed for things you shouldn’t be blamed for, with the attitude of the owner or design professional, or with the way the job is being run, you need to think twice before walking off a job. If you have a construction contract in place, you’ll likely be in breach and could be sued. If this happens you may not only be responsible for the damages suffered by the owner or contractor in having to replace you and finish the work, you may have to pay back some or all of what you’ve already received.
Worse, you could even be accused of a crime. That happened to one contractor who admitted to having cashed a number of checks he had received for work he had yet to do on a contracted remodeling job. He was found guilty of theft. He appealed, showing that he did perform some work on the project and actually only stopped working when the owner, who had run into permitting problems, couldn’t decide whether to continue the remodel or build a new structure. The evidence showed that this contractor had no intent to defraud the owner and he was cleared of all charges.
As you can see, walking off a job does come with some significant risks. You could be sued; you could be responsible for more than you’ve already been paid; you could even be accused of a crime.
Before you make such a drastic decision, do the following:
- Determine if you have a valid contract in place, and if you do, see what termination options exist within the contract;
- Figure out if you have accepted more money than the work you have actually accomplished;
- See what materials have been ordered, what’s been paid for, and whether those suppliers have either filed notices to owner or claims of lien; and
- Meet with the owner or general contractor and try to reach an amicable resolution.
An emotional decision to walk off a job may be temporarily satisfying but the fallout could be expensive. Become informed before you let your feet do the talking.