Avoiding Builder Disputes
The best way to avoid a dispute and effectively resolve issues with your builder is to have a good working relationship with them. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open at all times. This is key to having a good experience with your project. However, there may come a time when a breakdown in communication happens between the parties involved.
Who Do I Contact?
Contact our office with the complaint or problem you are having and we will advise you of which may the best course of action for your situation or case. Only after all attempts have been made, in good faith, have failed to contact your builder in getting a code violation corrected, by the builder. Importantly, you must let the builder correct the violation or his designee or the state will dismiss the claim. All formal complaints must be received within the 18-month time frame from the time the Certificate of Occupancy was issued, use of the following procedure on the next page to file a complaint may be used.
Complaint Against Who?
Complaints may be filed against the permit holder. This is the responsible party who has obtained the permit of the project or work being done.
If you obtained a permit as a homeowner you cannot file a complaint with the state. Refer to the homeowner affidavit you signed when picking up your permit.
When you act as the builder in the case of a homeowner you are the builder and cannot file a complaint against yourself. The course of action that would have to be taken against a contractor then becomes a civil matter.
Keeping Detailed Records of Events
Prior to moving into a new home be sure to fill out a pre-move-in form with your builder. Indicating any and all concerns you may have with the home or items that had not previously been addressed. Certain items that you may have taken for granted at the time may not be able to be verified at a later date as to when the damage or problem actually had taken place, thus putting the burden of proof on you as to when, how, and why.
Filing a Complaint
The Office of Local Government and Consumer Services (OLGCS) reviews complaints against electricians, mechanical contractors, plumbers, state-approved pre-manufacturers, and complaints regarding barrier-free design issues. All complaints must be in writing and should include the following information:
- Name, address, and phone number of complaint
- Job location (if different than the complainant’s address)
- Specify township, city, or village and county of job location
- Name and address of the company the complaint is against
- Individual(s) dealt with at the company
- License number of contractor (if known)
- What were they hired to do (i.e., install specific equipment, repair equipment, etc.)
- What was wrong with the job
- If equipment had been installed, was a permit obtained and/or inspections performed
- Attach copies of any substantiating documentation (i.e., contract, proposal, invoice, etc.)
Correspondence regarding complaints should be mailed to:
Bureau of Construction Codes
Office of Local Government and Consumer Services
P.O. Box 30222
Lansing, MI 48909
Upon receipt of the information, bureau staff will review documentation to determine if an investigation should be initiated or if additional information is required.
The Bureau of Construction Codes does not have the authority to intervene in monetary or contractual disputes.