Disclaimer for Cabinet Installation

How should a cabinet installer cover himself when he notice defects in the cabinet finish before starting the installation? August 8, 2008

My company was asked if we would install cabinets and millwork for an out of state company. The GC is bringing in the cabinets and millwork as requested by the customer. The GC needs us because we are a Union installation company. When we inspected their product it looked great, but we noticed the finish coat on the cabinets had a flaw. It started to peel off and looked like it had an adhesion problem. Does anyone have any recommendations on writing or wording a Letter of Disclaimer? We feel there will be finger pointing when we start to handle or cut and fit the cabinets and millwork. The GC has used us on several jobs and is very pleased with our work (they also pay us on time).

From contributor A:
I operate a union installation company and I come across defective finishes regularly. I don't bother with a disclaimer. If they are going to find a reason to blame you for the defective finish I don't think a disclaimer will do much good. There would have to be some evidence of damage for you to be blamed and for it. If they are going to shotgun everyone who touched the millwork, a disclaimer isn't going to stop them.

I photograph the defect, show the super and another witness, make an entry in my log book and make the super sign it. You could get an invoice book and get it signed in triplicate. If you can bring it up at a job meeting and get it into the minutes it helps too.

From contributor B:
Take photos and get signatures. We even take a photo of the inside of the tractor trailer before we begin to unload and note every flaw that we find upon unloading on the shipping bill. When people see that we are serious about our work, they don't mess with us. I will take photos of the electricians (or any other subs) tools laying on our work and the conditions of the job site. The cold hard facts are that by the time we as installers get to the jobsite things are so messed up that the job is in chaos. Nobody is as far along as they should be and things are slipping further behind. We actively seek out the big wigs and point out our work and take reasonable steps to protect it. It is sad but you have to cover you assets!

I worked on a job that I thought went real well until I heard that we were being charged because of the finish. It took well over a year to collect. It was the color that was the issue and we were the installers - go figure!