Does a contractor have a duty to disclose items that he knew, or should have known, would affect the outcome of a project’s final inspection?

A licensed contractor installed new A/C and furnace in an older (1940’s) home. The contract called for the contractor to obtain permits for this work. He did so. However, on the final inspection by the city, it failed to sign off due to home insulation issues with homes installing new/replacement HVAC (150 energy code violations). Who is responsible for bringing home into compliance in order to pass final inspection? I probably would not have done the work if I was aware of the additional costs to pass inspection.

Asked on August 9, 2014 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

A contractor's only duty is to do the work he was hired to do, to do so carefully and professionally, and to be honest, candid, etc. regarding that  work. There is no obligation to point out problems beyond the scope of the contractor's work. Since he obtained the permits, then the contractor probably did his duty--he would not be required to, or liable for not, point out other problems which may impact on the ability to get the final CO or other approval, but which did not come out of work which he was himself doing.

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