Fired homebuilder rejects claims

He says 65% of house was complete, delays were beyond his control

September 08, 2000|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A builder accused of failing to finish a $300,000 shorefront home in Essex said yesterday that he managed to complete more than half the house despite financial disagreements with the buyer and delays that were beyond his control.

Responding to an article in The Sun yesterday that described how the frustrated property owner fired him in July, builder Bruce Redman said, "I still wanted to build the house."

Redman, construction superintendent for family-owned Lance Redman Corp., said efforts to build the house were slowed by months of delay in receiving an architect's plans and by environmental issues on the building site. He disputed the accusation that he has completed only a portion of the work for which he has been paid, saying that he is $40,000 in the red for a house that is about 65 percent complete.

Redman was responding to complaints from Jack Mowll, who, after his home burned in 1998, set out to build on the site an "environmentally compatible" house that would blend with the wooded lot.

Mowll, 84, complained that nearly two years later the house is not one-third complete. He also is facing eviction from the White Marsh apartment where he and his wife have been living since last year.

Mowll said his contract with the builder called for construction to begin in April last year, with the house to be completed six months later. When he fired the builders, the house-in-progress included a two-story frame with plastic-sheeted windows and a tarpaper roof.

Redman said construction was slowed because he did not receive building plans until five months into the projected six-month building schedule. He also said that the foundation he'd built collapsed during Hurricane Floyd last year but that he rebuilt it at his own cost.

He said that he received about $217,000 - payments for completing key phases of the project and additional work - but that he is owed money for extras such as cedar ceiling planks. He said negotiations for payment for those extras broke down, and Mowll fired him.

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