We received the following note from a contractor in Oregon:

While working on a new residential walkway project last week, Denny and his crew were confronted with an irate neighbor. The crew had to take out a portion of an existing driveway and had just begun using a jack hammer and concrete saw. We were courteous and did not start this until 10:30 A.M., of course on a weekday. This neighbor began screaming expletives from an upper level window (across the alleyway), and when Denny figured out where it was coming from, he remained calm and tried to diffuse the neighbor . . . who was unresponsive . . . and escalated into threatening the crew with a shotgun, that he was going to “come down and take care of them with it if they didn’t stop making noise.” Now, he was an idiot . . . and calling the police was the only way to handle this situation . . .

Although he’s left our guys alone for now, he’s been making as much noise as he can for the owners until 11 pm. We are pouring concrete on Friday and worry that he will sabotage it, so we’re hiring one of our guys to stay on all night (or until it cures). This is an unbudgeted expense, but I’m wondering if it should be from now on? I’m hearing from other contractors in the area that this is common practice (vandalizing concrete pours either for fun or revenge for building) and that many have taken to consistently hiring security until the concrete sets. Should we work this into our estimates? Or should we come up with some type of sabotage clause in our contracts giving owners the option to hire security and be liable for damages to the project if they opted not to secure it?

Are you dealing with this as well? What’s your experience, how do you handle it?

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