When a case is not needed for a rework
"We hired an electrical engineer to provide all the electrical installations in our new house for a price much lower than our developer. In our contract, he undertook to provide us full electrical installation that is safe and within standards. Upon turnover and upon payment of the fees, we found out that his work made our house uninhabitable. We tried to contact him the soonest, because we should have already been living in that house after a week of its turnover, but he can neither be reached nor found. Do we still need to file a case before we can hire another to correct his works?
The case of Owen Mackay vs Spouses Caswell (GR 183872, Nov. 17, 2014), penned by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo can enlighten you in your situation. It clearly stated:“Suffice it to say that Owen’s job was not only to finish the electrical installation work. It was likewise his obligation to do quality work and to provide quality materials to ensure that electricity would flow in the Caswell home[...]
“x x x“Under Article 1715 of the Civil Code, if the work of a contractor has defects, which destroy or lessen its value or fitness for its ordinary or stipulated use, he may be required to remove the defect or execute another work. If he fails to do so, he shall be liable for the expenses by the employer for the correction of the work. The demand required of the employer under the subject provision need not be in a particular form. In the case at bar, we agree with the CA (Court of Appeals) that Owen was given the opportunity to rectify his work.
“x x x“To our mind, however, the effort to communicate with [Owen] effectively served as [the Caswells’] request for the former to rectify the flaws in the contracted work[…]“x x x“Furthermore, to require the Caswells to file an action for specific performance, as opined by the RTC (Regional Trial Court), not only deprives them of hiring someone else to rectify the work, but also defeats the very purpose of the contracted work, i.e., to immediately have electricity in their home. In this situation, time is of the essence.” (Emphasis supplied)
In your situation, considering that the installations made by your electrical engineer are almost rendered useless, you may have to require your electrical engineer to rectify his work. However, since he cannot be found, and considering you have exercised all possible efforts to inform him of the same, you may then make him liable to pay all the obligations and damages arising from his defective work — including the payment for the services you have secured with another party — without filing a case for specific performance, a priori.This opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or further elaborated. We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to "
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"When a case is not needed for a rework"
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and updated on 15 September 2021