The design plan of my new kitchen cabinets said the end of the cabinets would terminate with inches of wall space showing. When the cabinets were installed there was a whole foot of wall space. When I questioned my contractor, he said it's not his job to measure - it's my job. Is this true?
I'm afraid there is no set answer to your question, SO, but your dilemma is a perfect example of why getting everyone's responsibilities in writing can be so important. Kitchen remodeling is a very popular home renovation project and as such, cabinet manufacturers and contractors offer quite a few options for accomplishing the task. Those options can range from a kitchen remodeling contractor handling every facet of the work after the homeowner has approved a design to a complete DIY project with the homeowner doing everything other than making the actual cabinets. However, regardless of the option used, all have one thing in common: at some point there have to be measurements of the existing kitchen taken. Who took them in your kitchen?
If you took the measurements and gave them to the kitchen remodeling contractor or cabinet manufacturer, then I'm afraid they may be correct. They based the cabinet layout on those measurements and most likely were under no obligation to check to ensure they were accurate. On the other hand, if the contractor did all the measuring and when things didn't work out according to the design, is attempting to blame it on you, then in my opinion, they are at fault. However, as I mentioned at the beginning, if there is nothing in writing as to who was responsible for what on the project, you may have a difficult time getting the cabinet layout corrected.
I would hope that if the kitchen remodeling contractor is at fault, their concern for making sure they have a happy customer would cause them to take some corrective action. If the countertops haven't been made yet, adding a foot of base and wall cabinets should be a fairly easy task -- the additional cabinets regardless of style shouldn't cost too much. However, if the countertops have been made and are of a material such as granite, then adding that foot could get expensive. In the future, always have contractors working on your home write up exactly what the project will entail and what is included in their price. It should be signed by you and the contractor and attached to the contract.