Well it's been a full day, and no comments. I don't want to leave this on a sour note - there have been plenty of threads over the years where the "Adjuster vs PA" topic has been aired out, and Leland's question was a bit unique:
what has anyone learned from a PA that helped increase their knowledge? Has a PA ever asked for something that you thought was bizarre and later you realized it was actually fair?
I don't have an exact answer to this because it wasn't a PA, it was a contractor, and eventually I think he was wrong.
There was a fire about 10 years ago in a 1970's home with one of those tub-shower one-piece fiberglass things that gets nailed to the studs before drywall, then drywall covers all the edges of the tub and surround. It was at the other end of the house from the source of fire, and only slightly damaged - but discolored along the top to the point that it should be replaced.
The contractor was telling me that the one-piece units do not fit through the door, and they would have to re-frame the opening to get the old one out and the new one in. It really seemed like overkill to me, as the room wasn't hit very hard at all, just the upper 2' of paint were a bit dark and it absorbed into the fiberglass.
I went along with it, added the framing (and door casings, jamb, etc) to my scope. Later I was at the house for another issue as it was being put back together. I looked in the back bathroom, and they were installing a new fiberglass tub that came as a kit with a 3 piece fiberglass surround, so you wouldn't have to cut the door opening. They got the old one out by cutting it up with a Saws-All.
I felt like I had been screwed, although I suppose it could be argued that the Insured had a deductible and elected to lower the value of what used to be a "seamless" shower unit as his portion of the loss.
I think another common disagreement on scope items is "what is already included in prep for paint' within the square foot paint item, such as pulling light switch covers and bringing in a drop cloth.