Lengthy read, but worth it if you plan on renovating! Some pics are below.
This is going to be tough, but I would like to summarize what my wife, two children and I have go through since June 5/2007 regarding our home renovation.
Scope of the job:
-We needed a bedroom built. Decided to build one on top of an existing first floor, matching the roof line with the rest of the top floor.
-Our kitchen was to be moved from the front of the house, into the rear of the house, thus a smaller bathroom is to be built to accomodate.
-Main floor laundry room is to be added too.
We've watched Holmes on Homes. We don't want to get ripped off so we:
-Researched a few contractors, gathered quotes and settled on a few.
-Settled on one based on personal recommendation from a friend.
-Checked out his references, things look good.
-Agreed on the terms of the contract: Progressive payments, with one of the payments due on completion.
Okay, now it'* time to build!
The project was to start June 4th and be completed July 28, 2007.
Contractor "A" took our money for the deposit. It was outlined this money was to go to securing materials. He framed the outer walls, sided it, sheeted the roof and added new shingles to the new and existing roof per contract. So far so good, right?
He then asks for another qty of money to secure more materials. This deviated a bit from the contract, but we decided things were going okay, so we gave it to him.
He claims deposits are made for materials, and needed to keep working.
Per his contract, a new payment (on top of what he got) is due, as the framing is complete, this is the next logical stage of progressive payment, we shell out more $$$
Now lets talk about these payments: We gave him a security deposit for the job, due at signing. Most company'* expect that, so we didn't find that unusual.
The second payment was to be used for kitchen cabinets. We thought that was acceptable, as they needed to be ordered.
The 3rd payment we gave him was due per the progressive payment outline. The contractor had met that stage, so it was due.
I feel that is important to review, because I want you to understand that we felt things were going okay and wanted to keep the project moving.
After the 3rd payment is made, all work STOPS.
It is then discovered he used inferior materials that are a health hazard:
1)Pressure treated lumber is discovered in the interior framing
2)Fibreglass pressboard is used as a barrier to separate the construction zone from the rest of the house. This stuff is NO Good. We discovered it carries mould, and our daughter (5mos old) is sleeping mere feet away. When we learned this, it was removed right away! This guy is a parent with small kids. How could he do this to another family?
3)Live electrical is not disconnected. The place could have burned down.
4)The plumbing work he did does not meet City code. It had to be removed and re-done.
5)The new work area isn't protected from rain properly. Rain leaks into our existing bedroom, down to the living room (ruins wall) then down the the basement (ruins Parkay floor)
So at this stage of the game, all we have is 3 framed, sided exterior walls, a roof that is shingled. No windows, flooring, insulation, electrical. None of the finish work, just basic framing.
The materials he claims to have made deposits on (windows, kitchen cabinets, flooring, drywall) have not shown up, we are now faced with having to sue him.
Lissa and I are out over $15,000 which this guy mis-appropriated. Not to state the obvious, but that'* a lot of money, especially for this type of budget!
What a freakin' nightmare. Up until Friday, the reno didn't even have windows installed!
The only saving grace we have is we didn't pay Contractor "A" (for arsehole) the finish payment.
We now have a new contractor who is a good worker. We pay him hourly, and generally purchase our own materials (out of a budget that is missing a lot of $$!)
Some work is finally getting done!
Contractor "A" does not return phone calls, and when he does, he feels justified in what he has done to us. He claims our money is tied up in deposits. I have found out who is vendors are, and they informed me no such deposits exist. Clearly he took our money and used it on............. Who knows...
Hopefully you are still interested in what'* happening here!
How about some pics?
Yup, this stuff is live. After abandoning our job site, he left live electrical running wild like Hulkamania in various parts of our house.
Looky here! Mouldy press board used as a construction barrier. Yup, the health board was contacted on this one.
Crappy leaking tarp used to fend off the rain. Good luck!
Speaking of rain, it'* hard to tell from this pic, but this Parkay floor in my basement completely heaved from the leak that ran all the way down the interior of the exposed wall. It has been removed and will need replacing. This stinks.
I'm fast forwarding here big time! This pic was taken today. Look! Windows! Until now, we had crack house plastic flapping in the breeze. Where you see windows with cross hatching at the back of the house is the reno. The floor below it is existing
Things are looking up. The new contractor insulated the new bedroom today.
So obviously the project is grossly overdue, and our budget is shot to hell.
Luckily our lending people have been working with us a bit, and the new guy straightened the plumbing out, and we have passed our electrical inspection.
Oh, the new contractor originally quoted on the job, at a fair price. We didn't pick him because he was too busy, and wouldn't have been able to start us back at the quoting stage for many weeks, if not months. In hindsight, we should have signed with him originally. If a contractor is that busy, it means he / she must do it right!
Currently papers are being served to Contractor "Arsehole". We'll see him soon in court.
If you are planning an extensive reno, do not choose someone who can accomodate you right away! It means trouble.
You can be the general contractor:
I should have hired:
You get the hint. I should have thumbed through the yellow pages and subed out each job to experts.
There are a lot of crappy general contractors out there, and only a few good ones.
The good ones are the folks who can't start your job right away, and have credit accounts at the major building supply places. If your contractor asks for money to secure materials, tell them to go fly a kite. Obviously they failed to build the first and foremost thing properly, and that is credibility.
If you have questions, please ask me. I have learned a lot during this ordeal.
The new guy is coming to work on the house tomorrow (Sunday). It'* nice to see things getting done here for a change!
Adam, Lissa, Ethan (almost 5yr old) and Sienna-Paige (6mo old)