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Old 09-30-2007, 01:19 AM   #1
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Default Always, ALWAYS check over your contractor.

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.

The result:
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?

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Yup, this stuff is live. After abandoning our job site, he left live electrical running wild like Hulkamania in various parts of our house.

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Looky here! Mouldy press board used as a construction barrier. Yup, the health board was contacted on this one.

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Crappy leaking tarp used to fend off the rain. Good luck!

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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.

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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

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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:
"Al'* Framing"
"Burts Roofing"
"Charlie'* Siding"
"Don'* Plumbing"

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)
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Old 09-30-2007, 09:04 AM   #2
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...I have heard of this over and over again. I don't see how people can be that way.
Glad to hear things are looking up.
I'd be interested in hearing how the lawsuits goes, keep me posted.
I have to say, despite all of the dificulties, it is nice to see haven't lost oyur sense of humor.


Quote:
Yup, this stuff is live. After abandoning our job site, he left live electrical running wild like Hulkamania in various parts of our house.
Too freakin funny... and the crack house reference, that was priceless.
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Old 09-30-2007, 10:25 AM   #3
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Sounds like ya got your documentation and pics in order. tear this guy a new arsehole in court
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Old 09-30-2007, 10:28 AM   #4
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Thanks for the encouragement, Brian.
Yes, somehow we have managed to keep our sense of humour during this ordeal. If we hadn't we would have gone batty by now!

I'll keep this thread alive with updates of the lawsuit, and progress of the reno.

Cheers,
Adam
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Old 09-30-2007, 11:33 AM   #5
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WOW

That really sucks Adam.......to think all that cash tied up for nothing! Sorry to hear about your situation. Who was this guy? (PM Me).

I had my house built as well but aside from some minor glitches, thankfully everything went relatively smooth.

Good luck Adam with the remainder of the reno, and especially your day in court. It'* one thing to win in court.......unfortunately the tough part will be collecting.

Good luck Adam
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Old 09-30-2007, 09:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbeast420
Sounds like ya got your documentation and pics in order. tear this guy a new arsehole in court
Oh, yes! Plenty of pics and documentation for this ordeal. We kept things pretty straight from the get go, including having all payment cheques issued by our lawyer. Creates a nice paper trail!


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Originally Posted by brianj
Good luck Adam with the remainder of the reno, and especially your day in court. It'* one thing to win in court.......unfortunately the tough part will be collecting.
True, Brian.
We might end up with a blood from a stone situation, but I know he is currently working on ther jobs, so he must have some income coming. I feel sorry for those other customers of his!

We opened a file on this guy in the Better Business Bureau.

Adam
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Old 10-16-2007, 02:39 PM   #7
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Update!
Drywall is going on this weekend, thank the Lord.
Eavestroughing is being installed today, and if all goes well we can have the house re-estimated so we don't have to pay the 2nd mortgage payment any more. Man, this has been stressful!

Oh, do you want to hear something fun? My wife and I have to get out of our bedroom, as they will be framing in there and drywalling. Her, my son, our baby girl and myself will all sleep in our son'* room. We will have two beds in there, and share two dressers. Should be cozy. All our other clothes are.... Somewhere, we've lost track.
Oh this has been hell, and it'* about to get a lot more...... cramped.

The crappy contractor has hopefully been served by now, the legal wheel is now in motion.

Hopefully after the weekend I'll have something worth taking pictures of to share.

Adam
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Old 10-16-2007, 02:42 PM   #8
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but you still got internet

glad to see you are keeping your cool, good luck!
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Old 10-16-2007, 02:47 PM   #9
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Hang in there.
Don't know about up North, but if it is like here, don't plan on that legal wheel to roll to quickly.
Have fun with the bedroom thing.
Hope all works out for you.
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Old 10-16-2007, 03:26 PM   #10
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Thanks guys,
Yes, the legal wheel rolls pretty slowly here too.
We're going to shove more of our belongings into our (trashed) basement. I think it'* going to pop soon.

My son is excited that Mommy and Daddy will be "camping" in his room, along with his little sister... Weeeee.

Lissa just called me. She is sure our beds might just fit in his room, and we will have two dressers to share. No more closets. Bye bye, closets. They have been gone for a long, long time.
There are no closets for our old contractor to come out of at our house

Though our house has never been robbed, I swear this must be worse...

Adam
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