Here’s a real-life renovation nightmare that we can all learn from. It underscores the importance of hiring a an experienced knowledgeable, team. It was shared with us and we were encouraged to share it with you:
‘I’m writing you today to let you know of the stressful, time-consuming and expensive experience that we were forced to go through in our recent renovation.
To save money, we had totally gutted our kitchen ourselves and we then turned over the renovation to a man who was recommended to us (as a licensed contractor) who is in our church.
This man was energetic and spoke in glowing terms of all that he could do for us, and in record time no less! We gutted our kitchen in November 2016 and turned over the entire space to him in December. He assured us that as it was ‘slow time’ in the construction business that he could have our renovation accomplished quickly.
His first plan of attack was to do the electrical and plumbing changes that were needed to accommodate the new floorplan and appliances. After one month, we received a bill for $1700. We paid it and looked forward to the rest of the work being started… and finished.
We had a completion date of March 1st, 2017 and were comfortable with that date as he was working by himself and had other jobs to take care of at the same time, and additionally, we were not living in the space. We believed this more ‘laid back’ approach would save us money and, as he was a member of our church, what could go wrong?
Just after the electrical and plumbing were done and we had paid the first invoice, my husband had a large stroke. We were in the hospital for 32 days and reiterated to the contractor that we needed to be in the home no later than March 1st as the discharge date for my husband was March 3rd.
We could not oversee the project like we had initially intended, but since I had provided detailed drawings and from previous conversations and meetings, we had every assurance that he could complete our renovation plans according to our needs.
When I contacted the fellow on March 1st, he said that he had not been able to complete the work, and that we would have to stay in a hotel for a few days. To cut this story short, we were forced to remain in a hotel for 31 days at the cost of $2,500, not to mention the cost of our emotional and physical well-being.
On April 5th, when we finally insisted that we needed to move into our home with the new kitchen, we were met with ‘temporary’ construction solutions as well as completely wrong designs. We then received a bill for $7600 and were asked to pay it immediately.
Over the next two weeks, the plumbing under the sink flooded the floor no less than five times as the piping that he used was not even plumbing pipe and it was not securely fastened. A cabinet fell off the wall, and two electrical connections had been compromised by nails and screws going through the wiring, causing sparking, smoke and the possibility of fire. The ceiling started to fall and the walls were buckling!
Upon requesting an accounting of hours and receipts, we received hours that had no dates and receipts than when checked were for over $1300 of personal items that were never used in our kitchen and that he had hoped that we would pay for.
We then went in search of a new contractor (which were already booked well in advance for the summer), and had to rip out 90% of what the first contractor had done. Turns out that he was not really a licensed contractor, but had taken some contracting classes.
The moral of my story is that we should have checked his background, his references and had a contract! No, we did not pay him, but in not doing so, we could have had the additional inconvenience and stress of being taken to court and having to prove our end of this nightmare.
Now, we have you, our new contractor with background checks, a contract and stipulations of what will be done …and when. The job is almost complete and we are back in our home after living in a friend’s home for four weeks during the second renovation.
You read all the time to check references, to check qualifications and to have a contract that a lawyer would approve of. But then we trust and believe and wish upon a star. What’s the ultimate cost? We lose time, even more money than we bargained for, and access to our own home when we need it the most.
Like you folks at Krown, any contractor that can provide a contract offering staged payments, approvals and completion time-lines, is worth their weight in gold to head off the mistakes that cost even more in time and money!
Sincerely and with thanks,
Feel free to call us at Krown Kitchens. We look forward to helping you realize the kitchen of your dreams in a most pleasant and timely way.