The job was supposed to be a simple CONDO renovation. The tasks to complete were full kitchen reno (excluding appliances), and hard wood floor installation throughout incl. baseboards plus heaters and door trim.
There was some minor electrical work required (pot light installation, and movement of outlets), but I emphasise that this was incredibly minor (a day's work tops).
The team had allocated 4 weeks to the job, one week of which was painting.
I told the team that I needed to keep costs down, and so I did all demolition of the kitchen myself (excl. plumbing and tile) and paid to have it hauled away with 1-800-GOT-JUNK? (thanks guys! much cheaper than using your contractor, they will overcharge you).
I also told them not to bother with painting, as this is something I enjoy doing and why pay the extra?
They started one week before I went on a 3 week vacation, so that i would be out of the property. I handed them the keys and they had full access to the suite while I was away.
Upon my return they had not even half completed the job. My furniture, which had been put in a separte room, or bathroom (which wasnt being renovated) was covered in dirt and dust as the team had neglected to properly seal off the rooms (which in the case of the bathroom was as simple as closing the door).
We are now four weeks into the job and I am back at home. No body shows up to my condo for a further 3 or 4 days.
When they do show up, and i forgot to mention that i work from home, they show up and start sawing baseboard in the living room. There is dust everywhere. It's dangerous.
They then show up unannounced for about an hour or two every other day for the next few weeks. I email them to tell them i am unhappy with the fact that i am clearly second place to another job and that their workmanship is horrible.
A good portion of the baseboard needed to be done twice because they did a terrible job the first time.
Then the counter, which the designer had helped pick out.....i was told it was no longer in stock and never would be again at 6pm the night before the installation was supposed to happen.
This was about 7 weeks into the job, that was supposed to be 3 without painting, and a maximum of 5 according to our contract.
The counter was delivered and installed, and didnt properly fit the counter. The counter team wanted to leave saying "whatever, nothing we can do". There is still a big gap between my counter and the wall.
It is also not the colour that the design team and I picked out, and while i like it, it doesnt fit so well with the hardwood floor.
The team also scratched the new hardwood floor so deeply that parts of it had to be dug up and replaced. There are still scrathes all over the new floor caused by the team. I was told "don't worry, most of these smaller scratches eventually lift themselves out". I was horrified.
By the end of week 10 the project manager did a walk around for final deficiencies to fix. I had told him that i wasnt willing to pay their mark up and profit margin on the counter as it wasnt the one i originally wanted. He told me that Rob (owner) would call, which never happenend. More empty promises.
There were several deficiencies, most of which remain unfixed to this day. For example:
Baseboards are not properly installed, and arent flush with wall, or straight
Hard wood floor is scrathed up from contractor team
Counter top does not meet wall, there is an unsightly gap
Tile in laundry room has two separate colours of tile visible
Baseboard heater in living room not centred to the room
Electic outlet in kitchen not in line with tile grout
Light switch in kitchen warped because electrician didnt replace old curved edge box with new fittings
Wine fridge does not fit in the counter space designated for it, despite the fact that measurements were provided beforehand
Many areas of wall remain unsanded and unfinished
Paint all over lamiate doors (laminate part), i will have to scrape this off myself
Payment and Charges
The team charged me $1500 for "design"
This was a condo kitchen and hardwood install. There is no design. The sink has to be near the plumbing. The floor is underneath your feet. Plus the colours selected by the designer are not the colours in my apartment now
The team charged me $50k in total
Let's break down the hours they have attempted to charge me.
The project manager, who sits in the office all day, charged me 47 hours at $65 per hour for planning the job. When I asked for a time sheet, i was ignored
The on site manager, responsible for drywalling and odd-jobs charged me over 100 hours.
Bear in mind that the flooring, electician, tiler, cabinet and counter guys all billed separately.
In fact, they charged over 200 man hours on this job, when the vast majority of the work was completed by subcontractors. How one gets to 200 hours for baseboard install, microwave install, heater install, TV arm install, pocket door install and framing a 6ft by 4 ft hole between kitchen and living room I don't know. In fact, I watched them work less than 2 hours a day on the average day I saw them here. IF I SAW THEM HERE AT ALL.
They also tried to charge a 23% markup on all trades. They charged nearly $500 to move appliances from living room to kitchen!!!
I submitted a complaint to them about the quality of the work and the charge, and sent back my approximate working of the cost at $30k. I paid this amount. I had reduced their hours to something I felt reflected the truth, reimbursed them for mileage and overhead appropriately, and paid in full for the subcontractors so that they wouldnt be out of pocket. This is all reasonable.
The next thing i get is an email from Rob Caper's lawyer demanding payment and putting a lien on my property.
There was no apology for being 11 weeks instead of 3 weeks
There was no offer to come fix the deficiencies
They refused to send me receipts for the contactors and timesheets
In fact they did nothing, they just went straight to their lawyer.
This has caused significant problems for me. DO NOT USE MAISON D'ETRE for anything. And don't be sucked in by their professional seeming office.
These guys are cowboys and crooks, they have ripped me off for poor quality work at an excessive cost, and made me feel like an idiot.