ECC - Blog Avoid Remodel Horror Stories


Jul 23, 2015

East Coast Contractors pride themselves on doing the highest quality work, on time, within budget, and right the first time. Of course, every builder is likely to run into some unexpected snag along the way, but ECC always attempts to make up for lost time, or at least explain the situation fully to you—our clients—if some major hindrance comes up, such as an unexpected termite infestation. You can expect us to give you our best, every time.

From tales of woe from clients of other contractors and subcontractors like roofers, carpenters, etc., it is obvious that not all builders take the same kind of pride in their work. If you haven’t heard of major building disasters yourself, you need only search the internet to find horrifying examples of remodeling gone wrong--or just ask your friends about their own stories…

The most severe example of a project gone awry is, of course, the contractor who takes your money and just…disappears. This happened to one of our friends, and she lost $130K in the process. She took the builder to court and won a judgement against him for $160K, but then he was nowhere to be found. He had completed about one third of the job when he vanished. Eventually, the state of Arizona “compensated” her with $30K, but that was a very poor return on her original investment. He was fully licensed, had a terrific portfolio, and came highly recommended, but it seems that theft is just too tempting for some contractors to resist! The house still sits unfinished—and rotting--almost ten years later, while she continues to try to figure out what to do about it.

What about the one about the roofers who trapped a live skunk between the ceiling and the roof in the course of their work? The smell, of course, was dreadful, and maggots also began falling into the ceiling light fixtures! Eventually, the house went into foreclosure. When the owners frantically contacted the roofers, they replied that, “Dead animal removal is not part of our job.” And speaking of animals, there are builder/remodelers who do not take the necessary steps to remove termites from a structure, but just go ahead and construct new walls right over them. Hard to believe, but it is true!

And then there is this tale of woe, borrowed from House Beautiful: "We asked the contractor to redo our popcorn ceiling with a lightly textured finish. Well, the contractor hired a subcontractor, and he applied that texture to every wall, ceiling, and surface in the kitchen! All of it had to be scraped down, sanded, and smoothed out. It set the project back weeks." — Susan T.

What horror stories! There are more, of course. Close friends of ours hired a contractor in New England to do all the work on their new and very simple vacation cottage before the family arrived for the summer with their small children and the family dogs and cats (except, perhaps, for some finishing details). The husband was actually an architect himself, and his brother was an engineer, and the contractor was to follow their exact specifications and plans for the cottage. The husband was in constant contact with the builder in Cape Cod, where the small cottage was being built, three hundred miles away from their winter home.

Everything seemed to be proceeding just fine from the contractor’s reports, until…the family arrived in mid-June, and found that while the exterior walls were finished, the builders had not even started on the interior walls yet. Not even the framing! The critical issue was that the family was operating on a shoestring budget because the doctor wife had been very ill for the year before, and they did not have the money to try to rent another place to stay until the walls were completed. So guess where the whole gang stayed for a month? Right—in the house in sleeping bags! Every morning the carpenters arrived at about 6 a.m., the dogs went wild, the still-ill wife could barely get up, the children ran around interfering with everything, out of natural curiosity, and the family cats just disappeared. Need we say more?

Please consider East Coast Contractors for your remodeling needs. We will be scrupulously honest and transparent with you, we utilize a unique process that we term “design-build,” which allows you to participate in every design decision and to monitor our progress every day if you like. We will hide nothing from you, and we will get the job done right the first time!

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