We hired Ronal and Vinesh in spring 2015 to renovate our kitchen, ensuite, hall bath and then do some additional tile on two small landings and a basement bath (which also included some new drywall and paint). I waited for nearly a year to post a review because I wanted to do so after some emotion had subsided. We were assured they could work with both our timeframe and our budget and this is the area that was most problematic. There were typical supplier and other issues which I'm not touching on below.
With regard to things within Aero's control, I'll highlight things from most to least positive below.
Trades (4 stars)
For the most part, Tristan did the trades work on our place, with Vinesh working with him (more early than later) and he did a very good job. He was a pleasure to be around and was very diligent in his attention to detail. I do think more resources on a sizable job like ours would have helped, as he was seemingly overworked. Plus, one tradesperson to do electrical, plumbing, tile and most installation was definitely a key issue in time management. One negative was any drywall work. They didn't have a drywaller and it showed. Tristan didn't do the drywalling. Many places where patching, sanding and painting were done had to be re-done, sometimes after they had painted it. Big undulations that were very visible to the naked eye, but apparently good enough to paint. Poor quality control with regard to drywall.
Finishing (3 stars)
The finishing in the kitchen was generally fine, in the upstairs bathrooms less so. At first, Jerry was doing work like grout, caulking, cabinet door installation, etc. We found a lott of this work substandard. Initial installation of kitchen cabinet doors was crooked, he missed large gaps left in his grout work and even used the wrong colour caulking in the bathroom in places. In areas where he was doing caulking around bathroom basins, tile edging, shower doors, etc, as opposed to a nice bevelled bead, there were large finger smears (still are some). I've had to since remove it and re-caulk the tile edging myself. Largely the problems here were having someone without the skill to do finishing work and poor quality control again. It was clear in the last week of the project that they were so far over time, that they were rushing to get out. I almost forgot that, as they were moving our laundry set back into place after tiling the landing, they broke the doors when jamming them back. We only discovered this late, but ended up removing them.
Project management (2 stars)
When we hired them, we had a budget in mind and a date by which we absolutely needed to be done. While they made the date, literally at the last day, we had originally asked them to be done at least a few days in advance so we could clean before we were off on vacation. Originally they planned to be done a couple weeks early. They seemed really time crunched as the project had been originally a 6 week engagement, which ballooned to nearly 10. They started a week later than planned. Ronal 'thought' they could still do it in 5. I knew that wouldn't happen but also didn't expect nearly 10 weeks. As far as I'm aware, not once did Ronal ever do any kind of timeline planning or use any standard processes such as plugging actuals into estimates and revising.
Budget management (1 star)
In terms of budget management, we started at a $53k estimate with some uncosted things. We expected it to be as high as $60k, and had verbally indicated we could go NO higher than $65k. After multiple requests, we received the 'midpoint' invoice 5 weeks in and it was already at $64k. I pressed Ronal for a reason why and got silence and avoidance. He assured me that most costs were already accounted for. Knowing we would now not even come in at $65k, I told him to be VERY diligent for the remainder of the project. We even removed some work from the basement to keep the budget as low as possible.
The final invoice came in at $74k, a nearly 25% increase over $60k and 15% more than we indicated our limit was. Thankfully, we had enough holdback that we were able to negotiate a small reduction. We had a lot of communication back and forth (mostly from us). We expected a reduction to get us closer to our maximum and we were trying to be flexible, going as high as $69k. Claiming 'unforeseen costs' as the reason, Ronal offered a list of things that were actually in the initial estimate and had either gone up or not had a proper cost assigned to them. The only unforeseen costs in the project were some additional kitchen sub-floor/tile leveling and straightening of frame materials for our ensuite. These additional costs had all been in the midpoint invoice, so the additional $10k from that point to final invoice was, in our minds, just poor budget management. We never received budget updates at any time. In the end, a 3% invoice reduction on a budget blown by about 25%.