After deciding to undertake a whole home reno, we researched general contractors with design/build capabilities, starting with RenoMark contractors doing work in our area. We also added several non-RenoMark contractors, for a total of 6 contractors, including DSBG. Reviews of DSBG on HomeStars were almost unanimously positive, except for one negative review. After discussing scope of work and other matters in my first call with Nick Malfara of DSBG, I asked him about the negative HomeStars review. Nick was forthright, open and honest in his response, which bode well for the dealings which followed. With so many positive reviews and a reasonable explanation for one negative one, it was very easy to accept that the negative one was an aberration / exception.
At our first meeting / walk-through, Nick gave us honest advice, a realistic minimum budget for our scope of work and desired quality level, as well as a realistic timeframe for our project. He was prompt in his follow-up, including a detailed rough budget and written scope of work.
After interviewing 5 other general contractors, we shortlisted DSBG and 2 others and subsequently narrowed it down further to DSBG and 1 other (also a RenoMark contractor). In a follow-up meeting with Nick and DSBG's project manager Tony, my wife remarked that she felt like she was with "family". They gave us straight answers to all our questions and left us feeling comfortable and confident about the reno. Nick took us to several DSBG client sites / projects and gave us numerous past clients as references to contact. Based on everything we saw and all that we heard, DSBG was an easy choice. We selected them in August 2014 with the condition that they be ready to hit the ground running at the start of January 2015.
After working through the fall of 2014, all the design work was completed and permit approvals submitted for approval. Exactly as planned, DSBG started work on the first business day of January and worked diligently every single day until we re-occupied our house this past summer 2015.
Since we were renting a house, time was of the essence for us throughout the reno. DSBG had told us to expect a 7-month project and they did an amazing job in sticking substantially to that schedule, even with numerous scope additions.
Throughout the project, the entire DSBG crew and the trades they involved were true pros. The DSBG crew is focused on site safety and tidiness (which ultimately comes back to safety). The guys were respectful and courteous at all times when we visited the house (usually unannounced) and, most importantly, they did impeccable work. The finishing of items hidden behind the walls was done to the same high standard as items which are visible. Materials used were high quality and work was done to a higher standard than the minimum Building Code requirements. DSBG recommended (for our approval, as we went with a cost+management fee contract format over fixed price) reputable sub-trades for items that their own crew does not do. Project management was efficient and effective, with Tony really staying a few steps ahead of every issue. Site management for our project was done through a working supervisor (Bernie) who was an absolute professional and a real gentleman.
We have been back in our house for three months now and remain impressed by DSBG's work. Shortly after we reoccupied, we developed a "punch list" of items (all minor) for DSBG to fix and they were diligent in chasing down each and every item on the list to our satisfaction.
In the end, I can say unequivocally that we made the right choice in selecting DSBG. We are delighted by the work they have done in turning our house into our dream home. We have and will continue to recommend DSBG to our friends and have every intention of working with them on any future projects.