Andy from Jarek Drywall Acoustics is a contractor from the St. Catharines area who was vetted by me for a home renovation project at a home I purchased for my daughters and I to live in while they attended University. The project was the gut and rebuild of the entire basement of a 1,000 sq. ft. home and turn it into am 800 sq ft two bedroom suite with kitchen and living area, minus the electrical and HVAC that I managed with my own known trades. The bathroom was existing so only new ceiling tiles were needed. The home was vacant for much of the project that took 5 months. Andy sold himself as a “general contractor” with the skills I listed as being needed for the project vs. what I discovered along the way, that he is simply a drywall guy with contacts to fill the other roles – in other words subcontracting out the entire project but his parts – gutting the existing basement and taping and mudding the final stages of the drywall. Since this was a long distance renovation for me (I lived an hour away), he was to be on site daily managing the project to completion. He was paid without hesitation for every invoice he presented me, the same day he presented them, except the final $400.00, which I held back because there was some warranty work that was already showing up and the job was not completed, all in about $2,000.00 + worth of work yet to be done. The job was never completed, is still not completed, and Andy has walked away. The work that the various trades did was decent work, and had Andy asked for a referral I would have given him a decent one but with cautions, as had I known I would have held back much more money to keep him interested in completing the project. Though the space is livable, and it looks really nice, it is the small things that are incomplete including some of the trim painting, ceiling repair and painting, but more than anything, I cannot rely on him to come back and repair/fix the things that really should be covered by his warranty of one year, like the falling ceiling vent covers. I would recommend him for hire, but only as a person for drywall. His lack of and inexperience with general contracting skills needed for a project this size caused the project to take steps backwards at times to fix/adjust other trades completed work, so we could move forward. He is so busy and fills his schedule with so many projects that he cannot be as attentive to the details as he should be, to ensure the sub-trades are doing a good job and that nothing is missed. As a single mom, I found Andy to be very pleasant to deal with up until he walked away, but discovered that much of what he committed to was beyond his scope of skills and time management abilities. Because of his inexperience, things that should have been obvious to him (in his understanding of basic construction and application) that needed reconsidering in how we were going to accomplish what I wanted were missed opportunities to do a really good job vs. an OK job. An experienced contractor will point out opportunities to make things better or ways to improve your ideas/objectives. My personal experience with professionals, and the 11 homes I have renovated in the past 25 years, would rate Andy a 3 out of 10 on a skill level of general contractors. He is a much better drywall finisher than a general contractor. Since he didn’t do the framing or hang the drywall himself, I cannot comment on those skills either. The project did come in on budget (more or less) but not on schedule and remains incomplete as of this posting date. On a final note, though requested several times over the course of this project, Andy never produced the insurance coverage/certificate he claims he had, that I mandated as part of his obtaining the contract. Because of the distance, time and size of this project, this did slip my radar from time to time BUT it should be noted that his liability insurance certificate was never produced as requested. As a General Contractor, his certificate should cover those he subs out as well, OR he should be producing to the home owner certificates from all of his sub-trades to ensure that everyone has their own liability insurance, should something go wrong. I ensured that the electrical was done by a local certified professional and inspected, that the HVAC was done by a certified contractor and both were outside of his basement reno budget/responsibilities The plumber was also certified, and he is someone local I continue to use to this day, along with the electrician.
- Company Response
I would like to thank Cheryll for taking the time to be so detailed in her critique. I would however like to adress a couple omissions in her description of the events...
I did find Cheryll to be very pleasant to deal with and she is correct in the way she described her payments... Draws were forthcoming when asked for. However..
1. her 'qualified' hvac guy never blocked up the ceiling vents. I.e. when they returned 90 degrees to penetrate the ceiling, they were loose and not framed up so when the ceilings were boarded my guys had a heck of a time. My error... Not fixing her trade's deficiencies.
2. Cheryll,atthe time was taking mood suppressing medicine. Two times during the scope of work, she shut down the job asking me to remove my trades until she felt better. This caused me to have to send home a crew of 3 painters that luckily did not charge me for theday.
3.it was $600 that was held back and 2 of my most conservative and church going trades did not want to return to complete an addendum that required a small bit of carpentry and painting . This was due to the fact that they refused to be exposed to Cherryls somewhat irradic behavior.
Very nice lady she is but i would warn trades about her as i was warned by one of her own trades.
Thank you for the opportunity to respond.