Short summary - AVOID DEALING WITH THIS COMPANY AT ANY COST. Besides reading my feedback, read reviews below from George and Leon, they had similar horror experience with this company, I trust every word of their reviews after going through the same nightmare.
If he dares to come up with company response, he’d better to provide supporting documents. On my end, I’ll be more than happy to share any supporting material upon your request.
- Do not give a single dollar of deposit, as you never get your money back
- He operates and collects payments using corporation that was dissolved for non-compliance almost 3 years ago. In other words, what he does qualifies as tax evasion
- He operates without WSIB mandatory insurance
- He is a very smooth talking guy and will promise you whatever you want to hear. Just do not expect those promises to materialize. One “excuse” will be mounting upon another, and on and on and on.
I hired Sergej (SF Stone, also known as SVS Construction, is one man show, owner/operator’s name is Sergej) to do sunroom addition to the house. His quote was a little bit lower than big shops. He also stated that he’d be able to supply design, structural, architectural and mechanical drawings at discounted price and take care of dealing with city minor variance committee and building standards department to obtain building permit.
He promised to cruise quickly thru minor variance/permit process and begin construction shortly after. As he stated, some materials are of custom nature and need to be pre-ordered, so I paid him $10,000 deposit for material purchase.
Problems started from Committee of Adjustment. Requested setback was not approved, in fact they allowed substantially smaller setback, but he never told us about that, just stated that everything was approved as requested. Sergej also said that he obtained building permit and we were good to begin construction.
At the end of April he brought some people with machinery on site, and they started excavation. Immediately, he requested more money. As per him, subcontractor would do the excavation and foundation wall only after 100% pre-payment. He also stated that it was a good time to purchase material for framing etc. to avoid any delays, so I paid him another $28,000.
Once excavation was complete and crew was working on foundation wall (about one week after the work began), we got a visit from City of Vaughan inspector that asked why we were doing illegal construction. Caught by surprise, I contacted Sergej. His story immediately changed, he said he was about to apply for permit and would sort it out with the City within a week. In the meantime, we received stop order from the city and letter advising us that we had to either demolish commenced construction or re-apply to Committee of Adjustment, since already built foundation wall exceeded approved setback.
I asked him to return deposit and terminate the agreement, as it was hard to deal with someone who breached your trust. He said he’d already spent money on paying subcontractor and purchasing materials. To minimize the pain, I agreed that he’d complete the job once we obtain the permit.
Long story short, we’d gone thru another hearing in Committee of Adjustment that taken another two months. Once minor variance was granted, I submitted his drawings to building standards department. Soon I got back deficiency letter, city’s structural plan examiner was practically laughing looking at those “drawings”. As per him, they could not even closely qualify as drawings. Moreover, examiner stressed that we can’t even build sunroom. Given approved setbacks and neighbour’s properties location, allowed glazing translated only in few windows, so sunroom was impossible and any qualified designer/engineer would have told us that upfront.
Since I already spent $38,000 with low chance to get it back, I agreed to complete it as house addition instead. I ended up spending another $6,000 to hire structural and HVAC engineers to complete application. While I was working with engineers, I got a call from subcontractor who did original excavation and foundation wall. He was inquiring when work would continue on. I asked why he was checking up, since he had already been paid. Mike (subcontractor) said he had not been paid a single penny. In fact, Sergej told subcontractor that owner would not pay until the work is complete, and since work was stopped due to the city order, he has not got any payments.
I relayed the story to Sergej, he immediately came up with another story that he needed the money for another project that he had not been paid for yet, but he’d be able to find funds, once we were ready to continue.
I finally obtained permits and called Sergej asking him to start the work. He said he did not have any funds to purchase materials to continue. I agreed to purchase material, so he could work out the money I already paid him. Once I purchased material to complete foundation and asked him to continue, he complained his family issues prevented him from continuing the work and he did not have ETA when he would be able to start.
At this point, I had no option but to look for another contractor. Also, subcontractor and I are filing lawsuit against Sergej and his spouse ( he also used his spouse’s account to siphon off our funds in some transactions) to recover the money.
If you have any questions or want to verify review, feel free to contact me at “alex dot betin at gmail dot com”. I’ll be more than happy to provide more details including copies of receipts and supporting correspondence.