My previous contractor made a critical error; rather than call in a structural engineer when needed, he followed his own instincts putting the integrity of the staircases in my 3 story house at risk. When it became apparent that the stairs/landings had become significantly out-of-level, I went to homestars.com for help. I found that Mr. K H Davis, a structural engineer who specialized in old homes like mine, had the best ratings and reviews, and booked an onsite consultation.
It was apparent from the start that Ken was an expert. Following a long and informative onsite visit, he provided a very detailed and helpful report including his recommendation to give it some time to see if it stabilized or got worse. When the stairs/landings continued to shift, I contacted Ken again hoping to hire his company to fix it. Ken took the time to further analyze the problem and explain exactly what was needed to stabilize the structure, but then suggested I find someone else because their schedule was full and they wouldn't be able to get to it for months. So, I got other estimates to put in a “cranked beam” and build two new staircases. When the new contractor repeatedly failed to show up, I called Ken again, almost begged him to do the work, and he finally agreed. Although H K Davis is by no means a bargain operation, his quote for the work was about two thirds of what the other guy wanted to charge.
Ken then had an idea that would save me even more money. Rather than build two new staircases, he suggested trying to rebuild the old ones using the original stairs as much as possible because they were oak with a lovely patina. It was, as he put it, “a labor of love.” While I was prepared to pay between $25,000 - $30,000 for the cranked beam and new staircases, in the end it cost only $17,000.
Unfortunately, while my project was underway, Ken injured his back and was temporarily incapacitated. Yet, things proceeded nicely throughout the project because Ken appears to have the talent for hiring excellent staff. I’d like to take a moment here to mention that project manager Luis was amazing. He was on site daily making sure that I was happy with each detail — and there were many details! While’s he’s clearly very knowledgeable and professional, his full commitment to the project was apparent from the start. In fact, on at least two occasions I text messaged him on a weekend night and he answered both texts that same night. He wanted to take care of whatever I was concerned about so that I wouldn’t worry about it over the weekend. I think that’s pretty rare.
There were, however, a few times when I wanted Ken onsite to help work through a particularly complicated problem. He never failed to show up, and,despite his obvious back pain, Ken maintained full focus while finding creative solutions to some of the more quirky problems.
My stairs are now level, safe, and look beautiful. I also find it a comfort knowing that this structural issue has been properly corrected, and enthusiastically recommend K H Davis Engineering Consultants Ltd without reservation.