We encountered so many issues while working with Davin, I’m not even sure where to begin. Some of them were small, annoying problems, others were downright illegal.
We hired Davin to do a major renovation the exterior of our house. We were adding an accessory building and re-building 1100 sq ft of deck. We told him we had a party planned 6 weeks from our meeting, and our budget for the work was $30k. He said both of these parameters were ‘doable’. Our first mistake was agreeing to a cost-plus / hourly wage set up. He touted the benefit of this being that we can both walk away at any time, given that there’s no contract. The downside though, was that he didn’t need to keep track of total spend, or even timelines, and we flew past our budget with the end no where in site.
Davin hustled, but it came across as disorganization. For example, he took multiple trips to Dick’s Lumber every single day. Each trip takes at least an hour, which is all on the clock, of course. When we brought this up with him, he said that it’s impossible to foresee everything you’ll need up front. Multiple trips a day week after week, to me, seems like a lack of foresight or planning and a waste of our money.
As for the deadline of the party, this is where things got serious. Davin took a shortcut - he knowingly installed our (second storey) railings incorrectly so that they looked completed, but were, in fact, incredibly unsafe - the top bars were not secured at all. During the party, we had a child leaning up against the spindles of the railing, spinning them in his hands. He lifted up slightly, and the spindles and top rail fell 10ft to the ground behind him. Luckily, an adult was standing close by and grabbed him before he fell. We were livid. On top of all of the other things that went wrong, leaving the deck that unsafe when you know people are going to be using it is not only morally wrong, it’s illegal.
After that event, we sat with him in our living room and told him we were angry, and he yelled at me. I was 26 weeks pregnant at the time, and he stood over me while I was sitting on the couch, and yelled to the point where my other family members came into the room to cool him down.
Fastforward two years, the waterproofing under our deck has leaked and caused black mould in several spots, and the railings still wobble enough that it makes me nervous when our child leans on them. So not only did we have to hire a second company to complete the remaining work after we fired Davin, we’ve had to hire a professional decking company to lift all the boards and fix the work that he did in the first place. They said none of it was installed correctly.
Davin feels my review is “unfair and inaccurate”, to which I say… we had to spend thousands of dollars to fix his mistakes, and a child was almost seriously injured because of his decisions. I think he should be happy that a bad review is all we’re doing, and not anything further. As for inaccuracies, we had a party full of witnesses to the deck accident, and a professional company who replaced his work who can back us up. It could be that Davin is capable of doing small reno’s well - he does seem to have a number of 5/5 reviews. But all of the issues we had lead me to believe that large renos are not his forté. To his defence, since finding out about the deficiencies, he’s offered to come and fix them. Frankly, after the experience we had with him, I wouldn’t let him touch another thing on our property.
Update in response to Davin:
The work you performed for us was far from excellent. If you feel my review is not accurate or fair, please see my note above. My review is based on fact, and 'fair' would be getting back the thousands of dollars we've had to spend on fixing your mistakes.
I didn't say you went over the timelines - I didn't mention timelines at all in my review because, yes, we added to the scope of the work.
I didn't say we had a written contract.
I didn't mention the worker you hired off the street.
How is it relevant that I was "no where to be found" at the end of your workday? If you had something to tell me, you could've left a voice mail, texted, emailed, or even simply written a note.
Yes, we were originally planning on hiring a company to install steel railings. Yes, we changed our minds. Yes, that pushed the timelines. Yes, we asked you to help with the staining. None of that is relevant to my complaints.
None of these facts justify your installing the railings incorrectly. The railings were a pre-made kit, and the instructions were literally on the side of the box (I still have the photos). It was a very simple, two-step process, and you chose to only do one of those two steps. You could NOT "clearly see the railings weren't in properly". They looked exactly as they do now, except that the top rail was not screwed down. All a child had to do was lift up on the spindle, and the whole unit would come out.
As for the invoices - We paid you in FULL for all of the work you did, with the exception of the time you spent installing the railings incorrectly. That equated to half a day's work, for two of your men. It was not thousands, and you AGREED to this arrangement. From there, we asked you to quote on the remaining jobs, which you did, and we chose not to hire you back. That's how things were left - You didn't refuse to do any more work for us, you didn't chase us down for unpaid bills, you didn't refute the decision to withhold payment for the time spent installing the railings. Those things are simply not true.
The delay in my reviews are due to the fact that the mould and water leaking issues had just become evident this spring. I was willing to let things rest until we had to pay to have your work fixed.