Federal Concrete And Masonry

Art Metal Work
Toronto ON M8Z 1J5
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Art Metal Work
Federal Concrete And Masonry
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Reviews for Federal Concrete And Masonry

Average customer rating:
0.3 10 (4 reviews)

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Private User
Private User
Private User reviews Durham Regional Municipality, ON

Very Bad Job

Last summer Federal Concrete put in new concrete floors in my house. August assured me he had over 15 years of experience. I trusted that he would do a good job after talking to him. When he had finished the job didn't look very good. The floors weren't level and there were all kinds of lumpy edges, and he left a terrible mess when he was done. He wasn't all that pleasant to deal with and never arrived when he said he was coming. Some days i waited half a day for him to show up. When the spring thaw came, water started coming up from under the new floors. He had assured me that the floors were done properly, a gravel layer, vapour barrier and wire mesh (I even supplied the wire mesh for him). I had to get someone to come in and see what was wrong - they dug up the concrete and found that he'd just poured concrete right onto the dirt. The wire mesh was laying right on the dirt - not embedded into the concrete like it should have been and no vapour barrier or aggregate. There was also no drainage hooking up to the existing weeping tile. I supposed you just can't trust people. When they say they have all this experience, they never said they had 15 years experience in doing bad work, which is what he should have said. The way he did the work in my house shows that he is not competent in the work he does. I now know that any idyot can rent a concrete truck and take money from people. Everyone said I should get him back to fix the problem, but would you want someone who does a crap job to try to fix something for you? I don't. It was money well spent to teach me that you can't trust these mickey mouse wanna be contractors.

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Private User
Private User
Private User reviews Ajax, ON

Do not hire this man

August did some concrete work for me earlier in the year in my basement. Not a single surface he created is level. Very shoddy work. Never showed up on time, didn't communicate and didn't remove the mess he made. No respect for home - made a mess and left hardened concrete everywhere. He even got concrete down my drains. I have had to pay more money to get the work he did fixed, had to get my basement floor excavated and have the plumbing replaced, it was rock solid full of concrete.
What a moron. Never again for me and I hope that you too will steer very clear.

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J FLo in Ajax
J FLo in Ajax
1 review Ajax, ON

Concrete Project

Additional information after posting the initial review:

Since the work has been completed I've found more issues with the work that August did. The floors that he created are not level - there is a 2" variation from one end of the rooms to another.

I also found that he had dumped leftover cement on my lawns, so several areas of the lawns are now concrete that goes down through the lawn/soil. It looks like he tried to hide it by hosing it over with water so that it would soak into the soil below.

Now I know why he has the clause in his contract about not being responsible for damage to lawns/plantings.

It's outrageous to me that this man who claims to have so much experience hasn't been able to find another way to dispose of left over cement and that he deliberately ruins peoples properties in this manner.

Initial review:
I read reviews of this company before hiring them. Overall reports of the concrete work was good, so I proceeded to make an agreement with the proprietor of Federal Concrete; a man calling himself August.

The project was to prepare and pour floors in two basement rooms and form/pour stairs to the basement.

Over the course of the project I had concerns pretty much every day. In my opinion, there was a lack of respect for me, my time and my home and the workmanship did not demonstrate the work of a seasoned professional. My account of the work and my opinions are detailed as follows:

• No protective barriers were used to prevent demolition dust or cement splattering. Not a clean worker.
• No real regard for my time, arriving hours later than expected and staying hours later than welcome. Initially he said that he would be here between 7 -730 am, but he was always several hours late; arriving at 930; 1030, 1145; 1150 and 930 respectively.
• Continually left my backyard gate wide open (when they weren’t coming and going and the work was at that point all indoors) , this continued even after my dog wandered out and went missing (animal services eventually bought her back) AND after August and his crew had repeatedly seen me making efforts to keep my dog safely on my property.
• Leaving the house door open when not needed to go in/out frequently. Very hot 30 degree days, challenging the air conditioning. Not a huge deal, but an example of the lack of respect for the client’s home.
• Being vague about payment schedule then asking for money in very definite stages, without giving me adequate notice to arrange to get money from my bank. Both my husband and I were present for our first meeting with August and both confirmed to him that he had been very vague and had not given us an idea of how he expected to be paid. In fact, he indicated that he didn’t like to stress people over money and was flexible, just to give him $100 upfront he said. When we broached this with him he got very defensive and insisted he had told us both what his payment terms were. This was not true.
• Applied an outdoor finish to indoor stairs and then argued about it with me as if I was a ‘stupid woman’ and didn’t know anything. The look I wanted was contemporary interior, not DIY garden path.
• Lack of quality workmanship; some of the finished concrete surfaces were acceptable I would even say some were good - but there were areas that were poorly done. I pointed this out to August and he tried to repair it as best he could (after he had initially dismissed my concerns). A couple of areas were not prepared correctly - the forms weren’t built properly on one side of the steps, so they had to repair them by hand, which looked a very amateur. It looked as if they had tried to manually shape it with their hands – not the same crisp flat finish you get with a form. The corner where the floor met the steps wasn’t a nice crisp 90 degree angle, there was a lump of concrete in part of it creating a sort of oversized concrete quarter round. It looked awful and would impede flooring to the edge of the room, or if framing the room it would have impeded being able to frame against the wall. My husband, luckily was home before it had set, so he quickly scraped it all off and properly smoothed out and shaped any questionable areas that were still wet. We discovered why there was a nasty lump of concrete hand formed at the corner of the floor/steps, it seemed to be covering up an error where the form didn’t go right to the floor level, so there was a very uneven lump of poured concrete here where it should have been a nice 90 degree angle right along – making a bigger lump of unsightly concrete isn’t exactly a repair in my book. He should have ground it off and parged it. All of the mistakes that I pointed out, August just responded that my husband would be able to fix it, otherwise he was very proud of his substandard workmanship as he focused on the one area that he got right. It would have been very easy to wire brush any jagged edges of the steps and take a trowel to smooth areas that weren’t quite smooth, but this appeared to be too much trouble, or beyond his skill level.
• August Insisted that the contract stated that I was a ‘woman’ and he was a ‘man’ and as far as he was concerned those were the only two options – he did not like me using the word ‘client’ in the contract when I had to make amendments to it.
• Left residual concrete on my driveway – lots of it spread in a layer over about a 7ft x 15 ft area – with no communication about if it was to be removed or left there. I didn’t notice this until the following day. I just didn’t think I’d have to check the condition of my driveway when all the work was interior work. I asked him if he was going to remove it, he argued that it was not concrete but it was now gravel – macho minutia! He did eventually remove the ‘gravel’, but this part of the asphalt driveway is now a different colour to the rest of the driveway as it has a thin layer of dried cement on it.
• Continually left items on the lawn. In my back yard I have a deck, a patio and a parking pad, as well as a driveway at the side of the house; lots of hard, less sensitive areas for storing items. So It baffles me why they would leave sheets of plywood as well as their equipment on a lawn. Several times I had to clean up after them to protect my lawn. August even had a clause in his contract that stated that they weren’t responsible for any damage to lawns/plantings just so they could be so careless. I understand that sometimes access can be an issue and damage is inevitable, but this wasn’t the case.
• No one in the crew ever asked to use the bathroom – I can only assume that they were peeing somewhere on my property.
• Didn’t hire a bin for removal of demotion debris. He arrived on day one and asked me if I had booked one. Prior to the project starting I specifically asked him what I needed to do to prepare – a bin was never part of the dialogue – so I ended up having to spend hundreds of dollars more even though the contract stated removal/disposal of debris. (granted there was a little more existing concrete to remove than we had both anticipated, but only an area of around 10 square feet x 4”– he thought that me paying for the bin would save me money instead of paying for him to remove the extra concrete) I could have argued that he had full opportunity to inspect the area when he was here, prior to quoting the job, but I let it go and paid for the bin in order to prevent any animosity, since I already had a good idea what type of man I was dealing with.
• Conduct – on the actual day of the pour – there was constant yelling and chastising going on as he yelled loudly at his sons who were his ‘crew’.
• Underestimating time to do things; I asked him how long the forming would take – he told me 4 hours, but it took more than double that. The total time of the project was doubled in a similar fashion of not really knowing how long things take; this had an impact on my own schedule and meant that I had to frequently change my plans.
• Poor work strategy – every time I checked in there would be two people sitting or standing and only one person working. Yet I still had to pay for the extra personnel who seemed to only be partially working. I pondered if this was a ploy - by bringing his sons with him, he would be able to pay them minimally, if at all, yet be able to bill me a full hourly rate just for the fact that they were present. He was very cagey about admitting that they were his sons – he slipped up a couple of times going to say the word ‘sons’ and then diverting to ‘crew’.
• Oddly he didn’t put his company name on any receipts or contract documents; they were all personal receipts naming him personally no mention of Federal Concrete on the documents. Not sure why, but it just stood out to me as unusual and I wondered if this was some kind of CRA avoidance.
• Bad task management: The job schedule was presented as; day 1 preparation, day 1 pouring, day 3 pop back quickly to remove the forms. This 2 and a bit day schedule, stretched out to a 4 day job, though there were no delays or unforeseen circumstances that caused this, they just lost time by not showing up till half way through the day and by not using the crew efficiently.
• Nasty notes and chastising emails. Since the schedule was shot, at the end of day 3 August said he’d come back on the morning of day 4 to remove the forms. He claims that he arrived at 10 minutes to noon, but shortly before that I had to leave and was unable to wait for him any longer. I honestly didn’t mind giving him a taste of his own medicine, but unlike him I notified him that I wouldn’t be home. We had not anticipated him to be here for a 4th day, but assured me he’d be here on the morning. I had a previously scheduled appointment and I didn’t want to miss it. I returned home after my appointment to find a rude note in my mailbox, telling me (oddly written: to Janet, woman) that I was discourteous and that he’d waited 2 hours for me. He claimed he couldn’t check his messages – but every other day he’d received and acknowledged any messages I needed to send to him, even prior to him starting my project. Whether he observed the information in my messages or not was another story; see below.
• One of the days I was feeling ill, so I sent him a message to tell him that I may be napping when he arrived but I would leave the door open so he could let himself in. On this particular day, he pounded on the door, instead of the gentle tap he usually did. Not cool.
• Protective gear; didn’t see anyone using protective eyewear or dust masks at any time during the project., but he told me that he did use masks I am assuming that they were wearing safety footwear, but can’t be sure.

All in all, I don’t feel that this is as bona fide an operation as the craigslist ads imply. It seems to me to be more of a handyman with his sons in tow. They were pleasant enough for most of the project, but there was a huge lack of communication, never telling me if they were running late and not really knowing how long his work would take him. I expected that a man with 15 years of experience would have a better understanding of the work that he does and be able to relay with a bit more accuracy about how the project would proceed. I would have preferred more honesty. If you’re juggling other jobs I don’t mind, just tell me you won’t be here till noon – then I can schedule my day accordingly.

I was very happy to see the back of August. Now my husband and I have several clean up and repair jobs to do to rectify the work that was done – there is literally concrete splattered all over the walls, they swept debris into a drain in the basement, but they didn’t sweep up the dust from the concrete floors, showing no pride of workmanship and no consideration for in the finished product. However, it could just be possible that this is the best they can do.

The total job cost me $5000 for approx. 250 sq feet of flooring and 6 steps. ($4400 was paid to August in cash and the balance paid for the bin he didn’t arrange for).

Based on my experience and his general attitude toward me as a client, I would not use this company again.

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Tim from Toronto
Tim from Toronto
8 reviews Toronto, ON

First Review


Concrete veranda repair, Construction of Cedar veranda guards and stairs

I will remain factual in this review, and lead any subjectivity with "in my opinion" as I want the review to be useful to others. I consider myself good at putting myself in others' shoes, so I will do my best to be unbiased, though as a dissatisfied customer you will be the judge of that based on my facts.

I found August's (it's not August "Mason") ad on craigslist; it appears to be consistently at the top there when searching for concrete. The last title was "MASONRY AND CONCRETE: EXPERT REPAIRS/REBUILDS OR CONSTRUCT NEW". The location being around Evans Ave and at the current time, the phone number can be cross referenced with this business profile in Homestars.

August was very polite, and well organized (contractually). He showed up to give a quote, and was very responsive to email. This is the quote of work agreed to verbatim with spelling mistakes:

Rear Verandah Repair
-spot fill significantly deteriorated surface areas
-re-cast broken/braking face areas & coat whole linear face anew
-replace spalled blocks anew
price: $300.00

Rear Verandah Guards & Stair Rail
-remove existing & dispose
-remove trellis if requested (no extra money)
-construct cedar anew to common references
price: $1050.00

Rear Stair Construction Cedar
-demolish & dispose existing
-construct open stair with stringers & treads
price: $475.00

[On my Grape Vines]
On day one, August's team completely lopped off all minor stalks from my 50yr old grape vine without permission. This was done at the time they were cutting down the metal trellis. I was at home and they should have consulted with me before doing something this drastic and inappropriate. The way it was chopped, I cannot see it growing back... and if it somehow does, it will take another 10 years to reproduce what was cut away. They are not pruned; the major branches are severed.

[On Concrete Work]
I have no issues with the concrete work he had performed. It appears functional, and to spec.

[On Cedar Railing Woodwork]
In my opinion, this work is amateur and unacceptable.

They are extremely wobbly and secured via tapcon screws into the top face of the veranda (not lag bolted to the face of the structure - which there is ample room for). They were so wobbly they were required to be secured to the house (typically not code, but required in this case).

There is a long span of 8 ft from post-to-post (should be half this) for one railing. August supported this with a block under the middle of the bottom ledge despite my request to follow code and insert another post.

[On the Original Cedar Stairs]
His initial set of stairs were built with a short run resulting in each tread to be lower by 1 5/8" at the front than the back. Four wooden steps each at 8 inches tall, the top step up to concrete veranda at 9 inches tall. Constructed with a completely unsafe slope (see comparison pic).

August deconstructed the stringers at my request. We agreed to an additional $300 to redo them with a proper slope and safe steps. He wrote a new project change notice (amendment to concrete) though he vehemently refused to record the fact of each tread having a 1 5/8" front to back height difference.

In my opinion, he completely screwed up the first set of stringers and made me pay for his second try. Despite this, I obliged this request since I understood the materials were costly and there was a slim margin of profit for this work. Literally trying to be nice and move things along so the project would not get stuck and more complicated.

[On the Second Try of Cedar Stairs]
Amateur and wobbly.

- The ledger is secured to the veranda by three tapcon screws only.
- The stringer at the top is split/broken.
- The lower posts are not secured to the ground and are floating above the ground and only attached to the stringer
- The stringer was shimmed with a triangular piece of wood screwed into the side of the stringer.
- Stair guards do not include railings (i.e. only flat 2x4 running up the side of the stairs so they are difficult to grab and are also rough lumber)

I will have to redo or secure this work myself. I wish it were possible to attach video to show how wobbly this structure is.

[Some things August told me]
In my opinion these are things as I remember them that stuck with me:
- When voicing my displeasure for the dangerous original stringers, August told me he was the designer, and he decided what I got. He deemed them fit. Later on in the conversation he also referred to the term "you get what you pay for".
- When telling him that his posts were not meeting code, he went into debate with why my suggestion (code) was inferior to his workaround of blocking underneath.
- When I said "I feel like I am being asked to pay for something that was your mistake", he shot down my openness with "Well I feel like it's sunny outside, I feel this.. and I feel that" and called my statement meaningless.

[My suggestions are]
- call him for concrete which is his specialty
- do not contract him do woodwork
- contractually obligate him to meet code
- do not expect to argue the quality of his work. If one plans to argue against code and against unsafe structures it's not a meaningful debate.

All in all, it felt like a shady experience. Please see my other reviews. I am a reasonable person that is quick to give credit where it is due.

[EDIT 20150612]
1. Removed HTML tags for <P> and <BR> that didn't format this review to make it easier to read.
2. Pasting the official response from this business in my own review in case it is deleted by them. It reads "FEDERAL CONCRETE AND MASONRY has never -ever- contracted with anyone to do the work described above. This tale is a malicious publication. We deem this a trespass with intent to damage private property."
3. My followup comments to the business' response: I was contacted by Homestars and provided full contractual proof of the work done by this company which includes August's name and full business information and signatures. Homestars unfroze the review and it is back up. You can be the judge. Fully denying involvement of such poor work is an expected response from a business.

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Company Response

FEDERAL CONCRETE AND MASONRY has never -ever- contracted with anyone to do the work described above. This tale is a malicious publication. We deem this a trespass with intent to damage private property.

The reviews on this page are the subjective opinion of the Author and not of HomeStars Inc.
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