Reviews

10/10

This summer, we experienced some problems with our existing (gas) water heater, and then later also experienced various issues in replacing it with a new one. Throughout this difficult experience, Roto-Rooter (Parksville/Nanaimo) provided excellent support and assistance in working through all of the troublesome issues. Everyone at Roto-Rooter, including Terry (the owner), all of the plumbers and the office staff, were all very helpful. An explanation of what occurred follows, along with how Roto-Rooter helped with each of the issues. Just prior to leaving for vacation, I discovered that we had a leak from the Relief Valve Discharge Line on our (9 year old) hot water tank. I then called in a plumber from the company that had previously sold and installed that tank. They advised me to replace the Pressure Relief Valve (PRV) on the tank, and also suggested replacing the Pressure Reducing Valve on the main water pipe in the house. I agreed to replace both of these. The next day I discovered a slow water leak from the rubber gasket where the tank’s PRV is connected. After calling back the same plumber, he advised that I needed to replace the tank, and so I obtained a quote from them. Since we had used Roto-Rooter for several major and minor plumbing/drainage jobs over the two decades that we have owned our house, I called them to ask if they also sold and installed hot water heaters. Finding out that they did, I asked them for a quote. Terry and his team were very helpful in discussing the various options (i.e. gas, electric, and tank-less). However, since the slow leak disappeared the following day, I decided to postpone the replacement of the tank until I returned from vacation, as I did not want to risk any major work in the house just before going away, and Roto-Rooter were very helpful in advising us on minimizing any risk of further leakage during our vacation. When we returned from vacation, we discovered another slow water leak at the PRV on the main water pipe, and recalled the first plumber to fix it, which he supposedly did. However, the next day, the leak was even worse, and so I decided to get Roto-Rooter in to fix it instead. After that no leaks reappeared. We then placed the order for a new gas water heater with Roto-Rooter. Unfortunately, when the day arrived for its installation, we discovered that the unit which was shipped to us was sufficiently damaged that it had to be returned. However, Roto-Rooter kindly lent us a basic electric unit until a replacement arrived for the gas model that we ordered. Once a replacement arrived, it was installed straight away. However, after we started to use the tank, we discovered to our dismay that the fan used for the Power-Vent produces a very loud noise, and since our water heater is located in our laundry room which is next to our family room and dining room, and is also below our bedroom, this was very unpleasant to live with. This issue came as a surprise because we previously had a direct-vent gas unit, but were advised that they were no longer available and that we had to instead replace it with a power-vented unit. After several discussions with Terry at Roto-Rooter, with the manufacturer and the supplier (wholesaler), agreement was obtained to return this gas unit for an electric one. The electric unit is now installed and it is truly a relief not to suffer the noise of the power-vented gas unit. Throughout all of these problems, Terry and his staff were extremely helpful, professional and patient, and their plumbing skills and knowledge repeatedly inspired confidence, as they always have done in the past. Certainly, my wife and I would not hesitate to use Terry and his plumbing team at Roto-Rooter (Parksville/Nanaimo) again, and would recommend them to any other homeowner in the area that they service.

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0/10

Last year (2011), my wife and I finished a major home renovation which we started in 2010. The original scope included the kitchen, three bathrooms, the laundry room, all doors (interior & exterior), window trim, and interior painting. We later added the windows and exterior painting. To minimize delays and problems, we spent several months planning and selecting the materials (i.e. doors, cabinets, granite, appliances, tiles, and fixtures), documenting the manufacturers, the products and preferred suppliers. We then shortlisted four general contractors from the Renomark site, conducted in-person interviews, checked references, and had each candidate submit their proposal in response to a list of questions. The contractor selected was Ecklundson Construction (EC), owned by Rod. Shortly before the decision was made, Rod introduced us to his project manager, Rob. Although I expressed some concern to Rod about Rob’s inexperience, I was assured by Rod that he would ensure that the project was managed properly. EC selected: plumber, supplier of plumbing fixtures, bathroom glass installer, electrician, tile supplier & installer, window supplier, framing carpenter, finishing carpenter and painter. We selected: suppliers of cabinets and granite. The first sign that there were problems was when we were presented with EC’s project plan, which included the demolition of all three bathrooms at same time, even though EC had been advised from the very beginning that we would be living in the house during the renovations, and so needed at least one bathroom to be functioning at any given time. Rob then repeatedly blamed the project delays on us continuing to live in the house during the renovation. In the first two weeks, it became obvious that Rob was not capable of performing many simple tasks competently, let alone manage the project, and he also repeatedly showed very bad judgment, so we asked Rod to remove him from the project. Some of the problems with Rob were: he left our new maple cabinets outside on the deck overnight, exposed to the weather, so that I had to call Rod to bring a tarpaulin to cover them. He forgot information provided on a daily basis and refused to write things down as we suggested. He overlooked several mistakes in purchasing materials (e.g. the incorrect quantity and type of doors were ordered), and he provided unacceptable directions to the sub-contractors (e.g. to leave large holes in the ceiling above the cabinets in the kitchen). He took our ladder, without our permission, to another site, and it was not returned for several weeks, and he damaged one of our new maple cabinets while moving it. Rod did not have anyone else to replace Rob, so he himself had to try to manage the project for us, while he also managed others. As a result, Rod was most often not on-site, and so my wife and I were left to coordinate the sub-contractors, prevent problems, and monitor the quality of the work, as much as was possible given our own work responsibilities elsewhere. Consequently, the project had an extremely high number of problems, including unnecessary delays, product defects, purchasing errors, and errors in workmanship. The main cause of these was clearly the lack of site/project management. If the project had been properly managed, most of these problems could have been either avoided or mitigated. Although EC was paid a substantial management fee, they did not have the staff to deliver these services most of the time, and consequently the management of the project was left to my wife and me. Other services which we paid for, but were only partially delivered, included the protection of the hardwood floor and the cleaning of the house at the end of each day. As the delays and problems increased, EC became increasingly absent from the site. After several weeks, EC agreed not to require any further payment of management fees, due to the large number of project problems, including significant cost overruns. At that time, EC had already been paid about 90% of the management fees due in the contract. From then onwards, we no longer saw EC at the site. Also, “construction damage” was defined as the responsibility of EC in their contract, but we were left to pay for much of it, and there was no final cleaning and on-site inspection at the end of the project, as stipulated in the contract. The original scope of the project was estimated by EC to take six weeks, plus possibly an additional one to two weeks for the windows, but was only completed after 16 weeks. The only time and material (versus fixed-price) components of the project costs were the electrician, plumber and demolition The final costs of these, for the original project scope, were approximately 260% of what EC estimated as the maximum in his proposal. We believe that one of the contributing factors to the higher costs was the inefficiency of some of the sub-contractors, who made more visits than necessary, as they would leave after completing fewer tasks than were ready for completion. We were also invoiced for rework that some sub-contractors had to do to correct errors in their work, although we were assured by EC that this would be carefully monitored and prevented. The last major task was the interior painting. The painter EC selected was very unprofessional, and the quality of his work was very bad. In the first few days of work, his painters badly scratched three of our new fir doors. Then, this painter repeatedly refused to comply with certain terms of his contract (e.g. the use of masking and drop sheets throughout the house). As a result of this insufficient protection, my wife and I had to repeatedly spend our evenings and weekends scraping paint splashes and spray off of the surfaces where it should not have been. He also refused to correct all of the major deficiencies in his work (e.g. patches of wall left unpainted) and, after he painted the bathrooms, the paint was peeling off of the walls, and he would not correct it, although we often asked him to. Even after we repeatedly escalated these issues to EC, the problems persisted, so we had to terminate the work being done by this painter. The painter then tried to invoice us for about twice what he had quoted. When asked about the process for addressing the dispute, EC was unwilling to use BC Arbitration (as stipulated in their contract), and so we had to hire a lawyer. That dispute was finally resolved through the Small Claims Court Mediation process. During the dispute, we had to hire another painter to complete the work and correct the deficiencies of the previous painter, at an additional and substantial cost to us. EC’s selection of their painter occurred after they had rejected two other painters’ quotes, because EC considered the first two to be too expensive. However, it turned out that one of the painters which EC rejected was the one we later hired to correct the deficiencies in the work of EC’s painter. The prices that we were quoted by the painter we later selected were the same as those that same painter had earlier quoted to EC, and we noticed that our painter’s overall price was significantly less than EC’s painter, specifically for those items that were comparable (e.g. in the amount of preparation and quality of materials). Other significant issues that arose during the project included: - EC failed to reinforce the wall for the 10mm glass tub shield, as mandated by the manufacturer, until the tiles were installed on the bathroom wall, even though EC were reminded of this many times before, after which EC would sometimes promise to do it and at other times would dispute the need. EC finally agreed to do it, but had to reinforce the wall from the other side of the wall because the tiles were already installed on the bathroom wall. - One of the electricians installed a bathroom wall heater vertically, even though the manufacturer’s warning (not to do so) was clearly printed on the installation manual. Other electricians installed the incorrect type of electrical wall sockets, even although the correct ones were clearly documented by us, and consequently they had to return to replace all of these, and then invoiced us for the additional labour. Several attempts to obtain a detailed breakdown of labour charges were not responded to. Neither of these problems was noticed by EC, until we pointed them out. - The installer of the custom glass shower door & adjacent panels failed to caulk all areas as advised by the manufacturer, and consequently water leaked through onto the floor. The installer then insisted on us paying extra for this to be fixed. - Although the tile supplier was very helpful in the beginning, their communication became gradually worse, until they stopped responding at all to our emails and telephone calls. At the end, they had still not provided us with all of the spare tiles that they had promised. We were also not reimbursed for the surplus tiles they returned for credit to the wholesaler. However, they did clean and freshen up the older tiles we retained, without charging us. - After the work by the EC sub-contractors ended, we started to notice a foul smell around the kitchen sink, and so we called in our own plumber to investigate. What they discovered was that someone had apparently accidentally dislodged the drain pipe connected to the kitchen sink, and the crawl space was full of dirty water. We knew that the only people who had been down there recently were EC’s electrician and plumber. When we contacted EC and their plumber, neither of them would accept responsibility for this problem. Consequently, we were left with the cost of our plumber to reattach the drain, and had to submit a claim on our home insurance for restoration services, thereby incurring the deductible on the policy and losing our first claim “forgiveness” benefit. - The following summer we discovered that the shower/tub water temperature controls in two of the bathrooms did not work properly. When I contacted EC about this, they referred me to their plumber, who then refused to honour the warranty. EC then referred me to the manufacturer, who found another plumber to confirm whether the issue was the product or the installation. After several telephone calls and emails with the manufacturer, retailer, new plumber and EC, it was agreed that we would not be invoiced regardless of the outcome, which was later confirmed to be faulty installation. Of all the work done, we were truly satisfied with: the finishing carpenter who installed the doors, windows and trim; and the company that stained the doors. These we could comfortably recommend.

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First Review

0/10

The painting of our house was an integral part of a very large renovation project. Being responsible for the entire project, it was our General Contractor who selected Sloan’s Painting (hereafter referred to as Sloan’s), whom my wife and I had never heard of. Sloan’s consisted of two owners, Michael and Michelle, and two employees, and for a few hours one day, one other sub-contracted person who was hired to start the exterior. The terms of the contract were fixed-price, and included the painting of the interior and exterior of the house, the staining of all unfinished wood trim and baseboards, and the re-staining of the deck, fence and sophits above the upper deck. The wood trim was to be finished so that it matched the doors, and all areas requiring protection were to be masked or covered with drop sheets. Sloan’s work began close to the end of September, 2010. From the beginning, Sloan’s clearly had an insufficient number of staff for this job, and also started late and ended early each day. Many work days lasted only four hours. Michael explained that he had tried repeatedly to hire more staff for our house, but was unable to. Nevertheless, Michael admitted that Sloan’s continued to accept additional work from their preceding client after accepting our contract. In addition to this, Sloan’s would leave our house each day without saying anything to us, and in particular about what had been done that day and what was planned for the next. Michael proved from the beginning to be very impatient, drudgingly engaging in necessary discussions with me, and was often quite abrupt. On very few occasions was he cooperative. As an example, while Sloan’s were preparing to paint the insides of one of the closets, I noticed that Michael was having difficulty removing one of the closet’s two bi-fold doors, and so he asked the carpenter to show him how to do it. Shortly afterwards, I noticed that both of the doors for that closet were now reinstalled, although the closet interior was yet to be painted. When I asked Michael about what had happened, he said to me quite adamantly that “Removing doors is not in my job description. I am here to paint and nothing else”. Sloan’s would also not move any furniture prior to painting a room, and neither would they move it back again afterwards, and left all this heavy work to my wife and I, even although I explained to them that I previously had some serious back problems. On repeated occasions, paint was splashed and sprayed on floors, wood trim, doors, granite counter tops, and fixtures, because Sloan’s had not consistently protected these things as stated in the contract. When the issue was raised by me, Michael reacted in a defensive and argumentative manner. As a result of this insufficient protection, my wife and I had to repeatedly spend our evenings and weekends scraping paint splashes and spray off of the surfaces where it should not have been. Also, excessive paint and stain were used in several areas, leaving both “runs” and large streaks. Sloan’s also had to be repeatedly reminded of several omissions in their work, including some areas of walls and ceilings being left unpainted, and also some only receiving one coat where the surrounding areas had the required two coats. As well, several areas of newly required drywall mudding were left un-sanded prior to the painting, and consequently were left with very noticeable bumps and ridges. After having left the downspouts down for several weeks, while no painting was being done on the exterior of the house, Sloan’s finally reattached them at our request. However, first a small and then a very large downspout fell off because they had been improperly reattached without the clamps. When asked to reattach the large one, Michael was very uncooperative, and did not return until a few days later to do so. When I expressed concern about the danger of these falling, he dismissed it by saying that they were very light. When asked at the beginning of the project how many coats of finish would be required on the wood trim, so that it would match the doors, as stated in the contract, Sloan's stated that a minimum of four coats would be needed and would be done before the painting, after which a fifth coat would be applied if needed. However, towards the end of Sloan’s work, several areas of wood trim had obviously received less sanding and coats of stain than others, so that they were left rough to the touch and still looked like unfinished wood, which contrasted noticeably with the rest of the wood trim and doors. When reminded of this, Michael argued that they had already exceeded the number of coats specified in the contract. We updated our list of work deficiencies and emailed these to Sloan’s as new issues were discovered, followed by an on-site review of these as needed with Sloan’s on the following day. All of these deficiencies and the problematic behaviour of Sloan’s were frequently communicated to the General Contractor, who assured us that all of these issues would be addressed by Sloan’s. However, Sloan’s behaviour did not improve, and their reluctance and/or inability to address many of the deficiencies became increasingly obvious, regardless of our many attempts to encourage Sloan’s to improve. I was then left with no alternative but to terminate the contract, although the interior was incomplete and the exterior barely started. This contract termination occurred about the middle of October, 2010. Sloan’s later invoiced us, not just for the balance of the work completed, but for approximately twice what had been quoted for the interior, with various justifications including the loss of the deposit on the exterior. Upon advice from our lawyers, we offered Sloan’s reasonable payment for the work done, less the cost of correcting the deficiencies in their work. Sloan’s then sent another letter demanding full payment of the amount they had invoiced and stating their intent to place a lien on our house if this payment was not received. Again, on the advice of our lawyers, we offered Sloan’s what was deemed reasonable payment, and again, Sloan’s rejected this, and then sent a completely different invoice with different justification, but for approximately the same amount. Their new justification included such things as additional coats of finish on the trim and wasted time for conversations with me. However, the only conversations that were initiated by me were those necessary to plan and discuss the status of the work. We once more responded as before, and then Sloan’s referred the matter to a Claims Agency, who resubmitted Sloan’s claim to us. We responded to the Claims Agency that there was a contract dispute and provided the Claims Agency with a copy of the response and cheque we had previously sent to Sloan’s, offering the Claims Agency the same settlement. After that, we heard no more from the Claims Agency. After a short time, we received notice from Sloan’s that they had filed a claim in the Small Claims Court. As part of the Small Claims process, prior to going to court, a Mediation Conference was held. At the end of the mediation, we offered Sloan’s a much lesser amount than what they were claiming, which they accepted. While knowing that Sloan’s was not in any way entitled to even that amount, my wife and I offered it only so that we could focus properly on a much more important personal priority for us at that time. This process was completed shortly after the middle of April, 2011. While the dispute was in process, to correct the deficiencies in Sloan’s work, we had to hire another painter, which added yet another substantial cost overrun to the renovation project. In closing, it is the sincere wish of my wife and I, that by sharing our experience, other homeowners may be saved a similar experience. *** End of Review ***

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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10/10

My wife and I wish to express our deepest gratitude for the excellent work that Creative Concepts Carpentry did at our house in 2010, specifically to install replacement windows, doors and trim. Considering the abnormally high number of problems in our larger renovation project, including repeated delays in the delivery of materials and often either defective or incorrect materials, they were clearly set a considerable challenge. Not only did they meet that challenge, but they exceeded our expectations in every respect. Also, due to the many project failures, my wife and I became extremely sceptical of the various construction trades. Through the concerted efforts of Creative Concepts Carpentry, they proved that it is possible for a homeowner to find competent, ethical and highly proficient people in the construction industry. We were most impressed by the professionalism, communication skills, cleanliness, respect for the homeowner, and technical proficiency of Darren Seaman, the owner of Creative Concepts Carpentry, and his team. They are to be commended for this and should be considered a role model for not only other carpentry companies but for the construction industry in general.

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First Review

10/10

My wife and I wish to express our deepest gratitude for the excellent work that Riverside Painting did at our house in November 2010 and June 2011. In November 2010, we hired Riverside painting to correct the highly deficient paint work done in the interior of our house by another painter. Considering the unfortunate circumstances in which we sought their help, we clearly set them a considerable challenge. Not only did they meet that challenge, but they exceeded our expectations in every respect. Also, that painting had been the last job of a very large renovation project in our house which, due to an abnormally high number of problems in most aspects of the project, caused us to be extremely sceptical of any construction trade. Through the concerted efforts of Riverside Painting, they proved that it is possible for a homeowner to find competent, ethical and highly proficient people in the construction industry. Then in June 2011, we again hired Riverside Painting, this time to repaint and re-stain the exterior of our house, as well as the deck and fence. This being the second time that they had delivered their services to us, we were in no doubt that we would be most satisfied by the quality of their work and their professionalism, our confidence in them having being established through our experience with them in November 2010, as described above. After having invested a very large sum of money throughout 2010 to completely renovate our home, we painfully learned that work of Riverside Painting’s standard appears to be the exception rather than the rule. Again, we found that every aspect of Riverside Painting’s work shows the highest level of quality, including: understanding the homeowner’s needs, planning the work, staff assignment and coordination, quality control, and communication throughout. We were most impressed by the professionalism, communication skills, cleanliness, respect for the homeowner, and technical proficiency of the owner of Riverside Painting, Stephan Poole, and his team. They are all to be commended for this and should be considered a model for not only other painting companies but for the construction industry in general. We would not hesitate to recommend Riverside Painting to even the most proud homeowner who expects true professionalism and a high quality of work in return for the homeowner’s trust and financial investment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Company Response

I just found this review. Thanks for the kind words Rudi. It was a real pleasure working with you and Kimmi. I love working with home owners who care about the details. Thanks again for the bottle of wine. Happy gardening!