My name is Jon Farrar. I am a person with a disability. I recently discovered and applied for a home assistance program called TORONTO RENOVATES. This program is designed to help homeowners, who have a disability, with financial assistance for necessary/emergency home improvements.
The back steps of my house needed to be replaced. The retaining wall along side of the steps was caving in due to poor grading surrounding the area ultimately causing water to run towards my house.
I sent out several emails to various potential contractors. Some were fairly quick to respond...while others never got back to me.
Tony initially arrived, unannounced either that very day or the following day ( he was working in the neighbourhood...a good sign ), which was fine by me. I prefer dealing with people in person. I appreciated his 'go-getter' attitude. We discussed my needs and I pointed out my application with the Toronto Renovates program. He was very friendly and very open to working within any parameters of the program.
As the assistance provided has a cap, I was very cautious as to how much money I could contribute to the job. Tony's estimate wasn't the cheapest and wasn't the most expensive. I felt it was very reasonable and competitive.
After selecting and submitting to the program a few contractors to consider (mandatory minimum of 3 by the program), I ultimately decided to favour Straight Up Masonry. In must be noted that when I submitted the 3 estimates provided by Straight Up Masonry and the other 2 companies, I did have input as to whom I preferred.
Tony was the only one to provide and have appropriate Licences, Photo ID, and necessary documentation to be attached to the Estimate from the get go. The other 2 companies, I had to chase down that information. One of the companies didn't have a License!!
Straight Up Masonry Ltd was listed in the City's database of Licensed contractors.
Toronto Renovates selected ( with my input ) Straight Up Masonry for the job.
I contacted Tony with the news and mentioned that the work needed to begin within 120 days from the approval date. He was able to start roughly 50/60 days from approval.
This is where I was introduced to Crystal, Tony's wife, who handles all email/phone correspondence. She was extremely nice and communication with her was prompt and effortless.
Tony came by before the start date just to go over everything to make sure we were on the same page. I also gave him the number of my case-worker from Toronto Renovates. Tony made good use of this as he was in constant contact with my case-worker to ensure we were all on the same page.
Tony introduced me to his right-hand man, Dominic who would be 'running the show'. He also provided me with Dominic's and his own personal cell numbers.
Dominic and his crew ( Robert & Mitch ) were amazing. They had the demo of the existing back steps and roof done very fast with no damage to any surrounding areas.
After the demo, it was discovered that there was old, non-functioning Weeping Tile along the back steps and the Weatherstripping along the back of the house from a previous job, by another contractor was poorly done with NO WEEPING TILE!! (but that's for another review ;) )
Having the entire Weeping Tile replaced was not an option for me financially.
Tony called in a Licensed Plumber to assess the situation.
Tony, Dominic and the plumber ( I forget his name ) came up with a feasable solution to replace the old Weeping Tile and connect it to an existing drain. It was extremely important to Tony that it was done right and within budget.
After that little hiccup, it was smooth sailing. Tony brought in Kevin & Declan to build the retaining walls. These two had the blocks installed efficiently and in a very timely manner.
Dominic and his team were also sympathetic to my elderly neighbours as we share a drive-way, allowing them to easily access their side of the drive-way.
The lads finished the job in 9 business days. Sooner than initially estimated.
At the time of this writing, they have left the surrounding earth uncovered to allow the ground to settle as they will be returning to regrade the earth and put back the pre-existing bricks.
I could not be happier with the end result. Tony, Crystal, Dominic Robert, Mitch, Kevin & Declan were all outstanding. I would highly recommend Straight Up Masonry.