Alexandria Home Building Articles

Home Building reviews in Alexandria

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Lessons I learned doing business with Quest & Mr.
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:
1. Always get a detailed proposal with materials listed by brand/grade, measurements, specs, project to be finished BY DATE (not “in 4 weeks”). Set a penalty when work gone pass the deadline not due to acts of God. Stipulate you have the right to hire a 3rd party to finish his work at his cost when pass the deadline. Demand a credit or refund if you want to provide items/materials. Demand Mr.
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to go purchase the material with you or provide a clear list with brands & specs.

2. Make sure the contract spells out if contractor makes a mistake/misarrangement he should pay for the cost of repair & within X days. All work must be inspected & ok by you before moving on to next.

3. Clearly spell out when to pay installments, i.e. 50% completion=complete framing & drywall, 85% completion=all tiles in…etc.

4. Take pictures of every stage. Pictures can be very helpful for disputes. Insist to communicate via email on important issues.

5. Obtain a list of his suppliers & subcontractor & get
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Waiver & Release from Mr.
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AND ALL of his subcontractors BEFORE any payment .

It is a very stressful & frustrating experience doing business with Quest & its owner
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. Mr.
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was nice when he was trying to get my business, promising everything. Before signing the contract we went over his proposal with his architect. I showed him pictures of what I wanted, the style of the closet shelving, walk-in shower, modern concept design. When I
asked him to put details, materials, measurements, & write down what I had told him in the contract he just said “no problem! I’ll make it beautiful!
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’t worry!” assuring me he got it. That proved to be problematic as he later went back on his words & told me "this would cost me too much..." or "I thought you meant..."

Because fixtures, vanity, tiles... are not included in the price I bought all myself. But Mr.
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's unfamiliarity of the building process & poor scheduling made this process a nightmare because he doesn't tell you the specs he needs, doesn't check the items when they arrived. I ended up paying more $ on expedited shipping & alternative products.

Unfortunately, things went wrong the entire project. 4 wk project went to 8 & still not complete. Mr.
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refused to correct the mistakes I pointed out to him as work in progress. Always excuses, always other people’s fault when it was really his mismanagement & lack of knowledge & experience, poor planning, delay after delays. The worst part is his work is poor, using materials not matching one another & using materials not up to code. Now he just refused to complete the work required to pass the final inspection.

I found Mr.
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on Angies List & didn’t know how he got the good reviews considering his poor quality of workmanship. Then I realized the good reviews were for small jobs, replacing roof, replacing cabinetry, tub, flooring…
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handyman type of work.
My project is an addition from scratch. Mr.
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is licensed but not experienced, big difference. Also, one of his subcontractors told me he’s overbooked. Too bad I’m paying the price of his mismanagement. Sent only 2 men over to build an addition & didn't care he's grossly behind on schedule & it's cost me income from work. Really snail speed.

Here is just a short list of my problems:

1. Not familiar with building codes & structures. Had to revise architectural drawing because his roof framing was wrong. Delays.
3. Going back on his words. Said he’ll do the work according to my specs but later said it costs him too much & took it upon his own to op for a cheaper alternative without consulting me. Wanting to charge me more on the shower glass last minute. I ended up finding my own glass installer for a better quality glass at a cheaper price.
4. Unreliable. Never finished a job on time.
5. Sent him links of the products prior to purchasing asking him to verify the items will work. He replied yes. When vanity, shower trim kit, valves arrived, I asked him again to check to make sure it’s the right products; Mr.
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told me he did & they are fine. Only to find out on the day of installation the items were wrong or missing parts. He never checked. No time to get the replacements shipped so I had to abandoned the products I hand picked, skip work, ran to Home Depot to grab the builder grade stuff on shelf. This happened throughout the project. You think Mr.
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would learn after the 1st incidence but he kept doing the same thing.

6. Poor workmanship, had to point out crooked tiles & made them correct it. Failed inspections 4x on the same work.
Failed inspection 6x so far (he said he didn’t fail, just not passed. ??!!). Also, how could a builder not know what a
rough-in valve is? He told me to buy the valve but doesn’t know what it’s called, described it as “the metal thing with things coming out in the back that hooks up to…” Then
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a picture that did not resemble anything close to the valve.
7. Incompetent workers caused delays. Took them 2 days to install a vanity sink. The plumbing was set at the wrong height too. REAL slow work. More delays.
10. Mr.
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’s workers
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’t treat your house with respect, left trash all over my property, leaving fans, lights on all night, windows open, left house with AC on, left doors open with flies coming in, left my door unlocked, threw away items I said to keep...etc. Workers used my spotless newly detailed cleaned bathroom to wash plaster tray, brushes, tools with paint
& plaster pouring down my bathroom drain. Paint stains on my sink & shower. Drains clogged, need a professional plumber to clear it. Trashed my house, yard.
12. Gave me a quote for an electrical job for $700. I found a Yelp electrician to finished the work for $160.
14. Doesn't know the inspection requirements. Doesn't know the county codes for the simplest things like recess lights need to be IC rated.
17. Mr.
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won't order a portable toilet for his workers. I had made it clear I won’t share my bathroom with workers. He assured will order portable toilets. Never happened. Imagine his workers use your bathroom, leave tracks of dirt, wipe their hands on your bath towel, not putting the toilet seat down,… It happened to me. They did NOT respect my property.
19. Lack of planning caused inability to acquire quality material. Mr.
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always wait till right before installation to run to a Home Depot for materials. Because a lot of items needed to be ordered ahead of time, he just grabbed what's on the shelf. Result was materials rejected by county inspectors, installing non-matching marble pieces that looked out of place, trim kit that doesn't match the shower head, “matching” carpet that doesn’t match, having to get lower quality “builder grade” materials.
23. Flooring cheated on materials, poor workmanship, laminate wood floor was unleveled on day 1. Refused to correct it & just kept installation. Did not use correct underlayment, no plastic moisture
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. Now the floor is bowing after only 2 weeks. Told me he’d use certain products but later I found he used a cheaper product & refused to correct.

My opinion based on my experience is that this business is dishonest with substandard performance. I feel this business is not female friendly because the way Mr.
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often change stories on what went wrong & I found several times what he had told me were not true. It really is unfortunate the business has hostile or predatory practices when their client is a woman. Refused to see the mistakes I pointed out. Still saying “the floor is leveled” as I showed him how his Level was wobbling on the floor. Mr.
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is less than professional. The project was not built according to contract or approved architectural plan.
- Josephine C.
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This was our first major remodeling effort involving a general contractor. We had heard horror stories from people we knew about working with a general contractor - disputes, quality issues, scheduling problems, etc. Our experience with
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(GCC) was very different - their price was fair (middle quote of three), their project management was thorough and professional, they know how to work with construction loans, and they take pride in their work.
Prior to selecting a contractor, we spend a year with an excellent architect working up detailed plans.
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worked well with the architect - proposing a different approach to our foundations that our architect accepted.
Once the project got underway, we worked closely with
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who walked us through the dozens of choices about tile types, paint colors, floor materials, bathroom fixtures, etc. She was thorough and patient with us, and as a result, we had the choices made and ready to phase into the construction. Some may find their process overly-structured, but we found that it eliminated miscommunication and it helped us manage costs.
As we moved into construction,
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Normyle - the on-site project manager - worked closely with us. When there were delays, he told us why and gave us revised time estimates. When we needed to reach him, he was available. He stopped by the construction site every day there was activity. He also did a good job communicating with our neighbors when there were big events like concrete delivery.
GCC's work can be measured in other ways as well. We had moved into a very small upper floor apartment during the construction and figured that our aging cat would do better living on our property. GCC rigged the internal heat so it would warm the house sufficiently for the cat. In another instance, there was a miscommunication about the number of window panels above a set of deck doors and three (vs five) were installed. GCC acknowledged the variance from the drawing and immediately started the process of replacing the panels.
We moved back into the house in February of 2013 (we started in late
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of 2013) and I've waited to write this to see how our punch list process would go.
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Normyle managed this thoroughly and tracked the punch list through to completion. Finally, as the cold weather set in earlier this year, we realized that internal access to an outside hose bib had been walled off. We called GCC and they fixed the problem.
We are delighted with our remodeled house and the quality of GCC's work. We would recommend them to anyone building from scratch or remodeling.

- ANDY C.
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has done great work for me as well as for my parents. Very trustworthy, completed the job on time and we were happy with the results!
- Jeffrey G.
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Lord is the owner of
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.
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is a stand up, professional guy and a lifelong resident of
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.
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is punctual and answers emails, phone calls, and texts in a timely manner.
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is also detail oriented and thorough. We had 3 bathrooms gutted down to the studs and absolutely everything was replaced. Our master bath was expanded, all plumbing was relocated, custom cabinets were built, and a window was added in the side of the house where the new bathroom is located.
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and his crew did an absolutely fantastic job.
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is a carpenter, and a d*** good one. The cabinet that he and his son,
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built in our bathroom looks beautiful. All of
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's sub contracted work was done by equally professional and competent craftsman. I cannot say enough good things about the quality of the work and our experience working with
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and his crew.
- James C.
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I have a one bedroom condo, and after 15 years finally decided to take the
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into having it renovated. I met with companies who specialize in the various needs (flooring, paint, bathroom) that I had as well as general contractors. I searched websites and magazines for ideas. I read I don't know how many reviews on Angie's List and asked friends for help in selecting companies to get quotes. From my initial call with
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to set an appointment to meeting
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and describing my vision, they were both very responsive and professional.
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gave me some great suggestions along the way. I never felt rushed or pressured at any time.
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or his guys always showed up when they said. This was my first experience doing anything like this and a big investment. I had heard plenty of horror stories Given the scope of work, I moved out while the work was being done.
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told me I would be back in in two weeks and "not to worry.". Everyone I know told me that there was no way that all of the work I was doing could be done in two weeks. I checked in several times and every time I did, the guys were busy working. They have great attention to detail. I moved back in two weeks later. I am THRILLED at how everything turned out. I have had some family and friends over, and they can't believe that it is the same space -- and neither could I. I would highly recommend using
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and his crew. I am thinking of putting a deck on my patio -- my first call will be to
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.
- Tandy K.
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I first hired
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and his team in 2008 to help complete my 2nd floor renovation, specifically all the door, window, baseboard trim including painting. There was a lot of trim and all of it was custom made to match the trim in our 90 year old home. Their price couldn't be beat and the answer to the question "when can you start?" was "how about tomorrow"! The owner
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and his team were extremely patient and courteous and wanted to understand exactly what we wanted and they delivered.
The next project was the complete teardown and renovation of the front-porch of our craftsman-style home in 2009. Everything was seamless from design to completion to inspection. We used Trex and PVC trim, the cost of which can add up quickly, but because
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had some of the material on-hand bought from another contractor at a deep discount, they passed the discount on to us rather than charging us the retail cost, which they certainly had every right to do. Because our house was craftsman style, we had very specific requests that required a significant amount of custom trim work -
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and his team were very patient, built several mock-ups and weren't satisfied unless we were. After this experience, I became convinced that there was almost no need to get quotes from other contractors. I knew I would always get an honest deal and 100% effort.
That same year, we hired
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to build a fence around our yard - as always, the team was punctual, very fast, considerate of us and our neighbors (the houses are very close together in our neighborhood so coordinating with neighbors is critical). They did a beautiful job and again accomodated our requests for custom work. If something isn't to our satisfaction, they fix it, no questions asked.
Finally, the biggest project was re-siding of our house in the fall of 2010. He helped us get the best deals on materials with no
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-ups (showed me all receipts).
In summary,
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and his team work tirelessly satisfying their customers - it seems like no request is too unreasonable. The do jobs quickly and do them right.
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consistently hires men of high character and high professionalism and they are a joy to work with. He quotes a job and sticks to the price. In some cases, I felt like I didn't pay them enough and gave them above the contractual amount without him having to ask. Just look at all the work
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and his team did and my total estimate of cost and you can see the kind of value we get for our money. I can't say enough about them. we've recommended them to 3 of our neighbors who have hired him and are just as pleased as we are with his work.
- Scott R.
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I thought it started out all right. Demo was done promptly. HOwever, I failed to see warning signs when the contractor started asking me to pay for some of the materials directly (because it was "easier") with a promise to give a credit for those at the end of work. Foolishly paid $78,000 to contractor so that he could keep his payments up with the subcontractors and purchase materials and so on. Had a harder and harder time reaching him. Could reach his wife but not him--as if he was avoiding me. He became harder and harder to talk to. He got defensive and turned everything little thing around to where somehow it was my fault like when the appliances were to be delivered in the middle of demo. I didn't want them cluttering up my garage until they were ready to go in and the applicance people were willing to store them. I was also worried about the possibility of damage if they just sat there during construction. So, unable to reach
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, my husband finally talked to his wife who canceled the delivery since she couldn't reach him either. Then a month or so later,
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became VERY upset that he was "ready for the appliances and needed them 2 days later but tried to blame me that they weren't there. The appliance guy jumped through hoops for me (I need to write a positive review on them) to get them there in two days only to have them sit in the garage for another month. During this time we saw almost no work being done and were unable to reach the builder. I finally reached his foreman who told me that
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was "having problems" but that everything would "be all right." Well, we never saw them again. The company went bankrupt, and my house was left an unfinished shambles. Worst of all SUCONTRACTORS WEREN'T PAID and they were calling us threatening to put liens on our property even though we had already paid
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! We had to pay an additional $22,000.00 to finish the job which put us $20,000.00 over the original bid with no credits for the materials we had paid for directly. When we got an electrician in to finish the job for us we learned that not only had a permit never been pulled for the job but a bunch of the work was not done to code. A large amount of that $22,000 was to have the mess brought up to code.

This man was a past president of the
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chapter of NARI and advertised that he was a contractor for the TV show "Extreme Makeover!" Also had good references and had been in business 54 years. My husband and I would have been more than willing to try to work things out for him had he just been up front and honest with us but he hid from us, did not tell the whole truth, and generally can not be trusted.
- Heather N.
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The work went very smoothly. The architect was thorough and provided good drawings to visualize the project, and was very responsive to our wishes. The drawings were excellent, and permits were no problem. The work started on time and the whole job progressed quickly. The window was the longest lead item, and it as ordered as soon as the drawings were finalized so it would be on site in time.
The project was finished in less than 8 weeks from signing the contract to completion. All inspections were successful the first time, and the mess was kept to a minimum. The house cleaning was unexpected- we didn't realize it was part of the contract. The price was the lowest bid, and there were no overruns or problems with payments or prices.

- Earl H.
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was extremely unprofessional and dishonest. They touted a 12-month warranty to guarantee their work, but after our project was final billed they tried to add an additional $3,000 in bogus charges, which we heard about months later and only after we asked them to honor their warranty. Because we refuse to pay these bogus charges, they refuse to honor the promised warranty. We were told our project would take 3 months, it took 6 months because of a total lack of project management on their part. They repeatedly destroyed our personal property and treated our personal items as their own. They were totally unreliable, repeatedly going 3 or 4 days at a time without showing up at our house (other than to use the dumpster we were paying them for to drop off debris from other projects they were working on). They subcontracted out much of their work, but then refused to oversee their subcontractors. We were warned by their previous clients that
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charges significant markups on the materials they supply, which was definitely the case. They also failed repeatedly to secure our house at the end of the work day (even when knowing we were out of town), leaving doors and windows OPEN (not simply unlocked) to the outside world. When we filed a complaint with the BBB (which is ongoing)
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essentially responded by saying that my family's $120k project was too small to warrant
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's full attention. I wish they would have told us that before they signed the contract! Avoid
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at all costs. There are reliable and honest contractors out there. Unfortunately,
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isn't one of them!
- Dan E.
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I called
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looking for a qoute on a renovation project. At the beginning of the conversation he identified that I was outside of his service area, but he gave me tips to find a builder closer to my project site.
- Kyle B.
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All Home Builders in Alexandria, VA

Companies below are listed in alphabetical order. To view top rated service providers along with reviews and ratings, Join Angie's List Now!

As It should Be Cabinetry & Builders LLC

4219 Howard Ave
Kensington, MD

ASIL SERVICES INC

17873 Fraley Blvd
Dumfries, VA

assa construction services,llc

9304 player drive
Laurel, MD

Athruz Inc

12108 Dumfries Rd
Manassas, VA

Atlantic Deck & Home Renovation, Inc.

2875 Towerview Rd
Herndon, VA

ATLANTIS Tile | Kitchen | Bath | Marble & Granite

43671 Trade Center Pl.
Sterling (Dulles), VA

Atlas Roofing Co

7311 Highland St
Springfield, VA

Audio Video Services

501 Kisconko Turn
Fort Washington, MD

AV REMODELING & CONSTRUCTION

1610 WOODMOR LN
Mc Lean, VA

AVC CONSTRUCTION

4507 Exeter St
Annandale, VA

Avedon USA LLC

Upper Marlboro, MD

Avenue Builders

2210 Mount Vernon Ave
Alexandria, VA

B&D Construction

602 Clay St
Franklin, VA

B.A.I Construction

2815 Gibson Oaks dr
Herndon, Va

B.K. Services

504 kibler circle
Vienna, VA

Bair Group LLC

11160 C1 South Lakes Dr
Reston, VA

BALLARD & MENSUA ARCHITECTURE

450 W BROAD ST
Falls Church, VA

Barbera Contractors llc

26310 Johnson Dr
Damascus, MD
Alexandria Zip Codes

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