Recent Review: THE NEGATIVE ISSUES: EVERYTHING IS LESS PRECISE It seems that the contractor?s underlying attitude was that ?this is just a garage,? but the resulting construction was more in line with building a shed. Window headers were left not completed. Cement-coated, scrap wood was used in visible portions of the exterior. Expensive siding (owner provided) was installed poorly, with trim regularly popping off and becoming detached. Loft stairs, although specified to be construction grade, appear to be styled to meld with ?The Little Rascal?s? club house; with varying sized treads and an OSB floored landing?the contractor tried to charge extra for this because they were ?winders!? Not enough anchor bolts were ordered to secure the floor plates; at the contractee?s insistence, Tapcons were used to make up for this error. Most of these were not driven in sufficiently?likely because the pilot holes weren?t drilled deep enough. A haphazard latticework of blocking and support for the loft trusses made this area impossible to insulate to code. Much of this had to be removed and properly reinstalled to obtain the required insulation thickness without excessive compression. To make up for a shortfall of approximately 18? of drip edge, a scrap piece was installed over the top of the existing edge. This makeshift installation would have directed rain into the roof, if the contractee had not corrected this error. The contractor?s trademark ?electrical entrance thru the foundation? was executed poorly with the electrical entrance conduit neither within the stud wall, nor outside of it. This construction trademark was supposed to make the electrical entrance disappear. However, the result is that the 2? conduit protrudes from an interior wall; making it impossible to conceal and difficult to sheathe. It would have been more aesthetic to do a conventional outside entrance. COULD NOT MEET CODE REQUIREMENTS When the Building Permit was issued, the Code Enforcement Officer sent along requirements for Bracing for Overhead Doors in Seismic Areas. This document was promptly relayed to the contractor?who ignored it during construction. The contractee had to facilitate a meeting between the CEO and the contractor, and still, the issue was not resolved until (at the urging of the contractee) the eleventh hour. Throughout the project, the contractor appeared either not to understand the requirements, or was culturally unwilling to comply with them. This project also included a change order in the form of an extended roof eve and a cantilevered balcony. To the contractor?s credit, he was willing to accommodate the change and conferred with the building materials supplier for the engineering requirements. However, when the CEO requested the engineering report after the additions were completed, the contractee discovered that there was no written or formal report. To receive a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy, the contractee had to work with the building materials supplier (who graciously worked with their materials supplier) to generate a Structural Engineering Report. Although his assistance was requested, the contractor abstained from any involvement during this process. DISREGARDED SPECIFICATIONS A few of these omissions were minor, like cutting off the ends of the gamble braces instead of beveling them, or using OSB for the loft flooring instead of the specified plywood. But for the slab concrete, the contractor ordered a #3000lb mix, instead of the specified #4000lb mix. The contractor?s Mason did a fine job of finishing the floor, but it cracked diagonally in several quadrants. I can?t help thinking that if the specified mix were used, the foundation wouldn?t have cracked as severely. POOR COMMUNICATIONS WITH EMPLOYEES AND COORDINATION OF MATERIALS Basically, the contractee needed to supervise this project, because the contractor did not, and was rarely onsite. Unfortunately, the contractee realized this necessity late in the project. Several days after the slab was finished, the lone Mason hastily arrived, followed shortly by the cement truck. Soon, the Mason was rapidly filling buckets of concrete from the truck and pouring them throughout the curb, without any assistance. Realizing that no help was forthcoming and that the resulting job would be poor, the contractee assisted the Mason by distributing buckets of concrete, so that he could perform his expertise of vibrating (with his reciprocating saw) and finishing the concrete. Despite this effort, the resulting curb is poorly finished and leaks whenever it rains. The change order of the extended roof and balcony were charged separately and performed on a Labor and Materials basis. A significate amount labor was unnecessarily used because the contractor failed to inform the workers that a change order was in effect, requiring them to dismantle a considerable amount of the previous day?s construction. This waste of paid labor reinforced the notion that a ?change order? is a contractor?s ?license to steal.? A half-round window was specified to be installed over the balcony door. After the window had been received, the contractor informed the contractee that the window could not be installed because of the truss construction. In the contractor?s defense, I will state again, that the project did not have architectural plans; however, a knowledgeable contractor should know from experience what accoutrements will work with various types of construction. Of course, the contractor would not refund the cost of the window. Accordingly, just as with the code compliance issue; the contractee had to solve the problem by designing an installation for the window within the truss structure. THE PROS: The contractor, Charles Duffy is a most congenial, warm and friendly person. His passion for deer hunting is unpatrolled and is always willing to share his vast knowledge of the sport with his clients. As such, it is wise for prospective clients not to schedule projects during, or allow them to overlap into the deer season, such as this one did. The contractor did an excellent job of removing all construction and demolition debris from the site. However, a better job of retrieving lost fasteners is necessary, as I am still picking nails from my driveway?one year later.