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Home Builder reviews in Anchorage

  • A
    Jensen Construction
    It took a little time for us to get together for est. But when it came to performing the work I had a lot of imperfection to over come but the work was excellent. Dave gave me a quote off the top of his head said it would be high end (over).Insure he went over but he only charged me what he quote.
    - Russell B.
  • F
    The  contractor was rarely on time to work. There were days between when he would show up to work. 
    At times I would have to call the contractor to see if they were going to finish the job.It has been almost 18
    months and I still do not have my certificate of occupancy. I was told that there  was a problem with my driveway being
    too wide. I went and talked to the planning department and straightened that out. They said that all was needed for my CO
    was to get my final inspections for the electrical and mechanical. The city sent inspectors out and the inspections were passed. 
    The remaining item of a $600.00 for inspections was due. I told the city that I would not pay for it because I would never get
    my money back from the contractor. I had already paid the contractor for the final bill.
    - Robert L.
  • A
    We started with a kitchen remodel which morphed into a den, kitchen and downstairs bathroom.  Removing the original 1977 cabinetry and bringing the walls down to the studs and removing the kitchen linoleum and the den carpeting while we lived in the home is not an easy situation.  Telemark Construction worked well the Alaska Granite, Creative Kitchen, Wright Electric and all of the other subcontractors and their delivery/performance schedules.  Timing around running water was important.  The work was wonderfully executed and timely and they cleaned as they went.  Attention to detail was important and more than once our ideas were modified with much better ideas provided by Kjell Nordgaard.  If you can do anything but you can't do everything you need Kjell.  His approach and his employees kept on schedule, which is not any easy task when coordinator all the aspects of appliance deliveries, granite and cabinet installation.  His enthusiasm for our home was compelling.  This was the second time we have worked with Telemark Construction.  In 2009 he remodeled our upstairs bedrooms.  There is a cost in doing things right and an even greater cost in doing things wrong.  The right thing to do is to have someone who thoroughly understands the process be a part of your team.  Kjell worked with our budget, he did expand the scope AND THAT WAS BRILLIANT!!! 

    - Martha G.
  • A
    My husband and I felt working with Alborn Construction was one of the most positive experiences we have had in a long time. 
    We have lived in Anchorage, AK for 33 years.  Our garage had severe water damage from a flat roof and snow melt. When we decided to use some of our savings (we just retired) to get the garage repaired, we didn't even know where to start.  After taking some classes on how to work with choosing and working with a general contractor, we contacted 7 different general contractors to come by and offer a bid.  We were shocked to see how few even bothered to get back to us.  When we called Alborn Construction, we were a little taken back by how patient  they were with all our initial questions.  Adam Alborn (owner) got back to us right away and set up an appointment to come to our home and evaluate the situation. 
    He showed up with his Assistant Manager (Pat) and walked the premises with us.  Now I would rather be dragged over hot coals than try to communicate in the male world of construction.  But Adam and Pat were so professional and truly interested in my questions.  Never once did I feel as a woman that  these men were talking down to me.  We later met with Adam at his office at a later date.  Several other general contractors who had offered bids did not even have offices, but not Alborn.  You pull up to a lovely office building, greeted by a friendly front office secretary and a waiting area.  Our meeting with Adam was amazing in that he spent an hour going over the bids in Alaska are so high; he went over in great detail the costs of demolishing the building, incorporating plans from an architect (Ben was extremely talented), permits from the city....the list was overwhelming on that day.  We left understanding why you need a general contractor. Think about it: demolition team, disposing of all concrete and wood; excavation, ground samples, municipality inspectors, electricians, plumbers, concrete team, lights, garage door, water heater, masonry, white boarding, lumber and studs to code, painters, asphalt trucks and teams and teams of people.
    My husband was fascinated; all I could think of was all those men using our bathroom!  But Adam and Pat assured us that they had it all in a plan; and yes, they brought the construction workers their own port a potty!  So we signed on with Alborn and have been smiling every day since.  What a great group of people.  
    My initial impression on the first day they showed up was they were on time (as they did every day for 2 months).  Secondly, all their trucks were clean, white and clearly stated Alborn Construction.  This may sound silly, but I appreciated the way all the guys on the construction team had shirts that said Alborn on them.  It helped us later determine who was a subcontractor on site. On that first day they literally had someone supervising the traffic lane on our little neighborhood street while they brought in big trucks and very noisy pounding machines.  Again, my husband thought it was all an adventure: I was worried if our neighbors would tar and feather us.  But they were always considerate of the neighbors, school buses, trying not to block mailboxes and here is their greatest asset: Adam insists that his team of construction men never leave without picking up the site so it is not messy.  Can you believe it?  A tidy general contractor!   Sean, the Alborn on-site Supervisor was really a force to be reckoned with.  He was brilliantly skilled in so many areas of work.  He reviewed every bit of construction completed, always polite and made my husband and I feel as though we truly had a say in how our new addition was going to come together.
    Our beautiful garage was completed right on time about the end of June.  They did a magnificent job.  Much to our surprise, they got the final inspector (I think there were close to 12 inspector visits required in all) out to review the whole structure; within a few days we had our Certificate of Occupancy.  We just got our property assessment done and the workmanship of Alborn Construction ended up hiking the property value of our home from $272,000 to $308,000.
    People don't understand how chaotic our Alaska summers are. Everyone is trying to get their homes repaired and strong for the upcoming seasons.  We were extremely fortunate to have hired Alborn Construction to help us.  It was obvious from the beginning that Adam and his company knew how to get things done in Anchorage.  We will always be grateful that we found this group; the crew, the managers...they all demonstrated experience and organizational skills that pull it all together.  Well done guys.         

    - Garth O.
  • D
    Sibley Electrical Services
    Installed all of the electrical in a custom project but we had an issue with a 220 outlet that kept popping the circuit breaker every time.
    1. We inspected the wiring and discovered that he used 16 gauge wire where all of the other 220 wiring was 6 gauge. We asked him to take a look at it and he just kept saying it was "b*******" that we were accusing him of using the wrong size wires.
    2. He refused to look at it. He does not stand behind his work.
    3. A real electrician came out and rewired the ling and used the right size wire and conduit. Very unprofessional individual.

    - Ryan B.
  • C
    Once we paid for the home, while still under construction, it was impossible to get the Hardings to respond or communicate with us. The home is a nice design but they used poor quality fixtures where ever they could. It took a long time to find that the washers on the drain under the kitchen sink were not screwed in tightly and leaked. We couldn't see any standing water because they drilled the first holes for the water pipes incorrectly then drill them again with out patching the first two holes. The leaking water drained through the two 'spare' holes directly onto the floor and drained into the joists below. We figured it out from the standing water on the window sill on the lower floor directly under the kitchen sink. 
       Kitchen cabinets were installed with no secure mounting on the cabinets over the refrigerator. I store my cook books there. It was about to fall when we discovered it.
        It seems that they viewed this prepaid house as an opportunity to get rid of all their older inferior fixtures. The jetted tub in the master bedroom had a cracked drain at install. They caulked it prior to adding the metal drain cover plate. That lasted 6 years before caulk turned brittle and the tub water drained to kitchen below. Water was pouring out of light sockets above our kitchen sink. A plumber removed the drain plate on the tub and showed me the cracked fiberglass drain area and used plumbers putty under the drain plate, which is flexible and should last a long time. 
        The house had improper drainage from the front to the sloping back yard. The house next door was built after ours and all of their water drains to our property. We realized the lack of drainage when mushrooms were growing out of the basement trim. In speaking with neighbors we were lucky to only have mushrooms. Several of them have standing water in their basements. $18,000 later the problem was fixed outside as well at the new sheet rock and trim inside. 
        The contractor we hired to do the above work pointed out to us that the tub the builders installed downstairs and we paid extra for, has rust spots on it. We  paid for brand new.
       Two smaller windows never opened or latched properly.
        We have had the home for 8 years and need to replace the hot water heater already.  It is rusted so badly the hot water is brown. We have drained it regularly and no help. I have owned 2 other homes and never had to repair/replace so many fixtures that should have been brand new and in great condition.
    - Christine F.
  • F
    The septic was originally installed in 2010, shortly after that the basement of the house was flooded due to incorrect installation of the system. Even after two more repairs by Wilco, it never worked properly and was failing every 6 months or so. Main problems were coming from inattention to details and manufacture's guidelines during installation of the system, as we found out later reinstalling a major part of it without Wilco's further involvement.
    - Olesya S.
  • A
    Pillar Construction LLC
    Pillar Construction is very professional, prompt, courteous and always exceeds my expectations.  My clients have been happy with them and I have had only positive experiences working with the company.  I highly recommend their services to my own customers and clients and the general public seeking a reliable, affordable and professional contractor.  Ask about their work guarantee!
    - Lisa C.
  • F
    This review is submitted for Wilco Contractors, owned by Bill Wilkinson, of Anchorage Alaska.  Information is current as of May 12, 2014.
    We contracted with Wilco to build our home in March 2013, with an original contract completion date of December 22, 2013.  Ground broke on May 9, 2013 and work began immediately thereafter.  We observed the construction activities daily, taking detailed notes of progress and crew working, along with photos.  We took fewer photos once the construction moved to the inside, only because it becomes more difficult to be descriptive in photos when you?re looking at walls, ceilings, and floors.  While we do believe the ?bones? of our home to be of high quality (and we?re not experts), we had to be persistent to get a high-quality level of finish/trim work inside and out.  Since Wilco bills themselves as a custom home builder, we didn?t feel we should have to nit-pick every detail, and we still found many areas of the finish/trim to be sub-standard.
    Starting at the exterior:
    ·   Our exterior windows are a beautiful redwood color.  Most of the window frames and sashes have white overspray on them from when the trim was painted.
    ·   The house exterior was painted in October, because that?s when the siding was finished.
    ·   The facia and eaves were painted initially when it was raining.  The facia and rafter tails all had paint washed off with the rain running off the roof.  These were repainted, but spots still show from the rain painting experience.
    ·   We added steel facia to the project, at some expense, and one of the pieces is bent and buckled.  We were assured it would be replaced, but it has not been.
    ·   Most of the exterior trim was hastily painted in October.  This trim was painted with a flat latex paint, and most needed repainting.  Instead of waiting for better weather to return in the spring, he instead chose to attempt to repaint it during freezing weather, in February 2014, using oil-based paint with a high-gloss finish.  Now, we?ve got two issues:
    o    First, he mixed oil and latex paint.  They are not compatible due to different expansion and contraction properties, and cracking and paint failure is expected.
    o    Second, now some of the trim is painted with high-gloss paint, and some is painted with flat paint, often on the same piece of trim, creating a distinctive demarcation line.
    ·   All exterior door jambs were attempted to be painted in February, 2014, with oil-based paint.  None of the jambs are acceptably painted.  There are paint streaks, uneven finish, and white paint smeared on most of the door seals.
    ·   The HRV subcontractor did an unacceptable job when bringing the vents through the exterior wall, cutting through the trim with jagged cuts, and pulling the trim from the house.  We were assured this would all be fixed, but it wasn?t.  We were left with an unacceptable level of craftsmanship.
    Moving to the interior:
    ·   We had Wilco install the tile in the house.  In general, it is substandard, not even close to what we would expect craftsman quality to be:
    o    They chose to install all the doors prior to installing the flooring, leaving gaps that are filled with grout instead of having tile under the trim.
    o    There are a few places where the tile was left so far from the wall, the baseboard trim didn?t bridge the gap, and now those gaps show.
    o    In all but two small bathrooms, the grout lines are filled unevenly.  In some locations, the grout is level with the surface of the tiles, in others, it is in excess of 1/8? below the surface of the tile, in the same floor.  The tiles are not all perfectly flat and even, and this is exacerbated in those locations where the grout is not filled to the top of the tile.
    o    In the custom tile showers we chose very nice polished pebbles for the floor.  One of the showers is so poorly completed, it feels like you?re walking in a gravel pit in bare feet.  In the same shower, the zig-zag lines of the tile edges are evident.  These zig-zag edges are designed to hid the grout lines, but the poor craftsmanship emphasizes the zig-zag.
    ·   When installing the island cabinet, they had to cut a total of three holes in the bottom of it, leaving a 3-4? gap directly into the basement.
    ·   The towel bar in one of the bathrooms:  The first towel we hung on it, the whole thing fell to the floor.  We ended up having to cut ½? off the towel bar to get it to hang correctly.
    ·   The refrigerator doors were uneven when the fridge was installed.  We were told they would be adjusted so the tops were flush.  This was not done, and we ended up doing it ourselves.
    ·   One of the cabinet drawers with a soft-close slider did not work properly when we moved in.  Eventually, by removing the drawer, taking off the sliders, taking the sliders apart and putting them back together, we were able to get the soft-close mechanism working correctly.
    ·   We?ve had to adjust two of the exterior doors, so the door latches and deadbolts operate correctly.  Wilco had ground out the hole of one of the strike plates to try to fix it.
    Some general comments on Wilco Contractors:
    ·   We were on location every weekday about 4:30 pm.  Bill was very rarely there when we were there.  If we needed to discuss something with him, we needed to make an appointment for him to meet us there.  There were a few times that he didn?t show up even for that, or would call and cancel.  He requested that we did not talk to his crew about any issues, but only talk with him.  His lack of presence made this quite difficult.  When calling him on the phone, we often got the sense that he had a higher priority than us.  That was a little disconcerting to us.  We felt that he should at least give the impression we were his highest priority when we called with comments, questions, or concerns.  He was not very good at returning phone calls that were cut short.
    ·   Have an attorney with experience in building contracts review the contract supplied by Wilco.  If Wilco won?t accept the changes, find a different contractor.
    o    The contract must stipulate penalties for time over runs.
    o    The contract must state that if some work is left to be completed to your satisfaction after closing, an agreed-upon dollar figure will be put into escrow that Wilco cannot access until the work is satisfactorily completed.  Bill told us several times during the project that we would do that.  But, at the end he declined to put any money into escrow, assuring us he would return to make sure everything was perfect.
    ·   Make sure that any work added comes with both a time and cost estimate.
    ·   Keep detailed records of the effort they put into the house, for both original contract and added work.  Keep track of the number of people there on any given day, and the amount of work done.
    ·   Though we asked repeatedly, we were never given a completion date, other than ?Well whatever is in the contract is when you?ll be in?.  Bill never provided updates on progress, or how he felt things were going.
    ·   If you?re truly building a custom/craftsman-level home, get as much pricing from all vendors and subcontractors as you can up front and have that pricing built into the original contract.  This will help alleviate the 10-20% overage we experienced.
    ·   Don?t accept his ?cleaning fee?.  He says he?ll bring in a professional house cleaner, but the truth of the matter is, we?ve had to do a lot of cleaning since the professional was there.  If you want the house professionally cleaned, and it should be done, forgo it in the contract, and hire one yourself.
    o    Most of the light fixtures had construction dust on them.
    o    Most of the windows have streaks that show in the sun.  This is mostly on the inside, the outsides of the windows were cleaned better.
    o    We?ve had to vacuum dust and debris out of all the cabinets before putting stuff in them.
    o    His cleanup also includes exterior rubbish and trash.  There are burn piles that had steel, glass, nails, sheetrock and other non-combustables in three separate locations in our yard.  There are also waste piles of concrete and grout.
    ·   When it comes time to close, make sure you get all final invoices for ?Allowance? or ?Estimate? items in the contact.  This includes interest on the construction loan (if Wilco gets the loan on your behalf) and utilities consumed during construction (again, if Wilco secures the utilities on your behalf).
    ·   We?ve identified a few items that we?ve had to take care of ourselves.  These little things are what should make a custom home builder stand out from a spec home builder.
    Giving Credit Where Credit is Due:
    ·   Due to a grade change on our site, our deck ended up being more than 18? off the ground.  This required a deck railing to be installed around the entire deck perimeter (except for the stairs), and taller stairs than originally bid.  Wilco did not charge us for this upgrade, and it did turn out quite nice.
    ·  Wilco chose to use a different heating subcontractor than he had originally bid the heating system in our home.  This amounted to about a $6,000 overage on the heating system.  Wilco absorbed this cost, since he made the choice to change heating subcontractors.
    Overall, we are not satisfied with Wilco Contractors.  We cannot, in good faith, recommend they be used to build your home.  However, if you are willing to put in a great deal of effort on the front end (during bid, getting vendor pricing, and ensuring a strong contract that protects you), during construction (keeping detailed records and taking pictures), and during the finish work (ensuring work is of exceptionally high quality demanded by his pricing), your home will likely turn out to your expectations, be on budget, and on time.
    We had a more detailed review, but Angie's List limits this input field to 10,000 characters.

    - Tara O.
  • A
    They were excellent. They came in during our winter season because we have a delay in our foundation. They started in October and they were finished right before Christmas. They worked very well around my time frame and I worked with them on their time frame. I didn't say I have to have this done in three weeks. We were doing it for a couple of months and so they gave me a little bit of a discount. They are going to be out here in about three weeks to work again this summer.
    - Constance S.
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