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Garage Building reviews in Essex

  • A
    Cool Branch Clearing and Construction, Inc.
    Note: Cool Branch is a licensed business in Maryland operated by John Newberry. MHIC# 130199. Not sure why the MHIC number information wasn't included on Angies? We selected Cool Branch to build our county permitted 12' x 12' screen patio and 14' x 12' outside deck & benches, including the need to match/blend with an existing higher level deck on the house. Note: Electrical work was contracted separately. Full disclosure .... through friends, we knew some of John's early career background as a cabinet maker which was one of the reasons we chose to hire him, anticipating he would pay close attention to detail. We were not disappointed and could not be more happy with the quality of John's workmanship. It was a pleasure to work with John who anticipated, coordinated and communicated days ahead of his need for feedback in order to avoid mis-steps and get the right materials on site at the right time. To meet the project requirements, John also researched and special ordered items including a special ceiling fan fitting, no-see-um screening and composite bench materials. Although the timeline for the work was impacted by inclement weather and some family commitments on John's part it was still completed ahead of a planned July 4 party. Cool Branch is a small business so John planned and completed the work himself with support from his helper Sam. Both were always courteous, friendly and trustworthy. Since completion we have received complements on the finished product from friends, relatives and neighbors. We continue to enjoy the completed patio/deck and to admire John's workmanship. We will certainly consider soliciting John for any future construction work.
    - Tony S.
  • F
    Harman Construction, Inc.
    My first impression of Mark was fantastic!  I have him straight A's - but that was before the work was completed.  He began work in August 2012, I believe, and this is June 2013.  My impression is completely opposite at this point after trying to work something out with him since last fall 2012.  I am updating my review on August 18, 2013 to reflect a partial resolution.

    The owner, Mark Harman, either did or supervised all the work himself, so he is to be held personally responsible for the quality and end result.  The main job was the garage, and we still have unresolved quality issues more than a year later.  He and a helper or two showed up on time and as scheduled to do the work, and all went well at first.  However, we realized soon after it was completed that he should have put a drain in for the sump pump water.  He first told us he would notch out an area of concrete deep enough to send the flow of water to the side of the garage, but later told us he could only go so deep without compromising the integrity of the new concrete slab.  Unfortunately, we now have lots of water going under the garage door and sitting in the enclosed garage space for days until it finally dries out.  (See pic below.)  The siding he put on the garage on one side is bowing in at the top, so it was obviously not installed correctly.  (See pic.)  Also, the gutter(s) bow in the middle so proper drainage is not possible. So, while the overall look of the new garage is good, there are some basic construction issues that should have been fixed immediately, but were not.  Despite telling us several times that he would be out to fix these items, he has failed to do so, more than a year later.

    A separate contract was drawn to cover 1) removing the chain link driveway gate and about 30' of chain link fence to the right of the driveway/carport and 2) installing a custom 5' cedar gate and a foot of cedar fencing that would connect the left side of what became a garage and our rear house deck, with the gate meeting pool code.  This second part of the project was a total disaster from the start because this contractor did not have a copy of the contract with him when he came out to do the job AND did not even read it before he came out, months after it was signed, to do the work!  So, he did it all wrong because I could not immediately find our copy of the contract and he refused to believe me when I kept telling him he was building it too tall, that it needed to be just 5' tall, not 6', since the ground to the left of our garage is a step up from the driveway and the garage is only 7' high at the sides.  He continued to build it the way he recalled the contract read and even told me - very condescendingly - that I could not change the terms of the contract any time I wished!  So, because he did not read his own contract before he did this job, we now have a gate whose posts are as high as the gutters on the garage to which it is attached, and it is so heavy at 4' wide (being 6' tall) that it is extra hard for me to open and close with my arms full.

    What makes this gate issue even worse is that I found out the day after it was built that Mark had overcharged us by $500 - at least compared to a what a large company like Mid-Atlantic Fence and Deck (with all of its overhead to cover) would have charged for doing a much better job.  Mark had promised to build us a "custom gate" exactly as I wanted it plus a little extra cedar fencing for $1,200.  We specified it to be 5' tall, cedar, and penciled in that it would have 6" posts with gothic tops.  For this same gate, fencing and taking down the chain link stuff, Mid-Atlantic later quoted us $700 for the job, and those posts would have been sunk 3' deep in concrete.  Our "custom" gate was nowhere near the same quality f construction and did not have the gothic posts that were so important to me!  Two days before he was to do this job, Mark t old me he would need to charge us an extra $150 for posts with gothic tops!  So, at the last minute, I scrambled to find an alternative I would like and settled for copper tops from Home Depot.  Don't like them as much, but did not have a choice.  Then, when he put the posts in crooked and had to reset them, I learned he had only sunk those posts 14" because he felt that was good enough since he "tied them into" our old deck and the side of the garage.  Mid-Atlantic would not have cut a corner like that, and I could have had the gothic posts I wanted at $500 less.  It took about a year, but Mark finally refunded to us the $500 because he knew he had built it too tall and it was cheaper for him to pay us that $500 than to redo it completely.  Still, it took a long time to get this resolved.

    We still have not been able to get Mark out here to correct the water drainage problem, so our garage floor is often flooded, even in good weather, because of the sump pump.  The gutters and siding issues are also still unresolved.  I am going to add pics as soon as I have a little more time, not that Harman Construction is a member of Angie's List and it will do much good.  Still, it might.  We also intend to go to the BBB about this.  It's all a matter of finding the time since we have a couple of other home improvement projects that are taking a lot of time and attention.  I intend to take my laptop to his main reference and show that church the kind of work he did for us so they will know not to give him such a glowing reference again.  I will update this again in a few months or sooner as things are resolved - or not.  

    I am updating this negative review on 10/6/2013.  Mark, the owner of Harman Construction, has not responded to my texts to ask when he was planning to come back to fix the garage siding and drainage problem in front of its entrance, as well as the gutters that are sagging in the middle.  He has not returned my husband's phone calls.  I found out the other day that there have been 3 complaints to the BBB in the past 3 years.  All have been resolved, so they give no details - and they don't count against his company.  Next time, I will check BBB if I don't use Angie's List.  We will go to the BBB soon with our complaints, but it irks me that if he fixes everything, it will not count against him.  Thank God for Angie's List, where we can find out the details - even if any problems are resolved - so we can make an intelligent choice when hiring a contractor.
    - Joyce L.
  • A
    Twin Locust Barns At Gunpowder Falls
    unknown
    - Donald A.
  • A
    Twin Locust Barns At Gunpowder Falls
    unknown
    - Kim E.
  • A
    Twin Locust Barns At Gunpowder Falls
    unknown
    - Eva M.
  • A
    Twin Locust Barns At Gunpowder Falls
    The service from Twin Locust Barns At Gunpowder Falls was great. They were extremely helpful. They had no problems answering all my questions.
    - Kim E.
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