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Home Builder reviews in New Bern

  • C
    Paul Woolard Construction
    - gary d.
  • A
    Local Builders Construction Co

    I contacted local builders because I was informed that they were the last company to work on my home and I thought they would have the best working knowledge of it. As it turns out they have never worked on my home, but that didn't stop the owner, Alexis from showing up at my house and taking a look at the concerns I had. He walked me through what to look for and keep an eye on and offered helpful suggestions as to how to fix some of the minor concerns on my own. All of this without soliciting a service for his company, or charging me a dime. This is old school customer service at it's best. I will contact Alexis if I need anything done to my home in the future.

    - Taylor and Seth D.
  • D
    H2 Custom Homes

    After delivery we notified the builder that there were many issues which needed to be corrected. He agreed that they would be corrected. The builder indicated there were cost overruns that needed to be addressed prior to the items being corrected. The builder sent me a message itemizing the cost overruns on 08/19/10 at $19,532.83. The builder then met with us to discuss the itemized charges. At that meeting I requested a copy of receipts for the materials for which he wanted to charge us. He could not provide any receipts. Mr. Herring stated that he had none and left.

    He has since refused to respond to inquiries. A complaint with the Better Business Bureu has been unresolved and closed.

    Mr. Herring built a detached garage for us prior to the house being built. A separate meter was installed on the garage at his direction. New Bern Electric charges commercial rates for garage meters. The cost of correcting the problem is prohibitive. New Bern electric said they hardly have any residential garages with separate meters. Most garage electric service is via a sub-panel off the main panel.

    The detached garage floor has cracks all over it. His response that "garage floors always crack" is unacceptable. The attached garage here has no cracks. It was done be a different concrete subcontractor.

    The plumber Mr. Herring used put a restrictor valve between the water meter and the house. This reduced our water pressure by 33%. The plumber we had correct the problem said that Craven County doesn't require restrictor valves.

    When we visited the site during the build-out, Mr. Herring and I noticed water running down the foundation walls in the attached garage. He claimed "we've had a lot of rain lately" prior to our arrival and said the problem would be corrected during the back-fill. It was determined to be a leak from a water line that was broken during the construction phase (either the house set or after). We had water running under the house for over 2 years. He apparently knew that this was happening because he tried to hide the leak on the foundation wall using plastic sheeting. The only wall that this sheeting is attached to is the area where the foundation leaks. We have laid sod in the front yard and landscaped. The yard had to be landscaped again as a result of attempts to locate the leak.

    There has been a recurring crack in the hallway outside the master bedroom. Mr. Herring has fixed the crack several times and I have repaired the crack two times. The crack continues to widen, indicating a serious foundation issue which may substantially degrade the house structure itself over the coming years.

    On 10/26/2009 during an inspection visit by us, we noticed a significant crack in the south-facing foundation wall. You indicated that this was expected and that "it probably cracked on one of the steps". That crack has continued to widen. You resurfaced the foundation wall to hide the crack. The crack has reappeared.

    In October 2009 we discovered that the house main plumbing line cutoff valve; which was placed in the house for the homeowner's convenience, was bypassed and a cutoff valve was placed in the front yard. This valve was placed roughly 2 feet below grade.

    We discovered in August 2011 that the smoke and CO2 detectors had not been completely wired. This was a serious safety issue; which we had to correct ourselves.

    On 11/25/13 I discovered water under the master bathroom shower. Inspection has revealed significant water damage to the house structure as-well-as a black mold problem. Contractors who have inspected the shower have stated that it was incorrectly constructed and will require major repairs.

    Repairs to the shower and associated damages have cost us $8,000+ and the loss of use of our master bath for 3 weeks.

    We have had a structural engineer begin work on stabilizing the house foundation at a current cost of $20,000.

    We paid Mr. Herring $292,000 for our retirement home. He didn't really deliver a product as much as abandon it.

    He is doing business as H II Custom Homes

    - Gerard L.
  • B
    Spectrum Building & Remodeling LLC
    Jay is a good person and contractor. There are so slight issues where he had to patch some sheetrock I could see the line but when the lift was installed it covered that part. There is another area where the patching was not the best. I will contact him and he will return. Previous to this he had come over to the house to help me with some minor problems and did not charge me a thing. So overall I am happy with him.
    - Steve K.
  • A
    Above & Beyond Construction
    I first met Mr. Allen Farmer of Above and Beyond Construction Co located in. Jacksonville, NC  in June 2013 to discuss re-roofing my home.  He did the preliminary things measuring the roof and checking to see what would be needed to complete the job to satisfaction.  He was very courteous and professional in his presentation of how he conducts business. I was immediately impressed. He gave me an estimate of the job and me being a member of Angie's List I received a special price since my roof was within the measured size.
    Due to time constraints and obligations Mr. Farmer didn't complete our transaction until August13, 2013.  Upon their arrival on the agreed date the crew arrived on time and did a superb job on my roof. He replaced bad woo and siding just like he said he would at no additional cost.  They cleaned up and you would never know they were there except for my new roof.
    I have dealt with a lot of contractors over 30+ years and have had some pretty bad work done. I can say Mr. Farmer restored my
    faith some what in  the way he and his crew conducted themselves while on my property. I would not hesitate in getting them to do other work for me.
    I've received a lot of compliments on my new roof.
    - Gwen H.
  • D
    Tommy Allen Construction Inc
    Note:  Our 'D' rating was carefully considered to accurately (and graciously) represent and answer the actual categories rather than simply venting our frustration with an unscrupulous contractor.  There are better contractors and worse ones, but this one earned nothing more than a 'D'.

    This was a father and son team (son is now employed elsewhere).  They simply got into a hurry to finish before closing date, cut a lot of corners, left many things incomplete (some quite major), and later, showed little interest in coming back (as they were necessarily already paid).  Mr. Allen gave some fairly convincing lip-service for a while regarding the legally (and obviously) required warranty/finish work, but there was never any substantial effort made.  Clearly, this just translates into 'no real integrity'. 
    After the lip-service phase, the owner went into hiding.  Eventually, when I had no choice but to smoke him out with a lawyer, he fell into remarkable carte blanche denials and then finally, he claimed 'victimhood', resorting to finger-pointing, accusations, and attacks against the customer (me).
    In a nutshell: it's very troubling that an affable country boy who comes across so honest you couldn't imagine him lying to you, lies to you as a matter of routine, without batting an eye.
    - Tom V.
  • A
    Capstone Custom Builders Inc
    Tile, carpentry, and all work except painting was exceptional.Painters were not exceptional but overall were very good.
    This project was done in a professional and timely manner.  The best part was that it was done long distance from start to finish without my supervision.  After finished I flew to the project to see how it looked and when I discovered two very small "issues", they were corrected immediately without complaint.
    I couldn't have asked for a better company with which to work.

    - JAMES M.
  • A
    Gates Construction
    Regarding jobs completed, Mr. Gates delivered quality work on budget within the stated contract timeframe. He gave us detailed proposals and worked with us and the insurance companies.   He regards no job as too small and can do almost any construction or plumbing job needed at a reasonable price.  Free estimates are given.   He is extremely pleasant to work with and his crew was professional.  Clean up on all jobs was very good.  We highly recommend Todd Gates Construction.
    - Phyllis W.
  • D
    Please see our August 3, 2012 Addendum in response to Mr. Thorn's "Provider Response" (directly below our original report)
    Peter Thorn was a friend for 20 years. We knew he was a builder and trusted him.   At our request, Mr. Thorn informally inspected this house and others when we were looking; many systems that he originally said were ?fine? he later claimed needed expensive repair or replacement, such as the HVAC system. While he told us that he was not familiar with coastal contracting and FEMA, this was a bigger problem than we realized. 10 weeks before closing, Mr. Thorn stated that he would begin work the day after we closed on the house; he started 3.5 weeks late due to ?other priorities.?

       Work by Thorn/CSI (Construction Supervision Inc= his firm's name) was slow & expensive.  Mr. Thorn advised expanding ?scope of work? at every turn and used expensive materials, which were often poorly installed. Much work needed to be redone and all corrective work was billed at full rate. He uncovered areas that needed repair but did not allow inspection by us before demolition, despite specific requests and prompt availability. Despite stating he would provide ?before? and ?after? photos of corrective repairs, over 8 months we received none.  He advised interior remodeling concurrent with other work for economy. He kept telling us his preferences and choices; his use of the term ?showplace? unnerved us. He fired a worker after the project started, and said that this would not cause delay.
        A month later he hired his stepson and despite our explicit objections and fear, quartered this man in our house- who later left of his own volition, leaving bottles and debris. His foreman was quartered in the house for much of the project (which we reluctantly agreed to, after persuasion from Mr. Thorn); this ?foreman? lost his key and broke into the house twice, damaging new sliding doors. Mr. Thorn played us against each other, misrepresenting the other person?s statements and agreements. He accused us of lying about payments made directly to his bank. He said on several occasions, ?This is always a nightmare.? We should have taken him at his word and fired him right then. His workers destroyed our lawn irrigation system while working under his direct supervision, and damaged the foundation of our house during installation of new garage door, then tried to cover it up with putty. Mr. Thorn did plumbing work himself, much of which needed to be repaired or replaced.  One area leaked >10,000 gallons per month, generating a $564 water bill for 12,230 gallons for one month.   Mr. Thorn had a detailed plan for each stage but every week saw delays. Finish date was extended ?another 2 weeks? multiple times. We began dealing directly with subcontractors in order to get work completed. We eventually hired other workers separately to finish, including the outdoor concrete aprons, flooring, painting, and repair of substandard work.
        Mr. Thorn refused to explain what he was doing, was unresponsive to our requests, and sometimes was not on-site for weeks. In March 2011 we requested him to explain his latest invoice and he replied ?I don?t have time to explain.?  Subsequently we checked his invoices in more detail: there were  items on bills not backed up by receipts, duplicate billings, and subcontractors or suppliers were not paid the full amount shown on invoice (600+ pages of billings over ~26 weeks itemized), with tens of thousands of dollars of discrepancies.  We requested him to leave when we received a Certificate of Occupancy.
        We attempted to negotiate an end to our contract with Mr. Thorn, and he reneged on this settlement agreement and placed a lien to obtain more money. To complete a legal ending to our ?cost-plus? contract with Mr. Thorn, we had to pay him a small settlement plus directly paid several subcontractors & vendors in duplicate of what we had already paid Mr. Thorn.  In summary, hiring Peter Thorn/CSI Builders drained our savings and our peace-of-mind.  We wish we?d checked references and gotten bids from other builders before we hired Mr. Thorn. Do not sign a ?cost-plus? contract (no incentive for economy, timeliness, or quality); get bids from other builders; check references for all work in last 5-25 years (ask for Capricorn Builders, Construction Supervision Inc, as well as Peter Thorn Builders).

    Consider Mr. Thorn?s advice about further work & cost of materials and labor with caution.

    Addendum August 3, 2012:
    Mr. Thorn?s ?Member Response? glosses over key details.  We can document our statements.

    Mr. Thorn accompanied us and our realtor to inspect 4 older houses (addresses available) in May 2010; Mr. Thorn repeatedly stated that this house had ?good bones? and that major structures and systems were in good condition.  He offered advice on type of real estate contract and provided a statement about replacement cost of decks.  

    Mr. Thorn further stated in May, June, and July 2010 that he had ?no work? and would start construction immediately (his words: ?boots on the ground the afternoon of closing?); closing was August 25, actual start date September 27, 2010.  

    Work on initial contract was not complete by early December; we have an e-mail from Mr. Thorn dated March 4, 2011 titled ?handoff plan? which includes work on front porch and sunroom, and also photos documenting incomplete work: front porch on 12/19/2010, the decks on 2/11/2011, and the sunroom on 3/1&4/2011.  

    We hired paint and flooring contractors due to slow progress by Mr. Thorn. The painter repaired interior drywall and exterior siding damaged by Mr. Thorn, not the opposite as Mr. Thorn asserts.  Mr. Thorn was not given a punch list because we knew that we would be billed and re-billed, as occurred earlier in the project, if we gave him our list of 50-60 items requiring repair.  Repairs ranged from incomplete structural details to split wood to plumbing leaks and more.

    Mr. Thorn continued work after Certificate Of Occupancy April 4, 2011; his invoices show materials purchased April 5 and hours billed through April 9.

    We have 496 pages of bills from Mr. Thorn.  Review of invoices #1-25 totaling $220,873.74 paid to Mr. Thorn by March 24, 2011 revealed $38,261.63 of items billed without receipts; $5,040.95 items with mismatch in receipt and invoice, always in Mr. Thorn?s favor; and $1,128.06 in duplicate billings.  Other Angie?s List members writing subsequent to our December 2011 review comment on Mr. Thorn?s detailed invoices. Obviously check them carefully and regularly; we were far too trusting.  

    Construction costs as of March 24, totaling $220,873.74 paid to Mr. Thorn, calculate to $231.77 per square foot.  Mr. Thorn additionally billed us $38,169 on invoices #26-29.  On settlement, we paid subcontractors $14,942.83 directly because on prior invoice #20 HVAC had received only $9,662 of $11,966 itemized and we re-paid HVAC the discrepancy of $2,304 during settlement.  We also paid Mr. Thorn a small sum.

    The BBB report that Mr. Thorn describes as ?vicious? is similar to our original December 2011 Angie?s List report: an account of our disappointment in Mr. Thorn?s work.  

    House Data: Original area: 1500 heated square feet second story with 1500 unheated square feet at ground.
    Mr. Thorn?s construction: a) 800 square feet new: 220 sq ft sunroom (13.5x16.5) with roof; 430 sq ft decks with stairs and railing; 150 sq ft front porch with roof and elevator shaft, roof over; and b) 153 square feet of remodeling (bathrooms 95 and 40 sq ft, closets x2 @18 sq ft x2).
    Mr. Thorn hired insulation and drywall contractors for the basement.
    Please note that Mr. Thorn's mention of "1,000 sq ft and additional 2,863 sq ft" is more square feet than exists at this location.
    - Kathie K.
  • A
    Stroud Custom Homes, Inc
    The project started on time and progressed as expected. Gilbert Stroud, the owner, was at the job site DAILY overseeing each aspect of the job. Each contractor that he brought in was the best in their field. The workmanship, skills and care taken by each one was quite impressive. What struck me the most was how my home was not treated like a construction site but rather with respect. Each evening when the work was done, each contractor saw to it the site was cleaned and as orderly as possible. Gilbert would call us while the work was in progress with suggestions or enhancement ideas and give us the opportunity to make changes as we went. We are thrilled with the end results. Our curb appeal has been taken to a whole new level. We highly recommend that before you call and "price shop" a project that you call Stroud Custom Homes and "quality shop". The old addage of "you get what you pay for" just doesn't apply here. We got much more than we paid for and couldn't be more pleased. Butch and Vicki Rasmussen New Bern, NC
    - Kenneth R.
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Home Builders in New Bern

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