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General Contracting reviews in Schenectady

  • A
    We were so impressed with the work that Carmen did for us. His pride in his work showed through in each one of our rooms. He was punctual each day and let us know when he would be late or needed to reschedule. Even though our project ran a few weeks later than we expected, he kept us informed along the way. We had no issues with leaving Carmen for the day while we were at work. Would highly recommend for any project and we're looking forward to have him complete other projects for us in the future. This was a major project and he pointed out a variety of things he encountered as our house is a 1959 mystery and things were destined to surprise all of us.
    - William M.
  • A
    All went fine. Phil was very reliable and personable. His work quality was very good and performed the repairs as if he was working on his own home. Did not take any shortcuts. I would definitely recommend Phil to anyone.
    - Mark P.
  • A
    This team of workers was exceptional. These guys got 2 of our roofs done in the middle of summer, scorching heat, in the time they estimated! They literally looked as if they were never there,left no mess and explained everything along the way. They used some cost cutting options for us, with using some salvageable wood and aluminum to help us as home owners save a bit. I would hire them again in a heart beat!
    - Mai C.
  • A
    I would highly recommend Joshua's work. He was prompt, clean, neat and did everything I asked to complete the project. His workers where also neat and respectful. I have also hired him for another project later in the year based on the work he completed.
    - Michael T.
  • A
    SUMMARY:
    - Quality of workmanship is good.
    - Atherton Painting and Construction would rather work on time and material projects.
    - Time Estimates need to be more accurate (+/- 10% would be good).
    - Specific tasks need to be clearly identified.
    - Supervision needs to be increased to better understand the challenges each 
    project faces.  This, in turn, will help with scheduling.
    GENERAL:
    We were generally satisfied with the overall results.  
    Because of the fixed-price nature of our project, there was a tendency for Atherton Painting to have an excuse for every hiccup in the project plan and, along the same lines, there was also a tendency to want to shift responsibility for errors.
    Estimates of time were substantially wrong.  One task was identified as needing no more than ten hours, ao a change order was written with a not-to-exceed price allowing for sixteen hours.  The task actually took over 20 hours.  Another 8 hour task took 21 hours.  
    The overall project was delayed on our side for a couple of months.  Once the project began in earnest, it was scheduled to run from the middle of November to the holidays (11/17 - 12/22), a total of 35 elapsed days.  The actual work on the fixed price contract was completed 1/20, for a total of 64 elapsed days.  The actual change order work was completed 2/4, for a total of 72 elapsed days.  Even allowing for a week of non-productivity between Christmas and New Years Day, the fixed price contract was 22 elapsed days over estimate (a little more than 60% over). 
    PLANNING:
    We have experience in project management, construction, and property management fields.
    Our initial estimates (based on information from homewyze.com) put this project in the tens of thousands of dollars.  We never bid a job out this big on a time and material basis; costs get out of hand much too quickly. Also, with time and materials, we would find ourselves in the role of General Contractor (GC), which means we would have to provide day-to-day supervision to be sure the hours were being properly used.  We could not be on-site everyday, so we had no desire to be the GC.  We also thought the specific tasks to be performed were straightforward and would lend themselves to a fixed-price quote.
    Our experience with other contractors is, they would come in, determine what we were trying to do, take some measurements, go away to think about the project, and come back with, "we think you need to do these things, and it will cost you this amount of money."
    The Chief Carpenter (Mike) performed the initial planning visit from Atherton Painting.  He took minimal notes and took minimal measurements.  The owner (James) returned for a second planning visit.  He also took minimal notes and took minimal measurements.  Our impression was Atherton Painting were relying on experience to guide the proposal ("it should take somebody x hours to paint this room...")
    We had identified a few hundred tasks to be performed in our work breakdown schedule.  Since Atherton Painting had no formal contract, we wrote our own, detailing the work that had to be performed.  The contract contained the tasks by room, the payment schedule, and a provision for change orders, should anything arise that was not covered by the initial contract.  Both sides agreed to the terms and conditions of the contract.
    Typically we put 10% down on contract signing, 15% upon work initiation, 25% when the project is half-way done, 25% when the work is done, and 25% upon satisfactory completion.  Atherton wanted well over half before starting.  But, this is understandable, given the time and material orientation of the company; materials must be purchased and the client must pay for the materials.
    DOING:
    Generally, the workmanship was good.  
    The work covered by the fixed-price contract was performed well.  The painters (Chad and Mike), did very good prep work and applied the paint in a workmanlike manner.   The floors were sanded well.  So well, in fact, that we decided to go with the natural color and forego staining the floors, applying only polyurethane coat. 
    All other work was done via change orders.  The description of the work would be written down, a price would be given, and once everything was agreed to, work would commence.  The only surprise was that payment for the change orders was expected on a weekly basis.  The carpenters would do the work, and expect to be paid by Atherton Painting that day for their work.  One one day, we made a scheduled payment of several thousand dollars, only to be told we needed to write another check for another two thousand dollars.  While we expected to pay for the carpenters' work, we did not know we had to pay-as-you-go; we thought that was going to be settled up at the end.  
    Again, time and materials is Atherton Painting's preferred method of payment.
    Also, due to some issues with other projects, Atherton Painting stopped accepting credit cards for payment which complicated our cash flow.
    The hourly rate charged by Atherton Painting is toward the high side.  Also, part of the materials that are required to be purchased are tools.  We had to buy a few saw blades, and some drill bits.  That was a surprise to us.  It would seem with the high hourly rate, Atherton Painting would have supplied their own tools.  We also had a lot of material left over (the workers purchased the material on our behalf using a gift card we set up).  Several items had been modified enough, or the packaging was damaged enough, so that it could not be returned.  It isn't a big deal, though, amounting to, probably. less than $100 worth.
    On the positive side, though, one of the carpenters (Mark) came up with some good ideas as to how to handle some bannister repairs.  Another carpenter (Raymond) came up with some good ideas as to how to handle some other repairs.
    CHECKING:
    As with any project of this size, there were some bumps in the road.  
    First, there was no general supervision of the workers; they were free to do what they thought best.  Generally, empowering workers is a good thing.  In this case, however, it was a source of frustration.  All of the workers were certainly interested in customer satisfaction and doing a good job.  They were unsure of their boundaries, though -- how far could they go to make us happy.  Also, because of the lack of supervision, there were internal scheduling problems that were causing us some problems.  Atherton Painting would have the workers moving on to other jobs, unaware that a problem had arisen at our site and the workers were scrambling to mitigate our problem.  At one point, we had workers arriving at out site at 4am.  They were expected to do work here and be done by 11am.  They were then to drive to another site to perform work there.  This created some very tired workers and that caused some misses and sloppy work which caused a bit of re-work to be done.
    Second, and most frustrating to us, was, the interiors of the closets were not painted.  We discovered this upon a site visit when the painters were getting ready to declare themselves done.  The reason, we were told, is, in order to save money, very few people paint the interiors of their closets.  Our response was that we said the walls, ceilings and trim of each room had to be painted, and no where did it say to exclude the closets.  The response was, no where in the contract does it say to paint the closets.  The owner said we had never discussed the closets, but we can remember standing in one of the walk-in closets discussing the work.  We were facing some deadlines and the closets had to be painted.  We paid an extra amount of money ($1,000+) via a change order to get the interiors of the closets painted. 
    Third, the stair treads had some holes from prior ballisters that needed to be plugged.  The stairs are white oak.  The plugs that were put in (from dowels) were red-oak.  It did not look right.  We asked that they be re-plugged with white-oak plugs.  First, we were told the stairs looked better than the did before.  Next we were told that it wasn't clear if the carpenter could get back there to correct the error.  We would have to pay for the red oak dowels to be removed (even though they were clearly a mistake) and for the new plugs to be put in.  We discovered some white oak "buttons" that required only a small amount be removed from the red-oak plugs.  Those were installed and, while not optimal, looked OK.
    Fourth, there is a resistance to taking anything apart and putting it back together.  I was told that I could not expect Atherton Painting to take responsibility for anything that broke while they were disassembling it.  Two instances of this.  First, all doors were removed (using the hinge pins) and painted.  Three of the doors were re-installed and would not shut.  Atherton Painting informed me that was my problem because the doors were old.  We had to adjust and re-set the striker plates; that solved that issue.  Second, the inside frame of a sliding glass door was not painted because the sliding part would not allow a paint brush to get at certain parts of the stationary frame.  Someone clearly tried to get at the inside frame (some brush strokes could be seen), but when partially opened, the un-painted stationary frame looked terrible.  Again, Atherton Painting informed us they did not take doors apart and I could not expect them to do that. 
    ACTING
    Eventually, Atherton Painting took care of the issues we found (painting re-work, painting closets, fixing stair plugs, re-fitting doors, painting inside door frame, etc.).  Our project eventually had eleven change orders.  Some, we felt should have been part of the original contract.
    The workers did their best to keep a clean work-site, which was appreciated.  But with any sanding project, there will be a lot of dust.  We had a cleaning company come through afterward for general cleaning. They said we now hold the record for the most dust.
    - J C.
  • A
    I used Angie's list to select the three highest rated roofing contractors for my area to interview. Each provided proposals that were comparable in quality and service. Two of them, including Perfection, impressed me by taking the time to look inside the house at various ares where leakage had occurred.  Of those two, I selected Perfection  based on price and availability.  Perfection could start two days later, which was important to me because it was December and I wanted the job done before the snow fell.
    The crew showed up about 7:30 on a Friday morning, including Paulo, the owner. At Paulo's direction, the crew of about 5 people went right to work and worked through the day with very few breaks. By noontime they had removed all of the old roofing materials. The new roof went up very quickly. By nightfall, they had replaced about 90% of the shingles. They had placed tarps from the roof to the ground to catch the old shingles, and it was quite a mess with debris everywhere. However, they had one person dedicated to cleanup during the day, and by nightfall most of it was gone.
    They came back again early on Saturday morning and finished the shingles and the cleanup. They were done by about 11:00 AM. There was one problem area that needed special attention, and one man returned on Monday to complete the work. That person even vacuumed my attic, which also had some debris in it from replacing wood.
    All told, I was very satisfied with the work. I also found Paulo very easy to work with. He was pleasant and accommodating to my requests. I would highly recommend this roofing company.
    - Max M.
  • A
    All new fixtures installed, fan vented to outside, new corner shower with rounded door that slides open and close, new toilet, new vanity, floor, etc. Second major job we had Bennett do for us this year. Same carpenter (Dennis) as prior job, who we could not praise enough for his hard work, keeping us informed, and returning to fix one minor problem with the shower door. Only problem with install was wrong vanity was ordered, which delayed job for a couple of weeks. Quality of work was great, as expected from our previous family room remodel. Bennett is a class outfit and I would highly recommend them.
    - Peter B.
  • A
    Adam and Brian are co-owners of A & B Home Services and were very concerned with the quality of their work, which became quite evident as I witnessed.  The reason I chose them was because they gave the best estimate of all the quotes I received.
    Where I really lucked out was with their attention to detail.  I would highly recommend them to anyone without hesitation.
    - Mike & Vicki P.
  • A
    Carpenter arrived as scheduled and was very polite.  He explained everything he was going to do and answered all of my questions. He rebuilt the deck flashing and replaced paneling that was water-damaged. The deck and sunroom look great. I am very satisfied.
    - John C.
  • A
    All work (excepting carpet installation) was done by one carpenter (Dennis). He did a fantastic job in all areas. Each day he made sure we knew when to expect him the next day. Entire job took about 10 days and we could not be happier with the results. We are completely satisfied with Bennett Contractors and would definitely use them in the future.
    - Peter B.
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General Contractors in Schenectady

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