Your opinions on my contractor
December 4, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I hired a contractor to completely gut and redo my bathroom. A friend had hired him to redo her kitchen and it was beautiful. He was on the low end of the price scale, which was also nice. It took him longer than anticipated to finish her kitchen, but not crazy. He lives in my 60 home neighborhood.

He came out in March to look at my bath and kitchen. He didn't try to steer me into upgrading my home beyond it's neighborhood and had ideas for other things I hadn't thought of. I am gone most of the summer, so he could do the bathroom while I was gone. He estimated a ten week timeline, once we got started. Communication was not always good.
July we started contracts, permits and shopping lists. (I was to buy most of the stuff.) I shopped and was gone by mid July. We made one small change in the contract and I was waiting for him. I emailed him mid august to say I had been hoping for a completion date of Oct. 7 and was my bathroom in his pipeline? He said the majority of the work would be done by then but he was busy. Contract is signed August 21st, deposit sent. Contract says done in 60 days.

September and the wrong window has arrived. New delivery date is early October. They can do the demolition, and rough in electric and plumbing but can't do more until the window comes in and it passes inspection. (Florida hurricane). This is the status when we return October 12th. A couple small problems, quickly fixed and we pass inspection. We are leaving for three weeks and he says everything but the shower door will be in when we get back. We get back and the tile is in. It is gorgeous. Gorgeous!! and the drywall is in and painted, the bathroom door is hung. The shower fixture and door is not in, the vanity is not in, the toilet is not in, and I find I am short a light fixture that was not in the original count.

The plumber comes to install the fixtures and toilet, except there is no toilet. We were going to re use the old one. It is gone and he gives me a 100 credit toward a new toilet. Also, the tile guys came before the drywall guys so the tile guys have to come back to do the baseboard.

It is now December 4th and that is where we are. I have not been a squeaky wheel at all. Ever. I get that these things happen and this seems to be a thing with contractors. We have been gone for most of it and we have another bathroom so we are not particularly put out. I am happy with the work and the prices, and extremely unhappy with the timeline. My big problem is I was planning on doing the kitchen this summer. I want to be organized over the winter to be completely prepared for the kitchen work when we leave in April. Is a six month time line for gutted kitchen on the same footprint completely unreasonable? What is the best way to handle getting the kitchen on a better timeline? Or should I just prepare myself for a missed deadline and be happy I have good work?
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Contractors are busy because they are good at what they do (high demand).
December 4, 2013 at 5:33AM   
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S. Thomas Kutch
I would find someone else to do the is quite obvious that your current contractor is less than professional. Busy or not, when you make a commitment to finish a job in "x" amount of days you's all part of the job.
December 4, 2013 at 5:59AM     
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You are not happy with the contractor on the small bathroom job. He will behave just the same on the larger kitchen job. Six months is way too long to be without a kitchen. Look for another contractor.

By the way, it is time for you to sit down with the contractor at your house and put together a timeline to finish the job. Get out a calendar and write on it. Make a copy for him. Enough is enough. Your bathroom is obviously not his only job at the moment, nor is it his highest priority job. His coordination of his subcontractors indicates he is not getting priority service from them.
December 4, 2013 at 6:37AM     
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I would not use that contractor for another project. You are paying him to oversee completion of the job per your agreement and he has failed. You have to assume 50% responsibility if you are not proactive yourself. I would not be comfortable with having that kind of work done while I am not able to be onsite regularly, if not daily. I am sorry for your troubles. Do not pay him anything more until it is completely done to your satisfaction.
December 4, 2013 at 6:44AM     
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BISHOP architects
I've designed remodel projects all over the US, and never has a bathroom remodel taken 4 months. I agree with Kutch, that you should find another contractor. Ensure that he's completed many of the type of job you want to engage in, and call his references. It's important to know he's reliable and others will tell you. If you've selected many of the items upfront (tile, faucets, paint, etc), and he keeps you on schedule with the unordered items, the renovation shouldn't take more than a few months, especially if he's on it every day.
December 4, 2013 at 6:54AM     
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