I hired Pankow for an extensive design/build renovation project, but was disappointed by the quality of work, lack of professionalism, poor communication, and inattention to detail during the design process. Thus, I didn’t use their design or hire them for construction.
After weeks of emails, on-site meetings, and design discussions, Pankow asked us in to their office to present their initial floor plan. But their bizarre drawing did not remotely resemble the project we had discussed. Later, the designer admitted what happened: she didn't give the architect the detailed info we provided — she just printed out a basic list of floor plan goals and left it on his desk. It was double-sided, and the architect didn't read the back. Then, no one noticed or fixed the problem before we showed up. (And much later, the owner actually tried pass off this first design as a legitimate effort, as evidence that they had done great work for us... as if his employee hadn’t told us what really happened.)
We hoped this was an isolated mistake, and continued the process without making a big deal of it. But problems persisted (too many to list or detail here), including: drawings with wrong property setbacks; frequently ignoring or forgetting significant aspects of the project that had already been discussed in detail; failing to provide promised or requested information; minutes before a scheduled meeting, they had to delay because they were unprepared; only after I specifically asked, did they say they don’t help select or source any appliances (even for a project that gutted/relocated the kitchen and replaced every appliance in the house). I asked other local builders if this is typical; they said it is not.
In general, we were underwhelmed by their design services. But worse, the documents we received were vague, contradictory, and incomplete. I wrote out a detailed list of questions and clarifications about the proposal so we could figure it all out. More than two weeks later, when I asked whether a response was coming, the designer told me she had not even read my email.
After a month, our questions were still unanswered, but the owner suddenly told us that he recommended tearing most of the house down entirely and building from scratch. This came out of the blue, since there had been no significant change in the project since our last discussion (when they proposed renovation). Not only that, but they intended to use the draft renovation drawings for this brand-new construction (which makes no sense since that floor plan was based on existing walls, etc). At this point, we lost confidence that Pankow would be able to produce a complete or usable design, and eventually asked for a refund (instead of having them do the considerable additional work necessary).
Unsurprisingly, the owner was not happy about that; but the level of vitriol that we received was excessive. He entirely refused to acknowledge any mistakes (much less fix them), and insisted that the company's work was flawless (despite obvious evidence otherwise). He responded with false knee-jerk accusations and finger-pointing, rather than offering any solutions. At that point, the owner decided to keep our entire pre-paid design fee, but explicitly refused to finish the design or answer any of our many unresolved questions.
Even though we wasted time & money, I’m incredibly glad that we didn’t have them start construction. We did more research and found well-qualified professionals experienced in large projects.
[The "project cost" noted here was for design services only, not the total anticipated project cost, which was several hundred thousand dollars.]
*Updated - This review was written as diplomatically as possible, given the absolutely horrendous experience I had with this company. I did file a BBB complaint, seeking a refund of the design payment, due to a specific contract issue (separate from but in addition to the other problems I described in this review). To be clear, the BBB cannot force a company to appropriately resolve a customer’s complaint. All it can do is require a company to submit an “answer” responding to the submitted complaint. That is all that happened in this case. The BBB does NOT make any determination as to who is “right” or “wrong” in these situations. It just provides a process for the customer and company to communicate directly with each other. Pankow suggests that the BBB somehow independently determined that our complaint didn’t have merit. This is 100% incorrect and extremely misleading (which is what I have now come to expect from Pankow). At the end of the day, they took thousands of dollars upfront, failed to deliver the products promised, refused to answer questions about their proposal, provided unprofessional and substandard service, and delayed our project by many months. It was an abject disaster, for which they take no accountability whatsoever.