Work done on the installation of our front porch was not done correctly. Contractor is demanding final payment without resolution of mistakes.
Deckadent Designs (DD) was contracted to remove our existing front porch and install a new one. Contract was agreed upon and the existing porch was demoed on 5/28/15. On 5/29/15 the frame of the porch was completed. On Sunday, 5/31/15 Client discovered that one of porch's corner posts was supported by wedges of scrap wood. Client contacted the lumber manufacturing company who advised that the 10 foot wide steps should have been built on level concrete and should not be supported by wood wedges. On 5/31/15 Client emailed the owner of Deckadent Designs and Owner agreed to install concrete pads under the stair stringers at no charge. On 6/1/15 Client noticed that the implementation of the original design was not going as planned and that the current design would leave 1 inch gaps on the sides of the porch. Owner created a new design to install the boards vertically on the sides of the porch. On 6/3/15 Client discovered that the old concrete blocks of the original porch had not been removed from underneath the new porch and that the new concrete pads that DD laid were not level and therefore not suitable for the new porch stairs to sit on. Owner's response was that "they are not a concrete company" but after seeing pictures of the pads Owner agreed to have his crew remove them and re-pour them. Client was clear in writing that they could not just add concrete to the top of the pads and Owner stated in an email that they would remove the entire pads and re-pour new ones. On 6/10/15 work began again on the porch. Owner sent subcontractor carpenter and one of his original crew members to do the work. Subcontractor was a pleasant and experienced carpenter who struggled to finish the porch after the poor work that Owner had done. Regarding the stairs and the wrapping the sides of the porch, Subcontractor found that the porch had been constructed in such a way that it did not allow him to build it correctly. After the work was completed on 6/12/15 the frames around the concrete pads were removed and Client discovered that the pads had not been completely removed and re-poured, DD had just added less than an inch to the top of the pads to try and level them. They were not made level though and Subcontractor had to shimmy the bottom riser in order to try and correct it. Poor workmanship and inconsistencies were evident all over the rest of the porch as well. On 6/13/15 Client wrote to Owner about the incorrectly patched cement pads, about two corners that were not flush, about the post caps that were not secured and to ask for a copy of the warranty for the work. Owner responded that the job had many "change orders", that Owner had always maintained that DD is not a concrete company and that Owner's "suggestion is to pay ... the rest of the money ... originally agreed to and move on." Client contacted the lumber company on 6/15/15 and spoke to the original representative who advised that we have the lumber manufacturer sales representative come out to the property and inspect the porch. Client also contacted a decking company and 2 concrete masonry companies who confirmed that it was not appropriate to add a thin layer of concrete over existing concrete. Client wrote to Owner on 6/15/15 and stated that Client would not provide final payment as the work that DD performed was not done correctly. (DD received 50% of the $6,100 total contract on 5/29/15). Client informed Owner that lumber manufacturer would inspect the porch and Client would be filing a complaint with the BBB. Client told Owner in writing not to return to the residence to do any work.
Client would like the porch inspected by a qualified third party to give input on the quality and soundness of the overall porch structure.
Client would like to have a quote from a qualified masonry/concrete company to estimate how much it will cost to remove the existing concrete pads and install them correctly. Client does not wish to have DD doing any work at their residence.
If any final payment is made to DD it should be less what it will cost to properly install the pads and correct anything else that was constructed incorrectly on the porch.
Client would like DD's web site to be revised to be truthful in its advertisements. It clearly states that Owner supervises all jobs from start to finish but that was not the case at all in this instance. Owner was not on site for the majority of the work, and has not even seen the final product yet is demanding payment from Client.
This matter has been turned over to attorney and is in the process of litigation because of nonpayment and therefore can not be handled by the BBB
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
We regret to hear that Deckadent Designs' (DD) initial response is to take legal action. We are particularly surprised given this statement on DD's web site regarding their significant support of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), its process and mission:
"Deckadent Designs is a fully accredited member of the Central Kentucky Better Business Bureau with an A+ Rating. We are among the largest donors that help to support the BBB because of there relentless promotion of truth in advertising, business ethics, unbiased protection of the consumers, and mediation of disputes. We are donating a deck and pergola for the silent auction at the 2013 Central Kentucky Home and Garden Show. You can click on the left sidebar of any page and link to our listing on the BBB. We think that being a member of the BBB for a Company in the service industry is as important as giving free estimates."
We hope that DD will reconsider filing legal action against us at this time. Deckadent Designs moved very quickly to threatening litigation on this matter (6/16/15); only two business days after the completion of the porch (6/12/15). The owner/certified Trex contractor of Deckadent Designs DID NOT come back out to our residence to investigate and respond to our concerns before declaring legal action against us (which includes placing a lien on our home).
Our original complaint was based on DD's incorrect installation of the porch's concrete pads. We have since discovered that the porch's decking materials, stairs, and railings were not constructed to the specifications of the Trex composite lumber company that endorses DD as a Trex Platinum Pro certified installer (their most prestigious level). It was this certification that initially attracted us to working with DD. The spacing of the porch's stair support joists is 16 inches center-to-center, not 12 as Trex specifies. All of the Trex sideboards, tread boards, and risers are secured to the joists with one centered deck screw, not two on each side as required. Where they are screwed in most of them are dug very deeply into the boards and in some places the boards are not attached at all, either a screw was never added or in few instances a hole was predrilled but never screwed on. On both sides of the steps, the railings are touching more than one of the stairs, when they're supposed to be one inch off of the stairs. There is no gap between the porch and the house to allow for expansion and none of the corners of the stairs are finished in a professional manner, most of them are lifting up. And as we mentioned in our original complaint, the concrete pads were not installed correctly and one side is still not level. Overall the porch was not well-constructed and the project was not managed to the standards that DD advertises on their web site: http://www.deckadentdesigns.com/us vs them.html. We would be glad to provide photos of these issues.
In light of all of this, at this time we propose that DD not take legal action against us or place a lien on our home because of nonpayment which we feel is justifiable given the poor condition of the porch. On the suggestion of the Trex customer service department we have filed a formal claim with Trex to investigate the degree to which the materials were installed to meet Trex's specifications. The Trex claim process will ultimately determine whether the manufacturer's 25-year warranty on the materials is still in place given the way DD constructed the porch. We propose that DD cease to file suit against us while that claim is processed so that we can propose reasonable solutions to this matter based on the information that emerges from the claim.
We feel that DD has made missteps in the construction and management of this project and in moving so quickly to threaten to file suit against us. Whatever the reason for those missteps, there is still an opportunity for DD to make this situation right. We hope that DD will consider a more cooperative path of resolving this complaint.
Final Consumer Response
Deckadent Designs (DD) owner told us in writing (4/28/15) that they were going to pull a permit for this project but on 5/21/15 during a visit to the residence to assess the project, DD owner told us that the Planning Department had informed him that day that the project did not require a permit, which we now know was not true. On 6/16/15 we called the county planning department who informed us that a permit had not been pulled but given the dimensions of the porch one should have been pulled. On 6/22/15 we went into the planning department and were informed that an inspector had already been out to look at the porch and had found code compliance issues. They advised that a permit be pulled and that the porch be formally inspected. On 6/23/15 we pulled the permit ourselves. We are now working to schedule a formal inspection with the planning department to determine what the exact code issues are. Given this information we urge DD to refrain from filing suit against us while we assess the code violations in addition to the Trex installation issues.