Lots of mistakes with construction of additions to home. Blames homeowner and says environmental. Takes no ownership. Does not fix.
Skill Construction was hired to build a detachable garage, tear down old and put new patio in, and put an addition (bedroom and office)on. They completed the work approx. Feb. 2012. Since then there have been issues which most have not been addressed/fixed. November 2012 they came out and we were told the buckling and separation of the wood siding, of the exterior to the garage and addition was due to weather. God controls that, Skill Construction does not. Skill told us the wood was not seasoned and what did we expect. That is what unseasoned wood does. We questioned why they used unseasoned wood for an exterior to a building. When we asked if they ever did this work before, we were told no. Other issues: The windows which they installed are weeping and/or snowing/icing inside. The front door either sticks where we cannot open it, or does not shut, except with a deadbolt. The floor in the addition is buckling, there is no crawlspace in the crawlspace, there are gaps in the light fixtures, where they meet the ceiling as well as where the patio screen meets the walls. I made it clear there should be no bugs in and it should be sealed. For both doors, the wind is coming through. The electrical for the garage, which runs from the house, is not encased, which we found out from workers who were digging. They are loosely underground. The interior issues I have been told is my fault due to my way of heating as well as the moisture of the house. Today I was told Skill said, he has done all he can and it is environmental and me. The old windows as well as the old wood floor do not buckle nor do they sweat or snow inside. There are many gaps in the exterior walls and ceilings. We have been in constant contact with them since then and they said they would come out and take care of it. They have been out several times, but the problems are not resolved. This has dragged on for 2plus years. The last contact was April 2014, when Skill Construction came out and looked at the property. The contractor from Skill said he would come out on his time and take care of the problems. When I asked if he would accept this type of work for his own home, he told me no. I have not heard from him since. I have emailed in June letting him know further action would be taken if I did not hear from him. This project was approximately $135,000, and in speaking with another contractor, they feel the only way to truly fix these issues would be to remove the siding completely to ensure Tyvac is on it (which the garage does not seem to have from where the gaps are and we can see the interior wall), the caulking used appears to have been interior caulking when they tried to fix things the first time. That caulking is cracking and not holding or keeping the gaps closed. To fix the addition properly and actually put a crawlspace in it, or a concrete slab, the contractor feels it needs to be a complete teardown and redo, which they estimate, roughly at $35,000.
Skill Construction was recommended by a friend. They came and gave an estimate along with others. They were more expensive but because of the recommendation, I chose them.
To fix problems or to pay for them to be fixed, before structural damage occurs.
July 16, 2014
On August 18, 2011, Skill Construction entered into a contract with you, the homeowner.
The job was permitted on September 2, 2011 and the complete work scope was completed on or before December 15, 2011 .At which time was approved by the Rutherford County Codes Department, meeting and or exceeding buildings industry standards in a workmanship manner.
In April 2012, Skill Construction entered into another contract on repairing an existing shed, and there was no mention of concerns neither during our visit nor at any time prior to this date that Skill was made aware of.
In November 2012, you, the homeowner, contacted our office with concerns. We, at that time, addressed any and all issues within warranty and the many items of concern not pertaining to our work scope, at no charge to you. We also observed at this time no suggested repairs to be made were ever performed by others as we had suggested months prior. As you were trying to be reimburse by the original builder.
On March 31, 2014, **** ******, with Skill, responded to some of your requests and solutions as well. Again only possible foundation issues appeared to address by others beyond those we (Skill) performed as a service to you.
In response to your issues you reported to the BBB on July 9, 2014:
We have on many occasions responded to your concerns/complaints and Skill's suggested resolutions.
Skill Construction had been out multiple times to fix issues stated in your complaint. We have had four different contactors review and attempt to resolve these items even though they are results of your pre-existing foundation and the homes many lifestyle transitions. We have re-nailed, screw, and caulk problems resulting in climate changes and ponding of water under your previous foundation, etc. In reference to the wood siding (white pine rough cut split log siding) Note: this siding was approved by you for a near match to your existing log pattern with the finish you requested. The log home material manufacture has explained to us, and shared with you, that the wood would expand and contract in different climate changes but should be minimal, and all natural log homes are subject to change.
Skill has been called back out to your home with each season-climate change, or when you return from long periods away from this dwelling leaving in unnatural living environments. In regards to the windows, the distributor ******* ***** and the manufacture **** ******** have viewed your complaint and they did not see any installation errors. They made this contractor aware that during their visit they observed the use of a free standing unit heater in the room, possibly causing unstable air resulting in condensation you are experiencing. We brought this to your attention and you became defensive to this idea.
The front door was installed with no complaints until much later. Be aware of your existing foundation problems as this door was installed in the original door opening. We have made adjustments, I believe twice informing you of the foundation concern but you ignore this fact. You later hired a contractor to do some foundation work and the door is out of square again and could possibly be something the new contractor may have done to correct your ongoing foundation movement.
In reference to the floor in the addition buckling, this is more than likely due to moisture collecting under the house, since this is the closest place to the ground in which the new addition was built while tying into to the existing level of the home. We installed floor joists that are of pressure treated material per codes .Note: a framing inspection and approval was performed on November 22, 2011 and you again were made aware of the pudding of water under your current home which did not have treated lumber framing and yet was at the same level of the addition and that the sump pump was not in operation. Also, you internally left the crawlspace door open for your cats even though this action causes even more moisture and climate issues. Your access to the room addition space is the original crawlspace for the reason ground level and most importantly your addition is less than half of the original room size. Therefore, the flooring separation we observed in the area of your old foundation. And again we are addressing the water issue /ponding.
Your existing windows may not have been properly installed, therefore not holding the air out which would not let condensation form on them. But everything performed by us was properly taped and wrapped using a house wrap per codes acceptance again on November 22, 2011 in receiving an inspection.
The gaps in the light fixtures areas that you are referring to are due to the lighting layout for a balance appearance and your approval. These locations are in line with the necessary board battens in the ceiling.
In addition to where the patio screen meets the walls, your existing walls are rounded logs and these gaps where filled by **** ******** ******** and you were made aware that this is a maintenance issue due to design. We have caulked on different occasions and due to outdoor conditions, home movement, wood /logs, rounded not square, require being maintained.
Regarding the bug issue. Foundation movement, damp crawlspace, exposed crawlspace, wood dwelling, high grass, etc. and not the doors not being sealed. For the record an insulation inspection was approved on November 23, 2011 by the codes department. The foundation settling is more than likely the cause of the doors being out of alignment.
The electrical for the garage does meet codes requirements and passed ********** on November 9, 2011.
As far as your desired resolution to fix problems or to pay for them to be fixed before structural damage occurs. The structural damage had already occurred; it was pre-existing and we made you very aware, and so your attempt to sue the original contractor must have failed due to him no longer being in business, and per your conversation was not permitted to begin with resulting in attacking this contractor
Skill has done all they can and should be required to do, There are many variables to your issues. Those being log home/wood siding, seasonal changes, water ponding, different lifestyle changes, like the temperatures inside the home for long periods of being away, but more importantly, the foundation issue .You were hoping to have resolved these issues by the initial builder, but believe was unsuccessful causing you to blame the next contractor to perform work on your home. Remember, we had met on many occasions prior to entering into a contract because of our concerns of the existing dwelling which you stated you are checking on. You wrote on November 17, 2012,"things can happen. With these things I expect the builder/contractor to take care of it". I do agree with fulfilling our warranty liabilities, but not the issues you are having not related to our work scope.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
My response is too long to fit in here. It is attached. I do not accept the response from Skill. There was a lot of false statements, inaccurate information.
Skill Construction: I will address your letter in the order you wrote. I will say You often, in which I am referring to Skill Construction. There were multiple people who came out, primarily ***** during this entire process. Your perspective on this is very interesting. From what I gather, the issues are with nature, me, "the original builder" who you referred to many times, the foundation, the wood used, which according to you I approved so apparently my fault as well, etc. I am wondering if you confuse me with another client? To your response letter: You claim there was no mention of issues for quite a while. There was no mention of many issues because, at that time, the issues had not all occurred. Summer of 2012,when all of the white showed from the panelling is when we advised you of it. Before this, prior to the final payment I had already questioned the lack of vents in the addition (bedroom) but was told 1 was enough. A vent was put under my desk, which was there, and was under a window. I was told it could not be moved. Now I know why it could not be moved You did not allow enough room to get into the crawl space to fix it. The shower door hits the toilet. The solution was to put a rubber thing on the door so it doesn't break. Windows were leaking after the first rain. The "chinking" in the new addition was already an issue. Panelling by the garage door was already loose. Since you had just finished the job we had assumed it would all be fixed. Unfortunately here we are. I am unclear why we would have repairs made by others when you did the work to begin with. We were never trying to be reimbursed by any "original builder". Our issues are with what Skill Construction did, no one else. Yes, you responded, and took care of minor issues, put bandaids on some bigger ones, like caulking the panelling, but the problem still exsists. You had 4 different contractors come out to review? I was never there for this, nor was I told of this. I only dealt with **** and minimally *****. Regardless of how many contractors you may have "review and attempt to solve these items" the items never got resolved and ultimately, you are the one who was the contractor who did the work. You should be responsible for your work. I am not sure how windows weeping and frost build up and the NEW addition's exterior wood pannels cracking and seperating, the door not opening or closing could be from prexisting foundation issues and the "many lifestyle transitions". The issues did not exist until you all did your work, replaced the door, etc. You say the siding was approved by me. How am I to know what works good on exterior walls. Common sense told me that you, the professional, would know the best thing for the type of work being done.Whether it be siding, crawl space, windows, doors. If you suggested it I was fine with it. There is a level of trust that a client needs to have with their contractor. Never was I told, prior to doing the work, that the wood would expand and contract. If we had such a conversation, then you assured me it is normal and would be fine. Well, you mention minimally expand and contract later in your response letter....this is not minimally. When water can get behind the siding that is no longer cosmetic or minimal. When you came out in Nov. 2012 you said this is normal, what did I expect, that is what wood does. Had you known this, then you failed to communicate this accurately. I would never have allowed such wood to be used. Not sure what you mean by me being "gone for long periods away from this dwelling leaving in unnatural living environments". Yes, I took trips. Why that should affect my homes structure is beyond me. I had the heat/ac on, depending on the time of year, and my daughter came daily to the house. As for windows,the windows which were already there, are only 4yrs old now. They are Sun Windows and came from Haynes. For the new windows, Haynes did come out twice. The first time they said everything was fine. When I showed the photos after the first inside frost they came again and found windows needed caulking. The manufacturer, *** ******** never came out. Me having a free standing heater should not cause issues for many reasons. It is not always on and the older windows have NO issues. Only the new ones, of which one is in the middle of the room where old ones are and it is the only one which has issues. My becoming defensive? Yes, how ***** spoke with me and then my daughter to explain the issues, back in 2012, was very offensive. I have been patient. **** has always been kind and respectful but still no resolution. Since the new front door has been installed by Skill, it has not worked properly. You did come out to try and adjust it and told me to use a screwdriver on the corner of the door in case the issue occurs again. The issue never went away. All contractors we are getting bids from, to fix the issues, state that there is nothing sealing it and caulking may help. The floor buckeling or cupping as some have called it: Since you knew about the moisture under the house and say there is puddling and ponding why did you not address this before making the crawlspace so small. Now it is very challenging to do anything. I don't remember the sump pump never working, but it has been working for as long as I can remember. If it wasn't working, why did we not have this conversation then, while you were my contractor and deal with it. Even if it was not working, there is no cupping issue in the old part, only in your part of the house. Yes, we asked the crawlspace be left open while you all worked due to a cat being caught under the house. When you all packed up at the end, I made sure you closed it off and since then it has not been left open. I do not understand what you are referring to about the crawlspace. You say the access to the room addition is the original crawlspace. How is that possible? That was the porch and outside. You claim the old windows (only 4yrs old) which are also from Sun Window and Haynes may not have been properly installed? We have no issues with the old windows, only the new ones installed by you. The gaps in the light fixtures, how on earth could that be for balance appearance? It is in multiple areas.Multiple ceilings. Patio screen: many gaping areas were never caulked. I made it clear I wanted it sealed. I did not want bugs. There is a special Log Jam which could have been used that I am now being educated on, not being a contractor. The structural damange you claim has already occurred. I hope not. We won't know until the siding comes off to see how much damage if any is hiding. I anticipate if nothing is done under the house, we will slowly have structural issues there too, on the new addition. I am trying to fix these issues before it becomes structural. Windows and gaps around the lights, only when we get in there will we be able to see what is structurally an issue. You made a false statement which again, makes we wonder if you are confusing me with another client.Your statement: "The structural damage has already occurred; it was pre-existing and we made you very aware, and so your attempt to sue the original contractor must have failed due to him no longer being in business, and per your conversation was not permitted to begin with resulting in attacking this contractor" . I have never tried to sue anyone in my life, nor had any reason to with this home. Attacking you? If that is what you want to call it. The clients are at the mercy of the contractor when work is being done. We trust you and the people representing you. We trust you to do the right thing, even if someone else who works for you, makes a mistake or "things happen". I am a reasonable person and expected the same from you. No, I am not attacking you. I am trying to right a wrong and fix things before they become a bigger issue down the road. You mention the county approved and signed off on your work (several times in your letter) and it makes we wonder if the permit process needs some revising. In our meeting, Nov. 2012 after you told us this is what wood does, when we looked at the wood buckling and separating,God makes the wood, you do not, you admitted, when I asked had you ever used this type of wood before, that you had not. Then again, in my last meeting with ***** in April 2014, he had promised he would fix it himself when he has time. He was in the middle of building his house. I asked him if this work would be acceptable to him, he said no. In both cases, I appreciated the honesty. Which is why your response letter surprises me. We have had several contractors come out to get bids on fixing your work. After the initial shock and Wow from them, the all agree the exterior panelling has to come off. We will have to do something with the windows but don't know exactly until the panelling comes off. The door can be fixed, the gaps can be fixed. We have varying opinions as to what can be done about the crawlspace and cupping. We have been told we need to do some caulking now to avoid further damage. They all say this is poor workmanship and how Skill has handled the issues gives contractors a bad name. No, I am not satisfied with Skill Constructions response. Sincerely, ******* *********
Final Business Response
July 30, 2014
RE Compliant No. XXXXXXXXX Complainant: ******* *********
Dear ***** for ********* *********** ******* ******** ******* whom it may concern
In response to your letter sent to us dated July 24, 2014 and received in our office on July 28, 2104. You will find enclosed our letter responding to this complainant.
Since the founding of Skill Construction Co, Inc. in 1991, I believe is the first complaint on a remodeling project my company has performed and the second with the BBB, though this may be two too many. The complaint was judged in our favor and rightly so. It also pertained to previous infrastructure flaws in the construction of the pre existing dwelling.
With thousands of satisfied customers with the majority repeat clients, the Industry has recognized Skill on many occasions rewarding us with numerous awards and acknowledgments such as twice as "Builder of the Year". Our community also has accepted Skill for its service such as People's Choice" awards and"Excellence in Customer Satisfaction" as well allowing us to chair and/or set on many community service boards and being active in the community. We believe in professionalizing our industry. We serve on the board of the Home Builders Association RCHBA, Rutherford County Codes Officials Association RCCOA, Better Business Bureau BBB and active with several community programs. We are a Certified Green Professional CGP, Certified Professional Builder CPB and a Certified Professional Remodeler CPR, one of only two in the area. We have a mission statement that we operate by and are proud of our accomplishments in the twenty-three years of business
Our goal is to deliver customer satisfaction to the best of our ability within our means and liability .We believed we had delivered this when Ms ********* allowed Skill to bid and by awarding us with other projects. We first met on July 7, 2011 to discuss her plans for the project to add-on to the existing dwelling an extension to her bedroom, covered porch and a garage all while trying to stay in the appearance of the existing home. We shared many concerns and addressed the many issues she is facing today, but was unanswered due to not being able to locate her previous contractor and his suppliers. We were informed by the home owner that she believed that no permit was pulled for the construction of this home placing us in an awkward position. We informed her that Skill would have to pull a permit pertaining to our actual work scope and cannot be held responsible for her existing dwelling. She agreed and stated she was attempting to locate to sue the previous contractor. We believe to date she has not prevailed in this act nor successful with other disputes per the conversation with Skill employees
After meeting, Skill searched to obtain samples and pricing on acceptable products for Ms. *********. We then estimated the project on July 19, 2011 meet on August 10, 2011 to discuss and with her approval entered into a contract on August 15, 2011. The job was permitted September 2, 2011 and completed with requested addendums for final inspection prior to December 15, 2011. In April 2012 we entered into another contract for a shed repair with no mention of concerns on any of the previous projects.
In November 2012 the homeowner contacted our office with concerns. We immediately address these concerns explaining much of the issues are related to the environment and prevented maintenance required by the homeowner and that our warranty is one year labor and not materials. We have had issues like garage door opener not opening only to find the rope had been pulled to allow the door to be opened manually. This occurred on two occasions while the homeowner was gone on extended travel. Another issue was the dusk to dawn lighting does not work on the same time schedule. This required us to visit the location at least two times when the homeowner was present and to explain that they are located at separate locations and we have no control on where the sun rises and sets, leaving a bad vibe with the customer. Upon our visits to address the concerns we asked if the existing foundation had been repaired and was told this should be of no concern to us. We have been informed that such repairs were conducted in 2014. We observed during our visits on two occasions that the sump pump was not operating, very much a concern due to the ponding of water in the crawlspace. This unit was pre existing which leads us to the high moisture content the flooring and siding are experiencing. There are no mention of issues regarding the foundation of the addition we performed .The concern was to the level. Note: three to four 8" block in height and was addressed by codes and we conformed and the customer was made aware. Note if we would have dug out deeper in this area we would have created another ponding area, not acceptable. No reports to drywall damage, cracks, settling, etc .in the area of our addition. But only to the exterior wood siding being cosmetics due to lack of being maintained during the four seasons before making this contractor aware of any concerns. Note: It is universally accepted that wood siding is one of the most beautiful around. This beauty comes with a cost. As it also the most demanding in terms of maintenance and the most expensive in terms of cost. Wood siding is considered a green option because it is readily biodegradable and has no toxins. Pests, insects and various animals that consider wood a food item will damage untreated wood, however. Wood lap siding is durable and can actually last for several decades if it is treated on a regular basis and maintained correctly. Despite this, it is vulnerable to the elements, especially to moisture and impact. In the two years plus no additional maintenance has been performed on the siding even though the home sets back into a wooded area with mature trees, little sunlight, rock formations allowing heavy rain runoff, ponding water in crawlspace and with interior living conditions changes due to a many long absences and climate changes, etc.. The windows were installed properly, first with the framing, sheathing, use of house wrap in a proper fashion (three sides folded in and the top over laps the upper window flange) the use of an approved sealant and applying window tape, while being observed by an approved inspector. The exterior trim boards are cosmetic, but we did apply caulking as advised to accommodate the homeowner. The window suppliers are in agreement with this builder noting the icing occurred on the exterior side between the glass and the screen as the photo supplied shows. Believing the window was not in the locked /sealed position. The exterior window trim boards are cosmetic, but we applied additional caulking as advised to accommodate the homeowner. Issues like light fixtures and the gaps. Most of this was to remove existing and replacing with operational new fixtures with style changes in the same locations. Foundation movement causing door and window gapes I believe has now been addressed by the home owner even though this was a pre existing problem. We made many attempts but with the wood elements and the pre existing foundation movement it was impossible without addressing the real problem. Comments made by other contractors I welcome a review to explain the conditions we were working in. Many other highly reparable companies ****** **** ***** ** ********** ******** ********* etc.) where on site and observes these conditions, not to mention our own superintendent ***** ****** whom has tried to go beyond our requirements to be of a service to you but has found that you are never satisfied with what is said or what is required of you which is and was that you are to maintain the property and address the concerns we had from the beginning from our first visit. ******* ** ******, president