(Editor’s Note: This is a follow-up post to an earlier post that generated more responses than any post to date, to see the earlier posts see The First Post Here, identify the black substance in the picture and the next post related to the up charge for the Cabinetry. These two previous posts lead us to today’s response. Being part of the home improvement industry we want to further that which is good in the industry and make our readers aware that even we are not immune from unprofessional and shady contractors. Extreme How-To has a large reach, my newsletters reach nearly two million subscribers, the magazine and the digital version goes out to those subscribers and our web site will reach 400,000 home improvement readers in the next 30 days, you would think the contractor would try and right the situation for fear of exposure, well, that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Arrogance or stupidity? You decide, but read on and take a look at the actual contracts.)
I thought I saw a glimmer of light in getting this resolved, I have since discovered that it was the oncoming light from a locomotive named “Quid pro Quo.” A new face showed up Friday morning at the jobsite, Miguel, who is the project manager for Baugher Design and Remodel the company that contracted to do this remodel. I showed him the insulation in the bathroom and asked why was this not replaced. I remember a time when a straight answer was part of the business process, obviously I missed the memo that those days were history. I then showed him the contract and line item where the contract deals with insulation and Miguel explained that replace insulation meant replace if necessary. I then explained if necessary was intended, then it should have been part of the verbiage and as you can see in the actual contract it is not. However on other line items it is(See Page One of Four, Item masonry). See the actual contract here. I received two phone calls from Miguel today. The first was to tell me that after the inspections an insulation contractor would evaluate whether the insulation needs to be replaced and if he deemed it necessary then Baugher would have it replaced. My answer was the same answer any of you would have given. No, the contract calls for replacement, replace it. You put the drywall up before it was installed, and it was your responsibility to perform the contract as written. The fact you omitted this step, is Baugher Design and Remodeling’s to correct not mine and certainly not an 80 year old widow’s responsibility. I then explained, I had refrained from naming the company involved, but that I felt I had no choice now but to go public and publish the contracts. A short time later a second phone call came in, Baugher Design and Remodel’s Miguel Chavar, left a message this time saying that Baugher Design will replace the insulation, and this is where the “Quid pro Quo” comes in, if I would agree that this was the only problem. You know, I cannot tell you how ignorant such a request is. My response to Baugher is this, ” Perform the obligations of the contract.” Don’t lie to me when I ask you a question. If I ask why you did not obtain a permit for a job with this amount of money involved, try and be honest. The dates of the permit request are recorded in the Shelby County, Alabama, Office located in Pelham. If I ask you why you up charged $12,000 from the original proposal don’t tell me Cherry cabinets cost that much more than Maple. Oh and by the way, you may want to check out the post regarding what a customer should expect to pay for changing from one species of lumber to another.
Why is it that Baugher Design & Remodel seems to believe that it doesn’t have to adhere to a contract that it created? I don’t get it. You can look at the numbers, the deposit amounts that I have stated before in earlier post, the dates are there when the contract was signed as we stated here, November 5, 2009. The amount of the deposit due that day, $17,000 and $7000 when the demolition began, it is all there. Look at the initialed changes on the contract, are we beginning to see a pattern here.
You sign a contract on November 5, 2009 and take a $17,000 deposit and yet you make no effort to get a building permit until the project is already at the point where drywall is being installed and finished and only after I called the permit office to inquire about whether a permit had been pulled at all. It had not.
So a lot of you have asked for the name of the company. Well here is the link to its website. http://web.mac.com/baugherdesignremodel/Baugher_Design_%26_Remodel,_Inc./About_Our_Company.html . Ask yourself, would you want to deal with a company that fails to acquire necessary permits. (See the contract signed by Robert Baugher, the first line item, and let’s take a look at the building permit dates. Would you want to work with a company that requires a 50 percent deposit in the first week of November and then has no contact with the customer until late January. (Phone records are a good thing and Robert, I hope your children had a great Christmas while an 80 year old widow was doing without nearly $20,000). Would you want to deal with Robert Baugher and Baugher Design & Remodel if after notifying them about a problem, instead of correcting it, they seek to change the wording of the contract to state that “Provide and Install Insulation in Exterior Walls,” from page two of the contract now means if it was necessary they would replace it. However if we look at Page 1 of the contract in reference to the masonry work, “if necessary” is clearly stated. Again here is the actual contract for all of you to see, http://blog.extremehowto.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Contract-for-Bathroom-Renovation.pdf .
I like what one of the contractors told me about dealing with companies that are long on marketing and PR and short on delivering a quality product. When you are being shown a lot of bells and whistles, it often means the circus is coming to town and do you really want to have a circus running your project. There are too many quality contractors who are honest and good at what they do, and no they may not have the money to do large marketing campaigns or have the time to serve on Association Boards, my advice is to diligently search them out.
The sad thing about all of this is, all I wanted was for my mom to have the bathroom she wanted. Normally dad would have handled this, but the last years of his life were overtaken by dementia and this was the first time since his death that mom had felt like doing something for herself. She thought she had found a respected contractor. The problem is my mom was accustomed to dealing with businessmen like my father, who were painfully honest which made her ripe for being taken advantage of since she expected the same from these . Shame on you Baugher Design and Remodel, shame on you. I want an explanation and I want an apology to my mother. You took her money and you sat on it for months until she called you. Were there financial problems and this was your solution? Do you want me to post copies of the deposited checks that show the dates of when they were cashed. Shall I post copies of the Building Permit, with dates, etc. Do you think you are above the law? And most of all how can you go on the radio and ask other unsuspecting people to trust you or Baugher Design & Construction? How many other jobs have you done without pulling permits? Or is it just that you never expected someone to step in and look over your shoulder. Deceiving an 80-year-old widow or a homeowner who doesn’t understand construction is wrong, but to not even apply for a building permit until you were told to stop construction by the Shelby County, Alabama Office for Building Inspections and not to proceed until you had complied. I don’t get it. I don’t get why a company located in Vestavia, Alabama had to sign for the permit, when your business address shows a different location according to your web site and the actual contracts. I am tired of asking your employees for answers and seeing them dance around questions that really are quite simple to answer.
Robert, read the comments by the contractors who have responded here. In the overall scheme of business, it is companies like yours that give the industry a bad rap and hurt the guys who are out there busting it to just make a living and believe in quality workmanship. Is living large more important than doing a job the way it should be done? You beat your chest like you are a prestigious contractor, read your own web page, you are quite full of yourself it seems. Somewhere along the line I think maybe you lost sight about what being a reputable contractor should mean. Maybe it’s time to focus on your business and not on awards or radio shows. And whenever you can work an 80-year-old widow into your schedule maybe you should drop by and explain your actions to her, after all you are holding quite a bit of her money and she is not seeing any work being done. She deserves an answer first and to be honest, I think I can tell her it would not be a wise idea for her to hold her breath waiting on you to make this right.
Does the GBAHBR approve of its members, or should I say past presidents not having to get building permits for remodeling jobs. Or should I infer that your work would not meet code and therefore you did not want the inspectors from Shelby County, Alabama overseeing its quality. And by the way, when did code become the standard to aim for in remodeling? I thought code was the starting point, the bare minimum of meeting requirements. Did you think you couldn’t meet code requirements in Shelby County? God forbid you try this in let’s just say Mountain Brook, Alabama or any other suburb with codes more restrictive than the National Standard. I will give you a piece of advice, don’t try it because the inspectors won’t play nice, nor should they.
And for the BBB. Do you think that it will cover for you? I wouldn’t bet the house on it. A my word versus his word is one thing, but when you have a left a paper trail, well, things aren’t so easily swept under the rug then. Hmmmm what does that say on the first line of the first page of the contract, oh my we don’t waste time when we start telling lies, do we? Permits were only obtained after Baugher was told to cease work and Permits were obtained and inspections were approved.
If you want to listen to a contractor on the radio or on the web I have the names of quite a few that stand behind their work and are good people. E-mail me and I will give you their names. If you live in Birmingham, Alabama, well there is the internet and Mark Clement has a show and Mark does good work, Mark Marcley has Constructive Solutions on Monday nights and its broadcast on the web and I am sure there are many others.