Home Improvement Project Gone Sour?

As a general contractor of 20 some years I have had the pleasure to see many home improvement projects go well for both the homeowner and general contractor. I have also been witness to projects that were less than satisfactory and in some cases an absolute disaster.

Let’s face it, remodeling is a high stakes business at best and elicits a surprising amount of risk for both the homeowner and the contractor. Home improvement is one of the top industries noted for fraud and customer dissatisfaction and has consistently been ranked as such over the last decade, according to The National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators and North American Consumer Protection Investigators.

Despite having a well written contract, the contract is only as good as the parties who sign it, and it’s not always the contractor’s fault when something goes bad. The homeowner needs to understand and accept their role in project success or failure too.

The homeowner unwittingly creates a problem in the early stages by employing an unqualified contractor. Once a project goes bad, it can become very difficult to find a legitimate contractor who will be willing to assume the risk and liability of an unknown magnitude.
The responsibility of hiring an ethical and experienced contractor falls squarely on the homeowner. Doing the necessary research and background checks on the potential contractor is key to finding that contractor and avoiding a remodeling nightmare.

Warning Signs

  • The atmosphere becomes one of stress and agitation.

  • Work quality is seriously questionable.

  • Money outlay is out of control and your investment is at risk.

  • Job enthusiasm and morale is low.

  • Time is up and the project is not finished. 

  • Final outcome is uncertain.

What can you do to make things better?

Take a few deep breaths.
Admit that mistakes were made and there is a problem.
Accept appropriate responsibility for your role as homeowner.
Be prepared to accept significant money losses to get back on track, you may also need to seek legal counsel.
Seek the help of a legitimate contractor willing to help and move
forward positively.
Keep in mind that each project will need its own assessment as to its damages and recoverability.
Have realistic expectations and visualize the project actually being finished.

©Tom Henderson
Greenline Construction