In week 18 of a supposedly 4-week contract. The project is still not finished. Massive mistakes, non-responsive, lack of coordination and ownership, bad project management from Penguin. I would not recommend it.
Long version with details:
This is going to be a long review and I would try to be objective as possible along with breaking down different sections of the review. I also have almost all the messages and schedule pictures from their software so I can provide additional details if needed.
• Initial Sales: 9/10, very good service. The person estimating was knowledgeable, understood why we are building the basement (separate legal unit), gave good advice on keeping the costs low. They also set the right expectation in terms of City approval process, and that it takes time etc.
• Cost: 7/10, Cost was competitive to other large builders but more expensive than small builders.
• Quality 5/10, quality of work is fine. When they work, they work quickly and are generally good. However, in my case, they just simply didn’t work, didn’t show up, didn’t care about quality (paint finishing, door hinges, baseboard colors are not properly done). I put 5 because of one single person who was amazing. He got stuff done, pushed to get stuff done but literally everyone else dropped the ball.
• Mistakes 0/10, the number of mistakes they have made in my project are crazy.
o Kitchen cabinets were delivered 3 times with the wrong size, finally I asked one the site leaders to make changes on-site and somehow finish.
o Cabinet handles were simply forgotten and even after multiple reminders, missing. I eventually went to a shop, bought those myself and asked them to put it.
o Kitchen design (interior designer) was terrible and not well thought out. It only becomes obvious once finished.
o My smart thermostat was burnt because HVAC movers forgot to unplug it before the surge after moving. They did ask me to unplug other things and simply forgot to unplug the thermostat! They were also likely unprofessional and took 6 hours for something they initially mentioned as 2 hours themselves. Penguin then had the courage to say, “well we planned for 2 hours and covered 2 hours of work in your contract, but it took 6, so to balance it, please pay for the thermostat yourself and we would put the new one on”. This was the start of my project, in order to be accommodating, I agreed. Looking back, I should have told them to stop at that time and gotten out of the contract.
o “Forgot” to put the dry wall on the ceiling in one of the rooms, it took multiple reminders to get that work done. Then while putting the ceiling, they unplugged the bulb socket and then it took 4 weeks, literally 4 weeks for someone to come in a put the bulb socket back in. Clearly, it wasn’t complex work, they simply were not bothered to do it.
• Project Management 0/10, Multiple agreements (written ones), were simply not acknowledged.
o I paid for an extra 220V line to the garage for car changing in the initial contract. Then I reminded them again, they asked for a CR, reminded them it's covered, next day they forgot again. Reminded a third time, they put in a 40A wire because “that’s all they had” that day. Reminded a 4th time, then they brought in the right wire, fished out the previous one, broke ceilings again and then asked painters and wall resources to come finish.
o I signed off on interior designer selections with a clear agreement that close to actual project work appliance sizes would be validated again. Close to actual project, was rudely told nothing can be done. My existing appliances, 30 inch ones were all made useless and we had to go find more expensive 24 inch options. Had they told us beforehand, we would likely have asked for change in kitchen design to accommodate but they didn’t give any chance. My signoff on design included comments on their own software that sizes need to be confirmed beforehand, so it wasn’t verbal, it was all on their tool.
• Overall, 2/10, Considering project management and coordination is one of the MOST important pieces of work, instead of you dealing with multiple third parties, they completely bombed on that and based on that I would NOT recommend them. I have yet to see how they would honor “warranty” but if they are unwilling and unresponsive while on the project, I am not holding out much hope. I have also lost a minimum of 3 month rent from basement from the original schedule that Penguin promised themselves.
- Company Response
Not too long for us, we read every word. And you make valid points. We have been doing our very best to maintain a level of professionalism and quality during Covid, which frankly has proven to be a challenge at times. Industry wide, we are dealing with staffing shortages and supply chain issues, , even from formerly reliable partners. And we didn't do so well in this case, letting you down.
Our GM will reach out to you directly, if he hasn't done so already. We need to review this project in detail and figure out why it was a shamble, and why we were not getting the correct picture back at the office.
Frankly, we’ve had some issues recruiting replacement labour and finishing supervisors but as it stands for November 1st, most of our hiring has been rectified for 2022. We’ve repurposed our head office to have more racking and storage to even order finishing materials right out of selections. We understand that a temporary lack or staffing and supply chain issues can have a trickle down effect. To our knowledge we’re simply waiting for your cabinets and we look forward to wrapping up your project shortly.
It is our belief that we need to own our failures as much as our successes, and to continually look to improve. We appreciate that you took the time to post this Usama, and we hope that your effort will not go to waste as it is indeed appreciated. Finally, we do, and will stand behind our warranty. We need to earn our credibility back. We hope you'll allow us to do so.