I hired Brigadier Group to build a 10 x 12 unfinished interior bump-out addition to my brick bungalow. One the positive side, I am happy with the quality of the framing and roofing. After sometimes lengthy conversations most aspects of this project were built properly to my satisfaction. The core team is friendly to work with and kept things professional even when there was friction.
I had two major problems with this project:
Schedule. For this small project without a foundation needed (built on helical piles), Aaron expected to take 3-4 weeks. Instead it took nearly 20 weeks to completion. Other than some unexpected concrete support work which cost a few days there were really no unanticipated challenges with this project. So the fact it took 5 times longer than expected says to me either Aaron doesn't know how to properly schedule his work, or he was willfully misleading when bidding on the job. Either way, I was certainly not impressed. There were several weeks during the build where either no one showed up, or maybe one guy showed up for a couple of hours. I rarely felt like my project was a priority for the team.
Stone Siding. This subcontractor was a nightmare. The first day they arrived I asked them why they were using thin staples to attach the rainscreen lathe rather than screws right to the studs as the manufacturer instructions require. Next thing I know they have packed up their equipment and left for the day. They did not speak English so I only found out later from Aaron that they left because they didn't like to be questioned. In hindsight, this was a red flag I should have acted on but the project had gone on so long that the weather was starting to get cold and I was worried we could not find a replacement sub before winter.
When they returned the next day to start working again, they literally did everything wrong with installing the rainscreen - They still missed half of the studs, they hung it oriented 90 degrees the wrong way, and they plugged up the ventilation on the top and bottom. I asked them to make sure to fully back-butter the stones but there is strong evidence they did not do this. For example at least half a dozen stones are already loose. When I questioned the head stonemason (the only one who spoke some English) he said he didn't really care because this project was "Mickey Mouse" for him.
On the last day of the stone work they decided to use my sunroom (which I would consider a finished space) as a workshop, covering it in stone dust, which they then proceeded to hose down at the end of the day, soaking all the wood. The double-glazed windows now have a thin layer of dust inside of them that will never come out.
So, overall the results were mostly acceptable, but the process was painfully long. If you hire this company I would suggest at a minimum to request alternate stonemasons.
- Company Response
Hi Mr. Kromkamp.
We appreciate the fact that you took the time to give such honest feedback. In this industry, it is impossible for every project to go perfectly every time so this helps us to strive for 100% satisfaction. You were clear about your feelings about the stone masons but we don't hire based on race or ethnicity. The gentlemen doing the work are from Greece and they are some of the best in the industry as far as quality is concerned. We reminded you to voice your concerns to our management team and the rain screen and staples were explained. When you place hidden cameras to watch our crews and question the crews on every installation method based on what you read on google, it is bound to create a difficult working environment. We advised against your stone installation method and specifically warned you about the exact issues you are having. Regardless, you insisted that we install it exactly how you outlined, and we obliged.
If you decide to do renovations in the future, I would suggest you google all installation methods before making a contract. This way, you can get feedback and make your intentions clear before beginning. This will cut down on delays as the crews will not have to stop working every day because you are outside with a diagram you got form the internet. It sounds like all the extra work we did for free with the skirting and the artificial grass, along with the overall quality of work, is satisfactory. We have moved your project to warranty status so please feel free to reach out if you have issues with anything at all.