A B.C. homeowner said she estimates she’s out $85,000 after the home renovation company she hired suddenly stopped responding, leaving her with an unfinished project.
“It makes you feel sick and you don’t have trust,” Jennifer Carson told Consumer Matters.
Last May, the Maple Ridge resident hired Knotty Boys Construction owned by Sam Orchard to do a major home renovation.
Carson said the Maple Ridge-based company came recommended through a local online community group. She also said she did her due diligence researching contractors before hiring Orchard and his company.
“I checked references. He (Orchard) said ‘here are some people you can contact’. People who reached out on the social media group recommended them,” said Carson.
“He (Orchard) does a really good job of selling it to people.”
Convinced, Carson said she handed Knotty Boys Construction a $63,000 bank draft deposit – fifty per cent of the scope of the project.
However, two months later, Carson said Orchard wanted more money for materials.
“He had what looked like invoices for the materials that we had bought and would show me all of this and say we’ve done this, I paid for this, I’m going to need more money,” she said.
Carson said little work was completed. Orchard blamed the delay on supply chain issues.
“He kept saying there are delays, construction delays,” said Carson.
She said she’s paid Knotty Boys Construction tens of thousands of dollars.
“We’ve paid him $103,375.50 and to show for that we have a partially completed bathroom, we have a ripped apart bathroom and we have a fence in the back and that’s it. So we estimate we are probably out $85,000,” said Carson.
Maple Ridge owner Jordan Steiger shares a similar story.
His home has been left unfinished for months after hiring Knotty Boys Construction to do a major home renovation. “It feels we’ve been robbed and cheated,” Steiger said.
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Back in October, the father of three and his wife Sasha hired Orchard and his company to fully renovate the couple’s newly purchased home.
Steiger said after reading reviews, he hired Knotty Boys Construction and handed Orchard a $39,000 bank draft deposit to order the kitchen cabinets, backsplashes, bathroom vanities, and some tiles for the children’s washroom. “He was very attentive initially. Any phone call I made, he would respond right away,” said Steiger.
However, Steiger said that quickly changed.
He said the excuses started piling up. “Weeks would go by and very minimal work was being done. Guys were coming in for two hours at a time. One or two guys here and there. We started to push a little bit about timelines for our cabinetry. We weren’t getting any firm answers,” Steiger added.
He said Orchard continued to ask for more money for materials.
“It got to the point he kept asking and then the last time he asked I was like ‘well I need to see something else done here’,” said Steiger.
Eventually, Steiger said Orchard turned the company phone off and now Steiger said he has no way of reaching the contractor.
He added he’s out approximately $66,000. “I don’t know how someone could do this. Leave a family stuck like this,” said Steiger.
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC says no license is required to become a renovator in B.C.
“Anyone can start a renovation company and there’s no oversight right now from the provincial government,” said The Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC CEO Neil Moody.
When it comes to home renovations, Moody recommends homeowners get a solid contract before the project begins and understand the role and responsibilities of the contractor.
“You have to identify the scope of the work, the value of the work, what type of material, how payments are going to be made, when the payment is going to be made,” said Moody.
“I would even recommend having it reviewed by legal council as well because it’s a small amount to pay when you are getting into a large renovation.”
He also recommends getting references and physically checking out those references. “Go and knock on the doors. Ask about the renovations. Ask about the timing. Were there any delays? How long were the delays,” said Moody.
The Association has more information about contracts on its website.
Consumer Matters visited Knotty Boys Construction business address in Maple Ridge and were told by the current occupants Sam Orchard has not lived or operated his company out of that location for months. Orchard couldn’t be reached by phone. Also – an email request to Orchard has not yet been answered.
However, a court search revealed several civil suits against Orchard and Knotty Boys Construction.
Meantime, Ridge Meadows RCMP said in a statement to Consumer Matters: “Ridge Meadows RCMP is aware of a complaint regarding a local contractor. The file remains open and police are actively investigating to determine if any criminality occurred or if this will be a civil process matter.”