Breaking Up With Our Contractor

March 2015

It has been a year since we signed our contract with Ridgewater Homes on March 27th 2015. It has not been an entirely good year.

I described how we arrived at our decision to hire this company here.

Unfortunately, I have to tell you that Leanne and I are in a contract dispute with Ridgewater. As you can imagine, I can no longer recommend them as a company to you.

Reading past posts you may get the impression everything is fine. However, with every post I have struggled to present the truth without criticizing the people and companies we are working with. Unfortunately, this may have created an inaccurate picture of our journey so far. It has been challenging and we are currently going through a difficult time.

I don’t want to give the impression what we’re doing is impossible, but it’s certainly not easy, either! Going forward, I will strive to share more of the challenges as well as the excitement.

The purpose of this blog is to share the story of our renovation and start a conversation about saving homes and improving them instead of destroying them and building new ones. What are the pros and cons of retrofitting? What are the challenges? How can we affordably reduce the carbon footprint of our homes?

How can we make it easier for people like us, who are already squeezed, to do right by our homes and our planet?

I’m sharing a story. I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life.

I’m not an expert. I’m not trying to give you expert advice.

Since this is a continuing story, I’m not going to delete previous posts in light of this change in relationship with our contractor. However, except where it is unavoidable, I will not mention their name on the blog from this day forward.

Thanks for all your  support. Stay tuned for more of the adventures of Hammond Forever House!

March 2016

PS: I can’t leave you without a preliminary piece of advice about finding a good contractor. It sounds obvious, but remember that if a company has excellent promotional material, it may mean that they need to advertise because they cannot get enough business from reputation alone. Contractors that receive a lot of business through positive word of mouth may not have to advertise.

If I could start over in my contractor search, I would ask people in the business who they recommend. That’s my advice to you. Ask other trades (like your plumber), your local building store (like Haney Builders in Maple Ridge), or the Building Dept. of your municipality. Municipal staff will almost certainly be unable to recommend a company, but they will often be able to point you to companies who do not have problems passing building inspections. Does that help? I hope so.

Published by

James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

2 thoughts on “Breaking Up With Our Contractor”

  1. On choosing a contractor: asking your trades is probably not a solution – most contractors bring their own trades, so it’s a circular issue. If you don’t have a contractor you may not have trades. AND: many trades are loyal to the contractors that give them work, so you may have loyalty trumping honesty.
    But you’re right; it’s a start. It’s a certainty that if trades, say, have been stiffed by a contractor then you’ll hear about it.
    I think the best thing is probably to simply go through references and, perhaps, even visit houses that the contractors have done in the past. And remember: NO HOUSE is finished on time and on budget. They simply aren’t.

  2. So sorry you are having contractor issues 🙁 I hope you get it sorted out. I look forward to the continuing saga. Our 4 month project is now in it’s 9th month, and probably has 2 more months to go.

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