Nightmare on Fred St

NIGHTMARE ON FRED STREET We first met Eric Hooper, of Hoopers Concrete and Block, LLC, while we were seeking a concrete estimate for an addition to our home. At his first site visit, Mr. Hooper told us that he could build the addition in 30 days. We had been planning to use multiple subcontractors for the project, but Mr. Hooper’s assurance that he could build the entire structure was enticing. We had already obtained a building permit as owner/builder and were ready to begin construction. At the time of the contract signing on May 16, 2016, Mr. Hooper said he gave himself an additional 45 days for weather and any other unforeseen delays. While we were surprised, it seemed like a reasonable request, so we signed a contract with him to build the addition in 75 days. The projected end date of July 30, 2016, was well before our pre-planned out-of-state trip on September 11, 2016, to care for an elderly relative. Unfortunately, the addition’s windows were not installed until September 9 and the project was far from complete when we had to leave and could not return until September 26. We met with Mr. Hooper on September 27, and he assured us that he would have the project completed in another 30 days. We were home every day after September 27 until Hoopers Concrete and Block finished the project on December 2, 2016. Mr. Hooper’s initial projection of 30 days turned into 200 days. He also poured a driveway extension, a short sidewalk and a ramp to our shed. The slab for the addition was poured in one day. The driveway, sidewalk and ramp were poured on a different day- two days total for the pouring. He also said that he would knock down an existing garden wall. He wasn’t responsible for: plumbing, electrical, flooring or mechanical (A/C) or obtaining the permit, and it still took 200 days. Mr. Hooper collected one-third of the total price of the addition at the time the contract was signed on May 16, 2016. The contract called for the second third to be paid “upon production.” The final third of the price was to be paid upon completion. When asked at the time of contract signing what “production” was considered to be, Mr. Hooper said the second of the three payments was due upon framing. We never asked for this clarification to be placed in the contract. On May 27, 2016, when the concrete block walls were built, Mr. Hooper insisted that the second third of the contract price was due, even though we reminded him of his previous statement that the second payment was due at framing. We reluctantly gave him the second payment. Thus, he collected two-thirds of the total price of the addition eleven days after the contract was signed. Framing did not begin until June 29, 2016 and the final day of Mr. Hooper’s involvement with our project was, as noted before, December 2, 2016. Things that went wrong: We were told that they would use a pumper cement truck to pour the slab. That didn’t happen, and multiple trucks had to drive in our yard to get the job done. Cement trucks left bad ruts in the yard. His company poured the slab and didn't put in the required control joints after the slab was poured. (The control joints were in the contract; they were never done.) Our plans called for concrete block walls 10 feet high to be installed on the slab. During the block installation, I noticed the back window was at the wrong height. I asked the foreman about the window height and he told me that was the correct height for an eight foot wall. I told him that the walls were supposed to be 10 feet. Once he confirmed the error using the architect’s plans, they had to add additional blocks to change the wall and window height to fix the problem. The plans called for a small crawl space in the attic. When the trusses arrived, they were not configured correctly and had to be returned and reordered. (More delays) The crew that came to put on the roof showed up without any ladders! They used our ladders. At the framing inspection, the inspector found that the hurricane straps were not properly attached to the trusses; required supports were not installed; and the fire breaks were not complete. The same crew installed the interior walls but failed to install the proper number of tapcons in the studs. (More delays) The roof leaked at the ridge vent because the vent slot was improperly cut. Workers had to come back out and replace some plywood, shingles and new ridge vent. (More delays) We live in a 140+ wind area so we were required to install hurricane windows. We researched the windows and found out it takes five weeks from placing the order to receive the windows. There are four windows in the addition. Two weeks before our contract was supposed to end, the windows were ordered. (More delays). We had made repeated inquiries about the status of the windows and were told that “Eric is handling it.” After the windows did arrive, two of the four windows didn’t fit in the openings. The block walls had to be cut to fit the windows. When the windows were installed, drywall screws were used, which is a code violation. The framing inspector twice failed to pass the project because of drywall screws in the window frames, missing screws, and various other framing issues. Three inspections were needed to finally pass the framing inspection. The crews left large piles of trash out in our yard for the entire time they were on site (seven months), with only occasional removal of some debris. We had a planned trip two months after our contract was supposed to be completed (as noted earlier); we were gone 11 working days. Mr. Hooper blamed us for the delay and said he would have been done if we had been at home. Again, this was two months after the project was supposed to have been completed. Initially, on May 16, 2016, Mr. Hooper said he was our project manager. Then, on July 25, we met our assigned project manager. We were then advised that the assigned project manager had left the company and we were supposed to meet another project manager on September 30. He never came to our property. Mr. Hooper said that he himself was (once again) our project manager. During the course of the build, Mr. Hooper visited our property only a handful of times. We made dozens of phone calls, most of them not returned, and waited for workers who failed to appear. Prior to the last two months of the project, often only one worker would show up. Despite the considerable delays and the attendant numerous problems, Mr. Hooper wanted his last payment even before the final inspections were completed. We refused to tender the last one-third payment until the final inspections had been passed and all of the proper contractor releases were given to us. Overall, this was one of the worst experiences we have ever had and we would never hire Hoopers Concrete and Block again.
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Reason of review:
Poor customer service

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