Monday, December 22, 2008

Owens Corning

So, as some of you may know, the hubby and I decided to take the plunge and have some work professionally done. Considering we are (were) in a good position to take on some expense and also considering if we did this ourselves it would take years (I'm not kidding, we move at snail's pace with repairs / remodels / painting), we decided it would be worth it to pay someone else to do some of the shit that needs done to the house.

Fast forward -- we got Owens Corning to agree to finish our basement and re-carpet the entire house because their product, it impresses us. They promised to get the permits and build everything to code. They contracted out for someone to do the 4 foot egress window (because otherwise it won't pass inspection as an actual room), contracted someone else to install the steel framing in the basement and put together the actual Owens Corning product (it isn't drywall), had those same people do the wiring for the basement, and contracted out a third party for the carpet. We said what the hell, as long as we're carpeting the basement, we'll re-carpet the whole house. Personally, I'd like to not have 3 different types and colors of nasty carpet, so I felt this was a good move.

The Deal: We agreed to be on a flex plan of sorts, where if someone canceled or had to postpone their building job we could be bumped forward or back on their schedule. We agreed to do showings with our basement for Owens Corning to get a further discount, got a promotional deal for a TV, and received some cash back thanks to the selling abilities of the sales person. On the two loans we had to get (one bank was stingy and didn't want to finance more than the window job) we managed to have them postpone the payments for a year (which, according to budget, is ossim because we could have paid most of them off before they came due and thus avoided interest). Really kick-ass deal. Even the contractors were impressed (that's later in this story).


Problem #1 - the sales lady who did the design for the basement was not invited out when the basement guy came to check out the job, so he had no idea WTF was going on and had to be informed later. Fine, we were warned this might happen. Apparently the sales lady doesn't always get called in when the project guy does. Half a day's time off used for work.

Problem #2 - We saw this as a good thing at first. Someone needed to postpone their project, so we were going to get our basement done 2 months ahead of schedule. Woo! Guy shows up to check it out... "I can't start until the window is done." Apparently they were supposed to schedule the window guy to come in at some point, which we weren't aware of, and it didn't happen. Guy forgot his cell phone so he went back into the office to see if the window guy was going to be there today. Guy never calls back. Basement postponed back to original time frame. I have now wasted another 2/3 of a day out of work. We now have remnants of basement demolition taking up half of our garage (we were promised a dumpster, which doesn't come until the basement guys are ready to do their basement thing. Insert 2 more months of messy garage here).

Problem #3 - 2 to 4 weeks after the above incident, we get a call from Owens Corning asking if our window had been done yet. There was much confusion, because no, it wasn't done yet, and we didn't know someone was supposed to be out to do it. Had we missed a phone call and a visit? No, because no one ever called us. Two days after this confused conversation with Owens Corning we get a call AT SIX O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING from the window guy (make a note, this is from the contractor, not Owens Corning): "Hi, I hope they told you I was coming today, because I'll be there at 7."


So, window gets done on time and it's a great job. First thing that's gone right so far. Huzzah, the happiness has started with the basement. Too bad the rest of it won't be done for another few weeks. We're a little peeved with Owens Corning's service. Or complete lack thereof. The window guy is not surprised, and his silence at our comments tells much more than actual words.

Problem #4 - Three days before the rest of the basement is scheduled to be done, Owens Corning calls on a Friday evening: "So we just want to double check that the steel is delivered and you know that we're starting on Monday." Um... what steel? "Oh, it's not there yet? Are you sure? Did you look in the garage?" Yes, lady, we did look in the fuxing garage. We only walk through it every day after work to get in the house. There is no friggin' steel in there other than the nails from the basement. "Oh, well, it should be delivered tomorrow morning at the latest."

Monday morning: still no steel framing.

Problem #5 - basement guys show up, but they can't start until the steel is delivered. I know this because we get a phone call from the contractors: "we're here to start your basement." As sweetly as I could, from my office cubicle, I told them that I was not at home to let them in because the steel was not yet delivered and I was not going home to let anyone in the house until that happened. The contractors were both surprised and irritated that there was no steel. The steel came around lunch time. The contractors decided to postpone the work for another day. They are also not surprised at Owens Corning's behavior.

Problem #6 - no one told the contractors that we were supposed to have extra steel framing set up on one wall to support a flat screen TV. The steel wasn't ordered for it. We are not surprised. We are, however, VERY irritated, because we only find out the extra reinforcement wasn't done on that wall after the walls are done. Granted, we did come down and check on the basement daily, but the actual building period was only 4 days start to finish, and there was so much steel down there we thought they were already reinforcing it. The contractors themselves were great guys that do a great job, but we are so irritated at this point that we say forget it, the sooner we're done with Owens Corning the better, and the contractors make sure that extra amount is deducted from our total.

Problem #7 - Since we did demolition, no one scheduled a dumpster. We were going to go postal on someone (God, we wanted to!), but the contractors headed us off and got a dumpster to be delivered free of charge. We filled it. They took it away. FINALLY, we can use our garage again.

After this, carpet guy comes out to go over carpet options. Oops, he was supposed to be out before the basement was finished, but to give him some credit, those other contractors were fast. Nice guy, efficient, he's in and out quick as anything. Our carpet is ordered same day with a 2 week lead time and we got a ridiculously ossim deal for it. They predict they can re-carpet the house in one day possibly two if there are difficulties, and we agree to clean the house of knick-knacks and ready everything to be moved around. Insert 1.5 weeks of frantic house cleaning and preparation.

Problem #8 - Last week (one week after carpet man and during the frantic cleaning) we get a call from Owens Corning, which makes us faint because their communication is a joke and holy shit they actually bothered to call us about something. Apparently one of the banks they got a loan through was no longer lending, so we are now split into three loans instead of 2 because they had to immediately open another line of credit to pay for their shit. Ding on our credit and an extra payment to worry about whose payments CANNOT be postponed like the other two loans. Payments will begin immediately. Fine, whatever, this technically isn't their fault. We can't be angry at them. Right?

Problem #9 - The carpet guy calls us today, almost a week after that last phone call. Note: the carpet guy, NOT Owens Corning. What's the problem? THE CARPET WAS NEVER ORDERED because they couldn't get the money from Owens Corning. We are not having carpet installed tomorrow, and we only knew this because the carpet guy felt obligated to call us. Gee, what a novel idea. Someone actually wants to keep their customer informed? Good thing the contractors care for their customers, because Owens Corning sure doesn't. If the carpet guy hadn't called I'd be sitting on my ass all day tomorrow wondering where the hell our carpet was.

Add a week because of the holiday plus the two weeks it takes to get the carpet made / dyed / whatever and we're not on track to have carpet until the end of January, and that's assuming Owens Corning can get their shit together. Realistically, I don't expect to see anything (or get a damn phone call) until February.

Current Status: Pissed beyond belief.


Owens Corning may have great product and contractors, but based on their service alone this entire project wasn't worth it. I don't care how good of a deal we got. There is no excuse for the sheer levels of FAIL happening with this project. Honestly, the next time we need to do something we're going straight to the contractors, or we're feeding people pizza and beer for a week straight to do it our own damn selves at a snail's pace. If we weren't in a contract (*eye twitch*) we would have canceled on them a long time ago.

For those of you thinking of buying a service that Owens Corning provides: DON'T. It isn't worth it. Go with someone else. Or do it yourself.

We'll see how the rest of this plays out. For now, we're documenting the progress and lack of communication. Wish us luck.


1 comment:

Kim said...

Sounds like the fun my husband and I had many moons ago (when we lived in our townhouse) when we finished our basement. Only our problem wasn't with the contractor, it was with the township inspectors...

Good luck - hopefully it'll all smooth out eventually.=)