5 On Your Side

New Deck Pits Couple vs. Contractor

Posted October 25, 2007
Updated October 26, 2007

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— The back of Paige Briggs’ home is just asking for a deck.

“A wooden deck with the steps going down and there would be a bench that would go all the way around the side of the deck,” she said.

Briggs was describing the plan Phil Piurkoski made for it. She hired Piurkoski's company, Dimensional Decking and Patio, in April. She paid him $2,000 of the nearly $12,000 total up front, she said.

“He seemed very straight up. He came up with this schedule,” Briggs said. “He said, ‘I add in three days for rain delay to every job, so I'm normally right on schedule.’ And so we were expecting him to be here in June and start.”

In May, Briggs and her husband, Paul, decided to buy another house nearby. She immediately called Piurkoski to ask if they could have the deck built there instead.

Briggs said Piurkoski was fine with it, but then they couldn't get him to meet with them.

“We weren't really in that big of a hurry, so I didn't really push every single day. But I would call him every other week and we'd set up something, and he'd call and cancel,” Briggs said. “Now he won't return any phone calls.”

Briggs said Piurkoski never mentioned anything about it being a problem to do the project at the new house instead.

“Oh, absolutely not. He was more than willing to come over here,” Briggs said.

So she called 5 On Your Side.

When 5 On Your Side called Piurkoski, he blamed the delay on having to come up with a new design. But when it was pointed out that it had been four months and he hadn't been to the new house yet, Piurkoski said, "I'll accept some responsibility for that."

He immediately called Briggs to come up with a resolution. He went to look at the new house Wednesday and promised a plan by the end of the week.

Briggs said she’s sorry it had to come to this.

“This was the furthest thing from my mind. The last thing I wanted to do was call and be on TV about this. But it was just the principle of him having our money and not calling us back,” she said.

18 Comments

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  • bugaboo Oct 26, 2007

    Oops, that suggestion came from Reelhillbilly - thank you.

  • bugaboo Oct 26, 2007

    Tarheelturtle: the other contractors were hired after Phil to finish the job and clean up the trash. Wish I had dealt with the the other contractors first. I appreciate your suggestions for future work that I may need done and how to set up an account at Lowes.

  • delete meee now Oct 26, 2007

    Don't trust anybody! Do it yourself or find some buds to point you in the right direction! I saved alot of $ fixin my dryer for $7! In the past I would have just bought a new one. Don't under estimate your own abilities! Esp when $ and trust is on the line!!

  • TarheelTurtle Oct 26, 2007

    Bugaboo: If the other contractors told you they "wondered how he stayed in business," why did you use him? OMG...Reap what you sow.

  • TarheelTurtle Oct 26, 2007

    My husband is a General Contractor with his own business. Don't hire anyone who isn't licensed, or insured. VERY easy to verify. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed and what the resolution was. Get references and sign a contract with specific start/finish dates, what is expected as far as clean up, etc. and lastly, duh, don't move and expect the price, design or materials to be the same. Guess common sense is getting a lot more rare. BTW, my hubby has never had any complaints, from clients, or myself.

  • nomorenc Oct 26, 2007

    something stinks here. I looked up the tax information for Paul and Paige Briggs. Neither of the houses that show up for them, including the one bought in July, look like the one in the picture. Neither one of them look like a house that you would build a $12,000 deck onto. Maybe it was more like a $200 deposit and a $1200 deck. Those numbers would make more sense the numbers hse stated.

  • WRAL is joe_dirt Oct 26, 2007

    Lesson learned. Save yourself money and grief with this simple Most of time small, private builders want some money up front in order to purchase materials. As the home owner, insist on a bill of materials up front and and place that amount on reserve at Lowe's Home Depot, etc. with a specification that upon intent to purchase by the builder, the building materials supplier will in turn call you to request a purchase order number. Most suppliers will do this without a problem. If the builder doesn't want to do this because most builders mark up their materials about 20% an offer by the home owner to pay a respectable bonus if the project is finished on time. Draft an agreement that pays the builder specific amounts for labor cost in weekly increments. All this takes very little time and effort on the part of the home owner and saves much grief down the road. By the way, in addition, make sure your builder has the proper insurance coverage.

  • pidwilli Oct 26, 2007

    It's always funny to me, that it takes a Call from a new cast and immediate action is taken. I hate the way people think these days. What's right is right and what's wrong is wrong. Didn't people's parents teach them that...geesh

  • Chasing the Dream Oct 26, 2007

    I would suggest to anyone who is going to have construction work done on their house to verify the contractor is licensed and insured. Also ask for and check references from previous customers and material suppliers.

  • peace_of_mind Oct 26, 2007

    After talking to a few contractors I ended up drawing up my own design, paying a structuraly engineer to stamp them and built it myself for half the money. My wife did threaten to sue me if I didn't finish the job though. LOL

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