A local man is facing a remodeling nightmare after a disagreement with his contractor put the entire renovation project on hold. Now the homeowner is looking for help to end the dispute.
There's not much to show for a remodeling project that was started back in April: a concrete slab collects rainwater, lumber sits stacked unused in the backyard, a trench is exposed and demolition to the back of the house is incomplete.
Renovation plans have turned into a nightmare for Liebel Harelik. His photos document stages of the work.
"Every time he'd do another procedure it cost more money," said Harelik.
Now Harelik is trying to re-coop a portion of the $23,000 he says he paid Blue Diamond Remodeling Owner Richard Rucker. Complaints against the company have been received by the Better Business Bureau and the Texas Residential Construction Commission.
In an e-mail response, Richard Rucker of Blue Diamond Remodeling called Harelik's complaints "erroneous and not based on fact".
Although its primary focus is mediating complaints against new home builders, the TRCC handles complaints against remodelers.
Currently the agency covers remodeling projects of more $20,000. However, that amount will drop to $10,000 beginning September 1, 2007.
"It'll be another 100,000 projects that now fall under our jurisdiction than before and that's going to be a big difference," said A. Duane Wadill, TRCC executive director.
Also in September, TRCC staff size will increase from 30 to 80 and its enforcement guidelines will more than double from the current 11 to 26.
However, TRCC has its limits. The state agency only mediates finished renovation projects, not those which are incomplete. The agency does, however, step in to help as in Harelik's case.
"We've written that remodeler. We've asked him to give us a plan for corrective action. It's due in five days or so," said Waddill.
Regardless of the status of a remodeling complaint, the TRCC wants to hear from consumers calling it the best way to monitor the quality of construction.
"We're going to write those builders/remodelers. Every record you put in our files is that much more helpful to the next person behind you," said Waddill.