WE became hooked after seeing the show home in Starling. Loved the design and craftsmanship, ingenuity of layout, and interior products. We found a lot we loved and sat down to sign a deal. The excitement of buying a new was enhanced as CH provided forms for us to fill out to ensure the building would accommodate our use, needs, and wants. We sat down with a draftsman to mostly solidify the design and we had many appointments with an interior designer to help us pick every detail. But from day one there was turnover in the company, so we had a lack of continuity. We were never sure who we would be talking to ( EX- Contacts included 2 sales people, 3 site superintendents, 1 VP, and one Warranty Supervisor, currently have no one to contact) . Then Randy told us that he would personally handle the rest of the build. Communication then became very infrequent.
Celebration Homes has a software system to track timeliness of the build. They were always behind, but would then go in and adjust the dates (cheat). We signed our contract in Dec. 2013 and moved in July 2015. Research shows that this is a reasonable timeline for a custom build, but we were told 6 to 8 months. There were MONTHS that went by where nothing was done. Poor choice to give us this false hope. This delay could have put us on the street for a place to live, but instead we missed the market to sell our existing home ( going on 7 months now).
Next we were charged extremely high rates for any "Pre-start changes orders" ( Install boiler and under-floor heating ($20,000) and even higher "After-start change orders". Other requests became ridiculous ( I.e. 10 foot addition to deck - $30,000. Change window to a 4' X 6' from a 2' by 6' - $12,000). We ended up building a $680,000 home for close to $800,000. (based on recent realty assessments). The quality of the home is mostly excellent, but the home failed almost every initial inspection (see photos below)and remains unfinished. CH turned over the home to us before we even had a working ensuite (shower and sinks), hardware (door handles, hooks, towel racks, etc.), doors, trim missing, cabinets un-built, etc.). There was a 50 item list of things not completed. 4 months after moving in they are down to 10 items. But like before, Randy is now not communicating, or responding to emails any more. Conversations with other buyers from CH in the area indicate that this is "modus operendi" and completing a home may take 2 additional years if you have some leverage. CH has since moved out of the area. Buyer beware I suppose. We are on the hook to complete the build.
Response from Celebration Homes
We had a great experience building for these folks and really enjoyed their creative input. One of the last homes in a suburban location off our normal stomping grounds, we were staffing down as we handled their project and in the end head office management staff worked on it. In retrospect, this did make it challenging as even though the office staff knew the work from a technical standpoint, there is a difference between technical knowledge and real hands on practice, and we felt that during this project. Regardless, the home is creative and quite beautiful and any observer will attest to that.
Our warranty team does tend to work in neighbourhoods in clusters, except for emergency items, and as these folks have had no emergencies, it has made for a long wait for some of the minor fixups. Recognizing this we're taking steps as of this writing to apply manpower to their home. It should be noted that the clients have a holdback retained on the home, which we have not sought to collect and will not until deficient items are corrected.
Sometimes our creative energy challenges the permit and inspection process, and the client's absolutely unique storage loft above the garage is a good case in point. A very cool idea, it strained the bounds of building code immensely, being an unheated yet insulated space attached to an heated and insulated space (the garage) and adjacent to an unheated, unconditioned space (the balance of the garage and house attic. ) Arriving at a correct solution to "where to place the vapour barrier" was time consuming and challenging for all. In the end we solved it, and this kind of problem is something that can't be rushed. It should be noted that Celebration absorbed the bulk of the cost for this solution, and the end result is somewhat more detailed and complex than originally ordered by the client, but we take these things as our responsibility.
Certainly appreciate the clients comments and looking forward to wrapping up their warranty concerns.