One of the major factor I chose Penguin was the material they use. I wanted my basement to be integrated into the rest of the house as a full functional space. The fact they use magnesium oxide board with steel frame peaked my interest the most. These boards are stronger, mold/mildew free and provide superior fire resistance.
After contacting the office, they set up an initial consult, which require 2+ hours at my house. David, the designer was very kind and courteous. He took time to answer all the questions provided very detailed quote. I had a good feeling about the company already at this time, judging from their quote system and professional teams that would take care each category of jobs separately. I especially liked the fact that they don't rely on subcontracting, which could cause so much problem.
At the initial meeting, I signed the contract and was set to go. Project manager was assigned to me and contacted me to set up a meeting at their designer center, where I would select materials to be used(color or floor, door, etc). It was quick and easy process. The only thing was that their supplier for the floorboard did not have stock for the exact color of floor I wanted at the time. However, it was not a major issue and rather than delaying/waiting, I wanted the job to be done before winter, so I chose alternate color that works as well.
The actual process took about 4 weeks, that includes framing, board, floor, staircase carpeting, electrical wiring, painting. I also chose open ceiling where beams and wires are exposed but all painted.
Each team/person for the job would arrive as per the schedule(the details and any changes to work order, payment info are posted on Builders Trend site), and project manager checked in regularly to oversee the job. Any changes to the initial quote would be posted on the Builders Trend in the form of work order. I really liked the professionalism of the whole process.
Their onsite teams are comprised of well experienced crews. Each team will come in the date they are assigned and finish the job quickly and neatly. I could see they are very skilled and have good knowledge about finishing basement.
Asides from minor glitches, I am very satisfied with their quality of work, the whole process and systematic quote/work order. Penguin is definitely not cheaper than other contractor, but The material and workmanship are worth the money. I suggest anyone who is planning to renovate basement to have clearer vision in their mind regarding the space they want to create. The more detailed your plan is, the less changes to the work order, hence quicker and smooth process.
My daughter, who rarely came down to basement, now would not leave the newly renovated basement. After renovation, it not only became very integrated part of the house, it actually became main family hangout area.