Insurance Madness

Many years ago, my husband and I hired a general contractor to build a one story in-law apartment four our daughter and her family, and the experience was a disaster.

We worried about a repeat when our home was extensively damaged by the record snowfall of 2014-2105.

The insurance company required us to gut the kitchen and bathroom and replace everything except the cabinets.

Through Angie’s List, we found an alternative to a GC, a company that placed us in charge of the project in a way that gave us control over all decisions regarding products, labor, schedule, and scope.

The president of the company, iCornerstone, is Richard Connolly, and we hired him to develop designs and labor and material specifications, submit them for competitive bids, establish the project cost and timelines, and coordinate the work once construction began.

Richard’s services rely heavily on a computer for communication and documentation, and we had almost no experience with technology. With his steady guidance and coaching, we managed fairly well. It was easy to access all the specifications, designs, and progress pictures Richard posted to DropBox, and his daily project updates or phone calls kept us in the know.

At first, we were hesitant to be the GC because we are retired, on fixed income, and in our mid-seventies, but Richard was by our side every step of the way.

I am very much hands-on, and Richard encouraged my active participation. A GC would probably accuse me of micro-managing or being difficult to work with.

We could have hired anyone or purchased materials anywhere but decided to use the network of resources Richard referred to us. The workmanship of the subcontractors was excellent, but two had to be prodded to provide invoices.

It was frustrating because the insurance company required evidence of payment before our settlement could be released, and the clock was winding down.

Richard helped us resolve the situation by providing the insurance company with detailed costs for the project, which was done in two phases and included work beyond our claim. He persuaded the company to increase its estimate of the insulation costs because the building code would not allow us to replace the original fiberglass batts.

Everything Richard said he would do, he did, which was not always the case with the plumbing company and the vanity and countertop supplier, especially when it came to the schedule or accommodating changes I wanted.

Richard volunteered to cut sink holes in the bathroom vanities and kitchen counter tops to help the plumber and avoid delays or inconvenience to us. He even made, installed, and painted adjustable shelving in a closet and never charged for any physical work he did.

Despite a few issues, I am thrilled with the result, and the project did not go over budget.

The time it took was another matter, and one delay was at our request while others were caused by some contractors being unavailable when we needed them.

Our space is beautiful and inviting, and Richard’s suggestion that we raise the low kitchen ceiling to create a cathedral ceiling changed the overall feeling of the room.

I cannot imagine a more ethical, professional, and cost-effective solution than iCornerstone and highly recommend Richard.

We saw firsthand his commitment to us, love for his work, and passion for his company.

Description of work:

We remodeled our kitchen and first floor bathroom, which were damaged by heavy snow and added another bathroom on the second floor.

Refer to Insurance Madness in Project Gallery

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