This review is submitted for Wilco Contractors, owned by Bill Wilkinson, of Anchorage Alaska. Information is current as of May 12, 2014. We contracted with Wilco to build our home in March 2013, with an original contract completion date of December 22, 2013. Ground broke on May 9, 2013 and work began immediately thereafter. We observed the construction activities daily, taking detailed notes of progress and crew working, along with photos. We took fewer photos once the construction moved to the inside, only because it becomes more difficult to be descriptive in photos when you?re looking at walls, ceilings, and floors. While we do believe the ?bones? of our home to be of high quality (and we?re not experts), we had to be persistent to get a high-quality level of finish/trim work inside and out. Since Wilco bills themselves as a custom home builder, we didn?t feel we should have to nit-pick every detail, and we still found many areas of the finish/trim to be sub-standard. Starting at the exterior: · Our exterior windows are a beautiful redwood color. Most of the window frames and sashes have white overspray on them from when the trim was painted. · The house exterior was painted in October, because that?s when the siding was finished. · The facia and eaves were painted initially when it was raining. The facia and rafter tails all had paint washed off with the rain running off the roof. These were repainted, but spots still show from the rain painting experience. · We added steel facia to the project, at some expense, and one of the pieces is bent and buckled. We were assured it would be replaced, but it has not been. · Most of the exterior trim was hastily painted in October. This trim was painted with a flat latex paint, and most needed repainting. Instead of waiting for better weather to return in the spring, he instead chose to attempt to repaint it during freezing weather, in February 2014, using oil-based paint with a high-gloss finish. Now, we?ve got two issues: o First, he mixed oil and latex paint. They are not compatible due to different expansion and contraction properties, and cracking and paint failure is expected. o Second, now some of the trim is painted with high-gloss paint, and some is painted with flat paint, often on the same piece of trim, creating a distinctive demarcation line. · All exterior door jambs were attempted to be painted in February, 2014, with oil-based paint. None of the jambs are acceptably painted. There are paint streaks, uneven finish, and white paint smeared on most of the door seals. · The HRV subcontractor did an unacceptable job when bringing the vents through the exterior wall, cutting through the trim with jagged cuts, and pulling the trim from the house. We were assured this would all be fixed, but it wasn?t. We were left with an unacceptable level of craftsmanship. Moving to the interior: · We had Wilco install the tile in the house. In general, it is substandard, not even close to what we would expect craftsman quality to be: o They chose to install all the doors prior to installing the flooring, leaving gaps that are filled with grout instead of having tile under the trim. o There are a few places where the tile was left so far from the wall, the baseboard trim didn?t bridge the gap, and now those gaps show. o In all but two small bathrooms, the grout lines are filled unevenly. In some locations, the grout is level with the surface of the tiles, in others, it is in excess of 1/8? below the surface of the tile, in the same floor. The tiles are not all perfectly flat and even, and this is exacerbated in those locations where the grout is not filled to the top of the tile. o In the custom tile showers we chose very nice polished pebbles for the floor. One of the showers is so poorly completed, it feels like you?re walking in a gravel pit in bare feet. In the same shower, the zig-zag lines of the tile edges are evident. These zig-zag edges are designed to hid the grout lines, but the poor craftsmanship emphasizes the zig-zag. · When installing the island cabinet, they had to cut a total of three holes in the bottom of it, leaving a 3-4? gap directly into the basement. · The towel bar in one of the bathrooms: The first towel we hung on it, the whole thing fell to the floor. We ended up having to cut ½? off the towel bar to get it to hang correctly. · The refrigerator doors were uneven when the fridge was installed. We were told they would be adjusted so the tops were flush. This was not done, and we ended up doing it ourselves. · One of the cabinet drawers with a soft-close slider did not work properly when we moved in. Eventually, by removing the drawer, taking off the sliders, taking the sliders apart and putting them back together, we were able to get the soft-close mechanism working correctly. · We?ve had to adjust two of the exterior doors, so the door latches and deadbolts operate correctly. Wilco had ground out the hole of one of the strike plates to try to fix it. Some general comments on Wilco Contractors: · We were on location every weekday about 4:30 pm. Bill was very rarely there when we were there. If we needed to discuss something with him, we needed to make an appointment for him to meet us there. There were a few times that he didn?t show up even for that, or would call and cancel. He requested that we did not talk to his crew about any issues, but only talk with him. His lack of presence made this quite difficult. When calling him on the phone, we often got the sense that he had a higher priority than us. That was a little disconcerting to us. We felt that he should at least give the impression we were his highest priority when we called with comments, questions, or concerns. He was not very good at returning phone calls that were cut short. · Have an attorney with experience in building contracts review the contract supplied by Wilco. If Wilco won?t accept the changes, find a different contractor. o The contract must stipulate penalties for time over runs. o The contract must state that if some work is left to be completed to your satisfaction after closing, an agreed-upon dollar figure will be put into escrow that Wilco cannot access until the work is satisfactorily completed. Bill told us several times during the project that we would do that. But, at the end he declined to put any money into escrow, assuring us he would return to make sure everything was perfect. · Make sure that any work added comes with both a time and cost estimate. · Keep detailed records of the effort they put into the house, for both original contract and added work. Keep track of the number of people there on any given day, and the amount of work done. · Though we asked repeatedly, we were never given a completion date, other than ?Well whatever is in the contract is when you?ll be in?. Bill never provided updates on progress, or how he felt things were going. · If you?re truly building a custom/craftsman-level home, get as much pricing from all vendors and subcontractors as you can up front and have that pricing built into the original contract. This will help alleviate the 10-20% overage we experienced. · Don?t accept his ?cleaning fee?. He says he?ll bring in a professional house cleaner, but the truth of the matter is, we?ve had to do a lot of cleaning since the professional was there. If you want the house professionally cleaned, and it should be done, forgo it in the contract, and hire one yourself. o Most of the light fixtures had construction dust on them. o Most of the windows have streaks that show in the sun. This is mostly on the inside, the outsides of the windows were cleaned better. o We?ve had to vacuum dust and debris out of all the cabinets before putting stuff in them. o His cleanup also includes exterior rubbish and trash. There are burn piles that had steel, glass, nails, sheetrock and other non-combustables in three separate locations in our yard. There are also waste piles of concrete and grout. · When it comes time to close, make sure you get all final invoices for ?Allowance? or ?Estimate? items in the contact. This includes interest on the construction loan (if Wilco gets the loan on your behalf) and utilities consumed during construction (again, if Wilco secures the utilities on your behalf). · We?ve identified a few items that we?ve had to take care of ourselves. These little things are what should make a custom home builder stand out from a spec home builder. Giving Credit Where Credit is Due: · Due to a grade change on our site, our deck ended up being more than 18? off the ground. This required a deck railing to be installed around the entire deck perimeter (except for the stairs), and taller stairs than originally bid. Wilco did not charge us for this upgrade, and it did turn out quite nice. · Wilco chose to use a different heating subcontractor than he had originally bid the heating system in our home. This amounted to about a $6,000 overage on the heating system. Wilco absorbed this cost, since he made the choice to change heating subcontractors. Overall, we are not satisfied with Wilco Contractors. We cannot, in good faith, recommend they be used to build your home. However, if you are willing to put in a great deal of effort on the front end (during bid, getting vendor pricing, and ensuring a strong contract that protects you), during construction (keeping detailed records and taking pictures), and during the finish work (ensuring work is of exceptionally high quality demanded by his pricing), your home will likely turn out to your expectations, be on budget, and on time. We had a more detailed review, but Angie's List limits this input field to 10,000 characters.