Our home is a turn of the century DC brick rowhouse with walls shared with our neighbors. The basement was gloomy in its unfinished state. It had a cracked cement slab initially poured over an uneven surface so ceiling height was very low. We wanted more ceiling height by lowering the floor by digging out the basement and pouring a new cement slab. We had pre-existing damage from termites to a wooden structural beam, needing replacement. Some old joists were in poor condition and a maze of old wires, gas and water pipes were running below the joists. The boiler and water heater and laundry were not energy efficient and not well laid out. We had a space that was unfinished and underutilized. We needed a contractor who could do everything except plumbing and electrical. We had a structural engineer and architect design a complete living space: entertainment, kitchen, closet for water heater/boiler, bathroom, bedroom, closets, laundry room. For us, structural plans were extremely important because they involved: lowering the basement floor, replacing support columns and beams, and digging French drains for waterproofing exterior grade walls. We had exact structural and architectural plans and needed our contractor to follow them. It was important to us that the contractor agreed to a contract WE WROTE, and he did. Also, we wanted a bonded contractor and he had full liability insurance. He was used to working on government jobs, so was familiar working off structural/architectural plans. Note: Some things I knew we wanted done that weren't on the plans I talked about with the contractor during the first site visit prior to his quote and talked about again at contract signing, but later some of these were questioned, i.e., "did we agree to this?", because they weren't in the plans. Make sure everything is in plans before signing contract, or it will be extra. Demolition work removed 3 dumptrucks of earth/debris. They used an electric conveyor to haul material from the basement - a great idea! Pouring the cement floor was done under challenging conditions - all cement poured through a small window from narrow DC street. They managed this very well (but didn't protect house from concrete splatter). They used very high quality cement and did excellent construction. The rough framing and drywall work was average. The exterior work took longer to complete than expected and unexplained delays. The sub-contractors used for constructing an exterior brick wall and for laying all interior tile and grout were very good quality. They worked quickly, too. The finishing work, such as painting and building custom door jams, custom staircase, specialty closets, etc. was very high quality. The painting work was very professional and drip free. Roderick Lopez the president put a lot of attention to our job and frequently on site. He was responsive in returning our calls. His team often went out of their way to pick up materials we purchased.