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Complaints and reviews of Brendan Malcolm Contracting, Pittsburgh, PA

Record #: 1522
Date Entered: 2021-04-01
Location: Pittsburgh, PA 15202
Telephone: 412-780-0058

Customer Review #1:
Date Entered: 2021-04-01
tumb down

Job description: Home Renovations
Overall experience: bad
How much were you charged? $38350
Was the charge fair? no
Comment: Brendan Malcolm Contracting was hired in February 2020 to complete a kitchen renovation, bathroom installation, and closet installation at our home. However, we had to stop the project during the kitchen renovation and remove him from the job for substandard workmanship that resulted in complications and potential injury.
As to the work that was not performed in a good and workmanlike manner: The root of the issues is that the rebuilt room is not square, which leads to many follow-on problems. He demolished the entire room down to the studs (except the floor) and rebuilt the room unevenly. This unevenness has caused a cascade of problems, including uneven window installation, crooked floors, uneven trim with the cabinetry and case openings. We have been advised that because of this unevenness, the trim and cabinetry could over time separate or crack in joint areas which have happened in the right back corner of the kitchen.
Window Leakage
Despite several attempts on his part, each window is installed improperly, and subsequently, the interior window seal is uneven. He was fully aware, the window is leaked during heavy rains. Also, we requested he engage a roofing professional to examine the box gutters above the windows to see if this was also causing water leaking in the windows. He denied our request several times and insisted on doing the work yourself. We simply could not have new windows that were leaking. This must be repaired.
Uneven floors and unsatisfactory floor sanding and staining
At the onset of our project, we were advised by him (and accepted the advice) that the subfloors did not need to be taken down to the studs. He stated that his advice was based on the fact that radiant floor heat was not going to be used. However, the floor he gave us was noticeably uneven. He did not advise us that by not putting down new plywood subfloor that our hardwood floor would end up being uneven with peaks and valleys. If we were originally told that we risked uneven floors, we would have requested that all new subfloor be put down. Throughout the project, we pointed out our concerns and he admitted that they were uneven. Despite that, instead of finding a solution, he directed the work to continue. It is obvious the uneven floors are the source of many problems in that space. With peaks and valleys throughout, you could feel it when you walk on the floor and it visible between the trash can and the cabinet to the right as well as in front of the wall oven/microwave. You can also see the unevenness with the lower cabinet trim in two opposing corners. We have had lengthy conversations with experts regarding these floors. It will be less expensive but involves a huge disruption and inconvenience to a family who has already endured 6 months of construction, to remove the island, pull out the flooring and replace it with new wood (once the insulation has been added). Fixing the various sections will be too labor-intensive and the end results could vary. We were particularly frustrated with this part of the project because he as the contractor agreed and acknowledged that the floors were not satisfactory but yet didn’t stop the project, take a step back and fix the problem..
Additionally, we are not satisfied with the coloring of the new flooring that he installed. Despite our repeated prodding, a professional was not brought in to sand and stain the floors. He assured us that you had the proper tools and professional and artistic ability to complete this part of the project. Despite these assurances, the sanding and staining had to be redone several times and the final floor is uneven and splotchy. We requested that a professional be retained rather than continuing to try to get it right himself, we provided the proper stain color to him, and we discussed the fact that this was not being done correctly several times because he too felt like it wasn’t satisfactory. Now we are left with uneven flooring with blotchy, incorrect coloring.
Uneven backsplash
The backsplash that he installed was uneven and immediately visible to the viewer as being improperly installed. This is mainly because the room is uneven everywhere. Also, there were several electrical complications and window leakage that caused the need to remove brand new plaster in many areas. We were told that there were ways he could have laid the tile to conceal the fact that the wasn’t isn’t level. This tile is intended to lay flush. It is sticking out in several places and looks uneven. The backsplash was not installed in a good and workmanlike manner and we must now incur the cost of having it removed, the walls fixed, and new tile installed.

Subpar trim work
We also are challenging his use of scrap materials for the trim when we paid you for new materials. It’s questionable why small leftover pieces of trim were used for an expensive kitchen project. The interior window trim was never completed but it was paid for. The negligent work in this area must now be redone.
Improper installation of door
The door he installed does not close properly and the casing was left unfinished despite the fact that finishing the casing was included in what we paid him to do. We obviously need to have a door that closes properly and must now pay to have these items corrected.
Plumbing and insulation errors
The plumbing lines and insulation were not installed in a workmanlike manner and we must have these corrected. This is work that was done by a subcontractor. However, as our general contractor, it was his responsibility to oversee ALL work that was being done. He needed to make sure everything was done correctly. This isn’t our area of expertise. First, the gas line is leaking. Secondly, they should have been installed on the wall and not on the floor. This was pointed out by the installers from Don’s Appliance as well as the plumber and other contracting professionals. Additionally, the pot filler was not installed at the correct time and therefore, the pot filler pipes were NOT insulated. As a result, even more new plaster was removed and replaced with caulking 30 minutes after appliance installation, which is not acceptable as a permanent solution. Lastly, the water source for the washer and dryer upstairs was installed on the sidewall when they should have been installed on the back wall. All of these defects must now be repaired and corrected.
Kitchen and Crawl Space Heating and Cooling:
Insulating the crawl space was included in our contract, but it was never insulated. Several professionals have been in both the kitchen and crawl space and have advised us that the pipes will freeze because the crawl space will continue to be cold. The kick toe heaters in the kitchen cabinets will heat the room but the crawl space will continue to be cold. It’s a losing battle. We have been advised that a heat source should have been added in addition to insulation. This all must now be repaired and corrected. This is also discouraging. We trusted and hired him as our contractor to make sure all areas were functional and that we were doing the right things.
Electrical Work
During your time on this project, he consulted with 2 electrician companies. In that time, mistakes were made. Brand new plaster walls were cut into to repair these mistakes. Not to mention the poor communication between him and our cabinet maker about our under cabinet plugs and lighting. Our custom-made cabinets now have unnecessary and visually ugly holes cut in them to accommodate poor electric and lighting options. Furthermore, when the backsplash and plaster were removed to fix the uneven walls, it was revealed that there were multi live buried junction boxes as well as several live wires in the walls. Again, we as a customer relied on his expertise to ensure the right subcontractors were working on our project and that he would oversee their work and products chosen to be used.
As to the work that we have paid for but has not been completed, we provide the following:
The outdoor siding was included in our project and was paid for but the area on the side of the house as well as some small areas near the steps need siding reinstalled. It was not done. Despite several requests to have the speaker wires located and opened, the speaker wires were covered. Cable wires were cut off. We uncovered this when the siding was removed to reinstall the windows, siding, and trim.
Additionally, as noted above, finishing the casing of the door was not completed and the door doesn’t shut and now lock properly, the crawlspace installation was never done, the electrical work wasn’t completed, and quite frankly was a poor job ( despite a grossly expensive payment) and areas of plasterwork that were taken down to allow you to fix electrical and window errors done by both him and his subs were not repaired properly.

We have pictures of everything, and, three other contractors who are willing to share their knowledge of the inadequate and dangerous work that was completed by Mr. Malcolm.

*** Personally identifiable information removed (JTP

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