We contracted with Keil Construction for design consultation on a whole house renovation, to include architectural drawings and construction permits. We paid them $6,000 and then heard nothing from them for six weeks, despite repeated requests. Finally, we received a set of blueprints dropped at our front door, though we had never met with an architect! When we questioned how this had happened without an architectural survey, we were told “since all Capitol Hill row homes are pretty much the same, we took the drawings for your neighbor’s house and flipped them.” At the time, Jeff Keil was remodeling our neighbor’s home and had sent an architect to survey and design their renovation. Basically he took money from both of us and “double dipped”, by flipping their plans (both for the existing layout and the renovation plan). One week later,we took the blueprints to Jeff’s office and explained 50-100 items that were wrong. We had drastic changes since the plans reflected our neighbors existing house and their remodeling ideas, not ours. These changes were not minor as our houses had entirely different HVAC systems and current layouts. In addition, their remodel incorporated the basement as a living room/office, while ours was to be a full apartment. So we were missing bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and all the electrical and plumbing was wrong. We stated that the scope of work and drawings should reflect our project to minimize mistakes and see the holistic vision. Jeff agreed to make the changes and send an architect to revise the drawings. One month later, we received a call from Keil employee asking us to sign the full contract (for over $200K) – we stated that we did not even have the correct drawings or permits for the remodel. She agreed to inform Jeff but he did not contact us. Finally, nine months after we paid for the project, we asked for: a refund of $6K minus reasonable expenses; an accounting of monies used; an electronic copy of the architectural plans; and our house keys. No response. After repeated calls, we received half our money, but no itemization of invoices, electronic drawings or house keys. The permits totaled $409 and were for one bathroom and they had spent no other money on our job except maybe a few dollars to copy the neighbor’s blueprints.
This was our very first experience with a contractor and it has been purely awful from start to finish. In the interest of fairness, his finished work looks to be good quality, and he is still working on our neighbor’s house. He estimated 2 months to finish their basement and took just over 7 months – so he is incredibly slow and unresponsive, even to them, who have a contract for over $200K. His company wasn’t on Angie’s List or Dirty Scam when we were researching, but we liked his finished work, so we chose him anyway. That’s the last time we’ll ever do that. Since last year, I have met over ten people who had similar (most of them much much worse) stories of doing business with him and I wanted to save other people from ending up a victim of his unethical business practices.