I engaged THIG to design a new detached garage plan in the expectation to obtain the building permit at the end. I was told by the company and the architect it subcontracted that in fact, I could do even better than a garage in going for the "laneway house" option. Obviously, to design a laneway house cost much more than a garage. Several times I was promised and told that the architect did his due diligence, understood the by-law, and a laneway house plan would work. I even specifically asked the company to write into the contract that the building permit must be obtained (for what use is the building design if it cannot obtain city's permission?). So I was led down the garden path to design a laneway house, and a a few months later was informed by the city that the application was denied since it didn't comply to the by-law. And not just any by-law, it is the most obvious requirement that a laneway house must be adjascent to a public laneway, not a private laneway like the ones by my house. The inadmissibility should be obvious once the architect saw the new survey done. But the company proceeded as if everything was hunky dory until it was too late. So the original proposal from THIG was so fatally flawed, that it could not even pass the zoning review and cannot be salvaged. So the conclusion I drew then is that I was sold a bridge to nowhere, and this must have been obvious in the beginning to the architect/ company, or they were simply just incompetent. During this almost 8 months of ordeal, I have been trying to be as patient and reasonable as possible, however, my additional complaints against THIG were:
- it has a habit of drawing things out, paying lip services, and not really acting to resolve issues
- it never apologizes for the hiccups and errors flowing from their actions, or inactions, or failures
- pretending not to understand what was written and agreed in the contract, and not remedying the breach of the contract by doing the right thing such as refunding, or proactively proposing a real acceptable solutions
- Not managing its own subcontractors and let the clients bore all the risks
- Strange practice of charging clients substantial amount upfront for what will be delivered
So at the end, I lost $6,500+ dollars before tax with no useful results from this exercise ($1,500 survey cost is unavoidable).
I would not recommend this company and one must be very careful dealing with them if you want to engage them.
- Company Response
Eric, I am taken back by your review. Below is our conversation with our Architect and myself and our commitment to you and your project.
This is to clarify the original proposal that the client requested to be executed, which was completed at the time he had requested as per the first encounter.
This email surpasses any financial agreements between THIG and the client.
This email is to strictly clarify that the following original requests of the client has been completed. As well as to clarify that the proposal of the laneway house was a design proposal to upgrade the concept, these were not working drawings.
The inconveniences of this proposal were conversed at the moment via a three-way conversation over the telephone between the client, the President of THIG, and I. Where I inputted my opinion post my meeting with the in-charge of the Zoning Dept – City of Toronto.
After this conversation all three parties agreed on the outcome and I acted consequently: the original garage + storage proposal.
As the client confirms in the email below.
Subject: Re: Revised Quote-Garage with Storage
I am on the same page with you regarding garage + storage option as a remedial plan to the original contract. So not to worry. As you could already see, I paid my fees and what I promised timely, in full, without fail, several times in my business dealing with THIG already. So please go ahead with the garage with storage option, you have nothing to worry about from me.
I am concerned as to why the client is bringing up something that was already conversed, finalized and discussed in the past, contradicting as it was said previously to his conclusion stated in his email on March 3rd.
The client has the latest proposal drawings, site plan and the only thing that is stopping us from moving forward is his rejection.