We hired Norseman to do our basement renovation after doing thorough research, reading reviews on Home Stars and obtaining four other quotes.
The exercise of getting an accurate quote from Norseman was challenging as the first quote we received was far below what the "actual" job was going to cost, and we went back and forth with the Sales Manager (SM) to finally reach a number that accurately reflected the scope of the job and captured all the details of what we could expect from them. We had some concerns and almost didn't choose them to do the work. When we finally did, we were assigned a very enthusiastic and passionate Project Manager in Robert Hansen. Robert genuinely cares about pleasing the home owner and is very pleasant. He really went out of his way in the beginning to ensure that we understood each step of the project. There were some hiccups along the way that delayed the project and quite a bit of frustration at how long it took to complete the project, but we do feel that the work done in our home was quality work and our neighbours, relatives and friends are impressed with the apartment.
I now want to talk about the issues that came up along the way that we addressed with Norseman during a sit-down meeting after the project ended. First, getting an accurate contract for the job was incredibly frustrating. We had to continually go back and forth with the SM to make sure the contract was correct. Second, communication was a big downfall in almost every step of the project, e.g. trying to reach the SM, only to find out that he was on vacation more than once during the contract negotiation stage - no 'out of office' auto reply on his email alerting clients of same! Further, Norseman has software which is used to update the customer on the progress of the job and a log update was promised three times a week but was not always delivered and it was difficult for us to figure out what had actually been done on some nights when we arrived home. Third, there were mistakes that happened along the way, e.g. the wrong paint colour on the walls that had to be changed and confusion over what was included in the contract versus not. Fourth, Norseman states that they pride themselves with cleaning up your home each and every night before leaving - we found that this was lacking. There were occasions where we came home to debris around the house and also discovered that an item that they mistakenly thought was our vanity, but was in fact our laundry tub, was unpacked and then being used for storage in the construction area. It subsequently became dirty and required cleaning after they left. At other times, workers used our living room as their workshop without putting any protective covering on the newly installed floor. I mention this b/c a professional company should have higher standards and I expected more from them.
On to the positive - I can honestly say that each and every time we had a concern, our Project Manager (PM) did his very best to rectify the situation. He also admitted when he was wrong and apologized. We cut him slack b/c of this. We do believe that he will make an exceptional PM once he has more experience - right now he is good, but his potential is enormous. We also very much appreciated the fact that Kevin and Simon came to our home, met with us and discussed our concerns. They acknowledged that they were some changes that needed to be made, particularly around communication, which we feel is paramount when dealing with clients, particularly when one is investing so much money in a renovation. This to me showed integrity. They also brought a bottle of wine and a card to thank us for our business.
In closing, I would like to say that Norseman is in the process of expanding. The endorsement from Mike Holmes (of course) has brought new business their way. That said, it is important that they never lose sight of their core customer. We chose them b/c we truly felt they understood our needs. We want them to succeed, but we also want them to improve. We know it's a tough business and we are honest in our feedback. In good conscience, we cannot give them a perfect rating. They did a very good job, but they are capable of better.