'It’s been constant stress': Southern Alberta couple sees dream home turn into nightmare
RAYMOND, ALTA. -- When Bill and Melanie Brandley finally started building their family dream home, there was an initial feeling of pure excitement.
“It was really exciting when we finally got it going. We thought, 'Oh wow, it was a dream come true,'" said Melanie.
The couple had been living in a modest duplex in Vulcan, Alta. raising their four daughters for more than 30 years.
Bill, a high school teacher, and Melanie, a licensed practical nurse, had been saving during their time in the small community to pay for their daughters’ education and eventually build a new home.
In 2017, they were finally ready to hire a builder and get the ball rolling on their new house in Raymond, Alta.
But it wasn’t a smooth process.
“Once they dug the hole for the house itself, they put the footings in and then it sat and nothing happened for probably two or three weeks," said Bill.
“Then when the floor in the garage started to sag two inches, that was another red flag.”
Fast-forward one year and construction was at a standstill.
Trades workers that had been hired by the builder stopped working because they hadn’t been paid by the builder who hired them even though the Brandleys had already forked out more than $100,000 for that purpose.
In order to get things moving again, they had to pay another $105,000 out of pocket.
“It’s been three years of kind of a living hell in the sense that we wake up and we never know what the next problem is going to be," said Bill.
In May 2020 an engineer hired by an insurance company filed a 26-page report finding the house was in need of more than $540,000.
After going through with a new home warranty insurance claim, depleting their savings and cashing in investments, they still needed to take on $160,000 of debt.
More than three years later, the Brandleys are almost done building their home.
They’ve hired a new contractor who said he’s absolutely shocked by the dangerously poor job done by the previous builder.
“The foundation was actually failing in two places for the walls, and then we had the garage floor that was actually failing as well,” said Moline Construction Ltd. owner Phil Moline.
“We had to put up a lot of temporary shoring and then put in appropriate beams that were actually shown in the drawings and just never put in.”
The list of issues has seemed endless for the Brandleys who described the entire debacle as if they were opening up Pandora’s Box.
They said when looking to fix one issue, they have often found two or three new ones that have prolonged the process.
Bill and Melanie’s daughters have since set up a GoFundMe page which has already received far more support than the Brandleys ever expected.
“I’ve just been sobbing the last couple of days. People have been so kind and so generous and so loving and supportive," said Melanie.
It’s been a long road for the entire family, but with a new contractor and most crucial repairs already made, they hope to put this nightmare behind them in short order.