Warning: Contractor Scams

“Seven people were arrested in a sting operation aimed at curbing illegal contractors attempting to do business with Tea Fire victims.” Meagher, Chris, Tea Fire Rebuilding Sting, Santa Barbara Independent Feb 8, 2009.

It is unfortunate that with the recent tragedy it is likely we will see an increase in a wide range of Contractor scams, as we have experienced in the past. Informing yourself on what is illegal or suspicious behavior can be the best way to avoid the pit falls.

Before you hire a contractor or sign any documents for repairs, the California Contractors State License Board offers the following advice:

  • Avoid rushing into repairs, no matter how badly they are needed.
  • Get at least three bids, avoid hiring the first contractor who comes along.
  • Be cautious about door-to-door offers of repair services and fliers or business cards that are left at your property.
  • Ask friends, family, and associates for recommendations about contractors they have hired.
  • Avoid paying in cash, checks and credit cards provide a record of transactions.
  • Even for small jobs, get proof that the person you are dealing with has a contractor license for the type of work that needs to be done.
  • Get a written contract that details every aspect of the work plan.
  • California  law  requires  that  the  amount  of  the  down  payment  for  any  one  improvement  project, other than for construction of a swimming pool, may not  exceed  $1,000 .00  or  10%  of  the  contract  price,  excluding  finance  charges,  whichever  is  less . 
  • If excavation work is being performed, such as sewers or basement walls, make sure a building inspector inspects the work before it is hidden from view.
  • The contractor’s bid is far below the bids you have received from other contractors.  The old adage “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is” applies here
  • Authorities also suggest using contractors recommended by the insurance company and getting multiple estimates.

Check the contractor license through the state's Department of Consumer Affairs website at www.cslb.gov

Hardscape to Landscape

This hardscape and landscape project consisted of front and back yard, both side yards and the driveway. Working with the owners and designer we removed existing yard and regraded the property. The design incorporated a variety of materials cement, stone, wood, metal and glass.  

Our masonry crews diligently formed medium sized concrete pavers surrounding the home including the driveway. While our carpenters installed wood paneling on a main feature wall and fencing. The metal shop was utilized in cutting and welding posts and frames for the fence and glass wall, creating secure and enduring foundation structures.  

As the landscape grows ls in it will continue to soften the hard edges of the hardscape, at the same time proved pleasing contrast throughout the yard. The Mexican pebbles used throughout the landscape provide long lasting soil protection and ensure high permeability of rain water.  The glass walls are a striking feature of the landscape, playing with sunlight and shadow.  

Pool Build: Part 2

Photo journal of pool build. 

Planing and review on site  meeting. 

Finishing hardscape features and landscape design/restoration.  

Pool Build: Part 1

Photo journal of pool build. 

Initial pool layout, setting precise measurements and elevations. 

Initial pool layout, setting precise measurements and elevations. 

Excavation followed by Pool equipment: Trenching for water and electrical lines, new cement pad for equipment. Securing foundation with underpinning. Establishing pool and stair form and structural integrity with rebar. 

Wall finishing prepping for plaster coping, pool cover and patio. 

Crew Coordination: Part 1

Arroyo Seco Construction employs skilled craftsmen in multiple disciplines, capable of carrying out every stage of the construction process. A major strength to this diversity of work force is that multiple stages of a project can be worked on at the same time. With different work crews all under the same company and coordinating together, project are able to complete more efficiently.

In a current renovation project tile masons and carpenters work together completing details on a washroom.

Heating Things Up: Outdoor Fireplaces and Fire Pits

Arroyo Seco Construction designs and constructs the highest quality fire pits and fireplaces that will complete your outdoor entertaining area. While adding greater functionality to a space by providing cozy warmth, an outdoor fire feature can become the focal point and the glowing star of your landscape. 

Fireplaces create an intimate gathering space, making a perfect area to congregate to on Santa Barbara’s cool evenings. 

Fire Pits create a great gathering space for a larger group of people, by distributing heat in all directions your guests can gather together around and enjoy radiant heat.