Lance Williams on the job at the Caulfield condo.                                 (Photo supplied by Lana Caulfield)

Lance Williams on the job at the Caulfield condo. (Photo supplied by Lana Caulfield)

Renovation work gone wrong leaves Sidney senior feeling foolish

  • Aug. 22, 2017 3:10 p.m.

Tim Collins

News staff

It all started when Lana Caulfield sold her up-island home and bought a condo in Sidney, planning to renovate her new home to start a new chapter of her life.

Upon taking possession of the condo on June 30 of last year, she found it difficult to find a contractor. When she was introduced to Lance Williams by his sister, and assured that Williams was not only available but an accomplished contractor, she thought her renovation problems were solved.

“I was told he was in town renovating lots of condos and I went and saw some of the work he’d done at his sister’s home and at his mother’s condo and it looked pretty good, so I hired him. We even became sort of friends and we even took him and his wife out for dinner,” recalled Caulfield.

But there were some red flags for Caulfield when Williams asked for significant advance payments in cash and was vague on some of the details of the work. Even so, she made what was supposed to be a final payment of $18,000 to Williams on December 3 and left on a four month Mexican vacation, returning in April. She said she left Williams to act as the general contractor and complete the work.

By that time, he’d been paid approximately $96,000. But when Caufield returned to Sidney, she discovered she’d been scammed.

There was a stop work order on the property that had been initiated by the municipality when a subcontractor on the job discovered Williams did not have the proper permits in place for work he was doing. Plumbing work that had been done was not up to code and Caufield said the general workmanship on the property was “sub-standard.”

“He’d cut through firewalls to move plumbing and installed a toilet without a wax ring and had been using that toilet. The people in the condo below had significant water damage and they may have to remove their ceiling to remove material contaminated with raw sewage,” explained Aaron DeYaeger of North Saanich Plumbing, one of the subcontractors hired by Williams to rough in plumbing at the worksite.

“We roughed in the lines but then he (Williams) came and changed things and installed fixtures and none of it was up to code. It was a mess and all had to be redone,” said DeYaeger.

Similar problems surfaced with other work performed by Williams.

“The ceiling in the living room isn’t the proper material and doesn’t meet fire code and all has to be ripped out. The flooring wasn’t properly installed and the in-floor heating units were actually scorching the flooring material. It would have eventually caught fire,” said Mike Barnyard, the new general contractor, now working to remedy the problems.

“He could have burned this whole complex down.”

When contacted by the Peninsula News Review, Williams vehemently denied he was ever the general contractor on the job, claiming that 75 year-old Caulfield was the general contractor (despite the fact that she was in Mexico at the time). He admitted grudgingly to being the general contractor on the job.

He also claimed he hadn’t been paid for the job, but when told the PNR has a copy of the final payment receipt he’d signed, he backtracked on that claim as well.

“I did this job as a favour. I’m a carpenter and this job just snowballed out of control beyond what I was familiar with,” said Williams, still insisting others were to blame for the poor, and potentially hazardous, workmanship in Caulfield’s condo.

“That’s complete BS, the things that were wrong and dangerous, were things he was responsible for,” said DeYaeger.

Work is currently under way to undo the damage. That remedial work is estimated at an additional $60,000.

As for Williams, it would seem, despite having reportedly claimed he’d returned to his Alberta home, never to return, he is still operating in the Sidney area, actively engaged in other jobs. He told the PNR that he had been in Sidney up to August 21 and, although he was now in Port Alberni, he would return to Sidney in a few days.

Caulfield has consulted with police and was told her situation is a civil matter. She is considering legal action, but doubts that collecting judgments from Williams would be a simple matter.

“I’m 75 years old and have never been conned by anyone before. I feel very foolish now, and very sad,” she said, urging others to be cautious in hiring contractors without first performing intensive background checks.

editor@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Lana Caulfield and new general contractor Mike Barnyard by the unfinished kitchen in her condo. (Tim Collins/News staff)

Lana Caulfield and new general contractor Mike Barnyard by the unfinished kitchen in her condo. (Tim Collins/News staff)

Just Posted

Kelly Black, executive director of Point Ellice House Museum and Gardens, is working on years of deferred maintenance around the house and property. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Point Ellice House in Victoria looks to patch up during pandemic

Woodpeckers, leaks and rot keep museum head busy

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

Walkers ascend Mount Douglas Park on Sunday, Feb. 7. Visits to Saanich Parks are up 46 per cent compared to pre-pandemic statistics this time last year. (Darrell Wick Photo)
Oak Bay, Saanich parks peak in popularity during pandemic

Oak Bay spent an extra $5,000 on park toilet paper in 2020

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)
Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

Police say missing man Daniel Fortin, 55, is high-risk. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Daniel Fortin, 55, last seen in Victoria March 1

Anyone who sees Fortin asked to call 911

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read