INDIAN ROCKS BEACH, FL – Leslie Pappas prides herself on making intelligent choices especially on high dollar investments involving her home. With a successful career in commercial real estate, Graduate degrees, and years of experience in marketing, Pappas was confident she performed her due diligence in choosing the right marine construction contractor. But, when it came to choosing the right company to repair and rebuild her seawall, she only made the right choice the second time around.
Pappas’ waterfront home sits on the edge of beautiful Indian Rocks Beach. With waterfront property, also comes waterfront issues and costly repairs, and in her case, a failing seawall in desperate need of restoration. In 2008, Pappas called around to local contractors and obtained eight cost and time estimates for rebuilding her seawall. Based on a previous relationship with a contractor who had performed piling work at her home, she contracted a company who was able to match the lowest bidder. Pappas would soon discover the company she chose first would be a costly mistake.
The company originally contracted to undertake the massive task of rebuilding the seawall had claimed it would take two weeks to perform its contracted duties. Upon completion of the project, seventeen weeks later, the nightmare for Pappas had only just begun. Within 6 weeks of completion, rust began seeping from under the seawall cap. Pappas hired an engineer to verify the defects of the wall against City code and the original engineer’s plans. Upon further discovery, there were 2-inch gaps between the seawall cap and the vinyl; rebar was protruding from the underside of the cap; the vinyl used was two grades lower than engineered specifications; and the concrete strength was 500 psi lower for the vinyl and 2000 psi lower for the cap than the original plans called for. The engineer declared her property in a state of emergency.
Pappas called on Gibson Marine Construction, one of the original eight bidders on the project, who immediately took action. They were forced to deconstruct and rebuild the newly rebuilt seawall due to shoddy workmanship and the use of low-grade, low quality materials which were used against the engineer’s plan and city code.
Despite the recourse she is currently facing with the previous contractor, Pappas couldn’t be more thrilled with the quality craftsmanship, professionalism, knowledge and integrity that the entire team at Gibson Marine demonstrated. “Professionalism isn’t a word big enough to describe Eric [the owner], Mike [the project manager], all the way to each construction worker. I knew from the first day I was dealing with honest, ethical people. And now, for the first time since I bought this home two years ago, I finally feel safe on my property thanks to Gibson Marine.”
Her message to consumers is to be proactive in due diligence when seeking contractors for your home. She also says to “Do your research! The lowest bidder isn’t always the most experienced or highest quality contractor for the job. I wish I had gotten references for the original sea wall contractor and checked with the county’s licensing board for complaints. Had I known how many complaints were issued against them, they never would have been hired in the first place.”
When Eric Swauger, owner of Gibson Marine Construction, was asked what sets his company apart from other contractors, he said, “Standards are raised at Gibson Marine Construction. For our sake and yours, we will always do the right thing; take the time to do the job right; and, pay attention to every detail….and that is our standard at Gibson Marine.”
Contrary to Pappas’ feelings about the original contractor, she says she doesn’t have a negative thing to say about Gibson Marine Construction. “From the time I moved into my home, knowing I had a failing seawall, to the day Gibson Marine completed the project, I have never felt as safe as I do now. If there was a higher score than A+, they’d get it!”