Sunday, December 25, 2005

Everyone needs an Outlet, but 24 outlets?

This blog is my outlet. It allows me to articulate the frustration, anger, pain, and disgust I have with Three Little Pigs Construction. It also allows me to illustrate some of the more 'interesting' aspects of Dave Exline's construction technique.

Today for your daily edification, I sumbit 24 electrical outlets that are not needed.

The 24 electrical boxes for these outlets were strategically placed every three feet on most of the walls in the house. Yes, The Pigs KNOW electricity. After consulting with a REAL electrician, we decided to remove them.

In case you are wondering, I still have plenty of outlets.

In closing I ask each of you to count the total number of outlets in your house. Email me with how many you have.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Year End...

The end of this most interesting year is approaching. This is the time for friends, family, and for some, more court dates. Dave Exline, Janice Exline, and the Three Little Pigs Construction Company are in court again this month. I wonder if Dave Exline is on a first name basis with judge yet?
P.S. I updated Dave's 'Court Calendar' for those of you keeping track

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Three Little Pigs Data acquisition

In trying to figure out how I could have been so wrong in choosing Dave Exline and Three Little Pigs Construction, I decided to research his construction business and whether or not he had other legal issues in San Luis Obsipo County. Little did I know what I would find out.

To start off with, here is a picture of Dave Exline of Three Little Pigs Construction being served with my lawsuit alleging breach of contract, fraud, and negligence. He is the little guy on the right. He was going into the courtroom for another construction related lawsuit.

I started out by doing legal research at the San Luis Obsipo County courthouse. Finding out that your contractor has been involved in lawsuits in the past is not a bad thing in and of itself. But finding out that your contractor has been in lawsuits with his immediate family should be cause for concern.

Then I decided to check with the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County Clerk Recorders. There was even more info to be found. Looks as if Dave Exline/Three Little Pigs Construction filed mechanics liens against Roger and Jeannie Hunt in San Luis Obispo County and Dulce Marrs in Santa Barbara Country. Go HERE for information on how Mechanics Liens work.

Upon finding this, I decided the next course of action should be to contact the Hunts and Dulce Marrs and to contact former customers of Dave Exline/Three Little Pigs construction to find out their experiences. My list was as follows:

  • Ducle Marrs(mechanics lien filed by Three Little Pigs Construction)
  • Roger and Jeannie Hunt(mechanics lien filed by Three Little Pigs Construction)
  • Steve and Judy Brysinski
  • Kathy and Craig Bonelli
  • Rosemary Thorne (Filed lawsuit against Dave Exline/Three Little Pigs)
After hearing their experiences, I thought it would be good to keep an eye on the court calendar in San Luis Obispo County and much to my surprise Dave Exline was a frequent visitor to the courts. Here is a link to a page I created to keep track of his legal issues. This is not a complete list but should give you a sense of how often Dave Exline and Three Little Pigs Construction was showing up on the docket.

In reviewing the calendars I happened upon the case of Michael Boyijian vs. Dave Exline/Janice Exline. A bit of research revealed that Boyijian was retained by Dave Exline in his lawsuit against Dulce Marrs. Something must have happened as now Dave Exline is/was in a lawsuit with his former attorney. How that works only Dave Exline could tell you.

The interesting thing is, if you go to Dave Exlines' website, and look at his current projects, one of them is his sons' house in San Diego, and the other is the Thorne project. The very same Thornes who have filed a lawsuit.

After discovering this information it was clear to me what I was dealing with. Unfortunately most of this information was not as readily available in 2000 as is in 2005. Because if it was, Dave Exline would never have gotten my business

My advice to anyone doing more than $500.00 worth of work with a contractor, spend some time researching them. Check the county clerk recorder for liens and other info, check the civil and criminal courts for info, use internet search engines like Yahoo, Google, and Dogpile by typing in their personal names, company name, and combinations, and also check out your states Contractors License Board just to make sure they have a valid license.

Monday, November 21, 2005

End of the nightmare...

365 days ago, I started peeling back the onion of Dave Exline and the Three Little Pigs Construction companies work. Little did I know that the onion would be rancid, rotten, and slimy. So like so much kitchen waste, I am turning this rancid, rotten, slimy, stinky, onion, into a compost. A compost that can fertilize, that can encourage growth, that will keep giving back something positive and healthy long after the smell has gone.

This house can now be lived in. It can have laughter, it can now have warmth, it can now have happiness, it can now have hope. People will enjoy the holidays in the house, they will create new memories to replace the old memories and fill the house with its' own life.

There is still work to be done, but it is work I gladly do. It is work that will make the bad memories recede into the past.

As the house continues to take on character it will be posted here. As it continues to grow into a home, it will be chronicled here.

Final thoughts on this experience and Dave Exline in particular:

  • That it would take 365 days from firing Dave Exline and his band of 'construction' workers to get to a house you can live in is a testament of his construction capability
  • Dave Exline will be as successful in his 'custom home construction and home inspection business as he has been in his previous business endeavors.
  • Funny that I never see Dave in town.
  • If your contractors home is messy, unorganized and cluttered, odds are the work he does for you will be the same
  • As for Dave Exline, Janice Exline, and the Three Little Pigs Construction Company, it seems as if fate has a sense of humor in that they continue to have court dates on consecutive days
Thank you all for your support, well wishes, and kind words.

The nightmare is officially over.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

How many electrical outlets

As I deconstruct the building of this house, I wonder. why do I have 11(eleven) electrial outlets in one room!?!!? I can only believe it was because The Three Little Pigs wanted to make sure I was a happy camper. Because as we all know, having 6 electrical outlets on 8ft of wall is what everyone wants.

My amazement at the work of Dave Exline dba Three Little Pigs Construction will never cease.

Yee Haw, build me another house sparky!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Court, Court, and more Court

I have found it easier to distill the past and current court cases involving David Exline, Janice Exline, and Three Little Pigs construction, into one page. Click HERE to view.

...and remember, "this is custom home construction and you will get a great piece of property"


Thursday, September 29, 2005

High Quality Construction Managment

Available: Part-time construction project manager for small to medium size projects.

I have over 4 years experience with plumbing, basic electrical training, standard construction techniques, blueprint reading, budgeting, and purchasing. I am organized, pride myself on attention to detail, and have a unique understanding of all facets of the construction process, I will act as the intermediary workers, between the architect and his subcontractors, and between the project and any regulatory personnel.

In addition, I will meet regularly with owners, subcontractors, architects, and other design professionals to monitor and coordinate all phases of the construction project. I will regularly review engineering and architectural drawings and specifications to monitor progress and ensure compliance with plans and specifications. I will also track and control construction costs to avoid cost overruns.

I will never blame you, the customer for my bad decisions or poor quality work. I will make sure the work crew reports to work on time and ready to work. They will be honest, have integrity, and be free of any wants and warrants. They will work a full day, everyday and treat the job site with respect.

I will make sure no changes are made prior to your approval. I will ensure that all subs are paid in a timely manner and I will make sure the job site is clean, and organized.

Of course I am not looking for a construction management job, but if I had a person like the one described above, I suspect that I would not have had the issues that this project has.

In retrospect, Dave Exline and Three Little Pigs Construction pretty much lived down to their name.

Speaking of, Dave Exline was back in COURT on 9/28/05. For those of you keeping score at home, I think Dave Exline has now had at least 1 court appearance every month of the year. Can he keep the streak alive? Stay tuned.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The cost of doing business...

I have come to the conclusion that anyone who has found a good contractor has won the lottery. Everyone save 1 person I know, has contractor nightmare stories. Even attorneys have nightmare stories.

Here are some things I wish I knew, based on my research:

American Contractors Indemnity Company vs David Vern Exline an individual and dba Three Little Pigs Construction; Janice Exline. Complaint for:

  • Breach of Contract
  • Indemity
  • Common Count
  • Account Stated
My favorite line from this lawsuit is as follows:
7. "Thereafter, various claims and lawsuits arose and were made against the bonds described in Exhibit 2, because of Defendants' violations of the applicable provisions of the California Business and Professions Code"

Michael Boyajian vs. Dave Exline and Janice Exline
  • currently in litigation for non payment of legal services
Dulce Marrs vs. Dave Exline dba Three Little Pigs Constrcution
  • Insurance company settled construction defect lawsuit for $40,000 to Dulce Marrs
Roger and Jeannie Hunt
  • Dismissed Dave Exline from project prior to finish
Craig and Kathy Bonelli
  • Indicated that they would never work with Dave Exline again.
Dan Conner Plumbing vs. Dave Exline dba Three Little Pigs
  • Small claims Dave Exline refused to pay for plumbing work. Three Little Pigs Construction prevailed in this small claims action
Thorne weaving barn
  • Would not have Tim Exline work on their place.
This seems to be the cost of doing business with some contractors. They do not seem to care that they impact peoples lives. They always hide behind "its a business" after they sell you on them building your dream. Contractors by and large, refuse to be pinned down by dates or costs. Why? I really do not know.

When they turn your dream into a nightmare, they refuse to acknowledge it. They refuse to engage you in that discussion, it then becomes all about business.

If I never work with another contractor, it will be too soon. I plan to do my next blog from court in San Luis Obispo

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Judges, Lawyers and Courts, Oh My!

I wonder how much a contractor, who stays in court so much, manages to run his business. Dave Exline does seem to spend an inordinate time in court. Whether it be construction related or not, the only way to find out would be to either call and ask Exline, or perhaps show up for one of his court dates on 8/15 AND 8/16. Could this be why the houses he is working on in Monterey County and San Diego County have yet to be finaled? This could also explain why he was not able to do more than 3-4% per month on my house, because if I spent this much time in court, my productivity and quality of work would suffer. Strangely enough, his son/my job site manager has also been spending a lot of time in court as well. The fruit does not fall far it seems.

Perhaps one of his current attorneys would be interested in knowing how much time he spends in court, how much he switches attorneys, and last but not least, how many houses he has actually finished without having some type of conflict with the owner. Finished being the operative word.

Someone once told me that reasonable people do not end up in court. What does it say when a business owner, may have to spend at least 1 day per month (on average) 'defending' himself.

In the end, it would just be best to ....To Three Little Pigs Construction. CA. Lic. #420523

Sunday, July 24, 2005

This to shall pass...

To all the people who have sent me emails of encouragement, thank you very much. I appreciate the support

This project will be completed. The agnst, anger, and frustration may never give way to a sense of accomplishment that was once envisioned but it will be complete. Life has a way of bringing everything into focus, our goal is to make sure we are looking when it comes into focus. To that end, I have included some updated pictures of the house coming into focus.

As I re-learn how to focus myself on what is truly important, I find that the one of the criteria of judging a boxing matchrings true, effective aggression. That is something I need to remember everytime I look at this project and become angry. I need to focus the aggression on where it truly belongs. I need to make decisions that:

  • Complete this project
  • Make cost effective and timely decisions
  • Remember that this is an investment
  • Do not get bogged down in little details

One thing that I will take away from this is that letting someone in your life is not a trivial matter. How disruptive this project has been to my life is the poster child of that statement.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Needing to vent...

I have been trying to keep this journey in the proper perspective these last few months but this week I am failing.

The more I discover about Dave Exline and Three Little Pigs Construction, the more I am shocked, awed, and amazed that he is still in business. His name has showed up at least 3 times on the court dockets in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties so far this year. At least 2 of them construction related. From what I can tell, he has spent more than his fair share of time in civil and small claims court. Of course in typical american justice fashion, going to court or settling a lawsuit is not an admission of guilt or wrong doing but it does make you wonder. Exlines current attorney(he has been represented no less than 5 attorneys the past 5 years) says he is a salt of the earth kind of guy, honest as the day is long, blah, blah, blah. If being in various stages of litigation is an indicator of saltiness and various court appearances are a sign of honesty, I would have to agree with those statements.

In this situation, the neighbors would tell me that the Three Little Pigs crew would show up at 7am and leave at 11am. That some days they would not come out, that they would look to be talking and joking and not working. I am positive that the only person with a Genreal Contractors license from Three Little Pigs Constrution, spent less than 25% of the time on my site. AND IT SHOWS. The crew he had out there were not real job site managers, or carpenters. Tim Exline(Dave Exlines son) may not have anything more than a high school diploma and he was the job site manager?!?!? Perhaps a closer look at Tim's history in a future post, will bring some clarification to the quality of the work and the work ethic the neighbors mentioned.

Is this a I hate Dave Exline site? No, it's that I hate what contractors are allowed to do to people site.

I have the perspective of someone who grew up in a very bad area. Where there were gangs, drug dealers, thugs and scam artists, etc. I have seen the hustle and the game played up close. The Contractors lobby has twisted the game in such a way that it puts almost ALL of the onus on the consumer to be educated, informed, and on top of things. Even then, it would be almost impossible to protect yourself from a bad contractor. You can call the police after someone has stolen your car or broke into your house. When a contractor screws you over, try getting the CSLB on the phone. Really, try.

The true problem is not so much with Exline but with how contractors are allowed to operate in this state. His actions and behavior is a learned behavior. In effect, contractors can legally take your money, not deliver the goods and services, not pay THEIR bills and leave the owner holding the bag. The bar to getting a complaint on a contractors record is more prohibitive than anything else. The best way I can describe it is this way. The CSLB must have consulted with the IRS's audit team about the level of documentation required to clear an audit in developing their complaint procedure.

In short, contractors have a better game than, the Pimp Game, the 419 Game, and the Three Card Monte scam. The reality is, a high school graduate with no real business or financial skills becomes a contractor and begins to build houses. Before you know it, this person is building 2-3 houses per year at an average cost of $375k. So you have this contractor dealing with subs, permits, owners, etc, and they have over 1 million dollars of budget responsibility. Some contractors handle this well, some do not. Some pay subs on time, some do not. Some play the shell game of "pay me for plumbing and then apply it to something else", where as some keep everything above board. Guess which one I got...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics, and Contractors

Mark Twain is rumored to have uttered the phrase "There are Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics" Personally, I think a contractor said it.

Statistically speaking, this house is very wasteful in wood, materials, space utilization, and time and effort to date. Not the 'green' house I envisioned. It needs two heating and cooling units, possibly 20% more lumber than estimated, and no fireplace. (The fireplace story is for another post)

In addition, Dave Exline took liberties with the design and architecture without ever notifying me, the owner, I have included what the house looks like now(left image), and what is was designed to look like.(right image) Of course Dave Exline swears he did this for my benefit.
How about letting the owner make the decision. Note: Please excuse the poor Photoshop job. I am a bit rusty these days.

In line with the title, here are some of the conversations I recall having with Dave Exline of Three Little Pigs Construction.

  • Bedrooms and bathrooms do not need central heating and cooling because of how strawbale houses perform. (strange that the laundry room 'needed' it)
  • Better to stain the concrete floors prior to framing(the floors will have to be redone due to the amount of traffic during construction)
  • Concrete counter tops are too expensive(bid I have is over 75% less than Exline estimated)
  • No such thing as stucco color coat(Strange, every other stucco contractor I spoke to heard of it)
  • He had never heard of obscure tempered glass
Sometimes I wonder if he ever listened to anything I requested or did he just build the house he wanted. Maybe he was too busy working on his sons house and the project in Greenfield to pay any attention to me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Contractor Responsibility

Progress on the house continues. It is great to see real professionals at work. People who can make a commitment and stick to it. Who update you with progress and let you know the current status of your project. Thanks again for bringing this project back from the precipice.

Which brings me to this question, why don't some contractors take responsibility? When given a job of building a house, remodeling a kitchen, adding a room, the consensus from people I have spoken to is that some contractors will never admit a mistake. Some just try to ignore it, some try to blame the customers 'meddling' and some actually tell the customer to leave them alone and they will get the job done.(as happened to me). Why not make it right? Why not accept that you did not meet the customers expectation and ask them what would it take to make them happy? Taking responsibility is something most of us learn growing up. What happened to these individuals? Did their parents not give them enough attention, do they despise all authority? Do they become contractors because they can be their own boss, make their own hours, and have virtually no accountability for bad work as long as they can make it pass code?

All bad contractors know that they have the advantage. They know they can do sub-par work and not have any repercussions. The bar is so high to get a complaint on their record that most people do not even try. A contractor can do a bad job and move on. They control who their references are, who their prospective customers talk to, and even the work their prospective customers see.

The agency that regulates contractors in California, the Contractors State License Board, makes getting a complaint on a contractors record is close to an act of god. The amount of documentation and paper work they request is amazing. The amount of paper work is more than what a bank would ask for in a home loan.

In order to have the CSLB begin looking into your alleged complaint, a contractor would have to do something like:

Then, the Contractors State License Board will begin to look into your complaint. Should I consider myself lucky that there they are looking into my alleged complaint?

When I first met Dave Exline, he came across as a very dedicated, hard working, honest, upfront, responsible contractor. For me, he is just another report to the CSLB.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Why are Contractors so...

Contractors Complaints (981,000 results from Google) The word elicits the same reaction as car dealers,(527,000 results from Google) and dmv complaints,(66,400 results from Google) . My experience, albeit very limited, is that when a contractor starts giving reasons instead of results, RUN!!! When they begin to tell you how they could have done it, after they have done it, RUN!!! When they say that you don't understand something and refuse to explain it, RUN!!!

In short, do not cut them any slack. Get everything in writing, get performance guarentees, get a list of ALL of their customers, and have them abide by the contractors ethics guidebook. Getting them to include this in their contract would be advisable.

Sadly, when I brought this to the attention of Dave Exline of Three Little Pigs construction, he refused to agree to it. The tagline for the ethics guide is "
Doing it Right A Contractors Standard for Excellence.

In addition, I am taking donations to send this book to the former contractors customers :-)

Perhaps there are contractors out there who do the job right the first time. Who do not make excuses, who do not seek to deflect the 55 construction defects from their previous lawsuit to others. Maybe there are contractors who take responsibility for their actions and acutally stand behind there work. Semmes and Company builders seem to fit that bill. They communicate, take pride, and offer results. Sadly they were not my 1st choice to build with.

I have learned quite a bit, and will continue to learn as this process winds it's way thru. Stay tuned, I have 10 months worth of email conversations I am reviewing. Some of them quite enlightening.

Monday, July 04, 2005

House Thoughts and Ramblings...

How did this project go awry? Why, in the face of overwhelming information would someone refuse to take responsibility? Obviously the work was not done in a timely manner. Nor was it done in a workmanlike manner. It was not even done in some cases.

I keep asking the same questions knowing there will be no answers forthcoming. At least from Dave Exline. If this were the first lawsuit against him, I could perhaps accept it. If it were first job he was fired from, perhaps I could accept it. Instead, I was drawn in by Dave Exlines proclamations of:
  • "I stand behind my work"
  • "You are going to have a nice piece of property"
  • "This is a custom home, not a tract home, it takes more time"
So after Dave Exline/Three Little Pigs being on the job from 10/2003 to 11/2004, he was less than 60% complete, no rough framing or roof framing inspections passed, and a host of issues that are outlined in this post.

In trying to articulate how I feel about this, I am struck by the depth of emotions experienced. The questions of why and how will always remain unanswered. They will remain unanswered because Dave Exline does not finish all of the projects he starts, leaving the owners of those respective projects asking themselves some of the same questions.

Hunt, Marrs, Miley. These are the names of the people who ask themselves the same questions I do. Dave Exline/Three Little Pigs Construction started but did not finish these projects. They represent a some % of Three Little Pigs Construction work since 2000. How can you 'stand behind your work' when 3 out of 5-7 projects have VERY unhappy customers.

I removed myself from day to day involvement in the house to gain perspective. It has worked to a certain extent but the reality is that this has been extremely painful, very disappointing, and very frustrating. As the house continues to get built by true professionals, I am constantly struck by the difference in workmanship, work ethic, communication, and quality. Why I settled for less I will never know. There are lessons in every painful moment in life. The hard part is taking the time to learn those lessons. Those lessons are for another post.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Paso Straw Bale House Visit, July 2nd, 2005

This is my first visit to the house site is 3 months. The last 3 months have seen more work done than the Three Little Pigs Construction Company accomplished in 6 months. Kudos to Semmes and Company Builders, (Walt is a good man) for the high quality workmanship, and hard work. True professionals.

I enjoy seeing progress on this but still have a lot of anger and frustration. Anger over re-reading 3 months worth of email correspondence and seeing the lack responsibility for the work done. Frustration over the fact that my dream has turned into something else. Frustration that it is costing so much more in time, effort and energy than anyone could have imagined. Frustration in seeing entire housing developments started and completed in the time it has taken to get to stucco and drywall.

The Internet, leveling the playing field one blog at a time.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Two years to the day

I am two years to the day of signing a contract with Dave Exline of Three Little Pigs Construction. Attempting to re-hash everything is beyond the scope of this entry but I am going to archive the posts I was making to my website here. I will keep this blog updated with the less than enjoyable aspects I encounter as I continue to bring to closure my involvement with Dave Exline of Three Little Pigs construction.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Stoppage of work due to unauthorized engineering changes

No work is being done on the Paso Straw Bale house pending resolution of
legal issues concerning the construction performed by Three Little Pigs/Dave Exline.
:-( Please feel free to email me at
for additional(off the
record) information. I will keep updates to a minimum during this time. To say this is very
disappointing would be an understatement.
Caveat Emp-tor

Friday, January 21, 2005

Engineer visits house, depression ensues

The structural engineer who originally engineered the house prepared this
report after his review of the construction by Dave Exline/Three Little Pigs Construction:
Engineering Memo . Thanks to Patrick Marr for coming up on short notice to conduct the