It's the kind of job that makes every builder and remodeler cringe: After getting bogged down by the clients taking too long to select materials, and a string of change orders, the customer stopped paying and sued for $6 million dollars, claiming "shoddy construction work."  According to an article in Crain's Chicago Business, Shuf said he met with the clients, Ken and Marcia Rapoports, for three hours each week for the more than two years the home was being designed and built. "The delays were largely attributable to the Rapoports taking weeks and sometimes months to choose materials that needed to be ordered."

Shuf claims the dispute stems from them “not paying us for work, not because of poor workmanship.”

It's hard to say how the job went really went down, but it's easy to imagine:  Job delays create tons of tension, particularly when the customer is forced to apply to for an extension on an expiring permit  (see minutes of the meeting of the Northbrook Architectural Control Commission; PDF). Perhaps Shuf had some responsibility for the delays, if only in not knowing how to say "no." Saying no to a client is the hardest thing to do, but with change orders you sometimes have to do it (see "Tracking Changes - All of Them," JLC 6/04)

The customers claim they fired Shuf, alleging it will cost more than $1 million to fix the builder's mistakes on the 9,000-sq. ft., 6-bedroom home. They are seeking an additional $5 million in punitive damages, according to the original article in Chicago Business about the lawsuit. The property is valued at $1,222,000 in a neighborhood where that price seems to put the home at the high-end of the market  (see property listing on Trulia). The Rapoports bought the underwater property, originally a 4-bedroom, for $675,000 in 2010 (see "CPA firm owner scores 4BD in Northbrook"). Perhaps they were just over extended. Shuf says the Rappoports owed his firm $268,000 in February 2013 when “I terminated my contract with them.”

No matter how you spin it, this is certainly a job that did not unfold the way builder Adam Shuf wanted it to go