Friday, July 31, 2009

Garage doors at last....

Finally, on a lighter note, the garage doors have both been installed.

I dropped in last night just as the light was dissapearing to take a photo of the front and was curious about whether the back door had been installed. It was raining (and the clay is a nightmare when it's wet) and so I pushed up the front garage door and was surprised to find that the rear door had also been installed.

So here it is....

Our house - almost complete

Garage doors at last!!

We're not wrapped in the white (actually it's paperbark) front door and the bit above the garage and are thinking that we might change it after handover. We actually wanted a dark front door but they wouldn't allow it because it's west facing and could possibly warp. I'm thinking a mid grey, bordered by the paperbark above the garage door might make it blend a bit better and perhaps some mid grey detail on the front door as well.

And here's the mass of powerpoints in the lounge. The top line (the quad and an aerial) is what we requested - and at that height. The bottom row is what they put in initially (although one was an aerial point and for some reason has been changed to a double powerpoint), and when we commented that it wasn't right, they just added the ones that should have been there rather than taking them away. I'm thinking that we might as well leave them there rather than muck about with patching and painting...

Enough power points do you think???

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I am now dreading the PCI appointment on Monday, but anticipating an end very soon.

We had Kevin booked to do a re-inspection yesterday (Wednesday) and had informed our SS who had agreed to the appointment albeit reluctantly because "Wednesday is our office day" as we hear so often. However 8am yesterday morning OHs phone rings and it's the SS telling us that Kevin can't do an inspection as no-body is available to open up for him. He put up a slight arguement and the SS suggested that Kevin could do an external inspection but that he couldn't go inside. I was NOT impressed and so I got on the phone and all hell brooke loose....

I couldn't understand how the SS had agreed a day earlier and now it was a problem and so I argued. Eventually I heard the SS say to somebody beside him "see I told you this would happen". So I asked to speak with that person which I eventually managed to do after a lot of persistence. Turns out the other person was the construction manager and to call him rude is putting it lightly.

To cut a long story short, the construction manager implied that we were delaying the progress of our house and that quote "this can't go on any longer". We were also told that if Kevin attended our house yesterday we would be in breach of our contract and that if we wanted him to do another inspection that this would constitute our PCI and that we would be waiving our rights to attend a PCI.

I don't see how it is that we could be blamed for delaying the house when all we have asked is for 2 inspections to be done and then an additional one because items from the first report weren't fixed. The last inspection was done on the 1/7/09 and the house has sat there idle for the most part of the past month. For the month prior to that the house also had very little activity - none of that is our fault.

In the end I had to back down and cancelled Kevin's inspection. I was furious at the way that they spoke to me and how in they were telling me that they are doing more than is required to get our house ready but couldn't actually give me any details. They kept pointing out that they don't actually have to respond to anything on Kevin's report but they did and we are supposed to be gratefull...

OH is also furious and would like to fight it and according to the information that we've received from Kevin, they would cop significant fines for what they are trying to do (getting Kevin to sign off on the PCI for starters) but I've had enough. If we go into battle the only win is the fines that they receive - we continue to pay interest on our loan as well as rent and get nothing for the effort that it takes. Yes there is the satisfaction but that's only worth it if the impact of our action has an effect on them as a business. It's likely that the fines would be nothing to them and so I can't be bothered.

I am however dreading the PCI on Monday as the construction manager has informed me that he will be there and I am sure that they will argue against anything that we point out. The reason that they are so desparate to get us into the house is that they have exceeded their project time (not the contract) by almost double and it's costing them money (not money that they have to pay us, but in terms of their business and the costs of staff and not being able to start a new job). This really isn't fair as we are not responsible for their delays, we have not asked for anything unreasonable and we have let them go at their own pace. They know that I'm at my wits end and that I will sign-off on many things without much more argument, but we will be getting Kevin in to inspect the house after handover and we will pursue it with the building commission if the structural issues remain.

Anyway - sorry this is so long, I just needed to get it off my chest.

Oh and I got home from work yesterday afternoon to find the Certificate of Occupancy in the mail Apparently the house was inspected on the 30/6/09 and yet we were still being told at that time that it wasn't finished. And I thought that you needed a hot water service to get a COO but obviously I was wrong on that too.

And one more thing - one of our garage doors has finally been installed (the front one).

Monday, July 27, 2009

We have a PCI date...

Ok, so I am a little bit calmer about the house at the moment, not because anything has happened, but simply because what benefit does it serve...

I read a magnet in a shop recently that fits this situation (and me) to a tee:

"For every minute you are angry you loose 60 seconds of happiness"
Ralph Emerson

All of this being angry is not doing either of us any good and so I've decided I'm not going to let it get to me anymore (at least I'l try!!)

What's frustrating with our build is that we are well off the contract period and as such there isn't much that we can do or complain about. I guess I just didn't expect to have paid the majority of the bills so early and to then be waiting so long. I really do feel for those whose build goes well over the contract time.

Actually I really wouldn't mind if it went to full contract if they would just keep us informed with what's happening and stop lying to us - that is what is really getting to me... the lies and the lack of information about what for us is the biggest amount of money we've ever spent.

On a brighter note, we now have a PCI date - next Monday. It seems a bit hollow however as we know there are things that haven't been done. Having said that, at least it gives us a chance to get everything that we arent' happy with in writing, and they've told us that everything should be fixed within 7 days of the PCI (I don't believe it but it's a start).

I really do need to give credit where credit is due though. As much as our SS is an idiot, he at least answers our calls or calls back almost immediately if he misses a call. Whilst everyone else is ignoring our calls, he is at least still talking to us and for that I am thankful!

Fingers crossed that most things are finished before our PCI on Monday.

Friday, July 24, 2009

In the dark...

I'm feeling so "in the dark" about our house... I have no idea what is happening or when we might be able to move in!

When I ring the SS he babbles on and says not much and the CSO is ignoring my calls. I tested her this morning... I've tried calling all week and my calls have gone unanaswered. I called this morning and it rang through to message bank, I rang back but blocked the number and it was answered in two rings. Her information on our house?... I'll call you when we are ready to present it to you....

And to top it off the "nice as pie, if you have any problems just call me, area manager won't return our calls either" I JUST WANT MY HOUSE FINISHED!!!!!!!!!!!

They are fixing some of the things from the inspection report and others they believe are "satisfactory"! They have ripped up the window sills and we are still waiting on the brickie to return and finish the job.

The garage doors seem to have gone AWOL and SS has no idea what's happening with them or when they will arrive, let alone get installed.

And yet we received a letter yesterday from the settlements officer explaining the handover process. WE HAVEN'T EVEN GOT A PCI APPOINTMENT YET!!!!!!!!

And the worst part?... they have had 95% of the money since April and we're paying interest on that and rent and we have no idea when they are going to pull their finger out and finish the bloody thing!

I'd start packing but this could go on for weeks yet!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I had a question from Fi about the progress of our house and I realised that I hadn't updated the blog for quite some time...

In answer to your question Fi, Things are progressing slowly and hopefully we are only a week or two of PCI and then handover shortly after. Building with Simonds hasn't been as easy as we'd be lead to believe but in saying that I think that there are people who have experienced the same with all of the big volume builders.

Our issue is probably more with the incompetence of the staff working on our project and not necessarily with the company as a whole (although there are a few odd policies that we question the validity of).

Overall our house is looking good on the inside and the layout is just what we wanted, however there are several key brickwork issues that need to be corrected that should have been fixed a long time ago. When these last issues are fixed we'll be ready for our PCI and to be honest I can't wait for this all to be over. Please feel free to email me directly if you want to know more about our experiences. The Homeone forum is also another invaluable resource for people building.

An Update...

I have been neglecting this blog lately because I'm "over" this whole building caper, but I reckon it's time for an update.

We had Kevin do an inspection for us back on July 1 (an effort in itself as CSO wanted to dictate when we would do it and refused to work within the appointment that I had made as per advice from the area manager - a battle which I did eventually win but not after several very heated phone calls)and we were horrified with the results!! Most of the brickwork issues that he identified in the pre-plaster inspection still hadn't been fixed despite being told by both the SS and CSO that all of the issues from the first report had been fixed.

Needless to say the SS and I had "words" about this and what he had to say simply floored me! I couldn't understand WHY we had told such lies... his response... the brickies told me they'd fixed all of the problems Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the role of Site Supervisor is to coordinate the job and oversee it - which would mean checking on the quality of work. I asked him about this and he repeated that the brickies had told him they'd fixed the problems... What the???

He's now assured me that all the issues have been fixed. This time I've asked if he's actually checked the work and this time he says that he has. Do I beleive him - not on your life!! What really angers me is that he argued against this inspection just as he did the first. He stood there in our house and told us that we were wasting our money because the first inspection raised all of the structural issues and an inspection at this stage wouldn't bring up anything else that we couldn't pick up ourselves.

I'm now waiting on a call from him this afternoon with more information about where we're up to. He had promised that all of the work would 'hopefully' be finished by Friday last week, but apparently they ran out of bricks and he still has no idea what's happened with our garage door either

When we spoke on Friday he was talking about a PCI possibly Thursday this week... I have NO hopes for this as I want Kevin back in to re-inspect BEFORE we do our PCI and the closest appointment I can get is Wednesday next week. I KNOW that is not going to go down so well as Wednesday is 'office day'....

Anyway, fingers crossed for a PCI next week sometime.