Sunday, 21 September 2014

PCI Done

Firstly I would like to say "Go the Swannies" for Saturday's Grand Final.

The PCI is done and dusted so now the wait for the Interim Occupation Certificate has begun. 

The report from our private certifier found the following issues:
  • Repaint to the repaired ceiling at the top of the stairs. (Ceiling had deep scratches in it from the painters' roller)
  • Completion is required to the drainage pipe outlet at the rear balcony to bedroom 1.
  • Repairs are required for a minor leak to the hose of the shower rose in bedroom 1 ensuite, as well as removal of a minor paint mark. (Actually 3 out of our 4 shower hoses had this problem)
  • Install the trap to the basin of the first floor toilet, as well as general repainting of the wall and edges of the abutting wall tiles to the splashback.
  • The ducting for the return air grille in the first floor area needs extending as the existing is tightly curved around a roof truss member and substantially restricts air flow.
  • Refitment is required to the air conditioning outlet to the ground floor family room as it is substantially out of square to nearby walls.
  • The installation of appliances, air conditioning system and hot water system, as well as a sticker in the meter box for the termite system installed are required at settlement.
  • Cutting off is required to the excessive damp course which is exposed beyond the external wall at lower slab level, mainly to the right hand side wall. (Our SS told us that they will not do this as it is not required despite it being in the report)
  • The installation of additional Ardit, or a floor levelling compound, is required to the concrete slab to the rear lower floor as the contours are in excess of the tolerances as set out under the Guides to Standards and Tolerances.
  • Minor refitment is required to power points, mainly to the kitchen area as some are out of level.
When doing the PCI, as we had already gone over most of the inside ourselves after our inspection with our private certifier, we just pointed out all the things we had already found, although it still took us 3 hours. We hadn't been through the garage or looked thoroughly at the external walls so did find some new things there. There is a 2 metre crack in the slab in our garage which also has smaller cracks branching off it. At this stage it is within standards and tolerances measurements but we will be documenting it's measurements at regular intervals because of the extreme ponding of water around the corner of the garage part of the slab throughout the duration of the build. We are still concerned about slab heave. There was also a settlement crack through the brickwork over the rear stackable sliding doors and Wisdom will be replacing the cracked brick. The floor in the downstairs living area has finally been levelled correctly on attempt no 2. We were missing a fly screen on the kitchen stacker window.  There was a lot of paint patch ups to be done. Cornices on the balcony ceilings did not line up with the brickwork so have been replaced and now need repainting. There were lots of dents in our colorbond roof so those sheets will be replaced. 

So now we need our Interim Occupation Certificate so we can get the bank cheque for the final payment so we can get the keys. The bank will not give us the cheque unless we can give them a copy of certificate. Once the certificate is issued here will be one final inspection of the house and then we drive to Narellan to hand over the cheque for the final payment and pick up the keys. The certificate is issued by the Private Certifiers that Wisdom use and to get it there are a whole list of requirements that need to be fulfilled, some by Wisdom, some by us. One of the things Wisdom have to provide are Works as Executed Drawings for our Hydraulics system which will come from Wisdom's Hydraulics Engineer. During our PCI the SS told us the last  time they had to get such drawings from the Engineer it took six weeks. My husband and I were left deaf, dumb and blind when told this. The thought of waiting another 6 weeks was totally unacceptable to us. So here we are left at the mercy of the Hydraulics Engineer. We have given notice on our rental and have to be out by the 4th October, but have no idea when we will have our Interim Occupation Certificate. Even once we get it, then we have to wait for the bank to issue the final bank cheque. The stress is killing me and I think I have an ulcer. Think we may just break in if we don't have the keys by the 4th Oct. Apparently the penalty is only $550 for occupying without a certificate which is less than a week's rent anyway, although the cost of a locksmith might hurt a bit.

The driveway is being poured tomorrow. The layback was fixed, well sort of. Turns out the layback was put in the wrong place because someone at Wisdom Landscapes had given Council really old drawings that were different from our final drawings. Fancy that! Wisdom making cock ups right to the very end. Don't know why Council just didn't use the DA drawings they had on file.

Layback was too far to the right so was extended on the left side but is too long on the right side now.

Crack in Garage floor

Friday, 5 September 2014

Final Private Compliance Inspection

On Wednesday this week we had our private certifier do his last inspection of the house. The only thing that was incomplete was the driveway which had been delayed because of the rain, and has now been further delayed because council put the layback in the wrong location and it is 70cm out of position. Apparently from what I have heard from neighbours it happens a lot in my council area and the alleged reason behind it is that the concreter does it deliberately so they have to come back and fix it, which means another job they will get paid for by council. As long as we don't have to pay for it to be fixed it is not my problem, although it is delaying the pour of my driveway, but that is not a bad thing as it is giving our extremely over saturated clay soil a chance to dry out a bit before the pour. If the concrete is poured on very wet clay and then the clay dries out and shrinks when the rain stops, we will have some major cracking issues in the driveway. Wisdom say they will only fix cracks 6mm or wider.  The fact that Wisdom left a big pond of water next to our garage for the duration of the build also hasn't helped with keeping the soil at a reasonable saturation level.

We receive the report from our inspector this Friday but he said he only found minor issues. What a relief! While the house was unlocked we then took the opportunity to go over the inside with a fine tooth comb using our checklist we copied from other people's blogs. Mostly we only found chipped or marked paint and cracks in the skirting boards from the carpet layers. 3 out of 4 shower heads were leaking from the join where the hose attaches to the wall fitting. We were not surprised as the handrail shower head is made from very cheap plastic so if they apply to much force when tightening the join it will probably crack. I am guessing we will be replacing these with something better quality in the near future. The towel rails and toilet roll holders are also made from plastic and feel like they will also break easily if a bit of pressure is applied.  Many of our windows and stacker doors don't open or close smoothly, and some of the double hung windows make a terrible noise when sliding. Our inspector advised us that Wisdom can arrange a service on those by Trend if we request it, which of course we will. Just after the first dent on our garage door was fixed there is a new dent where the porta loo door blew open and smashed into the garage door. We have a leak coming from our guttering right over where the air con unit will be placed. Some of the aircon vents are off alignment. So lots of things but all minor, so we cannot see that there will be any delays caused by fixing them. Many of the other issues we had during the build have been fixed now as well, like the gaps between window frames and bricks. They just attached a piece of aluminium which matched the window frame and covered the gap. We checked the insulation in the roof and all the gaps have been filled. They attempted to level the slab in our living area but it is still not level and that is a bit of a problem for us since we are having timber floors.

We will have a look at the exterior over the weekend but we have noticed that some of the bad mortar work has been fixed.

There is one thing that we did find which could have remained unknown to us so I warn all people building to get everything checked to ensure you are not getting ripped off. Back in the admin stage we had major issues sorting out the hydraulics with Wisdom. They did not provide the Hydraulics plans or variation costs to us for signing until after they had submitted our plans to council, despite many requests for them beforehand, so they put us in a position where just had to accept the costs ($24500) or we would have had to resubmit to council and delay everything by months if we wanted things changed. We were not happy with the hydraulics variation and Wisdom were not totally transparent with the costs but they told us if we didn't sign they wouldn't build the house. I went to Department of Fair Trading who advised me to make a note on the variation that we were signing under duress and list the things we were not happy with, and then we could lodge a complaint after the build. One of the things they charged us for in that variation (galvanised steel pipes at $1300) was not required and we tried to tell them at the time but they refused to accept what we were saying. The hydraulics were installed last week and my husband happened to visit when the plumber was on site, and the plumber confirmed that he only used plastic pipes everywhere as there was no requirement for galvanised steel. Well now we are trying to get a credit on our account for the $1300, which the admin team are not being very hasty with applying. Even our SS told them to give us a credit.

We had a conversation with our inspector about it and he said that is how the volume builders make the majority of their profit, from over priced variations, not something that we weren't already aware of. There is little margin in the base price of the house. As we have evidence of one item where we could have been completely ripped off, I hate to think how many others there are. Months ago we showed the electrician what we were charged on the electrical variation and he confirmed that Wisdom paid him only a fraction of that for the job. I understand they need to make a profit or what is the point of having a business, but I don't appreciate bullying tactics or dishonesty, and it seems the building industry is full of that.

Stormwater tank installed

Carpets installed

Stair rails painted 

Wire shelving installed