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

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