Deal­ing with is­sues dur­ing con­struc­tion

Hav­ing a good re­la­tion­ship with your builder can help when things don’t go to plan

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - Words: Jen­nifer Veer­huis More: eden­brae­

man­age­ment, ma­te­ri­als han­dling for the job, re­mov­ing soil from the site or bring­ing in soil.

“It might be pier­ing, how far into the ground the piers are po­si­tioned, drop edge beams,” he says. “If you re­ceive an ad­di­tional $5000 or $10,000 bill for the ex­tra site costs, then it makes it very dif­fi­cult to go back to the lender and bor­row more money.

“Often the clients would be eat­ing into their own sav­ings which would have been put aside for other things to fin­ish the home like fur­nish­ings and land­scap­ing.”

Bill sug­gests you ask for a “fixed no more to pay” clause in re­la­tion to site costs so you don’t get caught out.

Con­struc­tion de­lays

Bill says time-frame and con­struc­tion de­lays can be other is­sues for cus­tomers, par­tic­u­larly if there’s lim­ited in­cen­tive for the builder to fin­ish on time.

“Es­sen­tially, if a builder doesn’t fin­ish the con­struc­tion by the time-frame that they’ve nom­i­nated, the stan­dard penalty for liq­ui­dated dam­ages is some­where be­tween $1 and $5 a day,” he says. “That’s the penalty the builders have to pay the client.

“Eden Brae al­low for $500 a week and that is a self-im­posed bench­mark but it forces us to fin­ish the home within the des­ig­nated time-frame be­cause we don’t want to be pay­ing that ex­tra money ev­ery week.”

Bill says it’s not un­com­mon to see builders tak­ing more than 12 months or even 18 months to com­plete a house.

“Dur­ing that time the clients are per­haps rent­ing and they’re mak­ing loan re­pay­ments as well so that pe­riod can be quite costly if that liq­ui­dated dam­ages is only the stan­dard $1 a day,” he says.

Bad choices

When clients step into their new home, they may find things they don’t like. “It is a dilemma that hap­pens often with colours or it hap­pens when the tim­ber stain­ing is not what they ex­pected,” Bill says. “If you’ve cho­sen it and the builder’s pro­vided what you’ve asked for, you will need to change it af­ter you move in be­cause to change colour schemes or tap­ware is a costly ex­er­cise dur­ing con­struc­tion, both in ma­te­ri­als and time.

“But if the client talks to their su­per­vi­sor and finds out what the builder’s pol­icy is, they may be open to mak­ing that change.”

Qual­ity con­trol

Bill says qual­ity con­trol can be an­other is­sue dur­ing con­struc­tion and he be­lieves it’s in the builder’s best in­ter­ests if build­ing in­spec­tions are car­ried out.

“For Eden Brae, the in­tegrity of the home is para­mount,” he says. “Cos­metic things can be fixed up but the struc­tural com­po­nent should be built right the first time, oth­er­wise you get more se­ri­ous de­fects down the track.”

Bill says most peo­ple aren’t qual­i­fied to know whether a home is be­ing built prop­erly.

“It’s worth in­sist­ing on in­de­pen­dent qual­ity in­spec­tion re­ports, con­ducted by some­one who is in­de­pen­dent of the com­pany’s su­per­vi­sor,” he says.

“We have in­de­pen­dent builders that do in­spec­tions at crit­i­cal stages of the con­struc­tion and they pro­vide copies of the re­ports to the clients at the end of the build.”

Bill says it’s def­i­nitely worth re­search­ing the back­ground and the his­tory of a builder be­fore sign­ing up with them.

“Be­fore they com­mence con­struc­tion for a job, ev­ery builder must pro­vide a home war­ranty in­sur­ance cer­tifi­cate which is in place in case the builder gets into fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties. The in­surer would then take over the com­ple­tion of the home so it’s min­imis­ing the risk and mak­ing sure there’s a qual­ity builder with a good track record.”

Bill says a cus­tomer’s pri­mary con­tact dur­ing con­struc­tion is their site su­per­vi­sor, while ad­min­is­tra­tive queries would be di­rected to the builder’s head of­fice.

As a bonus for Eden Brae cus­tomers, the com­pany can in­stall a Build­watch cam­era on the con­struc­tion site so cus­tomers can see where the build is up to.

“Once the house is locked up we re­lo­cate that cam­era in­ter­nally so you can mon­i­tor the progress of the con­struc­tion in­ter­nally as well,” Bill says.

Bill Hawie, Eden Brae Homes state sales man­ager David El­liott from Eden Brae is pic­tured at Jor­dan Springs with the Build­watch cam­era which al­lows clients to re­motely mon­i­tor the con­struc­tion of their home.

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