Monaco 28 with modified Contemporary Facade

Monaco 28 with modified Contemporary Facade

Monday, 30 July 2012

Tiles and Ktichen Selections (with Pics)

Our tile quote came back and it was remarkably high.  There was an error that I found in the quote too, they used lineal m instead of sqm - lucky I checked!  Another example of how we travel blindly through this process with regard to budget.  Luckily I had included a few provisions/contingencies and tiles are only going to wet areas as we have floor boards and carpet else where otherwise this could have been a massive variation.  I wonder if we could have got the bank to fund the floors and driveway supplied by someone other than the builder?  We could have saved heaps here if we had the cash.  In the end, I am happy with our tile selections and I hope that the laying is of a high standard.

We also had our Kitchen Session with the Director of Pre-Fab Constructions at the new Studio Fowler.  It was a little hard to concentrate on the kitchen as this was our first visit to Studio Fowler (it had not been completed when we did colours in 09/11).  Our kitchen guy was very helpful.  He talked us into letting him do the pantry instead of Fowler - this would let the colour scheme flow better and the removal of some nib walls freed up space for some more bench area.  We also added some drawers to the pantry, and a built in double bin.  We got the chance to revise the colour of our vanities, we had chosen a funny brown and now we have gone for a warm grey - good result.

Final Kitchen Plan - original had a white glass panel door for the pantry, this looks better now
We were worried that Fowler Homes would charge us a plan change fee but the Kitchen Selection should have occurred around the time of the Colour Selection except they axed their kitchen supplier at that time and then forgot to arrange a session later - I had to push to make it happen.  They did not apply a change fee so we were happy. Hopefully they have got that ironed out now for new customers.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Now We're (Gyp)Rocking! (with pics)

Progress rolls on at a moderate pace.  Since last update (~3 weeks) we have seen:

  • Lower level roof tiles
  • Rendering
  • Electrical and A/C rough in
  • Commencement of gyprocking

Not too shabby.

Rendering (and the offending incomplete roof above the garage!)

A/C and electrical rough in

Master Bed with Soundscreen insulation

Same wall as above with Gyprock commenced - starting to look pretty now!

Central area on top floor (and my eldest monster's head!)

Is this wall starting to pop now?

Great to see the house really coming together.

We also did our tile selection at Abruzzo on Saturday. Quite happy with the support from the Tile Consultant. Would have been better if we could have carried the samples around the showroom to match colours (samples were fixed in frames).  We chose 300 x 600 charcoal tiles for floors and feature walls and then 300 x 600 crema tiles for the other walls.  For the laundry and powder room we chose a silver grey.  A little bit surprised that we still haven't got the quote back from them by Wednesday afternoon so we don't know if we have blown the budget yet.

SS told me that he would not estimate an end date because Kitchens had been delaying his jobs lately.  He asked if we had done a Kitchen Layout yet, which had never been offered to us.  Had to push our Fowler Homes CSO to get a Kitchen Session booked, but this is now locked in for tomorrow.

What Part of 'Complete' Don't You Understand?

We received a progress payment claim that included 'completion of roof trusses, bricks, roof tiles and plumbing rough-in', however brick laying to the back corner of the garage, and roof tile laying to one corner of the garage roof had yet to be completed.  I declined the claim on the grounds that the work was not complete, and that the bank may object and place my loan at risk for me signing before works were complete.  I received a return email from Fowler accounts the following afternoon to say that the brick laying was completed that day and that the roof was 'all but complete' so the claim was valid.  I reconfirmed my commitment that I would not accept the claim until the roof was complete.  The Site Supervisor responded via email after midnight to say that he would suspend the job until given further instruction from accounts!  This certainly caused some heart palpitations when I checked my emails in the morning.

I tried to call him to discuss the reason for suspending works as I was pretty confident that he was stepping outside of what was allowed under the contract, and I thought it was important to maintain the positive relationship we had developed up to that point.  After a nervous day I received an email late in the afternoon to say that the roof tiling would be completed by close of business! I got my Dad to check the next morning and then lodged the claim and they were paid two days later.

A few interesting points related to this saga:

  • I got some advice from NSW Fair Trading that I was most likely to have been within my rights to decline the claim, but would need to see a solicitor if the dispute reached a stalemate.
  • I have been very positive and responsive in my dealings with Fowler Homes to date.  I was particularly disappointed with their lack of communication, and particularly threatening to suspend the job on such dodgy grounds.
  • A more customer focused response would have been to either explain to me why their claim was valid (even though it wasn't), or commit to completing the work quickly (as they did when pressed).
  • The use of strong arm tactics makes me worry that Fowler are having cash flow problems.  I hope that I am reading too much in to this.
Did I expect disputes like this to occur? Yes.  Am I over it now? Mostly.  Am I hoping for better in the future? Definitely.  Do I really expect that I will get better in the future? Probably not.  The joy of project home building.