Monaco 28 with modified Contemporary Facade

Monaco 28 with modified Contemporary Facade

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

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.

1 comment:

  1. I just red this post. Thanks for sharing your experience! I just wanted to let you know your experience was not "alone".

    We had similar case. We got the bill for frame where 6 items of stacker doors (3 panels), French door (1) and windows (2) were not able to install due to their frame problems (frame manufacturer's mistake). However, I still paid them and only let SS know about our good will of payment and requested him to ....fix the frame ASAP.

    We also had another experience with the account section that we did pay our first bill (we were actually very happy to get ...that slab bill as our loan approval was ....1 year ago). However, accountant mentioned us we have never paid. I was very angry with our bank private service officer who was at that time on holidays in the UK. He wasn't happy with my complaint to his boss as he already paid for us ....