The building process so far
Initial enquiry 3 August 2014
Bought land 10 August 2014
PCQ signed 26 August 2014
Land titled 29 October 2014
Prestart 28 January 2015
Slab down 19 June 2015
Plate high 17 August 2015
Lock up 20 October 2015
Good stuff about Redink:
Custom made floor plans.
Patient, proactive, contactable Sales Rep.
Prompt responses from Admin staff to emails.
Good range of inclusions and good standard options.
Bad stuff about Redink:
I am financing my home through Keystart Loans. Redink informed me AFTER I signed up with them that it was their policy that I use THEIR finance company. I had found a very helpful finance person in another finance company who had worked very hard to help me secure my land and I was perfectly happy to continue that relationship. Additionally, the person I originally dealt with from Redink’s nominated finance company I found very slack and unhelpful. I don't believe Redink had any right to force me to use their nominated finance company.
I’m not sure if all my building questions and my dissatisfaction with the Finance Rep is justification, but I was inadvertently (I assume) forwarded an email where previously in the thread the Sales Rep had referred to me as “HIGH MAINTENANCE” (his caps). I did manage to see the funny side, possibly because I was so shocked.
As this was the first time looking at floor plans for me, I didn’t realise until I was issued 3D plans (which some builders provide from the start) that the living room window was a tiny high up one. Redink tried to tell me it was too late to change the size (a Keystart restriction regarding structural changes) but I fought back on this one. I have a tiny Lot and need as much light as possible, and I did not ask for a tiny window. A quick phone call from Redink to Keystart and it was all approved. I put this in the bad section as, if I hadn’t been firm, Redink would have bullied me into going along with it. And that is how I have felt a lot of the time, bullied.
Following Prestart I received the upgrade documentation/costing to sign off on. I made my selections and sent the paperwork back to the Prestart Administrator for finalisation. She then sent it back with some errors. I corrected the errors and sent it back. She then sent it back with some new errors. I corrected the new errors and sent it back. This then continued a total of 7 times over the course of two days!
Some time after Prestart, when my paperwork was due to be finalised, I was informed in a confusing and incoherent phone call that my plans had been rejected by the Shire as not complying with the DAP. The “simple” solution was to flip the floor plan, as the alfresco had to be on the other side of the Lot. Not only did this add several months of delay to the Admin stage (PCQ signed in August 2014, Slab Down in June 2015), it has resulted in my 700mm veranda ending right on my retaining wall fence. Had the veranda been on the other side as in the original plan, I would have had another 2m in front of my veranda. I can only imagine how much further delay would have resulted if I had wanted to change the floor plan instead of just flipping it.
One of the features I discussed with my sales rep was cladding on the top of my veranda. He assured me that was something to add at Prestart. I questioned this several times as, even in my limited understanding, I would have assumed cladding would result in structural change, and I had been told I could make no structural changes following plan approval. And that is exactly what happened at Prestart. There was no way I could have the cladding. There goes my dream elevation! And it’s not exactly something that you can add after Handover.
My memory surrounding this one is a bit vague (I may have blocked it out...) however I think it was the lowest thing that the Sales Rep could have done. Towards the end of finalising the floor plan and prior to costing, the Sales Rep asked how I was progressing with my decision on who to build with. I responded that I was just waiting on his costing and that I would compare his to a couple of others and make my decision based on that. As far as I am aware, that is how people make their decision; find out who will do what they want for the best price. Well the nasty comment from the builder was something along the lines of them not having time to put effort into costing my build whilst I am still shopping around. Disgusting bullying tactic.
I wanted a window in the shower. I got a window in the shower, but it is tiny. When I asked for it to be larger, I was given a mixed and incoherent answer about it being something to do with setback restrictions and something to do with the window manufacturer’s instructions. I understand neither explanation as another house on my lane has a huge window in the exact same location (not in a shower), and I have also seen showers with windows larger than mine.
Another feature that I wanted was an outdoor shower. To this day I still don’t know why the builder won’t complete this for me, and will only agree on crimped hot and cold plumbing 500 AFL.
I’m not sure how I should have dealt with this one but during talks with the Sales Rep, one of the lovely features he mentioned was a 28c sliding door for the 31c living room. It even featured on the floor plan. However it didn’t feature on the PCQ. On the Variation I received after Prestart, the 28c sliding door was removed from the plan due to not having been costed in the PCQ. It wasn’t even discussed with me, just removed from the plans. Sadly I didn’t do anything about it at the time. But I shouldn’t have to constantly be on the look-out for things being taken out of my plans without my say so. The same thing happened with my hot and cold water plumbing to the outside. It mysteriously disappeared from one set of my plans! Luckily I picked up on it.
I decided against render and went with face brick. I have a sliding door at the front of the house. When the frame was installed and they started putting the brick up, I noticed that on the left of the sliding door frame there was a third of a brick, and on the right there was two thirds of a brick. I asked why they could not move the frame/sliding door a third of a brick to the left so that it would be perfectly centred in the bricks. Their first answer was they built it that way because that is what the plan said. Well that’s obvious, but why didn’t the plan have the sliding door down slightly to the left? I obviously don’t know and wouldn’t think to question how wide the bricks are when they are drawing up the floor plan. To this they said the door is centred in the middle of the room on the inside. Well I’m not going to be able to tell if the sliding door is a third of a brick “off-centre” on a painted wall. But I am very clearly going to see asymmetrical brick work on my front elevation!
When my brick work was completed Redink arranged for me to meet my site supervisor. I met him on site at 7 am. He spent the site walk hopping around the puddles because his shoes let water in. He didn’t know anything about my plans. He didn’t know anything about anything. He didn’t have any information for me. He said the purpose of the meeting was for me to ask any questions about the bricks. I didn’t have any questions about the bricks. I spent the next one hour sitting in peak hour traffic thinking what an absolute waste of time that was, and worrying about whose hands my build was in.
I feel very ripped off in certain areas. For example, Redink quoted/charged $5000 to paint my house that is 140 sqm. My friend paid $6500 to paint a house that is 380 sqm!
I look forward to hearing how much my neighbours paid for their site works and whether I get any back from mine. I have heard of people in my estate paying around the $7k mark. Mine was $13k!
Due to Keystart requirements, my house has to have lights at final inspection. As I am planning to install my own pendants, I wanted to get junction boxes instead of lights. I requested to have access to the house one day prior to handover/Keystart inspection to install the lights. Redink refused. So no junction boxes, and extra works and damage to the ceiling later when I come to install the pendants. Thank you for being so accommodating Redink!
During the build I noticed they hadn't included an external laundry light. I checked the contract and saw it said it should include an external light for the portico, alfresco and laundry, followed by *where applicable. They came back and said a laundry light wasn't included in my model and that's what the *where applicable was for. You'd think an acceptable reason for an external light not being included would be if there wasn't a portico, or an alfresco area or an external laundry area, not just no reason! So stingy Redink!
According to my plans, one of the downpipes for the front of the house was supposed to go discretely on the side of the veranda. During the build I discovered it had been put on the front of the house! As I have face brick and not render, this stood out like a sore thumb, especially as the downpipe is beige to match the render of the veranda, and not red to match the face brick! There is a note on the plans saying that the positioning of the downpipe is at the plumber’s discretion. It turns out the downpipe could never have gone in the location that it was put on the plans anyway! When I asked if Redink could change the colour of the downpipe as I had chosen beige based on where it was supposed to be placed according to the plan, they said I would have to pay the $350 variation fee!
**Would I build with Redink again? At this stage I have no reason not to try someone else. Watch this space to see if things improve over the course of the build**