The salesman formulated the dream, the pre-start diminished the dream, construction built a nightmare and the finished product is a bit short of the dream.
The budget was $350k and the salesman came in at $348k - off to a good start.
Pre-start came back with $80k in extras which we had to prune by $40k and remove the essential "homely feel" elements.
NOTE: When the salesman says you will select that at pre-start - tell him you want the cost up front or walk. My son did that with his builder quotes and they all folded, did the hard yards and gave him a house within $2k of budget - it can be done.
Prior to construction, go through final plans and specifications with a fine-tooth comb - spend the time!
1. Plumber had problems reading the plans - get a pre slab inspection when all the initial plumbing, footings, plastic, reinforcement and formwork are complete and just prior to pour.
2. At plate high get another inspection - go around every wall with a 2m level - they are not plumb or straight or where they should be. Get the offenders fixed here.
3. Roof frame, electrical pre-lay, plumbing, smart wiring - check off every point is accounted for - I was missing runs to taps and gas - very messy to fix later. Roof timber/bracing was inadequate and had to be fixed at the end of construction.
4. Roofing - in our case corrugated colour bond took 6 months for final resolution. 5 roof fixers, 10's of sheets replaced, leaks and potential leaks - final resolution to replace the roof in its entirety after an independent inspection! - get a roof inspection.
5. LOCK UP:
Now you are locked out. Make every effort to keep track of all progress and identify issues as soon as you notice them, document them and chase them. There is a thing called back blocking of plaster ceilings and plasters do not do it until taken to task. Every trade has blinkers fitted when they step into your house and do what they are paid for and not even that where they can get away with it. E.G. tiler tiles walls and wet areas, cabinet maker installs cabinets - there is a glaring gap between tiles and cabinet and no one lets anyone know about the missing bit until you are sitting on the toilet and notice this glaring gap - check the main bathroom and it is the same.
Pillars in the garage separated from the brick wall on the boundary - inadequate brick ties and poorly laid brickwork. mortar joint was 15mm for 22 courses and ran out to 30mm over top 8 courses - not immediately obvious till the cracks appeared - engage a structural engineer and issues resolved.
PCI and building inspectors report resulted in about 80 issues, mostly small and some significant.
By the time we made final payment only 5 issues outstanding and currently 2 outstanding.
7. Final Result
We have our dream home and with some TLC it will be great, but the trials and tribulations take their toll.