Monday, December 22, 2008

Signed, Sealed and Delivered.

The deed is done! All documents have been signed, the envelope sealed and delivered by hand to Henley's Head Office. I just hope they don't get lost, as the CSA looking after our file now is on holidays.

This will most likely be my last post before Christmas and the New Year, as I take a well earned break, and absolutely nothing is going to happen on the block until at least 19th January. It will probably be a long month...waiting...but hopefully, a relaxing one!

I'll bid you all farewell with some of my new Christmas decorations I splurged on from one of my favourite shops- "Bed Bath & Table"! Should look lovely in the new place, and with any luck I'll have them out next year.

My 'noel' letters and large glass jar came from my other favourite shop "Provincial Home Living." The letters will have beautiful embossed paper stuck to the front of them, but that might become a new years project! ;-)

Joyeux Noël!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Final drawings complete.

We finally had the chance to sit down on Thursday evening and go through the drawings again. Would you believe I picked up another 2 mistakes? One was the position of the entrance hall light which we had changed on our original electrical plan. On the standard electrical plan given to us for this house, it wasn't drawn in the middle of the entrance hall, but towards the front door a little. The entrance ceiling is surrounded by a bulkhead, and to have this light off centre looked rather silly (it also wasn't in line with 2 wall lights I added in the entrance), so we changed it, but they had never drawn it in correctly (we had missed it on our other drawings, as we were so stunned at their complete botch-up of our family room wiring!). So this was noted, also the position of one of the power points in the ensuite. It didn't match the other one on the opposite wall of the double vanity, so we wanted that rectified as well.

The earliest I could get to Head Office on Friday was after 10am, and spoke to the CSA who has taken over our file. She was quite happy to have the drawings amended, and couldn't promise they would be ready that afternoon, but would try. By midday, I had received a phone call to say they were waiting for me in Reception...amazing!!

So, another few hours will be spent tomorrow going through them and maybe, just maybe, we might actually be able to sign them!

Friday we also heard from our assigned SS. He gets back from Holidays on the 19th January...which of course means more delays. I'm beginning to think this house will never get started. I can just imagine the drought breaking, we have rainfall in biblical proportions, and handover isn't until Easter 2010...

Did I mention the 'house down the road' has a fully tiled roof, guttering AND windows...maybe I should just stop looking, it's not going to change anything.

I'll probably fit in one more post before Christmas, then have a much needed break and holiday. I'll try and de-stress myself after the last couple of weeks, only to prepare myself for round 2 when the build actually starts!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Inspirational Photos.

After all the heartaches and disappointments of the past few weeks, I thought I'd post some gorgeous photos of the 'feel' I would like to create with our new home. Naturally, It won't be the same, as this is a period home, but I just love the decor and the beautiful 'homely' and warm feel it has. Also note the clock they have on the wall outside, and the chandeliers! ;-) I have always wanted to do white panelling down the hallway from the entrance, and into the lounge and dining room. Might still be possible in about 10 years time when we can afford it!

All images courtesy here

Stunningly beautiful!

Did you spot the cat??

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

FINALLY, we have correct final drawings, but no start date until mid January.

My Husband and I went to Head Office before 9am yesterday morning to try and get a resolution for our constant frustrations.

We sat down with 2 CSA's, one being the manager of our 'usual' one whom is on annual leave (and whom I spoke with last Monday), and the other I have dealt with last week. They understand completely our frustrations at their 'appalling customer service' (those exact words were used) and couldn't tell us enough how sorry they were for the breakdown in communication. Had our original CSA sent us the PCV2, Colour Selection and final drawings when they had been completed, they could have started a lot earlier, without all the running around that I have had to do. By this stage we should have had a slab, which is pretty much as I'd expected all along.

They possibly could start at this late stage with the cut, fill and laying of sewerage pipes, but then they run the risk of them being damaged without the slab over the Christmas period. Tradies are all available to work over the break, but because the suppliers all shut down, the availability of the materials is limited. We have been assigned one of two of the best Site Supervisors (SS's), who are experienced in our area, and usually complete their 'builds' 1 or 2 months ahead of schedule. Better hope so, as we are already running about 4 weeks behind, and that will blow out to 8 weeks once we get started.

So, we 'should' be hearing from the SS who is assinged to us this week, with a confirmed start date of sometime in mid January. At least then we will know, and I can still enjoy a little relaxing family holiday before the stress of building kicks in...although I don't think anything can be as stressfull as what I have experienced in the last 3 weeks.

My Husband didn't mention anything about 'compensation', which I was quite annoyed about. I wasn't going to as I am completey sick of dealing with them at this stage. He said what is done is done, and nothing can change that. You reckon? Some form of 'compensation' should have been offered for their complete botch-up as far as I was concerned, but again, I'm sick of fightning this battle.

So, we have our drawings and they all look in order. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to go through them as I had a dinner to go to last night. Still, getting them back to Henley quickly will not bring back the weeks we have lost, so now they can wait for us. The most annoying part of this Monday morning meeting, was I missed my Daughter receiving a Principle's Award for excellence in learning during assembly...typical!

Anyway, the last several blog entries have been far too long winded and frustating, so I'll cheer everyone up with some beautiful inspirational interiors next time...myself included!

Friday, December 12, 2008

No start prior to Christmas.

After my fairly positive meeting on Monday morning with Henley, and the news that I would be finding out this Thursday when site start would be, I have now totally lost all faith and patience. I hadn't heard anything from them for the past 2 days, and I was sick of running around after them. Now, Thursday has been and gone, and still I haven't heard anything.

I decided to take a trip there unexpectedly this afternoon, and spoke to a CSA (one of them) who has been looking after my file. Our drawings have been going backwards and forwards...I think she said 6 times. At least she assures me the dining windows are now drawn in correctly, but there was a bulkhead that was on one plan, but not the latest. Why there is a bulkhead missing is beyond me. She was trying to push the drawings through for 5pm this afternoon.

I let her know that during Mondays meeting, I would find out on Thursday a date for site start, but today is Friday. She still couldn't give me a start date, and then said once the drawings are finalised, there is still a week to wait until it goes to site. Great...NOT.

So, I then assumed to her we would not get a site start until after Christmas. Correct, was the reply.

It was then, I lost it completely.

When we signed almost 6 months ago, we were pretty much assured a slab, frame and roof at least before Christmas. Our block of land has been sitting completely empty for 8 weeks...that's 2 months...when they could have been finalising all our drawings. Especially when we rushed through our PCV2 so all our changes could be added into the 'free' one with the 2nd soil test and survey. This PCV2 is dated 27th October...what the hell have they been doing all this time? Why wait until now to do the final drawings?

I am not happy at all, sick of not being notified what the hell is going on , and I have no patience left whatsoever.

Merry Bloody Christmas...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wrong drawings...AGAIN.

I had tried twice yesterday to contact several people at Head Office to see if my completed drawings were ready. Twice I couldn't get hold of anyone. In the end, I dropped in after picking up the kids from school. I spoke to someone who had the completed drawings, but they needed to be checked by someone else before I could take them. This 'someone else' had been in a meeting most of the afternoon, and the plans may not get looked at until tomorrow.

I asked if I could have a quick look and see if everything I had outlined in the letter and discussed the day before had been corrected. She gladly passed them over and one of the first things I noticed was the windows in the dining were still drawn in as awnings, not sliding to match the rest of the house and elevation. This 'issue' has been clearly outlined in 2 separate documents now. The PCV1 (dated 14th August) and the 3 page letter I gave to them yesterday. I was pretty furious, and there were so many things I wanted to say, but I kept my cool...again.

To their credit, they had finally drawn in the correct wiring configuration and switch position for the family room lights...only after I had drawn it myself!

I will be ringing them again today as I'll be out and about, and plan on dropping in again to collect the drawings.

At least petrol has come down in price...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Almost there with a site start date.

I ventured off to Henley head office this morning and arrived just before 9am hoping to catch a CSA before any appointments they may have had (printer ink issues were resolved at 7am with a trip to Office Works! See comments, previous post.). My usual Admin is on holidays until Feb, so our file has been attended to by several other people on her behalf.

I asked to see one of the Admins who was looking after her files to give them some final drawing corrections. As it turns out, I was in luck! Not only was she free, but she had also just received a 'Clarification Document' on a few discrepancies they had picked up with the plans. I sat down and went through everything, and chatted for about 30 minutes, clearing up a few drafting issues and learning about others we hadn't noticed (more so with things written on the site plan that shouldn't be there, 2 downpipes too close together, colour documents not corrected from some changes we had made, and other things we would never have picked up on!).

The meeting at such short notice proved to be very beneficial for me, and the staff, instead of relying on phone calls and email tennis! I very much appreciated the time which was spent with me this morning. One thing which she was quite surprised about was the date on the PCV2. It had been completed on 27th October, and really should have been sent to us straight away, as it looks as though we have 'sat' on it for over a month delaying things ourselves, but we both knew and agreed that wasn't the case as it took until 5th December for me to see it.

She let me know that all of our materials have been ordered, and we have been assigned a Construction Manager, and we will FINALLY have notification of a site start date this Thursday. Being so close to Christmas it is highly unlikely we will get the much wanted slab, but we should at least have the scrape and possibly pipes done. It all depends on the Tradies.

I let her know that I was very keen to drop past again this afternoon to pick up the completed drawings, and she agreed it would be a good idea, but would ring me to let me know how they were going. In the end, I did receive a phone call that they would be ready for pick up Tuesday (tomorrow) afternoon. I will check the drawings there and then, and either take them or leave them behind depending on if they need amending.

All in all, a positive outcome after a very stressful weekend, although I am still disappointed at the delay. Can I mention the 'house down the road' has roof trusses and a bricked garage? I wonder if they'll have windows and a roof for Christmas...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Construction Drawings received FINALLY, but with mistakes.

Good to see our final/construction drawings were received in the mail (at our current address), and upon glancing through them quickly, I have already picked up a few items which have not been included. I also have to strongly wonder why they are all dated 17th November, but it took until 5th December for me to see them. Hmmmm...

What happened to those valuable 2 1/2 weeks that have been lost? I'm not entirely happy about it, and I shall be going to Head Office on Monday morning with the 'corrected' drawings, suggest they fix them that day, as I will be returning to pick up the new set on Monday afternoon. If they are not ready, I will wait. I want to sign them Monday night and deliver them in person AGAIN on Tuesday. I'm not relying on 'The Postal Company' again, it would just delay the start even further.

Now, onto the changes. It appears we need root barrier protection all along the front of the slab due to trees in the vicinity. This would most likely be the rather large gum tree on the nature strip which the Council refused to cut down before we began this whole process...but that is another story in itself. I can't do much about that, other than grin and bear it, and hound the Council once we have moved back in. Usually root barrier protection is an expensive exercise, and this inclusion will cost us $2,932 to extend the depth of the footings to 1200mm instead of the standard 800mm. However, as some of our previous costs from our first soil test and survey have been deleted (earthworks, suspended slab, bulk concrete in another part of the slab), our total site costs only rise by $100 from what was 'estimated' on our preliminary documents. That's all good news.

We are also 'required' to install fence extension along the south fence, possibly due to overlooking issues, as this is the 'high' side of the house which will be on extra fill. That's OK too, we certainly don't mind, and would have done it eventually anyway.

There appears to be a few things 'not included' on our final drawings from our first PCV raised at the contract appointment. This is the wiring configuration of the family room downlights which were not drawn properly on the contract drawings from the first electrical plan. It also appears that although we deleted the porch light, it still appears on the drawings. After giving them a plan of exactly where we wanted sound insulation in the internal walls, they seem to have 'missed' a wall.
Most of the other things raised have been included, including the swing of doors, added powerpoints and the moved tap! It's just a matter of sitting down tonight with the 2 PCV's and the tender documents, and going through absolutely everything to see if it has been included.

One thing I am not entirely sure about is the $88 added on to the 'energy efficiency' to achieve a 5 star rating. Apparently, this applies to the changed windows between the lounge and dining, and the fact that we added extra heating vents into the bathroom and ensuite. I was under the impression that Henley would achieve the 5 star rating without us having to pay extra. I will be querying this $88.

All up, the PCV has cost us over 6K, most of which is the evaporative cooling, extra powerpoints, sound insulation and upgrades to external and roof insulation.

Bring on Monday, so I can sort this out, and hopefully get a site start. I'm sooo sick of waiting...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"No News is Good News..." In this case: I think NOT!

It's now been 6 1/2 weeks since Demo was completed, and still no sign of ANYTHING. I am highly frustrated, and beginning to get rather annoyed at the lack of progress and lack of communication. Our Admin has disappeared on annual leave again (although she has every right to!), but when I rang Henley on Monday, I had to speak to someone else, and she said she would get back to me that afternoon...I still haven't heard anything.

Just what are they waiting for? All the permits are approved, finance has all been taken care of, so what else is left?

We still haven't seen our construction drawings and the pricing for the second PCV. What if the drawings are incorrect (which is quite possible), and they have to be redone? Grrrrrr...

...come on, Henley, lift your game! So far, we have had a very positive experience, don't spoil it now...