Creating a Touch of Style in Coomera Retreat
Lets create a bit of a timeline here shall we…
10/01/2015 – Paid initial deposit to PH.
After looking through many different display homes, we found ourselves coming back time after time to PH. The sales rep was exceptionally helpful and went out of his way to help us achieve what we wanted and within our budget. In fact, The sales rep for PH was the one who put us on to the block of land that we ended up purchasing.
We had already chosen the design called “Beckham 4”. We of course modified it to suite us by converting the downstairs Living / Study into a Guest Bedroom with WIR and ENS. This room was to be for my mother, who has lived with us for.. I’ve lost count of how many years lol.
We also removed the Alfresco area (3M x 3M just isn’t big enough for a table and BBQ) and converted it back into internal living area making the Dining / Family much bigger. I would have added a new Alfresco right across the back of the house after handover.
A note about me….
I come from a building background. I spent my younger years as a roof plumber installing colourbond metal roofs, gutters and downpipes. Later I trained in the timber frame and truss industry and spent the next 6 years as a truss detailer. Basically we got plans from builders, designed how the roof trusses would work, then engineered each truss to carry the loads and ultimately produce the paperwork and computer programs needed by the truss plant to fabricate those trusses.
During this time I discovered that a lot of plans brought to me were what I considered to be of a sub standard quality so I diversified into the field of drafting. I love drawing / designing homes and continued down this path working for myself under the name “Atcad 3D”. That was until the good old GFC. Builders went belly up and drafting companies started cutting each others throats for business. I wasn’t interested in being part of the destruction of a industry so I bailed. My father is also a builder on the Gold Coast and specialises in homes for sloping sites. I produced many sets of plans for my dads homes and even extended into the realm of 3D photo realistic images to help clients visualise their dreams.
Enough ranting about myself.. I’m sure you get the picture that I know a little about the building trade.
09/02/2015 – Finally get first tender presentation.
I really despise the process big builders try to put us through. Make us wait for ever and a day for a basic set of plans and a 20 page document outlining what we will and wont get, what is a “upgrade” and of course the price.
And THAT’S where the ball dropped. The so called “Quotes” we had from the sales rep had just vanished and the “real” prices were now starting to become apparent.
20/02/2015 – Second tender and revised plans
Finally received second tender and revised plans after me complaining to customer liaison about time taken for simple amendments. PH have built a lot of homes in our area so I know they know about the time constraints placed on us by the developer. PH (as well as most other project builders) seem to enjoy working on the “sense of urgency” angle and will make you wait until you believe you have no more time. They do this in the hope that you will hurry in and sign contracts without looking too deep.
WRONG!!! I’ll look through EVERY page with a microscope lol.
The first issue (and it was a major issue) was that PH wanted to put retaining walls down both sides of my block. I laughed at this, my father scratched his bald head and simply asked.. “Why?” and another totally seperate builder that I eventually went to for a price also had a chuckle. You see.. my block has about a 600mm fall from back to front and that’s over a 20+ meter length. The cut / fill for the pad was 300mm. In one corner there was no change, in another corner it was about 100mm cut, in the front corners it was the same at about 150mm fill and about 100mm cut. For those heights, I was NOT under any circumstances going to entertain the idea of ugly retaining walls.
It took me nearly 2 months of arguing with a woman in their head office (Our tender presenter (who is just that.. a presenter that knows absolutely nothing about building)) that we did not need retainers and I was not going to accept any retainers. We finally got a email with (and I quote “we stand corrected” unquote). and that all associated points and costs within the contract would be removed. WOW did that make a huge difference.
But alas.. it was too late. I had lost all respect and confidence I had in this builder. How could I trust them to build our house knowing they wanted to scam me so much in the first place. So ended our relationship.
Now I’m not saying our new builder is going to be a perfect angel but, I believe we wont have as many issues as we did with PH.
Below is the original plan (no longer available) and our “What could have been” revised plans.