Saturday, 14 May 2011


We were very prepared for our Contract Appointment. We had our spreadsheets, our plans and a special form we created to make notes of any errors, broken down by room.

We were also meeting our CSA for the first time, and had no intention of signing our contract on the day.

This should be fun!!

As we walked into her office, we noticed our complaint email on her desk, with the words "Meet your customer's expectations!" written on it.  I smiled a little...

After getting the niceties out of the way, we indicated that we do not intend to sign the contract documents today, and request that we are provided with the weekend to review them in detail, prior to signing and returning on Monday 28/3.  We did this for the simple reason that we had invested a significant amount of time and effort in getting every aspect of our build correct and did not want to treat the final stage with any less rigour - if anything, it would require more.  We wanted to build with PD - we were not going to take the documents and drawings to another builder, we just wanted time to review.  Our CSA's initial response was no, but that she could check with her manager.  She went off and did his and returned a minute later with the good news that it was fine to do so.  Good start...

As we started to go through the Contract document, these costs were new:

* Additional items to obtain 5 Star Requirements   $1,201
     - R3.5 batts to ceilings in place of R2.5 blow-in.
     - R2.0 batts plus sisalation foil to external walls.

* Stegbar Grange Inline shower screens for the Ensuite and Bathroom   $767

* Veggie sprayer to the Laundry   $179

* 2 sliding aluminium mesh flydoors in the rumpus   $220 
(half price, as we replaced so many aluminium windows with wooden windows where they would not have to include flyscreens)

And these are the costs of our selections from the Colours Appointment:

* AGD Fineline Timber FX garage door   $ 1,827

* Pull handles for the front pivot door   $448

* Having our standard internal lever door handles on the linen cupboards as dummys   $28

* LaTrobe cat 3 bricks   $1,664

* Off-White rolled mortar   $754

* Cambridge SoHo night roof tiles   $7,152

* Laminex Crystal Gloss cabinets in the Kitchen and Pantry   $5,036

* Upgraded handles (Kitchen, Pantry, Laundry, Bathroom, Ensuite)   $1,114

* Coroma Liano handhelds (Ensuite & Bathroom)   $652

* Tapware (Mizu 1500 mixer with diverter in Ensuite & Mizu 1500 mixer for Bath and Shower)  $562

Expensive taste to say the least...! But it's the spec we want.

One really great sign was that PD basically had everything correct in the Contract document.  There were hardly any errors, but here are details of the things they missed:

* The Laundry trough was in the middle of the bench, instead of up against the external wall.

* There was a sink in the Master Bedroom (probably just a left over icon from the AutoCAD guy).

* The Laundry & Ensuite external doors had no charge for staining (i.e. assumed to be painted) +$99 each

* Incorrectly charged for the Ensuite external door (charged for a taller one) -$184

* The quickslide doors for BRs 2 & 3 in lieu of the flush panel doors completely disappeared +$396

* Charged twice for staining the front entry door frame -$99

* No pot drawer under the steam oven in the pantry.

One contentious item that we felt very strongly about related to the staining of our timber windows.

The pricing model for stain is based on the width of the window, i.e. the price changes if your window is <1000mm, then <2000mm, then <3000mm.  This makes sense and is easy to follow.

However, when they charge you wildly different prices for the same size window, that's another story.  It seemed to come down to which line item they selected in SAP... example:

Obviously, the second one refers to 2 windows, resulting in a single window price of $550.  Still a whole lot more than the $272 in the first one!

It took them a while to see the issue, but when they did, they accepted that that it was wrong and charged us the lesser price wherever this occurred, reducing the total cost by $695.

These items were all corrected in our first PCV.

Pretty exhausting process to say the least, but a good outcome (although we spent a fair bit more than budgeted).  We'll review the documents again over the weekend and we're on track to sign and return on Monday!

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