Sunday, 21 September 2014

PCI Done

Firstly I would like to say "Go the Swannies" for Saturday's Grand Final.

The PCI is done and dusted so now the wait for the Interim Occupation Certificate has begun. 

The report from our private certifier found the following issues:
  • Repaint to the repaired ceiling at the top of the stairs. (Ceiling had deep scratches in it from the painters' roller)
  • Completion is required to the drainage pipe outlet at the rear balcony to bedroom 1.
  • Repairs are required for a minor leak to the hose of the shower rose in bedroom 1 ensuite, as well as removal of a minor paint mark. (Actually 3 out of our 4 shower hoses had this problem)
  • Install the trap to the basin of the first floor toilet, as well as general repainting of the wall and edges of the abutting wall tiles to the splashback.
  • The ducting for the return air grille in the first floor area needs extending as the existing is tightly curved around a roof truss member and substantially restricts air flow.
  • Refitment is required to the air conditioning outlet to the ground floor family room as it is substantially out of square to nearby walls.
  • The installation of appliances, air conditioning system and hot water system, as well as a sticker in the meter box for the termite system installed are required at settlement.
  • Cutting off is required to the excessive damp course which is exposed beyond the external wall at lower slab level, mainly to the right hand side wall. (Our SS told us that they will not do this as it is not required despite it being in the report)
  • The installation of additional Ardit, or a floor levelling compound, is required to the concrete slab to the rear lower floor as the contours are in excess of the tolerances as set out under the Guides to Standards and Tolerances.
  • Minor refitment is required to power points, mainly to the kitchen area as some are out of level.
When doing the PCI, as we had already gone over most of the inside ourselves after our inspection with our private certifier, we just pointed out all the things we had already found, although it still took us 3 hours. We hadn't been through the garage or looked thoroughly at the external walls so did find some new things there. There is a 2 metre crack in the slab in our garage which also has smaller cracks branching off it. At this stage it is within standards and tolerances measurements but we will be documenting it's measurements at regular intervals because of the extreme ponding of water around the corner of the garage part of the slab throughout the duration of the build. We are still concerned about slab heave. There was also a settlement crack through the brickwork over the rear stackable sliding doors and Wisdom will be replacing the cracked brick. The floor in the downstairs living area has finally been levelled correctly on attempt no 2. We were missing a fly screen on the kitchen stacker window.  There was a lot of paint patch ups to be done. Cornices on the balcony ceilings did not line up with the brickwork so have been replaced and now need repainting. There were lots of dents in our colorbond roof so those sheets will be replaced. 

So now we need our Interim Occupation Certificate so we can get the bank cheque for the final payment so we can get the keys. The bank will not give us the cheque unless we can give them a copy of certificate. Once the certificate is issued here will be one final inspection of the house and then we drive to Narellan to hand over the cheque for the final payment and pick up the keys. The certificate is issued by the Private Certifiers that Wisdom use and to get it there are a whole list of requirements that need to be fulfilled, some by Wisdom, some by us. One of the things Wisdom have to provide are Works as Executed Drawings for our Hydraulics system which will come from Wisdom's Hydraulics Engineer. During our PCI the SS told us the last  time they had to get such drawings from the Engineer it took six weeks. My husband and I were left deaf, dumb and blind when told this. The thought of waiting another 6 weeks was totally unacceptable to us. So here we are left at the mercy of the Hydraulics Engineer. We have given notice on our rental and have to be out by the 4th October, but have no idea when we will have our Interim Occupation Certificate. Even once we get it, then we have to wait for the bank to issue the final bank cheque. The stress is killing me and I think I have an ulcer. Think we may just break in if we don't have the keys by the 4th Oct. Apparently the penalty is only $550 for occupying without a certificate which is less than a week's rent anyway, although the cost of a locksmith might hurt a bit.

The driveway is being poured tomorrow. The layback was fixed, well sort of. Turns out the layback was put in the wrong place because someone at Wisdom Landscapes had given Council really old drawings that were different from our final drawings. Fancy that! Wisdom making cock ups right to the very end. Don't know why Council just didn't use the DA drawings they had on file.

Layback was too far to the right so was extended on the left side but is too long on the right side now.

Crack in Garage floor

Friday, 5 September 2014

Final Private Compliance Inspection

On Wednesday this week we had our private certifier do his last inspection of the house. The only thing that was incomplete was the driveway which had been delayed because of the rain, and has now been further delayed because council put the layback in the wrong location and it is 70cm out of position. Apparently from what I have heard from neighbours it happens a lot in my council area and the alleged reason behind it is that the concreter does it deliberately so they have to come back and fix it, which means another job they will get paid for by council. As long as we don't have to pay for it to be fixed it is not my problem, although it is delaying the pour of my driveway, but that is not a bad thing as it is giving our extremely over saturated clay soil a chance to dry out a bit before the pour. If the concrete is poured on very wet clay and then the clay dries out and shrinks when the rain stops, we will have some major cracking issues in the driveway. Wisdom say they will only fix cracks 6mm or wider.  The fact that Wisdom left a big pond of water next to our garage for the duration of the build also hasn't helped with keeping the soil at a reasonable saturation level.

We receive the report from our inspector this Friday but he said he only found minor issues. What a relief! While the house was unlocked we then took the opportunity to go over the inside with a fine tooth comb using our checklist we copied from other people's blogs. Mostly we only found chipped or marked paint and cracks in the skirting boards from the carpet layers. 3 out of 4 shower heads were leaking from the join where the hose attaches to the wall fitting. We were not surprised as the handrail shower head is made from very cheap plastic so if they apply to much force when tightening the join it will probably crack. I am guessing we will be replacing these with something better quality in the near future. The towel rails and toilet roll holders are also made from plastic and feel like they will also break easily if a bit of pressure is applied.  Many of our windows and stacker doors don't open or close smoothly, and some of the double hung windows make a terrible noise when sliding. Our inspector advised us that Wisdom can arrange a service on those by Trend if we request it, which of course we will. Just after the first dent on our garage door was fixed there is a new dent where the porta loo door blew open and smashed into the garage door. We have a leak coming from our guttering right over where the air con unit will be placed. Some of the aircon vents are off alignment. So lots of things but all minor, so we cannot see that there will be any delays caused by fixing them. Many of the other issues we had during the build have been fixed now as well, like the gaps between window frames and bricks. They just attached a piece of aluminium which matched the window frame and covered the gap. We checked the insulation in the roof and all the gaps have been filled. They attempted to level the slab in our living area but it is still not level and that is a bit of a problem for us since we are having timber floors.

We will have a look at the exterior over the weekend but we have noticed that some of the bad mortar work has been fixed.

There is one thing that we did find which could have remained unknown to us so I warn all people building to get everything checked to ensure you are not getting ripped off. Back in the admin stage we had major issues sorting out the hydraulics with Wisdom. They did not provide the Hydraulics plans or variation costs to us for signing until after they had submitted our plans to council, despite many requests for them beforehand, so they put us in a position where just had to accept the costs ($24500) or we would have had to resubmit to council and delay everything by months if we wanted things changed. We were not happy with the hydraulics variation and Wisdom were not totally transparent with the costs but they told us if we didn't sign they wouldn't build the house. I went to Department of Fair Trading who advised me to make a note on the variation that we were signing under duress and list the things we were not happy with, and then we could lodge a complaint after the build. One of the things they charged us for in that variation (galvanised steel pipes at $1300) was not required and we tried to tell them at the time but they refused to accept what we were saying. The hydraulics were installed last week and my husband happened to visit when the plumber was on site, and the plumber confirmed that he only used plastic pipes everywhere as there was no requirement for galvanised steel. Well now we are trying to get a credit on our account for the $1300, which the admin team are not being very hasty with applying. Even our SS told them to give us a credit.

We had a conversation with our inspector about it and he said that is how the volume builders make the majority of their profit, from over priced variations, not something that we weren't already aware of. There is little margin in the base price of the house. As we have evidence of one item where we could have been completely ripped off, I hate to think how many others there are. Months ago we showed the electrician what we were charged on the electrical variation and he confirmed that Wisdom paid him only a fraction of that for the job. I understand they need to make a profit or what is the point of having a business, but I don't appreciate bullying tactics or dishonesty, and it seems the building industry is full of that.

Stormwater tank installed

Carpets installed

Stair rails painted 

Wire shelving installed

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Final Countdown

We are counting down the weeks now and they couldn't be going any slower.

In the last 2 weeks we have had the following completed:

Shelving in walk in pantry
Glass splashback in kitchen
Whirlybird Installation
Move the upstairs rails
Garage Door Motor
Ducted vacuum motor
1st House Clean
1st round of fix ups
Most of the flyscreens
Removal of safety fencing

We were supposed to have had the excavation done for our storm water pit but the plumber didn't have enough space to get his machinery in because our left over bricks were in the way. We kept the bricks so we could build a front fence later on. I suggested we move them weeks ago but my husband thought they would be OK where they were at the front of the property. He says he called the SS weeks ago and was told they could be left where they were. Then on Friday evening after a long day at work  I get told by my husband that I will be spending my Saturday moving 6 pallets of bricks in mud and rain because the SS has told him they now must be moved for the plumber. I suggested we borrow or buy a wheelbarrow to make it a bit easier but once again my suggestions were ignored. By the 3rd pallet after many trips back and forth trudging though vast amounts of mud my husband decided that the plumber could just work around them because he was fed up and didn't want to move any more bricks. I said that if we were told to move them then move them we must and that I didn't think the plumber would be taking my husband's discomfort into consideration. Our bickering got louder and louder until our neighbour felt it necessary to intervene and lend us a wheelbarrow to speed things up a bit. However after a few more bricks my husband was still convinced that his need not to move the bricks was greater than the plumber's need to have them moved. So our bickering started again and then our other neighbour intervened, at which point I went home to get the Hydraulics plans, and by the time I returned my neighbour had convinced my husband to move all of them. A big thank you to my neighbour because a later phone call from our SS confirmed that all the bricks did in fact need to be moved. And do you think there was a vilified "I told you so" expressed sometime later in the day. You bet there was!

Fence gone and leftover bricks out of sight

Before Stair rail support post moved

After stair rail support post moved 
(Looks so much better. Can't believe it wasn't done like this to start with and that we had to pay to make it look normal.)

Shelving complete in Walk in pantry. There are 4 shelves but top one is out of shot.

Space for our standalone freezer.

Glass splashback 

Sunday, 10 August 2014

PCI and Handover Date

This might be a very long post as it has been a while since my last one so turn away now if you get bored easily or just scroll down to the pictures.

We've received our official letter and our PCI date is booked in for the 8th September with a tentative handover date of 22nd September. Wisdom have asked us to get our own compliance inspector to look over the house on the 3rd September. This gives them a week to fix anything he finds before we have our inspection with our Site Supervisor on the 8th, and then they have 2 weeks to fix anything found at the latter inspection.

They still need to complete:

Shelving in robes, linen cupboards and pantry
Stormwater pits and connection of water tanks
Glass splashback in kitchen
Whirlybird Installation
Move the upstairs rails
Painting Stair Posts and rails
Garage Door Motor
House Clean
Kitchen Appliance Installation (post handover)
Aircon unit (post handover)

Since my last post the following have all been completed:

Light fittings
Power points and light switches
Data patch panels
Alarm System Panel
Toilets and bath
Shower screens
Taps and shower heads
Door handles
Most of the painting

We are really happy with the tiling. Choi, the tiler, was methodical and it was a pleasure to see a tradie who took pride in his work and took his time to get it right. We are also really happy with the kitchen installation. Timpelle are also another company I can recommend highly.

I wish we could say the same about the painters. Talk about a crappy job. My 9 year old would have taken more care. Doesn't look too bad in the daylight but of a night it looks terrible. You can also see lots of raised areas where there are plaster joins in the gyprock, scratches where the metal edge of the roller they used hit the ceiling. Where they painted the door frames in gloss they got lots of gloss on the wall  next to the door frame and then painted over it with the matt wall paint. So at night when the lights are on you can see the difference in surface texture. They got the timber stain from the front door on the white gloss timber door frame and then painted over it with more gloss so you couldn't see it. I wonder how long  before the stain seeps through the gloss and we find ourselves sanding back the door frame and repainting it. They also got paint on our polyurethane kitchen cupboards. My husband tried to explain to them that you can't have gloss paint under matt paint but unfortunately they didn't speak any English so couldn't understand a word he was saying. They also appear to be chain smoking in our house based on the number of cigarette butts we have found stubbed out on our floor. I thought WorkCover rules state no smoking on a work site.

It was a very exciting moment when we discovered the light fitting and switches were installed. You would have thought we had never seen seen a light turn on before if you had witnessed us all running around the house turning lights on a off and playing with the dimmer switches.

Now to our stairs dilemma. We are getting the upstairs railings moved across so they don't overhang the stairwell and that ugly thick support post will be recessed into the floor/ceiling space. The staircase company were adamant that they had provided us enough info for us to have had a clear idea of what we were getting and so we should accept the stairs. We on the other hand have enough drawings to show that the size of the post was never detailed anywhere and on some drawings was not there at all. The staircase company wanted to charge us $2000 to move the railings. Wisdom have agreed to pay half the cost. So the credit we had been given for the feature bottom step that we couldn't have, will now be used towards getting the rails moved.

We thought that was the end of that saga but oh no. Wisdom then came back to us and said they would not be painting the stair posts or timber rails as the credit variation we signed for the feature step that we couldn't have, included a line for painting the posts. So they said we had received a credit for that job and they wouldn't do it. We said then why did you install the stairs at all because the credit variation included every component of the staircase. We tried to explain to them that despite the fact they decided to include every part of the staircase in the variation, the amount being credited only related to the feature step, and that the painting of the stairs is part of the base price of the house. Once again the stupidity and pettiness of the admin team comes back to haunt us.  We have left this little gem with our site supervisor to sort out.

And our last little issue this week is that some careless tradie has put a nice big dent in our garage door. So another issue for SS to sort out. Poor man. That is one job I could never do.

 Alarm in upstairs linen

Alarm Panel 

Door handles

Ensuite Shower Screen 

Ensuite Vanity and Mirror

Front Balcony Tiled 

Love my kitchen bins concealed in a drawer 

Kitchen Rangehood installed 

Laundry tap installed

We have lights! 

Garage Storage area fluoro light

Bathroom 3-in-one light 

Main bathroom 

Powder Room

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Progressing Along

Things are progressing along nicely but still not without issues. There are a few things that we will request be changed and things that Wisdom tell us are acceptable by their standards but we believe are unacceptable so we will persevere with trying to get them fixed.

However with the events that have been in the news this week our  building issues have well and truly been put into perspective.

The Kitchen and bathroom cabinets, garage door and balcony railing have been installed, waterproofing was done and tiling of wet areas has commenced.

Tiling should be completed this week and painting is due to start. The following week should see taps, toilet, bath and caesarstone bench tops installed. Insulation should be finished in the roof space and the electrician should return to install power points, light switches and light fittings.

We still want something done to stop the support post for the upstairs railing imposing into the stairwell. Wisdom Homes and Designer Staircase say it is acceptable but there is nothing like it in any display homes and we haven't seen anything like it in any Wisdom building blogs so we say it is not acceptable. Gyprocking on the underside of the stairs in the dining area ceiling was done and looks messy. Apparently because we raised our ceilings we had to have an extra step and this is the one that protrudes into the downstairs ceiling space. I would have thought Wisdom would have had a standard finish for this situation that looked OK, as surely our house is not the first, but it appears not. Our internal doors have all been cut too short so we have massive gaps between them and the floor and even when our timber floors are installed the gap will still be large so we may have to put ply under the floorboards to raise them, which means we will lose some of the extra ceiling height that we paid for. We may demand that our doors be replaced. We gave them the height of our flooring so there is no excuse.  Our kitchen window to the alfresco was put in at the wrong height so they had to remove it, then remove a course of bricks to lower it. Now they have done some very messy brickwork to fill the space where the course of bricks were removed. There is a massive gap at the top of the window which cannot be filled with bricks because the window frame cannot have that weight sitting on it. Can't wait to see how that fix that F*%#up!

The man doing the tiling has been fantastic and has constantly consulted us about how we want the tiles lined up. He is one of the few tradies working on our house that has taken pride in his work.

Facade Complete except for painting of front door and timber posts

Garage Door Installed (Colour Surfmist)

Kitchen Cabinets installed (White Polyurethane)

Stairs Gyprocked

Look at that ugly post sitting on the wall on the right. Wisdom and Designer Staircases think this is acceptable.

Below is a picture of a staircase in another Wisdom home and their support post looks a lot better than ours.

Underside of the stairs. What happened to the cornice? Still looks Yuk!

Toilet waterproofed

Laundry waterproofed

Main bathroom waterproofed

Main Bathroom floor tiles.

Toilet floor tiles.

Ensuite shower tiles

New brickwork under kitchen window. 

Gap at top of kitchen window after it needed to be lowered. How will they fill this I wonder?

Looks like someone decided to put their lit cigarette out with their drink on our bedroom floor.