Saturday, August 15, 2009

How it all began

We fell in love with Metricon the first display home we entered. The level of detailing to their homes was exceptional. We had looked at various builders such as, Hallmark, AV Jennings, Clarendon, Orbit Homes & Ausbuild, but nothing compared. Now all we needed was some land to build on. After about 6months of selling our previous home, we kept looking. We had a couple of possiblities, but fell short in some aspects. We ended up settling for a bit of land in Wishart which is close to where we currently live and close to our daughters school, where she has started prep.

The land is a battle axe at the end of a prestige estate (Sovereign Gardens) in the suburb of Wishart. Now we had aquired some land, it was time to look for a suitable home design. We looked at the possibilites of the Windarra or Everest. The only one of those that was available as a display was an Everest which was on display at Ormeau. We initially enquired over the phone to the sales consultant Trevor. He confirmed with us that both designs were suitable, we liked the everest as it had the extra study area. We had spoken to a previous sales consultant about a previous design for other land possibilities, so we pursued with Gary (from Heathwood) for the remainder of our experience.

After settling for the Everest 33 on our block, we looked at the possibilities of locating it on the block, since we had a battle-axe we were not under the front setback limitations you need to apply for from the BCC. So we located the home as far forward as we could plus sitting along the left boundary where the garage would be so that it would maximise the opposite side access. this would involve a small cost to the BCC for site boundary allowance, which involved permission from all adjacent neighbours. So having been happy with the location of the home, we pursued with the signing of the preliminary contract.

After we signed the preliminary contract we had to wait for the preliminary plans to be developed. Then we got a phone call from the sales consultant, who asked us to skip the prelimary contract stage and go straight to contract. What he told us that this would mean is it would save us time instead of waiting for estimates on costs, and save on only one set of drawings being drawn up instead of two had we wished to change anything. To us this sounded abit sus, so we ran with it anyway. After a few weeks we got the contract back, but because we had agreed to go straight to contract we were entitled to changes only up until contract signing stage. Usually at this stage you would not be able to change anything and would be subject to variation costs. So we reveiwed the plans and requested the necessary changes and waited for contract signing.

A few weeks later we got together with our sales consultant for contract signing. To our suprise there were additional costs involved. 1. 2. We made the necessary variations and sent away for request. In the process we had to obtain finance for the deposit, until this time no paper work could proceed. Once we paid the initial deposit. few weeks later we had a letter from our nominated CSC. Who gave us a schedule of the next few steps, including tile, colour & electrical selection. Previous to this we visited Beaumont Tiles and Studio M to browse through the range of colours we had to be able to select from.

To level or not to level.

This is when the nightmare began. The rear of our block is slopped, and requires a retaining wall. We thought we'd flatten the block and retaining up to the boundary, which sounds easy right? Wrong! Our backyard backs onto a major main road, which is state government owned. We tossed up between different designs, sleeper vs block wall. This ended up being a long and drawn out process taking over 12months to reseolve. The main reason was the Department of Main Roads design criteria were unreasonable, being so unreasonable that the cost to build such a retaining wall would end up being almost half the cost to build a house. We ended up with a hybrid design. Part sleeper wall, and part block wall, but elevating the back yard, to minimise the amount of disturbed soil we would have to excavate to keep DMR happy. To make matters worse we would have to reinstate the acoustic barrier that offered noise protection to us and the neighbouring houses.

The hole ordeal left a bitter taste in my mouth about the engineer we used, and the public servants working for QLD government. We chose the same engineer used by metricon to design their homes. We thought it might be a good decision, having the same people designing the whole job. It's hard to say if things would have been different if we went with someone else. I guess we have to except somethings in life and move on.

So 16months later, after signing a building contract which we were obliged to speed up because of the sales consultant advise, we had to fork out escalation costs on the constructions. Add this to the amount we committed to retaining wall construction, let's just say we could have spent this money on much better things. Maybe 6month holiday abroad or even more.

The whole ordeal left us fatigued and at moments losing sleep and stressed. Sometimes wanting to give up on the whole thing, and sell. We perserved and now can say we're on the way to building our own piece of paradise. (We hope)

1 comment:

Robert Richmond said...

You know, when we bought our block of land, the finance team didn't take into consideration the $5000 in extra fess, and the whole thing almost fell through!! So I know where you are coming from talking about sleepless nights!!