Tuesday, 7 August 2007

[Others.010] How come we didn't receive any engineering report prior to signing contract?

I asked around to see how much people paid in the past for their concrete piers and was it as bad as ours, been hit with double the amount covered in the contract?

Thanks to friends at homeone.com.au forum, I got some very good responses as listed below:

Responses from homeone.com.au forum
"The builder must have known that there would be 69 piers before they started. Allowing for only 35 linear meters means that each pier was planned to be only 500 mm deep, which sounds shallow. Call me a sceptic, but it sounds like a ploy to extract some extra funds from the customer, and a very common one from the sounds of other's reports." -- thanks to Casa.

"Surely this would have all been worked out before the contract was signed. Our engineers report was done before we signed the contract, and our foundations ended up costing an extra $18000 on top of the 'average' price already allocated. All this was done before we made the decision to build with them. We have had no hidden surprises at all with our builder as everything was worked out before we started." -- thanks to bda20.

"I had my engineering report prior to the signing and it said exactly how many piers were going in and how deep." -- thanks to vlad76.

So there are 2 things I wasn't very happy about:
(1) Why there's 100% differences?
(2) Why we didn't receive any engineering report?

Why there's 100% differences?
Since we have done the soil test, which drilled a few holes in different places to test for rocks underground. With that result, plus the survey which shows the level of the land, plus the slab plan which clearly shows how many concrete piers required. It shouldn't be too difficult to roughly estimate the total length of all piers. And I would like to understand how did they work out 35 linear meter would be sufficient and cover that in the contract. Or was the focus at that stage was to keep the contract price lower to get the business?

Understood that no one can predict the location of rocks underground. I can accept 10-30% differences as a reasonable range, but 100% differences is definitly too much.

It's also not about the money, $2600 is not a lot compared to the cost of the house. It's the feeling that you have not been treated properly that hurts. If our builder could work a little extra/harder towards a better customer experience, the feeling would be totally different. Hope they can do it better next time.

Why we didn't receive any engineering report?
It wasn't until the day the pier drilling starts, that we saw this "slab plan" which clearly shows where each pier should be drilled and how many are required. The feeling is quite bad and we wonder how many other reports we are suppose to receive were not given to us?

The other day, I was also asking questions in the forum about windows, another friend "Ed Perry" asked:
"What is the wind rating for your home (it should be on your plans)? What is the wind rating for the window you want? (ring Bradnams and ask). For certain you don't want a leaking window. Most homes are in locations rated N1 or N2 and all windows should meet this (N4 & N5 being at the high end of the scale)."

I checked all the plans I received, as listed below, can't any information about this in any of them and I still couldn't work out what's our "wind rating"?
1. site plan
2. ground floor plan
3. first floor plan
4. elevations
5. elevation/cross-section
6. sediment control plan
7. concrete drainage plan
8. concrete slab plan
9. ground floor electrical plan
10. first floor electrical plan
11. kitchen
12. powder/laundry
13. bathroom / ensuite

Yes, we are not in the industry and wouldn't have a clue about those engineering details. But at least we can do simple math and count how many piers are required, or hire someone to explain it for us! Builders should provide all required engineering details/reports, whether we understand it or not is a different issue.

Our construction has finally started, hopefully we won't have any more surprises like this...

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