Friday, 29 July 2011

Contract...attempt one

Our final specs and plans arrived by email yesterday at 4:30pm, ahead of our 9:30am contract meeting today.   It was pleasing to see that all of our selections made it into the paperwork :)

A few mistakes however:

- we removed the option to make the bathroom shower double length at our studio M appt, which they correctly deleted from the spec, but was still depicted on the plans.

- the Studio M consultant accidentally chose awning windows when we upgraded to the 300 series for the living rooms, but we wanted to keep them sliding. I got her to correct it, but somehow they were still listed as awning in the spec, and therefore drafting had also changed all the plans to awning...argghhh!

- the cost of the power pit hadn't been removed, despite numerous conversations and emails that we have booked this in ourselves. This will now be changed to a temporary power pole instead.

- the skylights we requested for the kitchen (Velux) came in at twice the cost I was expecting. The retail price of the skylights is $2775, so I expected somewhere between $3500-4000 with installation, plastering, painting, etc. However, at $6600 my eyes were watering! They fit between standard truss spacings so it's not like they had to re-engineer the roof!  So we asked this item to be removed.

I'm not sure if M have a customer feedback process (no doubt they do) but I will be recommending they have a process to supply all costings prior to contract preparation, in order to avoid the dreaded 'bill shock'.  I never imagined they would give you some costings for the very first time less than 24 hours before they ask you to sign the contract.  How are you supposed to keep costs within a budget?

- we also took the opportunity to delete the allowance for refrig air-conditioning. With the budget as it is, we're not likely to go ahead with it, so didn't want to have all the progress payments overinflated to account for something we know we won't go ahead with. We'll get aircon installed after handover.

- a small blessing that M have just changed door suppliers or I wouldn't have realised the sliding door to the rumpus room was wrong! At $2000 I would have been devastated!  I discovered the error by looking up the door model on the new supplier's website to make sure it looked the same as the Corinthian door we'd originally chosen and found it looked nothing like it!  Upon referring back to the Prelim Contract and looking up the old door model I found it has been incorrect all along!  Sooooo glad I checked!

Thank you, thank you, thank you M for changing suppliers!

This is the door we thought we were purchasing (as per most of their display homes):




This is the door that was actually listed in our spec (to my horror):



Fixed in a nick of time!


At the end of the meeting the consultant advised us that we could sign the contract and a list of all the variations today, but we weren't keen, given I know how bits of loose paper go missing/ignored and I didn't want to risk another round of misinterpretations between us, the Consultant, their Drafting rep and then their Estimating rep.   Just as importantly, the contract cost would be $20k overinflated and this would mean a heap of credits would be given to us at various stages of the build.   In my opinion if you know it's not right, fix it now!  I would rather delay the build and take the time now to have a neatly bound contract we can all hang our hats on when questions arise during build, than a rush to start and then face a barrage of battles through foreseeable discrepancies. Not to mention that our money is better served in our own bank account offsetting our existing interest payments!

So we have elected to go back in the drafting queue for another 2 weeks.  I'm happy to know we can still proceed with our tiling appointment next week, so not everything has come to a standstill.

It also buys more time for demolition.  I spoke to our gas & elect retailer yesterday and they have no record of our disconnection requests from our demolisher, who assures me he has already faxed them through.  Given they have a 15-20 business day lead on meter abolishment, this concerns me greatly.

So I'm off to chase this up now...

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