Monday, 25 November 2013

Q & A

I received two comments over the weekend from Terese.  Unfortunatley due to some part of the comment being of a confidential nature I cannot publish them directly to the blog, but to answer the questions asked I have reproduced them below and I will try to answer them to the best of my knowledge.

"Hi, XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, XXXXXXX?  XXXXXXXXXX we have just got our contracts from McDonald Jones, we are building the Milano 2.  I'm really stressing at all the clauses in the contract, also about time lines as we have to do the knock down & find a rental.  We are just about to hit the 150 days since we signed up, so we are up for the $1,000 a month.  How did your approval go with Liverpool council?  I have to say so far it hasn't been smooth sailing with MacDonald Jones.  Cheers Terese"

"Hi, XXXXXX, XXXXXXXX, XXXXXXXXX. We are doing a knock down rebuild also with Mcdonuld Jones the Milano 2. We just received our contracts I've had a solicitor look over it, as I'm freaking out about all the clauses. How has the whole experience been for you so far. I feel like its been one drama after another. Now we have found out that there is a zone of influence with some mains, so the water board have to come out & I have no idea what this means. I'm really interested to see how smooth things have ran for you. Cheers Terese"
I can understand how scary it can be to receive the contract, especially if its not something you are used to.  We didn't get ours looked over by a solicitor for a number of reasons.  One being that we both have exposure to contracts so they weren't too hard for us to navigate and secondly, most of the contract is a HIA contract, this is fairly standard in the building industry. 

The contract is 99.9% in favour of the builder.  Although I can't know for sure, because I didn't attempt it but, I imagine you will be hard pressed to change the contract in any way and it would result in additional legal fees which I didn't want to get into.

Knock Down & Rental

It is very hard to play the rental market against your timeline.  I intentially over budgeted for the rental and as soon as I found a place that was large enough to accomodate my family and cheap enough for me to feel like I shouldn't pass it up, I applied for it.  We ended up getting a rental place earlier than we needed it but we took it anyway.  We also ended up knocking the house down earlier than we needed to, however, I do not recommend you do this prior to getting your building approval.

We had moved out of our house and we were trying to fine tune the timeline to work out when to knock it down.  I told my husband to just go ahead and knock it down because there was no chance EVER that he was going to get me to move back into it, even if our building approval wasn't granted.  So we knocked it down. 

The advice given to us by many people was DO NOT knock your house down prior to building approval and I would seriously recommend that you take that advice.  Do not follow my example, it was wreckless :-).  I would however recommend that you get your quotes done and all the pre-demolition paperwork done at this stage so you are good to go at short notice. 
Zone of Influence

Yes, we have a zone of influence running through our back yard, however we knew about it prior to starting the whole building process.  With that in mind we actually brought it to McDonald Jones' attention right at the very beginning around tender time.  We requested (and paid) for additional reports to check the zone of influence.  Luckily we weren't affected by it.  I am no expert when it comes to this stuff, but if you want to read up on a bit of it, I found this for you.  Additionally, as I had a rough idea that this might be something we needed to consider, we budgeted about $10k in additional fees incase we had to encase anything.


I think all up we were in Council for about 7 weeks and I think it took a further 2 weeks to be put on the construction list.  We would have been out of Council by about 4 weeks, but they raised a rectification.  This however was beyond McDonald Jones' control.  McDJ sorted out the rectification and we didn't have any other issues.  I know it is hard to be patient throughout the pre building stage but in all honesty, it is just the process. 

I hope this answers your questions a little.  You mention that it hasn't been plain sailing with McDonald Jones, but you don't tell me specifically what the issues were.  Unfortunatley building isn't plain sailing.  I researched a LOT prior to starting the process (lots of reading into the very small hours of the night) and I read about a lot of people's issues.  With all of that in my mind I pre-empted a lot of it right at the very begining, which I believe has made this journey a little bit easier for us.  Also, because of all the research I did, I didn't see a lot of our hiccups as being such an issue, I just saw them as part of the course, and at some points I was expecting them.  Yes, there were times when I was frustrated, but those were the times when I had to take a step back, put the build to the back of my mind for a few days and then come back to it later.

Building a house can consume you.  When it all gets to a point when you feel like its too much, take a step back, do something completely different.  Go for a nice drive, stop off somewhere nice for lunch, take a break from it all.

I have to say that to date my experience with McDJ has been great.  Yes we have had hiccups but like I said nothing that has caused us too much angst.  I attest some of that experience to our sales consultant.  The service that was provided to us at that stage of the journey was exceptional.  We really shopped around for a sales consultant that we felt comfortable with.  It took us a good 9 months to sign up with a builder due to the relationship we were looking for with the sales consultant.  I'm pleased to say that once we met the consultant that we signed with and his assistant, we pretty much knew straight away we were moving forward.  Funnily enough, McDJ were our first choice 9 months earlier but we didn't have the relationship with the person we spoke to back then.

Also my husband and I have shared the stress load.  I was highly involved in the beginning, researching, questioning, going through everything with a fine tooth comb, liaising and visiting the sales consultant (often).  Once we got past the design aspect I handed over the communication to him.  I mean we are both still very involved but he liaises with the CLO more than I do.  It helps to lesson the stress levels when you spread it out a little bit.

Good Luck

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