Sunday, November 27, 2016

Frame Progress - Frame/Slab Inspection

So the majority of the frame has been completed now and most windows are in. Gutters were completed Sunday night and the roof tiles have been delivered. Fingers crossed for roof installation next week!

We also received our slab/frame independent inspection report this week and whilst there wasn't a lot of defects, the defects listed seem rather large jobs to rectify. The report was very detailed (17 pages long) with pictures of defects and suggested repair options.

The defects are as follows.

- Large amounts of slab over pour which will require engineering to come up with a plan to rectify without damaging the slab.

- The site cut has been advised as very poor in general with the fall of the land falling towards the slab. This means that water can pool against the slab and run under the house. This could cause major issues in the future.

- A few frame issues with the frame over hanging the slab as the slab in some sections has been poured incorrectly.

- Intersecting sections of frame walls are not actually connected which means that future movement and plaster cracking is very likely

- Lots of areas where the slab is not level. There are a few sections where the fall and rise of the slab is way above allowed tolerances meaning to fix they will have to grind back sections.

- Areas of the roof trusses were not connected with brackets to the load bearing walls meaning those trusses could move.

- There are non loading bearing walls which have been converted to load bearing using blocking. 

Overall some pretty concerning points that I am glad the inspection picked up however I have been advised by others that the listed defects are pretty common when building. We have formally requested Boutique to fix these defects and they have advised that the normal process for reports is to send it to their regional manager who will send a detailed report within 7 days outlining how they will repair.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Frame Progress - Independent Inspections

It has been less than two weeks and we have seen a fair bit of action. The slab sat for a week and got to dry out a bit which was great. I know nowadays it isn't required for slabs to cure for as long as they use different materials and difference processes than they used to however it is nice knowing it had time to set before they start drilling into it.

As of today most of the walls and window framing is up and they have started on the roof. Hopefully they can finish the roof trusses this week and maybe see some gutters/windows and tiles next week!

For those interested we are also engaging an independent inspector to review each stage of our build. This isn't something that is required however if you don't have one you will have to rely on the builder to pick up their own mistakes.

We have chosen to go with Darbecca. There are plenty of positive reviews on the Homeone Forums that we frequent which was the main reason we decided on them. We have selected to go with every stage inspection they offer. It is costly however we believe the piece of mind in knowing everything is correct is worth it in the long run.

The way it works is that you need to notify your builder that you want certain stages inspected by an independent party. The builder then has an obligation to advise you when each stage is going to be ready (usually a couple of days in advance). Once you are notified you need to advise your inspector when and where to attend to take a tour of the construction with your build site inspector (and yourself if you choose to attend). Once completed the inspector will write up a report to pass on to you and your builder. It is then up to you to ensure any issues are rectified before moving on with the next stage.

I will post their single story pricing structures below. Please note that this is what we were quoted. Prices may have changed since then. You can check them out in more detail at

Stage Inspections
Single Storey – Standard Pricing
Single Storey – Discount Pricing
Pre Pour/Steel Inspections
$490.00 + GST
$470.00 + GST
Slab Inspection
$330.00 + GST
$0  (combined with frame inspection)
Frame Inspection
$495.00 + GST
$450.00 + GST  (inc. complimentary slab inspection)
Pre Plaster/Lock up
$495.00 + GST
$450.00 + GST  (inc. complimentary frame reinspection)
Pre Paint/Fixing Inspections
$495.00 + GST
$450.00 + GST
Waterproofing Inspections
$430.00 + GST
$390.00 + GST ($120.00+ GST if combined with Fixing)
PCI/Final Inspections
$630.00 + GST
$550.00 + GST
Re Inspections
$385.00 + GST
$350.00 + GST

Friday, November 4, 2016

Slab! Finally...

It has been a very long and slow 35 days since my last post. In that time very little happened on the block. It actually got to the point where I was chasing up Boutique to complain about the delays. Normally it only takes 2 weeks to get the plumbing, electrical and slab down. In our case it has taken much longer.

Our weekly updates from our client liaison were emotionless and completely ignored the fact that we were experiencing delays. We basically received the same email week after week saying that "this week your slab is scheduled to be poured etc". When nothing happened on the block the same email would be sent again the following week.

Pipes ready to be installed but not much else happening

Most of the pipes and electrical in

I called our site supervisor directly and he advised that along with the weather, he was also just snowed under with the sheer volume of builds he was working on. This was concerning to hear as this wasn't the level of service we expected from Boutique. We choose Boutqiue because they weren't a "volume builder" however it appears we might have been mistaken!

During the very wet weather. It took a couple of days to dry out
We watched the 2 Homebuyers Center and other Boutique home in our street go from slab to roof stages and we just saw our block sitting there. It was like our block was sent to the end of the build line.

After making contact with our site supervisor and emailing my concerns to our liaison we finally received word that they were confident that they would be able to box the frame up ready for the slab. We became very concerned as on the Friday of that week nothing had happened. We then took a walk to the block on Sunday to give my parents a tour of the area and we happened to see the slab frame up. They must have worked on the Saturday! At least something had finally happened.

With the Melbourne Cup holiday on the Tuesday, Boutique closed their offices for the Monday and Tuesday. This meant we didn't get our weekly update from Boutique until late Thursday afternoon. The email stated the slab was booked to get poured this week and with the good weather forecast and the frame boxed up last week we assumed this would be the case. Good news!

As we had advised Boutique earlier that we wanted a Pre-Slab inspection I called our supervisor as soon as I received the email from the office and confirmed if the inspection had been arranged (normally the client would arrange the inspections however I had been advised by Boutique that for the slab the site supervisor would arrange it so they can make sure they aren't delayed).

Unfortunately, when speaking to the supervisor he advised me that he was unaware that we wanted the slab inspected and the pour was due first thing Friday morning. At 4:00pm on a Thursday there was no way I could get the inspection in without delaying the pour. Not wanting to push the progress back anymore than what had already occurred I advised him to go ahead with the pour as planned.

Frustrated and annoyed at the lack of communication between the office and the supervisor yet excited about the slab finally happening I called the Boutqiue offices for an explanation to the lack of an inspection. I spoke to the client liaison manager who was very sympathetic to our situation and asked me to send her an email outlining all my concerns. I sat down that night and wrote everything down, which in itself was a soothing process.

The following morning I received a call from the supervisor at around 9:00am advising me that the slab pour was going ahead as scheduled. I could actually hear the trucks in the background as well! We waited all day and went and had a look at 7.30pm when we knew the trades would be gone to take a few photos.

It has been 57 days since our temp fence went up on our block to the slab being poured. I believe the standard for most builds is 14 days. Either we have been really unlucky or Boutique Homes isn't the builder we expected. We are hoping for the former but I guess we will wait and see.