Ugh. I barely want to remember this AT ALL. *takes a deep breath*
We fronted up for our tender appointment, only to find that our soil test hadn't been done, thanks to developer delays, which meant that the contractors couldn't get access to the land. So we went through everything that they DID have, and agreed to come back to complete the tender process once soil test results were available. Meanwhile, we got through the colour selection, tile and electrical appointments with only a few annoying hiccups (like the colour consultants not being able to tell us price differences between the various options, the electrical consultant making it clear that PD was not interested in providing any serious upgrades, even if the items were in their displays, and appointments being cancelled and then not rescheduled).
Finally, in September, the soil test was done and we got called back to complete the tender process. We'd originally been told to expect "around $7000-$10,000" for site costs. Well. Those came in at $14,000. Hmm, quite a difference. Thanks to more fill than was expected on our block, the slab had to be upgraded and it was likely that the entire slab would have to be piered as well.
We were unimpressed at such a big price discrepancy, but sucked it up. If that's what it takes to get our dream home.... Finally, we got our contract appointment locked in, and it turned out that the piering wasn't necessary after all, except for along the rear edge of the slab, where it was very close to the sewer easement. As a bonus, the slab upgrade meant that we would get concrete floors in our al fresco room and our portico. The really good news was a $2000 post-contract variation in our favour. Woohoo!
Along the journey to this point, we'd also endured being given incorrect information by several PD staff, and having phone messages and emails (querying various pricing issues) ignored by the person who presented our tender. Our impression of the customer service standard was slipping...
We just sighed, shrugged our shoulders, and waited for the land to be settled and the building permit to be granted. Ther were delays associated with both of those (not PD's fault), but finally, we had a start date of 25th February 2008.
And that's where the REAL problems began.
Next: The dramas begin in earnest.