Monday, November 24, 2008

The back story: where was I?

I think we were at lock-up stage or thereabouts. Dodgy frame, dodgy brickwork, dodgy roof. We were still busy complaining about all of that when our supervisor tells us he wants the plasterers to start. Say what? The frame is seriously not right and you want to cover it up with plaster?

We organise a meeting with the construction manager and our supervisor and make it clear that we are Not. Happy. Jan. We point out how the roof line dips away in one corner of the ensuite. How this wall or that aren't plumb. How bulkheads have been framed wrongly. How the wrong timbers have been used in load-bearing walls. How some of the timbers that should have been used have now been cut up to build the frame for our missing entertainment niche. How the roof line is uneven. And so on.

We learn that the frame has failed inspection (gee, really?), but is due for another shortly, and assuming all is OK, the plasterers need to get started so as not to hold things up. *ahem* They assure us that various things will be rectified and we are promised a copy of the frame inspection report thingy, which we request because we no longer have any faith in these promises. We never did get that...

Plaster goes on and walls look woeful. Things start and stop and go nowhere. We get a whole lot more empty promises, and then one day when walking up the street and viewing the place from a different angle, we notice just how bad the roof is. The entire front face looks like (as my husband puts it) "the waves at Bell's Beach".

By this time we've sent numerous emails and made multiple phone calls and got not very far. We start to investigate what the Building Commission can do for us, and how to go about starting a formal complaints process. Then I get a phone call one morning out of the blue from our new site supervisor. NEW site supervisor? First we've heard of it. He wants to have a meeting on site to go over the house with us. I'm at work and suggest he rings Bike Boy, who organises a meeting with the new guy.

New Guy is brought up to speed very quickly and is probably wondering who's bad side he's managed to end up on to inherit this job... he seems appalled at the state of the roof and various other things, and utters several bad words at the workmanship (or lack of...).

One of the first things he does is to have all the plaster in the garage, the entire ceiling throughout the front of the house, along with some sections of cornice elsewhere, ripped down. Then a number of roof trusses are moved. With the tiles on. Err... Still, that results in a marked improvement in the roofline. Other trusses are jacked up and various bits of frame evened out. New Guy also tells us that the frame actually failed inspection FIVE times. And that he has no idea how it passed on the sixth attempt.

We still have issues with tradies. Like this:

In what parallel universe is it acceptable to prop up a roof truss with an old chisel?

There was more of the same, things were happening, but it was all two steps forward, one step back. The plaster was pulled down and re-done more times than we could count. There was so much done wrong, re-done (wrong again), re-done again.....but it would take me a week to list it all.

We had a lot of promises and some action, and this went on for weeks and weeks*. Our biggest beef was that we saw our contract completion date come and go in August and we just could not pin anyone down to a timeframe for actual real-world completion. Work had also seemed to come to a halt; nobody was in a hurry to do anything.

Finally, we looked up the big boss at PD and sent him a terse email, listing some of our issues, the main one being the lack of any kind of timeline. Bike Boy got a call from him first thing the next morning, and Lo! Things began to happen.

By this time it was September and we were fast running out of patience - and cash.

* I have to note here that New Guy was actually getting a lot of things happening and seemed to be making a genuine effort to sort out all the dramas. But he was up against it with tradies who just didn't care (that's if they bothered to show up in the first place) and also in trying to work around the poor-quality frame.

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