Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flooring Appointment at the Site

Today, we got the flooring people Von and I were most happy with, to give us a proper quote (they said, they have to do proper measurements).  They got there earlier than agreed on and had just finished their measurements when I arrived.

Basically, John's estimate based on the plan was very close to the actual measurements.  About 280sqm of bamboo flooring.  He said, he'll send me a proper quote soon.

The tiler had just completed the porch tiles when I arrived and John's business partner was to quick to point out that the entrance tiles were going to be too low.  Luckily, the cement wasn't dry yet and our tiler was able to rip off the tiles again.  He said Beaumont didn't send him enough tiles and there were some missing from the laundry floor.  So, he put some in there to finish it off and he'll just get more tiles for our front porch.  We need to tell him to come in once the doors are cut, so he can lay his tiles.  Of course, it will now cost me extra but I'm happy with his work.

It's annoying that Clarendon asked us what flooring we'll be putting in (and we told them it will be hardwood or porcelain tiles), yet they failed to accommodate for this when they instructed the tiler.  Apparently, they only ask that question so they can adjust the dishwasher position.  Never mind that we have the laundry right off the kitchen and there's a difference in height there.  In many ways, though, I understand what our site supervisor was saying about the frames and doors all coming pre-cut, pre-measured.  That's a project home, after all.  Our flooring people will have to do that then.  Clarendon also wouldn't budge about tacking on the skirting board.  They're either on or off (and not cut to size nor painted).  We left them on and will just pay for re-installation of the skirting. 

Some Electrical Inconsistencies

Rang up site supervisor yesterday because I noticed that there were missing powerpoints (2 in rumpus upstairs and one in laundry.  The electrical  provision for the wall mounted lighting for above the bathroom mirrors weren't there either.  Lastly, there was no hole in the gyprock for the light switch for the play room yet.  He told me to take it up with our CSO.  I emailed her this morning and I've been happy with how quickly she replies.  I also asked for all the certificates as recommended by our independent supervisor.  She said, she'll put them together, ready at handover.  

Today, our site supervisor turned up at the site when I had the appointment with the people we're getting to do our flooring.  He said he had already spoken with the electrical people and they will ring me.  I showed him what was missing and he assured me that they weren't big issues.  I openly praised him and thanked him for sorting out our tiling issue.  That letter of commendation to their CEO is getting longer :D

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tiling Issue Sorted

Von asked me last night if the tiling issue has been sorted.  I hadn't heard from our Site supervisor yet, but somehow, the reassurance of the construction manager gave me a lot of confidence on Tuesday.

Today, I visited in the morning and the tiler had already put up half of the wall tiles in the WC - the RIGHT ones!  Hurray!  The tiler said he was asked by Beaumont and our site supervisor if he thought I just changed my mind about the tiles on the spot or whether it was a real error.  The tiler told them that he thought I was telling the truth because as soon as I saw the tiles, I went, "Yup (floor tiles), yup (shower recess tiles), that's not what we picked (wall tiles)".

The tiler also took his time in explaining to me about the fall in the floor - I was asking if it's possible for him to avoid water accumulating in spots as that's something that would definitely bother me.  We got our wall mounted vanities so that I can "wash" the floors easily.  Basically, I was told that the waterproofing is not intended for buckets of water.  We used to pour water onto our toilet suite and let it drip down.  Then we'd roughly mop it towards the drain.  Apparently, that's a big NO-NO.  Woops!

Tiler seems particular with his work.  In fact, I didn't have to ask him to try and align the floor tiles with the wall tiles - he tries to do that normally already.  Of course, it can never be aligned exactly because the grouting between the wall tiles and between the floor tiles are regulated differently.   

Our tile selection works well from what we can already see.  It was worth fighting for.  Tips for those selecting their tiles:  take a photo throughout all your selection appointments - ideally with the person serving you in the background (hehehe).  Ask the person serving you to explain what you are signing for.  It's their job, just as the McDonald's staff say to you, "So, you ordered the...."

Kudos to Clarendon, specifically, to our site supervisor and to his contruction manager! 

Powder room photo shows the pattern on the white tiles the most.  Mocha coloured in the shower recess but white on all the rest of the walls.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Most Frustrating Challenge To Date - Beaumont Tiles!

Our site supervisor left a message for Von on Friday, to update him and let him know that the tiling will begin this week and painters are scheduled for the end of this week.  I rang the site supervisor on Monday to thank him for the update.  Honestly, in our whole experience, he has been the biggest credit to Clarendon.  

My mum dropped by on Monday and the tiler was there and he asked mum to get me to drop by the next day to check something.  I went there at 8am yesterday.  The tiler wanted to check the tiles and lay out with me.  Well, the feature tile was right (mocha coloured, with pattern).  These were to go in every shower recess.  For the rest of the walls, we picked the same pattern but in white gloss.  Instead, we got PLAIN white gloss.  The tiler's documents showed that he had been supplied with the correct tiles, based on product codes.  I said, I will check my documents and then I got his number.

Got home, checked my documents.  Same code as on the tiler's documents.  Checked the "Ideas Planner" sheet I filled out during pre-selection at Beaumont Tiles.  This is the same sheet I handed the person who served me at my tile selection appointment.  For the rest of this entry, I shall call her Kristie.  On my sheet, I had written the codes for the tiles we selected.  Kristie had not entered the whole code.  Instead of 49019IA, she had only entered 49019.  The ommission of the IA, meant that instead of the patterned tile, we got the plain tiles.  Mind you, on the record of selection she printed, the tile still had the name SEQUENZA WHITE GLOSS.  The feature wall is actually called SEQUENZA MOCHA SATIN THONET INSERT.  So, I believe, when I was asked to check the print-out, I just saw the words SEQUENZA and WHITE GLOSS, and I thought that was the same one.  I wouldn't have checked the product code, simply because I gave her the code on paper already.  Besides, how would a regular person be able to spot that there was no "IA"?  Or, had I spotted that, how was I supposed to know that that would make a difference at all?  

As my previous entry relayed (December 24, 2008), Kristie was an abrupt person who acted as if she just wanted me out of there.  I was told to allocate an hour for the appointment.  I was out of there in 30 mins, $1,610 poorer!  What any customer deserved was a confirmation that what was printed was what the customer asked for.  Kristie could have said, "Ok, according to this document I am asking you to sign, for your shower recesses, you have selected this tile (show me the tile), and for the rest of the walls, you have selected this tile (show me this tile), and for your floor, you have selected this tile (again, show the tile that the document is denoting).  You want floor to ceiling tiles in the following wet areas....Is everything correct?"  But, NO!  I didn't get any service like that.  I felt belittled and bullied by her when I dared to ask questions.

Anyway, I rang Beaumont tiles at 8.30, hoping they would be open.  Someone answered the phone and she was empathetic.  She said she was by herself, but she would tell Kristie what had happened as soon as she came in.  I said, I didn't really want to deal with Kristie again because she wasn't very helpful the first time around.  She said she will get someone to follow it up as soon as someone else comes in.

I had things planned for the morning, being school holidays.  I was meeting with friends and some of the kids from school at playland.  By 9.50am, I hadn't heard from Beaumont, so I rang Beaumont Tiles again.  I got to speak with Kristie herself and she said she needs to pull up the files to know what's going on and she'd have to speak to the warehouse (?).  She rang again around 10.45am and said they had delivered the tiles according to the selection I had signed off on.  I acknowledged that that was correct but that the tiles on the selection were not the one I had wanted in the first place.  She said, she's been told that if I wanted MY tiles, I would have to pay a $500 reselection fee.  I said, I am not paying for that fee since I am not changing my mind on them.  SHE took my order wrongly in the first place.  We disputed over what I asked for and what she gave me.  I asked if I could speak to whoever she was speaking to and she said she's not allowed to give the number away.  Besides, Kristie said, they will say the same thing to me.  I said, I know that she cannot do anything else for me and her hands are tied, so I want to speak with someone else higher up.  She said she'll get her manager to ring me as soon as the manager is finished with an appointment with another builder.  Note, this was at 10.45am...

We left playland as by 12.30pm, I still hadn't heard from the manager.  I had to attend to the bub and put him to sleep as I didn't want to leave him in such a state with my dad.  I was lucky that dad was still home.  He was about to leave when we got home.  He agreed to mind the three kids.  I got to Beaumont in Bella Vista by 1.45pm.  I went into the showroom and waited for someone to serve me.  A lady came out from the manager's office and I asked if I could speak to the manager.  She said, that the manager had just finished with an appointment, could she help me out (meanwhile, I could see the manager in her office, trying to look like she's busy).  I started to relay the situation and as soon as she found out that Kristie was the one who served me before, she was going to call her.  I told her I didn't want to deal with Kristie at all as I don't like her and she wasn't good at customer service.  Just then, Kristie came to where we were and started serving another customer.  When Kristie realised who I was, she interrupted us to ask if Kerry from the office hasn't rung me yet as she had rung Kerry 20 mins prior.  I said, I haven't received any calls and it's been three hours.  We started to get into another argument about what she typed into the computer and what I had written and given her and the showroom display we partly based our selection on.  And, in the end, she was doing her thing again, where she's just cutting me off, so I said, "The problem is, you wouldn't admit that you made a mistake in taking my order!"  She kept saying that I had signed off on that blasted piece of paper, insinuating that it was therefore, my fault.  In the end, she said I should just wait, as Kerry should be ringing me soon.  I asked how long.  She said, in the next half an hour, and that she would ring Kerry again.  

I walked around the other shops and was starting to get antsy when my mobile rang just in time.  The Kerry girl was worse than Kristie.  She, too, kept harping on about the fact that they did everything according to MY selection that I had signed.  ARRGGGHHH!!!  I told her how annoying they were because the problem was when I was served and if they cared enough about their customers, they would see that their customer service was lacking and that was the root of the problem.  I was creating a scene in front of Freedom, but I couldn't care less.  I was soooo frustrated by their arrogance!  I can't believe they're still in business, with that attitude.

She was saying that because the tiles were on site, there was no option to do a reselection.  I said, the tiles weren't on site because I was there in the morning and there was only a small trailer box of tiles (it wasn't even full).  She said, according to her enquiries, the tiles were on site so that was that.  I asked if the tiles were to be returned, what would happen then?  She said, I would incur a re-delivery fee and then, the reselection fee.  I asked how much the delivery fee is.  She said she would have to find out.  I asked how long shall I wait until she finds out.  She said, she'll ring me in an hour.  As soon as I got off the phone with her, I rang the tiler, who said the tiles were at his house and if Beaumont Tiles told him to return the tiles to Arndell Park, he would do it.  He wasn't going to charge anything for it.  Poor man, he didn't want to say too much as he didn't want to get caught up in the whole thing.  I rang Kerry back and told her not to bother finding out the redelivery fee as the tiler is willing to return the tiles at no cost.  She said, that's not what the tiling company said.  I said, I will take it up with Clarendon.  She was like, "Yes, sure, you do that."

I hopped in the car, rang our new CSO, left a message saying it's of an urgent nature.  Before I got to Clarendon, she had phoned back.  I explained the situation.  She was empathetic, but, as Beaumont Tiles is run independently from them, she was saying that there's nothing she can do either.  I said, they send all their clients to Beaumont Tiles, surely, they can appeal on my behalf.  She said, she knows they will just come back to her with that piece of paper I signed and she won't be able to do anything about it.  

By this stage, I was in the carpark of Clarendon.  She said she will refer the matter to our site supervisor and if I want, I can take it up further within Beaumont Tiles.  I asked if I could come in and see our site supervisor who should be in because it was Tuesday.  She said she hadn't seen him that day yet, and right at that moment, our site supervisor walked out into the carpark.  I hung up, ran to him and started to tear up because of frustration and anger.  He was very nice, but he, too, said he didn't know what else he could do.  I started crying (embarrassing!), and he came up with an idea to have his construction manager see me.  He brought the construction manager, Warren, down to the carpark, just a few minutes after, enough time for me to compose myself.  I explained the matter in two minutes (no exaggeration), and immediately, he said, he could see that the fault rested on Beaumont Tiles due to the lack of customer service at the time I gave my selection.  He got our site supervisor to take a copy of the sheet I handed over to Kristie and a copy of the Record of Selection.  Warren, then said, he will take it up with Beaumont Tiles and they'll update me.  He asked if I minded a little delay which would mean we wouldn't get the house until end of May.  I said I didn't care, I just want my tiles.  I thanked him profusely.  I got into my car and burst into tears (tears of joy and relief)!  Finally, someone understood me and was willing to fight my cause.  I felt like I could finally sleep that night.

Well, that was yesterday.  I hadn't really heard from Warren just yet and the tiler rang me around lunchtime to ask what happened.  I told him that someone's sorting it out.  Meanwhile, could he do the floors and the shower recess?  He said, in some parts yes, but not in other parts.  I rang our site supervisor who said he was on his way there.  I have confidence that they'll sort it out.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Stairs in Ahead of Schedule & Doors Installed!!!

The stairs were supposed to go in today and they were installed some time yesterday.  Now, it's feeling more and more like a house!  Can't wait to live in it!

Just noticed that the balustrades are not the ones we ordered.  We wanted plains and twists and we got given plains and balls (?)  We worried about the ball because little fingers may get caught in there, or little ones might use them as a step.  I also am concerned that it is potentially a dust collector.  Von thinks it may take long to rectify the problem and is prepared to stick with what we got given.  I personally feel that our original selection would look more modern.

I cannot get over how beautiful our front door looks like!  Just wish that the bottom right panel isn't so mismatched in colour.  The 9-foot ceiling, combined with the double merbau doors, are some of our better decisions in this house.  Forget the facade - for practically the same money, we got the eaves and the extra foot at ground level.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bamboo Flooring

I've had my eye on bamboo flooring for a while now.  With the prospect of our new home being completed in the next 4 weeks, I thought I better get some quotes done.  

I started on Wednesday and made a trip to Granville where I had seen bamboo floors before.  I sort of know what I want based on many endless nights researching flooring.  I have finally convinced Von to have the same flooring throughout the house as yesterday, I saw one the school mum's house with bamboo flooring (even on stairs) and to me, it was simply stunning.  The thought of using sustainable materials is a wonderful advantage as well.  Doing a little bit for the environment.  Although, BASIX made sure we did do our bit for the environment in building our home, at the cost of around $10k - not to mention all the other things we included to ensure we used less resources, eg. eaves, glazing on the front windows, etc.

Anyway, in Granville, I got two quotes (very roughly as none would commit until they have done measurements in the actual house).  The first came up with an area that was close to what I got (in total, but not when done separately.  The second one calculated a lot more but the second one sounded like he knew what he was talking about more.  The quote was above what we had budgeted for, mainly because the prices had gone up since I was researching the floors nearly a year ago, and also because I hadn't considered the stairs.  We were happy to have carpet on the stairs for safety of the children.  The stairs alone would cost around $2000-$2500.

Today, we met with a good friend's old mate from uni.  He seemed trustworthy and credible.  He was also very nice that I couldn't even bring myself to bargaining with him.  We're going with him - now, if i can only figure out how I can draw down the money (we've made an allocation for floors, electricals and driveway within our loan).  The tricky part is that most flooring installers want 10% at the time of booking and then another 70% at the time the materials are delivered.  Meanwhile, the bank wants a tax invoice from the company installing our floors.  I'm asking our broker - hahaha!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Gyprock Finished in 4 Days!

Gyprocking started on Tuesday, as our site supervisor has indicated (he is wonderfully forthcoming with the scheduled activities which makes him deserving of our respect and trust).  Already finished today, according to our site supervisor!  Cornices are all there, too.