Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More Little Issues Followed Up

After seeing our house on Sunday when we met up with the carpenter who was installing our multitude of towel rails and toilet paper holders, we went around the house again to do another critique.

Here are our findings, duly emailed on the Monday to our CSO and site supervisor for follow up. We had a reply from our site supervisor within a few days (also noted here).

1. Kitchen cupboards and drawers are not lined up really well in many places. You can see it because gaps are not consistent between cabinets and between cupboard doors. Cupboard doors don’t line up underneath for a few of them. (Site supervisor has organised for kitchen people to adjust everything).

2. We are missing the light point above the staircase (the one with a two way switch). (Apparently, there is a junction box in the ceiling already and it is up to us to get the hole done when we install our light fixture - due to OH&S issues - it is in our contract and I missed it).

3. Towel rails in the main bathroom are not aligned properly. (Carpenter to fix).

4.There’s a cracked tile outside the laundry door. (SS has already raised this with tiler even before our email and it will be fixed).

Also followed up the following:

1. If the single powerpoint and light point in the roof have been installed already since we can's see it. (Yup)

2. Have they changed the single powerpoint in the rain water control unit into a double power point? (Yup)

3. When does the external ducting of the rangehood happen? (After handover, when appliances are installed).

4. How can we unlock the privacy locks on doors from the outside (eg, if the kids accidentally lock themselves in OR we accidentally shut the door when the lock is on). (SS will show us).

Scheduled our walk through for Wednesday, 3rd of June, at 12 noon, with our independent inspector.

Got a few more quotes for driveways, retaining walls, decks, landscaping. Organised for the boundary to pit connection on the 18th of May and it was done already (for the phone). Now just have to pay $299 to move our phone number to the new place.

Off to a 4-day holiday in Berry with the family and a few of our close friends. Can't wait!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Update on the Intercom Issue

I emailed our CSO on Monday night and she rang yesterday. Firstly, she apologised for not ringing me yesterday. She said she couldn't do something about it herself but she has emailed our site supervisor's area manager and has flagged it as an urgent matter. She said if I don't hear by Friday, I should ring her so she can follow it up.

Well, today, I received an email around 12.30pm to say that it's being looked into. By 1.30pm, whoever was going to look into it has agreed to move the intercom between 30-40 cms towards the right side of the wall. They will also repair the wall. Hooray!

Again, well, handled and in good timing. I complimented our CSO as I have read lots of horror stories about other Clarendon clients not getting acceptable service from the admin people, especially CSOs who do not return calls. Well, our CSO now has been quite responsive with calls and emails. It may take more than 24 hours but I always try to email and phone her to cover all bases.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The End is in Sight

I asked our site supervisor today about the possible date for handover. He said, he will be putting in the paperwork to nominate our house for handover tomorrow. That means, we can expect practical completion and walk through next week, and the handover the week after that. Woohoo!!!

I tried to book our Independent Inspector. But, our site supervisor will need to confirm when he can book the walk through. Apparently, he has had 13 or 14 consecutive walk-throughs with nothing else to fix. He said he will have a painter there with us so he can do any touch ups on the spot. He's a clever man, indeed. We've recommended him to a friend who is starting a build nearby soon. Our site supervisor said they can request for him. So, I rang our friend straight away.

I am inundated with things we need to plan: deck, retaining walls, landscaping, fences/gates at the front, flooring, driveway, connecting the meter to the meter box, moving our number to the new house (which is practically a new connection - $299).

When I visited this morning, garage door was on! I'm very happy with our choice. The painter was there to stain the entry doorframes, seal the entry door and stain our staircase. By the time I saw him, he had finished staining our doorframes - complete match to our door (This is due to our site supervisor being particular.) Unfortunately, by the time I returned in the afternoon, after the door had been sealed, the entry door had become a lot darker. Von and I are finding it hard to get used to it as we were happy with the natural Merbau colour. It seemed more contemporary. With the sealer, the door is much darker than the garage door, too. It's acceptable, though.

Von managed to come home early and because the painter was rushing to finish the job, we managed to visit when he was still there and Von got a look inside. Our stair stain was going to be mahogany. I've been having my doubts and luckily, when I visited this morning, the painter hadn't started on the stain. Mahogany is almost black by the time the painter does enough coats to cover the wood. He said he had the dark stain colour he used for the frames. His boss let me change it to that one by signing on our paperwork kept by the painter.

All that's really left is to replace the broken windows, fix the stacker doors, install the wire shelves in the pantry, built-in robes, linen cabinets; install the towel rails and extra toilet roll holder; address our queries (we found that the powerpoint in the rainwater control unit to be a single when we asked for a double); install the plumbing for the dishwasher; install wall basin in the WC; install toilet in powder room; finish the stain and varnish or our staircase; install appliances and A/C and hot water system; and of course, general clean-up. Can't wait!

Follow-Up on Issues Posted on the 14th May

Site supervisor rang today in response to our email that I sent last week.  We were very satisfied with the way everything was addressed except for ONE.
In the previous email, we highlighted that:
"the intercom unit inside is placed in the middle of the wall. Now, we cannot even use that wall to put up a mirror or an art work. Please relocate to above the light switch on the same wall where we it is in the plan"
According to our site supervisor, he spoke with the contractors and was told that the reason for the placement of the intercom unit is that the light switches and the intercom cannot be located in the same cavity because that would cause interference.  Also, they claim that because it is in our paperwork that "Locations are approximate only.  Points will be placed as close as possible to location on plan"  they didn't have to inform us that the unit was being placed somewhere we weren't expecting it.  Therefore, our site supervisor told me that if I was unhappy with this, email our CSO.
We completely understand that they had restrictions with regards to where the unit had to be placed.  What we are VERY DISAPPOINTED about is that where they had put it is completely wrong aesthetically.  Someone with a little more consideration would not have put the unit where it is now.  That wall lends itself to a decoration of some sort.  I was planning on putting a mirror or a print up there.  Now, we can't do anything with that wall.  Attached is a photo of how it looks like. 

We believe the least they could have done was give us a courtesy phone call to say that where it was in the original plan wasn't going to work.  They could have given us alternative locations.  Instead, they put it where it was CONVENIENT for them - giving the impression that they simply wanted to complete the work and whoever decided to put it there, seemed to lack COMMON SENSE.  I'm sorry to sound harsh, but surely, after seeing the photo, anyone would agree that anyone with a bit more common sense would not place the unit where it is now.
Due to the restrictions, we don't know where we can and cannot put the unit.  Somewhere closer to the edges would have been better, or perhaps another wall.  I told our CSO that I am happy to meet someone there if they can show us where else it can be put. 
Our site supervisor has a very high regard for aesthetics and between our careful planning and his attention to detail, we have a house that is a tribute to the partnership we've had with Clarendon.  I hope Clarendon doesn't let the thoughtlessness of one of their contractors to taint our experience with them.  

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Getting There & Electricals

WOW!  We're really getting excited!  Went there today to see what is happening.  Found the electricians finishing off today.  They asked me a few questions and I was glad I was there to answer them straight away.  I told our site supervisor yesterday that the electricians haven't phoned me like he said they will after I pointed out some of the things that were missing as per our electrical plans.  

I checked some missing powerpoints and 2 out of 3 were there already.  I pointed out the third one and by the afternoon, it was also there already.  The light switch for the play room is also there now.  

They missed a switch for the light in the foyer nook, and asked if I'd mind putting the switch in the entry foyer (but it would be on its own because we got all the switches put on another wall) or in the garage as putting it where we had planned would mean more work.  I wasn't too fussed but, boy, was I glad to check with Von, because he insisted on having it put wherever we had originally planned.  It's true, we're not changing our minds on them.  Why should it be our problem that they missed it in the first place and that it was going to cause more work now?  Why should we put up with even a little bit of inconvenience when it was their error.  When I told the electricians, they were quite good about it.  In fact, one of them said, it's not a problem at all because it was their fault in the first place.  I guess, the other one was just trying to see if they can get away with less work but they were both happy to do as required on the plan.

They also asked about the light above the mirror in the powder room.  Apparently, if it was centred above the mirror, they couldn't put it there because it had to be atleast 600mm away from the shower recess.  He suggested a downlight instead.  And because it wasn't going to cost us any extra, I okayed that straight away.  I'm glad he is on the ball with the legal requirements.  Being there, I was able to ask for the light points above the vanities to be where I want them to be in relation to the mirror.  I want them to be very close to the mirror.  The electrician would have centred it vertically in between the mirror and the cornice and that wouldn't have been good. 

I dropped off some mudcake from James' and David's birthday cake for the electricians this afternoon.  I brought some coffee but they were more keen to finish the job, I think.

There's so much that has happened since I was there on Monday, when the painting was getting finished.  The following have been installed since Monday:  shower screens, mirrors above the vanities, door handles, pantry door, built-in mirrors, tapware, and all the doors are back on.  The door stoppers are also in place - that was a pleasant surprise because for some reason, I thought we still had to buy those. 

Only issues we found are (after a quick sweep of the place):
1. The pin mixers on all vanities are hitting the mirrors when we turn them on.
2. Also, the intercom unit inside is placed in the middle of the wall in the dining/family room (well, about 1/3 from the end where we had indicated on the plan to have it).  It has obviously been mounted by a man because now, we cannot even use that wall to put up a mirror or an art work because there's an intercom unit right in the middle of that wall!  
3. The master bedroom is missing the doorlock.
4. The light under the stairs is too close to the door such that it may not illuminate the bottom end of the storage well enough.
5. There seems to be an extra plate in the main bathroom (may have been a hole made in error being covered up).

Considering how many things could have gone wrong though, they're all doing an ok job.  We still need to carefully check all the electricals against our plans, though.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Towel Rails

We got a call from our site supervisor in the morning because the carpenter on site yesterday didn't know where to put all the extra towel rails we ordered.  We wanted two towel rails in the main bathroom and in the ensuite but he wanted us to tell him where to put them when he installs them sometime next week.

You see, I didn't like the idea of double towel rails because I feel that the towel on the inside rail doesn't get aired properly.  We also paid extra for additional toilet roll holders in all three toilet areas.  I like having a low quality toilet roll for wiping the seat and for preventing skid marks and my quilton toilet roll is for well, you-know-what.  Was that too much detail?  Hahaha!!!  Just something to think about.  Another use for the secondary toilet roll holder is to have good quality toilet roll on both holders in the powder room during parties so, just in case I get caught up, visitors don't have to replace the toilet rolls themselves.  Just like they have in hotels :D

Now, I just have to figure out where they will all go.  We also got hand towel rings - ayayay-yayay!


Friday, May 8, 2009


We got a call earlier in the week because it's not in our paperwork what we chose for the staircase stain colour.  So, last night, we took the whole family to Bunnings to check out which one would match our Merbau door the best, only to find out just before lunch today that we need to stick to the colours that are in the showroom in Clarendon head office.  

So, I rushed there and although it took a little longer to get someone to let me in, I'm glad they let me in without an appointment.  Our site supervisor did tell me to just go in, after all.  Another wait for our CSO who has been frantically trying to find out how she can get me in, not knowing that I had managed to go in already.  She was nice about it though.

The only problem now is that the front door is only getting a clear seal, but the door frame does not match in colour.  Our site supervisor said he'll get that stained as close as possible to the colour of the door.  I think the colour we chose for the staircase is a little too dark, though.  We'll see.