Saturday, June 6, 2009

THIS is Actually the MOST Stressful Issue We've Had

Today (or should I say, Yesterday), my shoulders were so sore at the end of the day because of all the stress. It all started with a call from Von around lunch time to remind me to look into the insurance. Von said our site supervisor said we'll need to do the handover on the Thursday instead as the shower people were coming on Wednesday and that he thinks WE may not be ready for the handover by Wednesday anyway.

I rang our site supervisor and asked him if we could have the handover on Wednesday afternoon as I have the flooring people booked on Thursday at 8am. He said, the cleaners were going to come on Thursday morning. He also asked if we were going to be ready by then? I asked what he meant and he said, "Don't you need that occupation certificate to give to your bank for them to release the final payment?" I did't think it was such an issue because I had emailed our CSO on Monday about it already, telling her that possible handover was in about a week, and she is usually very good with our requests and questions. My immediate reaction was to postpone the flooring until Friday and my flooring guy was soooo understanding despite this being the second time I've changed dates on him.

Next step was to follow-up our CSO (I really hadn't thought about following her up before this because I just had so much confidence in her efficiency - it didn't occur to me that she hadn't replied to my email from Tuesday). I phoned her and got a message that she was on leave until the 11th! (A little panic) Then, I phoned our broker who said the bank usually take 48 hours to process final payments after receiving the certificate but he cannot guarantee anything at the moment as it is very busy. (More panic) Then, I remembered that Monday is a public holiday. (I was starting to feel sick)

I rang Clarendon and someone put me through to another CSO. Got her voicemail at just after 12.30pm. Left a message. By 1.45pm, still no reply, so I rang back. She picked up the phone and said she was just taking my message down. She said the certifier only issued Occupation Certificates which were only issued after all the driveway and landscaping had been done. Well, luckily, our bank understands this and only wants an INTERIM Occupation Certificate. However, this CSO said that the certifier didn't do that and that they only issued a letter to say that the house is suitable for habitation. I said I would check with my broker to see if this was enough and I'd get back to her. Meanwhile, would she find out if she could try and get an Interim Certificate somehow.

I rang my broker and he was pretty sure that the letter isn't enough. I rang the CSO back and got her voicemail. I left her the message and asked to be phoned back about what she had found out. That was around 1.55pm. By 2.55pm, still no reply again. I rang and her voicemail message said she was at a meeting until 3pm. I rang again and again until I got her around 3.25pm. She said she coudn't locate my file and didn't know what stage we were at with regards to the certifier. She said she had tried to speak with the team leader but she couldn't. I'm thinking, "what the....?!?!" How is it possible that I've given her our job number and she couldn't find our file? She said she couldn't do anything until she found our file. I was getting really frustrated and said in resignation, "Well, what can I do" She heard this and basically said there is nothing I can do.

Then, I thought, surely other banks have asked for this interim certificate! Surely, we're not the only ones that aren't getting our driveway done by Clarendon! What the heck are they doing with a certifier that wouldn't issue a proper interim certificate of occupation!?!? Maybe our bank has accepted this kind of letter before in lieu of the Interim Certificate?!?!

So, I told her, I will contact my broker again and double check whether we can get away with the letter because it will be signed by the actual certifier anyway. She said she will ring me before she finishes at 4.30pm to let me know what's happening. I tried to be nice because after all, we are giving her extra work, since we aren't her clients.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get hold of our broker on his mobile or in his office. I got home from picking up the kids from school and went through my paperwork from the bank to see if I can get hold of someone directly. By 4.25pm, I had spent so much time on hold and being caught up in red tape that when the CSO rang, I hadn't gotten a response yet. She said, she had found our file and had emailed to the certifier all the paperwork they needed and as soon as she hears from them on Tuesday, she will let me know. I asked her to request for that letter anyway. She said she doesn't think she'll get that on Tuesday. Most likely, Wednesday.

Finally, I got onto someone at the bank. She said she thinks the letter may be ok. Send it through and the construction department will make a decision on it. That's not really what I wanted to hear. I told her I didn't want to waste time and energy asking for something that would be insufficient anyway. She put me on hold for a while. Then she told me she had emailed the construction department to ask this as no one can attend to me anymore because it was nearly 5pm by then. I asked when I could expect to hear back from her. She said, Tuesday.

I felt so helpless. I rang our flooring people and he said if he cannot start on the Friday, we'd have to wait until the following Friday before he can start. I was getting dizzy from thinking and from trying to solve the problem. My shoulders were so painful that I was starting to feel the pain in my back. To top it all off, my youngest son has been so attached lately that I have been feeling emotionally and physically exhausted. So, I decided to stop stressing. I accepted that there was nothing I could do for now. I had a long weekend to enjoy. God always works things out for me. If we cannot move in for another week or two, well, so be it. I felt a little better. My husband and my three boys visited my in-laws and I went to a good friend's house for a scrapbooking/card-making party. I had to be happy because no one likes being around miserable people. So, I snapped myself out of it! I'll handle it on Tuesday.


  1. Hi Leah,
    we are thinking of building the waterford with Clarendon. Hopefully better service than what I have hear, after they were recently bought out.
    I have just started reading your blog and will go through every blog you wrote. In the meantime:
    First, what was the broker you mentioned? was he for the bank or what? Where did you get him from? cost?
    Also it seems from viewing your timeline it took over a year from signing contracts to walking in the door as occupant. What time did Clarendon say it would take to build and did it go over time and thus incurring a cost to you?
    last are you happy with your Waterford?

    I would be grateful if you could email me on with answers if you could.


  2. We have been following progress of your house for sometime and have been waiting for end of the story. Still no resolution to your most stressful day after almost 3 months. Have been waiting to hear that it was all sorted and that you have moved into your new home. Please finish the story, its like a book without the final chapter to tie up all the loose ends.

  3. Hi,
    I just wanted to say thanks so much for posting all your experiences with your new home, as i am in the process of starting to build once we have our plans back from council..... You know how it works!!
    Funny, we too wanting to do our driveway and landscaping as it costed way too much to do it through our builder.
    All the best with your new home and i am sure it is all the worth whie at the end.
    Good tip to get an independant inspector to inspect the work.


  4. Thanks for all the comments and for taking the time to read my blog. I am SOOOO glad people are benefitting from our experience.

    Gary, I'll have to dig up some info to answer your latest email. Sorry for the delay!

    Kathleen, hope you like the temporary ending I've written :D I'm planning to write another one called, "THE LITTLE DETAILS" as we've had quite a few comments about them liking the attention to detail. Stay tuned. Maybe some pics as well...

    Tanner, yes, it's all been worthwhile. Independent inspector gave us peace of mind. Hope you're ringing council to chase it up at least every week :D

  5. Hi Leah,
    thanks so much for posting up your experiences with Clarendon. We are thinking of building the Waterfall and would love to hear what answers you have for Gary (if you don't mind).
    Also, just wondering who your SS was as you mentioned that we can request him?
    I really appreciate you feedback. Thanks again and all the best with the new addition.