Could someone please enlighten me as to whether what I've been informed is correct:
Current scenario – constructing properties.
Payment – in 4 stages (slab, frame, roof, internal fittings).
I've been told I can obtain documents detailing the ins and outs of the properties – the process, materials, how much steel, for example, will be used in the construction of various things throughout the property, etc. This is like a "manual" (of sorts) the builder will commit its contractors to follow (theoretically, anyway), so the construction can be done at an acceptable standard. Considering there are building faults and mistakes on every building project in the country, and materials on most sites are never fully utilised, resulting in them being thrown out, this tells us that those standards are rarely met. Also, cracks here and there on newly constructed properties (<1 year), would also be a good indication that the above is correct.
Now, considering all of the above, I've been informed I can hire an independent inspector (licensed and all), who can inspect the construction after every stage has been completed, take photos, and basically compare the final building result to what was meant to be done (on paper). After this has been completed, an independent report can be given to the builder, saying that those standards have not been met, there are faults in the building (and building process), which they can no longer fix up (as the property has now been finalised and constructed).
This, according to what I was told, can be used to the owner's advantage, as the owner can then refuse to pay the final invoice installment to the builder (in full), as the end construction result is not the same as what they claimed will be to begin with. The owner can then negotiate with the builder to "knock off" several thousand dollars off the final invoice, or risk suing due to contract breaches, poor workmanship, etc.
Could someone please advise if this is at all correct, or will someone risk the possibility of looking like a fool if they chose to adopt this practice?
Knowing how contractors operate and how quality is compromised these days, I'm willing to believe these statements. Still, is this something people regularly do (i.e. people who are "in the loop" and are aware of the ins and outs of the business), or is the outcome not very realistic?
Most times it is 5 installments slab, frame, lockup, fixing, final. You also generally leave a 5% deposit with the builder at the start. The builder will supply you with a contract which will list all the various materials and finish that are being done on the building. Your working drawings should also have clear instruction as to how the building should be constructed. The builder will follow these.
I am concerned at the fact that you think that building standards are not adhered to purely because building materials are being thrown out. This happens due to breakage of materials or installation for example tiles are cut to size resulting in waste material.
I would get an independent inspection done at each stage so that the builder can remedy any problems prior to the building being finished. If you are borrowing the money from a bank they will generally send an inspector before they pay these installments.
I am also concerned that your relationship with your builder may be compromised if you try to "knock off" some dollars at the end due to poor workmanship.
As the project manager it is your job to scrutinize every step to make sure that at the end of the project you have an excellent finished product to take to market. if you are planning on having problems from the start with builder and shoddy workmanship I would question your choice of builder or trades.
There may be items at the end of the build that need to be remedied but this is all part of constructing a new dwelling. If the builder fails to follow the contract then this needs to be picked up at the time it happens not right at the end.
Good Luck with your project.
I'm already having problems with my builder, and building hasn't even commenced yet. What I was informed sounds really convenient for someone in my situation, but I don't know how realistic it is (it came from someone in the industry, though).
A problem with the slab, for instance, will not be able to be fixed once it's completed, so "remedying" the situation then will be impossible. And yes, the owner is ultimately responsible, but the builder and their contractors are generally in control of the quality of their work and what they do at the end of the day. Knowing how other people's projects have turned out, from personal observation, that quality is more often than not compromised, so both builder and contractors can finish the job faster, and not better. I've seen newspapers stuffed in places where bricks should have been put, and bricks placed vertically, so less can be used in the construction process, resulting in a very compromised end result, and thin walls!
I was just asking whether what I was told is done and followed by those "on the inside", who are all too aware of industry practices.
That is not good if you are having trouble with the builder at slab stage of construction.
I went and checked out our site everyday, I did not find any newspaper, sure we had problems but most were fixed by the handover.
You can withhold the final payment until works are completed to your satisfaction/contract, but they cannot build a dwelling again.
I hope that you can get your slab sorted and that your project works out.
DJacqui MiddletonParticipant@jacmJoin Date: 2009Post Count: 2,539
I'd be immediately taking photos of this dodginess, and then establishing what to do. Try and get identifying features in the background of the pics (eg if the neighbouring property is in the background, it is reasonable to accept that the photo is indeed of your property and not some random building site somewhere).beedieParticipant@beedieJoin Date: 2007Post Count: 158
Already having problems with your builder, and building hasn't even commenced yet
Man ….you in for a stressful few months….
Not sure what degree the problems are you referring to & what due diligence you did in the building tender process but DWofle’s advice is solid…and best you are active in the process,.
From experience having a reliable builder as part of your team is paramount for the nerves and a rewarding outcome.
The past few months have already been stressful, unfortunately. It's a reputable company, name-wise, but their actions are anything but! I can only imagine what further troubles are waiting for us well into 2011.
Again, with reference to the slab, we've witnessed several hundred metal rods (if I can call them that – my building terminology isn't flash) being thrown out right after the slab's been completed. Now, all calculations are made prior to the construction process as to how much materials, etc., will be required for each stage of construction, so throwing out 200 out of 1,000 required rods, for instance, means only 800 were used in the first building stage. Going back to the builder at that stage and telling them they did a dodgy job from the word Go, will be a little too late, as the foundation will already have been laid! My point is that even by "supervising" them, once they do the job, that's it.beedieParticipant@beedieJoin Date: 2007Post Count: 158
shangrila.. you on a fixed price contract or cost plus ??
Why don't you ask the builder why that material was thrown out? They may tell you that it is recycled or that they often have a percentage of material that is not used. They may also not know they have that amount of wastage. If it is a private contractor then they will be looking to control costs and use as much material as possible and any thrown out will be genuinely waste material.
I am with Beedie, if you are on a fixed price contract then they can waste as much material as they like and you do not have to foot the bill.
BTW Beedie….am I a bit of a Wofle? LOL!
DdanyleMember@danyleJoin Date: 2010Post Count: 2
There may be a few reasons why there is excess material being thrown away including wrong take-off amounts being ordered and even over-supply of materials by the supplier… it happens!! Not often but in my experience on commercial projects it does. (steel rods – used to fix steel in slab & footings mainly on corner edges of slab(stop blow-outs),steps in slab, footing cages & starter bars for blockwork – should be engineered, checked and approved by the Builders Engineer . Do you have Strucural Slab plans?). Other reasons for material being wasted/thrown away is as DWolfe suggested is % of allowable waste… but anything above 10% extra means the Builder is wasting his margin!
As for the paper in walls where bricks should be and bricks laid vertically, I smell owner-builder work there….however if it is a new build from a "professional"builder I would be interested to know the name of the builder so we can all keep clear!!
The building process should not be stressful …… If variations are kept to a minimum eg.design signed off with colours, carpets, tiles, fixtures etc to try and eliminate (haha) this the builder/foreman should be the only one stressing on problems that will raise their head in the project.
Best of luck with the rest of your build, hopefully if you ask your builder why the waste he can give you the answer. As for the independant certifier/inspector being engaged, I assume it should be able to be done as it is on commercial projects so that the construction works by the builder/contractor meets the industry standards.
Hope that helps.
Cheers!Scott No MatesParticipant@scott-no-matesJoin Date: 2005Post Count: 3,856
The security of payments legislation protects builders from unscrupulous developers withholding payment. What you have been told is misguided & may lead to you breaching your contract. SOPL does not apply to single dwellings being built for the principal.
If you are concerned about the quality of construction, discuss it with the builder. If still dissatisfied, speak with the building certifier &/or get yourself a clerk of works to supervise.
Thanks Scott No Mates – that's the answer I was looking for.
What I was told seemed very convenient, as it's a way of telling the builder what you think of them after all this time (none of my problems have been resolved with them, even after raising them as issues several times – hopeless!), although I wasn't sure how well that would hold in court (if it reaches that stage).
Fingers crossed!Scott No MatesParticipant@scott-no-matesJoin Date: 2005Post Count: 3,856
also building contracts often contain provisions to allow the principal/architect to open up walls etc where works may be suspect however if works are to standard you are liable for reinstatement costs.