Reader query on home building

I’ve received the following query from a reader and was wondering what you guys think? I would say you need to get the builder back to re-look at the defects, but hard to know without all the details. I have no experience with residential, but in a commercial sense I am assuming its covered as per ‘forced Practical Completion’ ie the builder needs to fix the defects identified by both parties as outstanding when the homeowner moves in, but any other defects eg scuff marks, scratches in laminate etc, can be difficult to be proved as builder defects and not things you’ve done since moving in. If the builder decides these were caused by the owner, then he likely won’t fix them. Regardless, it seems this process is quite confusing for the average homeowner and this unfortunately does not seem to be an isolated story. So this is the query…

Can you suggest or recommend someone to talk to who will give us sound advice.  I am thinking we need a building inspector? I have no idea who to go to – ie who is really good and knows what they are talking about. I want someone who can tell it how it is as we are total novices and it feels like David against Goalith. 
I am embarrassed to admit this but we were kind of tricked into signing a form which has left us in a bit of problem. In our defence we have never built before, were exhausted from a newborn baby and were desperate to move in to a bigger house after many delays.  The supervisor offered us something called “partial completion”.  He told us if we signed this form we could have the keys and get in quicker. He filled it out, we met him at the house and signed it.  He simply noted a couple of things on it like a couple of unfinished cupboards, issues with the window frames. We still needed to get the floors and walls done before we could move.  Anyway, I have since discovered you are usually invited to do a room by room inspection and note any little thing…which we didn’t do as we had no idea.  We just signed the form and trusted the supervisor who seemed like a nice enough chap.  In retrospect we were very stupid. Anyway, I don’t think it was a very honest way of operating.
Now we are having difficulties with scratched Laminex and some other stuff.  I would like to have a builder who can tell us if our problems are legitimate or just one of those things and we let it go.

Anyone want to comment on this one? Where could these homeowners go? HIA? Archicentre?


2 thoughts on “Reader query on home building

  1. I imagine the best course of action would be to engage a building inspector. They will prepare a report on the defects. Inspectors are usually engaged during home sales, but many people engage building inspectors throughout the building process, to have them prepare reports at intermittent stages of the build, with a practical completion report addressing all those little issues before they keys are handed over. There are a few companies around, Houspect is one.

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