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Builder: Should we stay or go?

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  1. #1
    Apprentice (new member)
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    Default Builder: Should we stay or go?

    We live in Perth. In March this year this year we went into discussions with a builder about a 4.6 x 3.2 extension plus renovating an existing bathroom and laundry, on a flat single story block. We already had some conceptual plans drawn up by an architect, but made some amendments which we were happy with. We paid them 8K in May to draw up all the plans and documentation and submit to council for us. They eventually submitted planning approval in Mid July and we got approval in 3 weeks. However during that time, I felt like I was ringing them every couple of weeks (sometimes more) to see what where they were at. They often didn't call back, or return emails and I kept getting messages like "oh I'll get back to you". Once they got planning approval I again heard little from them and again had to consistently call them to find out what was going on. I eventually discovered the project manager I had been working with had left the company. It is now November, and our building plans are only now apparently ready to go to council but have not yet been submitted. They now want to talk to us about final costing. We are not under any obligation to continue working with this company as we only paid for them to get the plans to council. Does this process seem overly long to people, or am I being unreasonable? I am in two minds about continueing with them. When I checked people who had worked with them, two clients stated they thought the owner/manager was difficult to work with (which seems to be true), but all four clients stated the builder was excellent and that the build itself was trouble free. If their price is OK, I am wondering whether I get out now - or persist on the assumption that I will only need to deal with the builder (who seems to have a good reputation). I have sought alternative quotes, but it will cost me 5K to allow them to use the plans this company has already drawn up. Do people have any thoughts on this?

  2. #2
    Hammer Head - 1K Club Member
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    you paid for the plans, you own the plans, if they can not even get there act togther with the pre construction dont know how you will go during construction. always follow your gut feeling

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaza View Post
    you paid for the plans, you own the plans
    Thats not the case unless you have a agreement which must be signed, have a read through this pdf http://www.copyright.org.au/admin/cm...c44c659f23.pdf


    benandbert, you say you had conceptual plans drawn by an architect, was he associated with this company you are dealing with?

  4. #4
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    The contract did have a clause which said that if we reproduced the plans in 3d (ie. build them) with any other builder we would need to pay extra. We actually negotiated this fee down from 10K to 5K. The owner stated that this clause was really to protect them when they designed a whole house to prevent other builders reproducing their design. He said he was less concerned about renovations (as they are clearly hard to mass reproduce) and would probably not envoke this clause if we left. But the fact we actually highlighted and asked him to reduce the price may mean he decides to go by the rule book. The original architect plans were completely independent, so technically the only new part is actually the extension and would could get anyone to do the rest. If our alternative quote comes in 5K cheap than them, I think we will probably go elsewhere. What a long drawn out process this has been?????

  5. #5
    Senior Stinkologist Sir Stinkalot's Avatar
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    I am confused.

    You said that you discussed your requirements with a builder and then had plans drawn up an submitted by an architect. It would seem from your first post the architect was tardy in submitting plans for approval and then you talk about the builder again.

    Just to be clear did you engage a design and construct firm who would prepare and submit drawings and then construct, or did you engage an architect to prepare the drawings and then approach a builder with these drawings?
    Licence to drill!

  6. #6
    Apprentice (new member)
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    Sorry it is confusing. We initially paid an independent architect to draw up some conceptual plans. We were happy with his plans and started looking for a builder. During discussions with the building company we decided to change these conceptual plans by extending on a different part of the house and all the inhouse changes remained the same. The building company took the original architect plans (which we definately owned) and adapted them to include the extension. We then paid the building company to draw up all the paperwork (engineers reports, environmental report etc) required for council and to submit them to council for us. In the past 6 months they have = gained planning approval, and apparantly are now ready to submit for building approval. The planning dept actually approved in 3 weeks so that was not the reason for it all taking so long. Hope that clarifies.

  7. #7
    Senior Stinkologist Sir Stinkalot's Avatar
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    Well it sounds like the level of communication from their drafting department didn't meet your expectations. Signing up in May and having drawings submitted in mid July doesn't sound too unreasonable as it takes time. Especially when you consider that it still too Council 3 weeks to do nothing but look at the submitted plans (although 3 weeks is still quite quick for Council).

    It really is a decision you need to be comfortable with. If they are ready to submit for a Construction Certificate / Building Permit then you are basically ready to be dealing directly with their builder on site.

    If you are happy with their price, and the quality of their built product stay where you are. Unless you have a recommended alternative it may be pot luck finding another builder at the price and quality that you are looking for, not to mention the time wasted and the potential for cost increases.
    Licence to drill!

  8. #8
    Senior Stinkologist Sir Stinkalot's Avatar
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    Just reading your post again .... In the six months they have prepared architectural drawings, commissioned and waited on a couple of external parties to get supporting docs ready, submitted to Council and obtained DA / Planning Permit, completed construction documentation, worked with a structural engineer and now have plans ready for submission again.

    When you consider they need to do their component, and then coordinate another two or three consultants who may also be busy, 6 months isn't that long.
    Licence to drill!

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