Friday, December 11, 2009

Back to the drawing board

So we've decided to build, and we of course have a block of land. We'd picked the house we wanted to build - the Cottesloe, by Porter Davis and the wheels were in motion.

I guess the first warning sign should've been when our Porter Davis sales guy, forgot to turn up to his own office, for our very first variations meeting, then when I called in a week later, clearly didn't know who I was.

That's what you get right? They're big, they process home builders like cattle through their process - that's why people on our budget can afford it.

Well it turns out, that the house Porter Davis have on display in the Quay Estate, Torquay, cannot be built on our block. Not sure which block in that estate you could build it on, as ours was one of the largest available.

Despite what the Australand guidelines in relation to the Quay Estate acutally say, you cannot have a 3 or even 4.5 metre setback, (distance from front of block to front of house) even when facing a reserve or on a corner block. (We are both!) Nope, hidden in the contract is an overriding clause that says, all setbacks, 6 metres. (Thanks Australand).

This pushes the 24 metre long, Cottesloe 29, so far back on the block we can't even make room for a garden shed behind it. (We were told we have just a 3 metre setback during sales meetings, but of course, we can only blame ourselves, it's undoubtedly written somewhere in the 200 odd page, land contract which we signed.)

So we almost found a way to lay the house out on our block, when we noticed that our initial Sales Quoation, a mere $40K over the the advertised Cottesloe price, didn't contain prices for the slim lines water thanks, also required by the regulations for the Quay Estate, Torquay! Naturally I questioned this. Turns out, "he forgot to include them" - add another 5 or 6 grand to the price.

But it gets better - there is also no room at the back of the house for these tanks. Lose 0.7m from the back of the house - undoubtedly at extra cost!

But wait, that's not all - the same email that explained the problem with the water tanks that were missing from the Sales Quote, but are required in the Quay Estate, told us that despite several conversations regarding our tiled roof, and just how many houses in the estate have one, it turns out that Porter Davis houses will need to have a colour-bond roof, (add another $6K) because they only build at a 18 degree pitch, and you can only tile at 20 degrees (it may be the other way around I was a bit over it by this stage). So when I asked why we can't just change the pitch, the answer was, "No Porter Davis don't do that!"

Ah well - that house will not go on our block, so it's back to the drawing board, this week with a builder in the Hotondo Franchise. We deal with the Hotondo franchise regularly at work (Constructor) and I know the Torquay Hotondo builder, who is a Constructor user and I've dealt with the guy before. He's a straight up bloke, and they have some really nice plans. Their sales person also really knows her stuff. I also really like the idea of dealing with a builder, not a Volume Building company managing sub-contractors from behind a desk. Not to mention he's a local guy who will know the estate better than this large Melbourne based company.

So, as nice a house as the Porter Davis Cottesloe 29 is, we aren't going to see a lot of them in the Quay Estate in Torquay. Be careful what you commit to (pay for) before finding out all the facts.

We haven't even got to the point about how close to the boundary fence they had our laundry door yet...