Jenny’s story

Jan 5, 2017

best builders canberra

It’s official…2017 has begun, and we’re really excited at Rosin Bros.

Over the last 20 years we have worked with some amazing people, and helped many Canberrans achieve their dream of a brand new home.

As we look forward to working with an array of new clients this year, we want to share a story from someone we met recently. Someone we wish had been a client of ours.

This person had dreamed of building a brand new home for as long as she could remember, and when we heard what she’d been through we should have been astonished but sadly, we’d heard similar before.

Here’s Jenny’s story*…

My husband and I are originally from Sydney, and when we decided to move to Canberra we found a nice little rental property in the South.

We knew we wanted to buy, but we also needed time to figure out which suburbs we liked the best.

It took 5 years, but eventually we decided on one of the new suburbs which meant we could buy a vacant block and build a brand new house.

Being a little late to the land release party, we quickly realised that choosing a block also meant choosing a builder – or the other way around. In almost every instance, the blocks had been purchased from the LDA (the land developer) by various builders, so you had to go with them and their house design if you wanted the land.

Not knowing many builders in Canberra anyway, this didn’t bother us too much. We made a couple of calls and before we knew it we were being hurried into making a deposit for fear of losing the block we wanted.

It didn’t take long before we started having doubts about our new builder. For starters, they were really hard to get on the phone – which we learnt was because they had full time jobs in other industries. Building was their “hobby”. Apparently studying for 3 months is all you need to get your hands on a Builder’s Licence.

The other thing we realised was that they didn’t know a whole lot about what they were doing. Yes, they understood the building process and had a long list of tradespeople ready to book in for each stage. But whenever we asked serious questions they either couldn’t give a proper answer (or their answer turned out to be wrong).

I think the most serious offense was that we weren’t really given any opportunity to change anything – either before or during the build. In hindsight, this was half their fault for trying to avoid making any changes to a simple base design. But it was also our fault for being misinformed and poorly prepared. We should have asked more questions. We should have looked into the whole “3D walk-through” experience.

In the initial planning stages you wish you could just hurry up and have the whole house done so you can be living in it. But trust me, those initial meetings and preparations on inclusions and architectural design are valuable. Don’t waste them.

The build itself was a stop-start process. We were told the house would be completed in 4 months. We’d heard from experienced builders that this was ridiculous, but we wanted to believe it.

After 6 months we weren’t even at lock up stage – which is normal, but after being told it would only be 4 months we were pretty cranky.

Whenever we’d stop by and visit the house we’d always be surprised. Either nothing would happen for 4-6 weeks, or all of a sudden there would be 5 tradespeople tripping over themselves doing different jobs. We later learnt this was simply a result of really poor planning by the builder.

Right at the end of the build we started to wonder why tradesmen weren’t showing up, and when they did they were doing a half-hearted job. Then we ran into one of them who asked us to pay him! We found out no one had been paid for weeks. The work was sloppy because they were all so angry – which meant our finished product (our house) really suffered.

To the builders’ credit, they finished the job…right before going into liquidation. We have a beautiful home in a beautiful suburb, but we did have it valued to see what the lack in “finishing touches” cost us – and the real estate agent estimates it to be about $100,000.

We’re also liable for all the costs if something happens to the house now. We had been offered a 3 month maintenance period and a 10 year structural warranty…which no longer exist.

And although we like the house, we often look at what could have been achieved if we’d worked with a builder who knew what they were doing. A little advice on how to get the best view, achieve good light, reduce excess noise and so on can really make a difference.

After going through this, my advice for anyone about to embark on a new home build is this:

Find an established, experienced builder. There’s no substitute for quality.

It will save you sanity in the short term, and a load of money in the long run.

Rosin Bros has been building homes in Canberra for over 20 years. Many of the tradespeople who started with us have been with us for over a decade (watch Quang and Anh’s story). We offer a 12 month maintenance period and a 10 year structural warranty, so if anything were to happen you can count on us to take care of it for you.

Don’t settle for less than true quality and real experience.

Contact Rosin Bros on 62 47 4799 to discuss your dream build this year, or email info@rosinbros.com.au.

*Name changed to protect identity

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