Stones, Stones and Headaches

We started pulling our garden apart about 6 weeks ago – saving plants and shifting stones from our front yard to the back yard to be stored.    The last 4 weekends hubby has put in a big effort to get all the stones shifted (the plants are my job) and he finally finished last weekend.  Our front yard now looks like this:

And in the backyard, Dermie has some company:

We were pretty please with our efforts until an email arrived from our design consultant on Tuesday.  During our review of the preliminary tender we had advised him that we would be fencing off the back section of the yard for security as we were using it for storage.    This was included in our list of amendments/questions.  In the response sent back by the design consultant was the following:

“Please note that the services will be running to the back of the block behind the Garage so access will be required. Due to these services being dug along the rear of the old Garage Builder cannot guarantee that the Garage footings won’t be affected.”

Why was this not in the preliminary tender document?  The pipe for the services is shown going behind the garage, but there is no mention of requiring access to that area, or of the potential damage to the garage footings, or that the water tank needs to be removed.  In fact the water tank isn’t even shown on the site plan!  Something that didn’t seem important at the time, since there was no mention of us needing to clear that area.

Its better that we found out now rather than during construction, however it highlights one of our frustrations with this builder.  We are building on an established site and have no intention of clearing the entire site.  Our design consultant hasn’t visited the site, the builder hasn’t visited the site, and the engineering company who have visited the site haven’t spoken to us about our requirements.  We asked our design consultant if the builder could come and walk us through the site so we could better understand how much of the site needs to be cleared, but we were told that this won’t happen until after the contract is signed.

Given what has happened now, we think its even more important that we get the builder here, agree with the builder how much of the site will be cleared and what access both parties need to the site and document that in the contract.  We don’t think that is unreasonable.  In fact, it seems bizarre to sign a contract with someone who hasn’t even set foot on our site.


2 comments on “Stones, Stones and Headaches

  1. What you are experiencing is quite normal. Sewage and storm water need to be carved through to the back of the block and these get dug deep. We didn’t know the building process either. The Sales consultant does’nt go on site (this is true for just about all builders) , or the builder until they are ready to start. We had plans to fence off the yard and only allow the build to be in front half. This doesn’t work, the builder needs access to the storm water and sewage, fence things off in the orange constructor plastic fence.

    You have to remember you are handing your block over to the builder for the term of the build… hard to get used to but thats just what you need to live with… This is the normal process.



  2. Thanks David. Our Design Consultant has been advising us that it won’t be a problem to keep the back section of the yard and use it for storage, so now they need to live up to that commitment if they want our business. We are going to push to get them on site to resolve the inaccuracies with the site plan and all the clearance and access issues. Stay posted!