Category Archives: preliminary tender

Where to from here?

It’s been a long time between posts.  Our revised, revised, revised preliminary contract price that was supposed to address all of our issues came through a few weeks ago.  I had hoped that after the positive site visit that this revision would finally address all our issues, but unfortunately not.  So we’ve been trying to work out what to do next.


The revised pricing is still filled with TBAs and un resolved issues, and yet our Design Consultant sent it through with the question is it OK to go to contract stage?  Is it just us?  Is everyone else happy to go to contract stage without knowing what they are getting or how much it will cost?  To their credit, the builder has done some research on the low VOC solvents and even included low VOC grout for the tiles which we hadn’t asked for, but I don’t understand why they couldn’t have contacted us for more details or help with the outstanding items before finalising this to send to us.   More annoyingly, the only agreement from our site visit that has been included in the schedule is that we will relocate the water tank.  What was the point of sending the project manager to talk through and resolve all the issues if they weren’t going to put them in the contract schedule?


The price is also becoming a concern.  We take things out of the standard design and get a tiny little credit back.  We make a change or add something in and the price climbs higher and higher.  The price of the low VOC paint has not changed since the last pricing schedule.  The low VOC grout and finish on the timber floors were no charge, so why is the paint still so much?  We’ve spoken to a professional painter, who also does estimating, and his advice was that the price difference between using the low VOC paint and the standard trades paint was not what we are being charged.  We still haven’t received a credit for the electrical pit which was accidentally included included, when they corrected their mistake the price did not change.  And we have been credited for the tree root protection (more about that next), but not the portion of the extra concrete pump cost associated with it.


But it’s the tree root protection that is really disturbing me.  In the current pricing schedule we have been credited the cost of the tree root protection on the basis that we remove all trees on the property (this is at odds with the site visit agreement) and a tree in the adjoining property (news to our neighbours and which one?) and the builder will relocate the tree near the alfresco to the adjoining yard (I think they are referring to the incorrect position of the trees on the site plan, or maybe our neighbours are going to get a free tree!).  And most importantly, this statement is still does not answer our original question – which trees are triggering the tree root protection?  It’s a simple question and if they did an assessment they should know the answer.  The fact that they’ve avoided answering it on three occasions now really makes me wonder what on earth is going on?


We’ve told themthat we don’t wish to proceed and have explained why, however they still want to try and work through the issues and one of the Director’s wants to meet with us , and we’re open to this.  However, for me personally, I want an answer to that simple question before discussing any of the other issues.  If I don’t get an answer to that question I won’t be signing a contract, so there’s no point discussing anything else.  We have also started revisiting our other options; but for now we are fed up and exhausted, so will be taking a little break from it all until next year.

Interestingly, we had a phone call from the previous builder we were dealing with today.  There is a new sales person there and the Managing Director would like to meet with us to look at our proposal again.  So who knows what the new year will bring.


Credit for Feature Image: graur razvan ionut /

A Site Visit and Freecycling

On Friday we had a site visit with our builder’s Project Manager (well he will be if we go ahead wit the contract) and it all went very well.  We walked through the back of the block and agreed on what areas of the back yard we needed to keep clear for access to storm water and sewerage and where we could put the security fence and all the gardening materials that we are going to salvage.  He had no issues with us coming on site to access our stuff, and encouraged us to come and site and check out the building progress.  We do need to move all those stones (argh!) and the water tank, but at least we know where to put to them now.  Interestingly, we asked him about the tree root protection and he said he could see no obvious reason why we would need it, so was going to follow it up for us.  So at this point things are looking up, although do we have quite a few other issues still outstanding.



We have also discovered the Freecycle Network.  Its a place where you can give away and get stuff for free.  There are no fees, its completely grass roots and non-profit and everything is free.  I have already given loads of stuff to the Op Shop, but didn’t know what to do with 2 potted palms that we have, which really don’t fit with the rest of our garden.  I’d read about freecycle in one of the local weekly papers and thought I’d check it out.  I posted the palms last night and by this morning I had a taker, so much better that just throwing them out.




I did a bit of research yesterday on two things – tree root protection and Wattyl ID paint.


On the tree roots I spoke to a Civil Engineer, a friend of the family, who explained what tree root protection was and the different options for doing it.  He also told me that the builder’s statement that the root system will remain active after a tree is removed, so the root protection is still required, is not correct.  Once the tree is removed the roots won’t continue to grow.  By remove, I mean the stump as well, not just cutting down the tree.  He also gave me a rough rule of thumb to work out which trees might be a problem, so it will be interesting to see which trees the builder identifies when they come back with their re-assessment.  I also contacted some tree root specialists to get quotes on an independent site survey for tree root protection.

Maybe stumps would be a better option?

When hubby spoke to our design consultant during the week, one of the reasons we were given for the extra cost of the Wattyl ID paint is that it is thinner and needs more effort to apply, hence more labour costs.  So I called the Wattyl Information Hotline and spoke to someone in the Technical department.  I think he thought my questions very strange but he looked up various paints and told me that the thickness of the Wattyl ID paint was very similiar to the other Wattyl paint products.  He also said that there shouldn’t be any more effort required to use it, but it would depend on the painter’s skill.

I’m surprised that this seems to be such a big problem for the builder.  Are we the first people to ask for this?  Many other project home builders offer “eco” or “green” upgrade packages – Metricon, Renmark Homes, Botanic Homes to name a few.   I don’t know how much extra these packages are, but  my point is that we are not asking for a specialist or alternative (“hippy”) product; these products are common in the market place and the industry.  And even though this builder doesn’t offer a “green” package, I didn’t expect it to be so difficult to do.