Thursday, September 22, 2011

Metricon 90 Day Warranty Experience

Hi All,

Been a long time since our last post ... busily settling in, unpacking, decorating, dealing with fencing, council, landscaping (mostly DIY) and all the other fun'n'games that our fellow buildees can likely relate to.

The main reason for this post is to record our experiences of the Metricon 90 day warranty process - as a warning to prospective Metricon NSW customers.

The "Process"

Prior to handover we organised a Tyrrells inspection report which itemised over 100 concerns for inside alone. After handover it was clear that many of these items remained, and furthermore that many had been missed by both Tyrrells and at our handover walk-through due to poor lighting due to lack of electricity connected. But never mind, that's what the 90 day warranty is for, right? You discover new concerns whilst you are living in your *brand new home* - like paint quality issues that you only see under certain light conditions, one bathtub taking 3 times longer to fill than another, toilet roll holders that fall off the wall, downlights failing, kitchen overhead cupboards with hinges that broke within days after handover, windows that don't open/slide smoothly, texta marks on your caesarstone, your garage door having schizophrenic behaviour, missing grout, etc etc. Surely all these things can be fixed at the 90 day warranty milestone.

So it was with high hopes that we had the 90 day warranty inspection with a warranty manager and warranty service coordinator from Metricon NSW. And these high hopes were quickly dashed as we travelled room-by-room discussing the issues, with the warranty manager being rude, defensive, and dismissive of most of our concerns. To give you some idea, his most common retort was "I don't see a problem with that". For those concerns that were impossible to argue, there was mostly a silent scribbling down onto a clipboard.

After this nasty and totally disheartening experience, we were completely in the dark regarding what have they agreed to fix (and when), and what are they not going to fix (and why?). Despite numerous attempts to solicit this, it was 6 weeks after inspection and only following a major escalation effort that we received a mediocre list of items that they planned to attend to. Interestingly, numerous concerns that didn't get refuted on inspection day were missing from the list! So what did this mean, are they not agreeing to them anymore, simply forgotten about on their way from the clipboard to the keyboard, or just incompetence?

There have also been absolutely no status updates by phone or email until last week when we escalated to management. The only trickle of activity was an occassional phone call from a traide or company saying he's in the area and can he come by in the next 20 minutes. Mothers with young kids out there - how much would you like that kind of short notice? :)

What Should Happen

It's really pretty simple:
  • Send warranty representatives to the customer's home that have an ounce of customer service in them. Your customers may already be a tad peeved about whatever issues are facing them, given that there is supposed to be a "QA process" to catch more of these concerns prior to presentation, or as we were assured by a manager at Metricon NSW: "it will be of showroom quality before we even present it to you".
  • Follow-up with the customer in the days after the inspection with a confirmed list of items, ranked in priority order, and with tentative time-frames in which they will be addressed. To give you an example of why this is important - one of our concerns was that in the days after handover, we discovered that some of the steel posts in our stair railings were actually so loose that they popped out. Obviously this is a high priority safety concern especially with young children - and we raised it with Metricon as such. Nearly two months later this is only just getting attended-to this week.
  • Put more emphasis on QA up-front. Issues that customers are finding post-handover should get fed further back to the QA people responsible for checking homes prior to presentation (we imagine these people exist at Metricon NSW, although it's an urban myth).

Don't Trap Your Customers

There are a number of situations during the warranty process where we've been made to feel trapped with no way forward. Again, prospective customers be wary... 

Paint Quality
The quality of painting workmanship throughout our home was really ordinary. Some Tyrrell's inspection items were touched-up before handover. For most of what remained, we were told by our SS at handover to use "soap and warm water" to remove various scuff  marks on the walls. This we tried, only to find more paint leaving the wall onto the sponge than the scuff marks themselves, and then leaving a water stain behind! Overall the paint also has a very chalky feel to it, and our 5 year old have done a better job cutting-in on the corners! We brought this all up at the warranty inspection, and after much resistance the warranty manager begrudgingly organised a Dulux representative to visit our house. The escape route from Dulux was that we did not upgrade to a "wash-n-wear" style of paint. Studio M never offered such an upgrade, and what about the "Metricon 3 coat system?" So you're trapped - no one wants to take responsibility. The Dulux rep did suggest to use Spray-n-Wipe on the walls (!) ... would you do this? Especially when it states on the label "Do Not Use On Painted Surfaces". Beware of this trap.

Timber Finishes
Another trap is wherever you have chosen a stained timber finish. If there are any significant imperfections in the timber or damage from installation, and the painter then applies stain over the top of the damage, then it can never be put right afterwards. Can you believe Metricon turned this around to being our fault for choosing timber. Why is this not the fault of the relevant trades and Metricon's responsibility to either catch early or put right? Another trap. 

Stair Installation / Under-Stair Access
A large crack also appeared in the bottom stair bullnose soon after handover that the warranty manager accused as being due to us not having completed our landscaping. Again trying to trap the customer into being at fault. The stair company who eventually came out to inspect this and the loose posts said that the whole thing had been installed very badly - by a Metricon subbie. So now we have a glued-up and clamped-up step all in the hope that it fixes the crack, otherwise the whole bottom of the staircase needs to be pulled out along with our timber flooring around it. This may have been prevented with better QA and also if the drafting department hadn't refused to put under-stair access in (due to our slab step-down), which we've since learned was nonsense. Trapped again.

We really love our new home, but Metricon NSW continues to demonstrate very poor form long after you've handed over that final cheque.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Moved In

Hi fellow buildees,

Well we're in, and Sandrine and I want to thank you all for your very kind comments.

There's no question that the last couple of weeks have been a blur. We now completely understand why most build bloggers 'go quiet' for a while after handover: it's the 1000+ things you have to do! Add a couple of small children to the mix, and it's pandemonium (bet that Rachael and Shayne can relate ;).

We needed to schedule a move-in for the weekend immediately after handover or else wait another weekend with an unoccupied house. That presented an interesting set of problems:

  • Schedule flooring and carpeting for the day after handover.
  • Schedule installation of builder appliances after flooring complete (i.e. so flooring in before dishwasher etc).
  • Won't have hot water, cooking appliances and ducted until then.
  • Furniture and items from storage and in-laws will arrive before we're able to thoroughly clean the house.
So amazingly, and in spite of our kids fascination with the stairs (and first minor incident), we pulled it off...
  • Solomon's bent over backwards to get our flooring and carpeting all done in 3 days.
  • Trips back to the inlaws for showers and baths.
  • Borrowed microwave and cup-a-soup.
  • DVD's to keep the kids distracted (we dig you Rachael ;)
What we didn't expect is that the gas supply would remain offline until the appliances were installed. This meant we also had NO HEATING for the first 3 nights. Remember that cold snap which started a couple of weeks ago? Yep.

Appliance installation day arrived as scheduled (our SS kept his word on this), with tradies arriving at 7am:

- Gas hot water and cooker installed. 'Bung' in gas pipe removed so could now start using our gas heaters also.
- Got them to fix all the sinks because they were all leaking, some worse than others.
- Turns out that the gas provisioning for the hot water wasn't right, so they had to cut 5 large holes in the gyprock of our garage to sort it out. SS has since sent the gyprockers back to repair it (needs repainting).

- Rangehood and microwave installed.
- Cooker electrics wired up.
- Ducted a/c motor and control panel installed.
- Miscellaneous unfitted wall plates.

I also scheduled the alarm installer and FTA antenna installer on the same day. Big day.

Since then we're slowly working through the chaos and looking forward to getting everything in its rightful place and all cleaned up. Foxtel have been and so have Telstra to connect-up the lead-in to our house (see my post-handover notes on our Electricals page). Our landscaping has started also, after which the concreter is scheduled to pour our driveway, then fencing.

OK ladies I know you want photos, here's all we've got for now, with more to come...

Kitchen with appliances installed and our new stools.
The rangehood ducting had the blue protective wrapping still left on because of the missing section, which has since been fitted.

Another kitchen view showing appliances.
We are really happy with all the colour choices.

View from foyer area showing stained lower steps and carpeted stairs.
The 'bandage' at the top of the post is to protect from damge whilst moving furniture / tradies / deliverymen.

Ensuite at night.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Handover - Its Ours, not yours any more Metricon

Thank you everyone for your well wishes. What a crazy couple of days. We can hardly believe its real. That its ours. That we don't have to wait till there is a tradie onsite to get in there.

Final presentation went very well there were a couple of things that were outstanding that they fixed that day.

Our flooring started today. They are half way through laying the timber flooboards and they look amazing, even with all the dust. Timber floors will be complete by tomorrow and then carpeting man is booked for tomorrow morning for an early start and says that its a one day job.
We are all set for our move in for this Saturday..we are so excited.

Great birthday present for my old fella, who's birthday is today. Happy Birthday Craig- The King of Our Castle.

Pics of flooring and move in day to come..

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Handover Tomorrow!!

Yes, we can hardly believe it too. I think we'll definitely be pinching ourselves if everything does to plan.

Following more screwups by tradies last week that put things in jeopardy again, it took some pushing and shoving to get the SS to agree to having the council inspection on Monday. Thankfully, it did happen, and passed.

Some wisdom we've gleaned about these final stages of the build, all of you whom have reached this stage will no doubt relate to:

  • Expect that nothing you've been promised will actually take place, then you might be pleasantly surprised on some rare occasions. But you all know that already. :)
  • Organise bank settlement request (and valuation inspection) early. In our case it was almost 10 days between submitting the final invoice and being able to collect the final cheque.
  • Do not expect the same expediency of the builder's admin and accounts departments in issuing the aforementioned final paperwork as they do with issuing the progress payment invoices.
  • Don't expect the builder's QA processes to be adequate.
  • Don't expect that an independent inspection will catch everything either.
  • Don't expect that the builder will agree to fix everything, there will inevitably be some compromises.
  • Do organise telco and pay-TV connections well in advance.
  • Expect to have "fun" trying to guess the handover day (officially, we had TWO days notice) and keep flooring/blinds/landscaping/furniture companies on "hot standby".
  • Do expect that eventually The Day will arrive and you won't believe it's finally here either. 

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

PC Aye Aye

Hi All,

Just a quick update on developments over the last week.

Last Friday morning Tyrrells performed a final inspection report on our house, which arrived by email on Saturday morning. In all there were 40 external observations and just over 100 internal observations! Thankfully, the majority of these were superficial - pertaining to painting and plastering quality issues, scuff marks, and miscellaneous fixups. Others, like "missing sink to main bathroom" and "ensuite shower wall ungrouted" we had not expected this late in the piece, particularly with PCI scheduled for Monday.

The PCI walkthrough with our SS went for over two hours, not surprisingly with so many items on the inspection report to review. Some of the more obvious items, including the two above, had been resolved by the time we arrived, which was a good sign. We also found plenty more examples of paint quality issues that neither Tyrrells nor the SS had noticed. You may recall that the sole painter assigned to our job took 6+ weeks - allegedly for a superior result - though even consistently clean lines between wall and ceiling were hard to come by. Some items our SS did not agree to, like conspicuous chipping on many of the Brampton bricks in visible areas (e.g. near front and rear entrances) - that were apparently within the "acceptable threshold" for this type of brick (future buildees take note!)

The good news was that we received assurances that the rectifications would continue over the coming days and that the council inspection would be booked. If that happens as planned, then next week should see bank inspection and final internal and external cleans. Fingers crossed for a handover in the next fortnight!

Wishing you all a very relaxing and safe Easter! :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Home Stretch

Hello buildees,

Since this post a week ago, there have been some positive developments, with most of the outstanding items completed, and the rest hopefully sorted over the next few days. On top of that, we have been verbally advised of a PCI date of next Monday 18th of April!

We're being cautious about getting our hopes too high about, well, anything really, until the PCI actually happens and we know the outcome, plus that of the council inspection and the private inspection we're organising. Nevertheless, it's nice to finally feel closer to the home stretch.

Here're some recent pics following the internal and external cleans.

Hope you are all getting some joy on your builds.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Caoba Caoba ooooh

Well after another frustrating week of ???? and broken promises we saw yesterday that our garage door was installed. Finally after weeks of waiting for someone to come to site and measure the door space (is this not on our plans)?? then waiting for someone to come back to check the measurements, don't get me wrong, I'm all for attention to detail, but this seems odd, you would assume that the door space could not be much different to plans, after all this is the Metricon policy that any changes CANNOT be made after signing off on the drawings and colour selections as everything is already ordered, so why did they only order the door a few weeks ago...

The garage door is finally on and it looks fabulous!!
Loving the colour of the Caoba door.

Have a look and see...

A close up against the Brampton bricks
Front look of the house with the fence down, can't wait for that port a loo to go

A side view from the driveway

Watch this space for some more pics over the weekend. Apparently the yard clean has happened today. Yipee for a week of some progress.
Now for a PCI date please!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Promises, promises

Hello buildees,

Same as all of you who are at these final stages, we're getting served numerous promises - virtually none of them delivered - and a whole lot of nada happening on site.

After an uneventful week last week, at the start of this week we were assured that the following would take place:

  • Door handles installed
  • Garage door installed (has been promised for a couple of weeks now)
  • Safety fences down
  • Site clean
  • Perimeter pest control installed
  • Interior builder's clean
  • Aluminium angle brackets installed above window reveals to cover gaps
  • Render patched and painted - front portico and rear outdoor room posts
  • Cupboard shelving and doors installed
  • Shower screens and mirrors installed
  • Downpipe connections

As of this morning, only the first item on the list has been done.

Our SS remains evasive on a PCI date. Apparently one of the major hold-ups is that the showers screen / mirror / cupboard shelving company (beginning with "St") is inundated with work due to the flurry of houses being completed as a result of the <$600k stamp duty exemption which came in on July 1 last year. Did these companies, especially the builders - not see this coming? Given that we have been unconditionally locked-in to our cupboard/shower screen choices for more than 9 months, why were these orders not scheduled for delivery earlier to compensate for the slow lead times?

How are you all going with your promises?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lets Blog about our Bog

Hello buildees,

It's been a few weeks since we last had cause to report any progress, and thanks for your interest Rachael and Shayne.

At the start of the week, Sandrine lost her rag with Metricon over the absurd resourcing (1 painter for 6+ weeks), mediocre progress over the last month, promised milestones missed and no communication. (Funny, that sounds much like the experience most of you are also having with your builds!) After many attempts to reach our SS and not hearing back, Sandrine contacted our CSR to voice our concerns and try and get the matter escalated. The responses to this included statements such as "...this is Metricon's policy...", "...resources are allocated on a case-by-case basis..." and "...we at the office have no idea as to where your build is up to" (are you serious?). Hence losing the proverbial rag.

Within 24 hours we were contacted by the construction manager who manages the site supervisors. Although his tone wasn't entirely sympathetic, we did see a marathon effort this week compared to that of the last few months. Way to go, wife!

So, summary of progress this week:

  • Painting completed
  • Tiling completed (some coloured grouting remains)
  • Plumbing - toilets, baths, taps  - installed and connected
  • Electrical - downlights, power points, air-con ducts
  • Downpipes installed
Here are the pics. Wishing everyone a good week!

Stained stair rails and front pivot door

Downlights and the stained bifolds

Downlights and batons over island bench for post-handover pendants

Kitchen bulkhead downlights

Kitchen mixer

Ensuite feature tiles complete. Waiting on grouting and shower head.

Ensuite bathtub

The girls test-drive their bathtub

Whoops #1 - Stair light misfire

Whoops #2 - Another stair light misfire

Whoops #3 - Gas main takes a bow(!!)

Network ports and FTA socket for family room
( The only reason this picture got through is because The Mrs is not authoring this post ;)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday update- Tiling progress

We went for an early tiling stalking session..arrived there just after 7am and our painter had already been working for some time. He was sanding the stairs getting the wood ready for staining.

He believes that there are about two more weeks left of painting work to be done. Two weeks, soo ssllllowwww.
We called our SS to get an update for what was scheduled for next week.
Tilers are now due to finish on Saturday. Shower niche left to be tiled and a little around the window of the kitchen and then grouting in all areas. Raises the question, if so little is left till its finished makes you wonder why they didn't just finish it yesterday or return today to complete..tomorrow it is..

After tiling are done then shower screens will be ordered.
Chris our painter will be around for the next couple of weeks completing all the paint work.
Which reminds me that I called the office today to question the lack of resources at call back as yet.
Then fitters, electricians and plumbers, wait, correction it will be one electrician and one plumber with one tool that they have to share. Will be on site after painting.
Also at that time the painting of the render will be done.

Here are some pics from today, really really happy with our colours!

Now what kind of pendants to order for the kitchen..time for shopping:)

Main bathroom feature wall
Ensuite feature shower wall
With niche waiting to be tiled
Powder room tiling
Close up of mosaic tiles
Our kitchen window, some tiling left to be done tomorrow
My kitchen, love love it
Love how the colours work together

Have a nice weekend everyone...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stop, start, stop start tiling

After the poor effort of the tilers last week. We called our SS and we were told that the tiling would be finished by this Thursday...a little hard to believe after that 'one' tile effort on Saturday.... I went to do some tiler stalking today to see how the progress was going...

I was greeted by our painter who was not impressed as the tilers were a no show again today.

Initially the tiling was supposed to be finished last week, and they apparently haven't showed up since Monday.
The painter has to work around them, doing bits of painting and staining of our front door and bi fold doors. When the tilers come back he goes away and comes back again as they cannot work in unison because of the dust issue.
This stop start is such a waste of time and is driving me bonkers!!!
Word is that if the tilers are offered cash in hand for a job, they will not show up for a builders job and go for the $$.

So far they have tiled the powder room floor tiles- no feature mosaic around the mirror as yet and no grouting of the floor tiles.
  • Tiling of the laundry is nada, no wall or floor tiling.
  • Ensuite wall and floor tiling is done - no feature tiling of the shower wall and no grouting.
  • Main bathroom floor tiling done, bath hob done, no grouting and no feature mosaic tiling on the shower wall.
  • No tiling done in the kitchen
We were told by our SS that there is not much we can do about it...we are feeling a little deflated and the excitement of moving into our house is being over shadowed by the lack of communication and the lack of wanting our house to be completed asap. At least that's how we feel.

Its been 14 months since we started this process and we desperately want to be in our new home!!!!

For anyone about to sign up with Metricon and have one of the consultants pushing you to sign up with the latest promotion before the promotion ends..and promise you to be in your new house in 7 months takes Metricon 7 months just to get the contract and the final drawings ready, then its another 7 to 8 months for construction, then factor in the rain and other things they throw into the bag...Sorry for the rant. But all you fellow buildees understand...

Here are a few pics from today..

Powder room floor tiling

Main bathroom tiling, but no feature wall tiling yet...

Main bathroom bath hob
Ensuite wall and floor tiling
Ensuite bath hob
Feature wall tiling not yet done...
Close up of ensuite wall tile.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's not the quantity, it's the quality...

Hi everybody, hope you've had a good week.

We did the usual drive-by of the house on Saturday morning only to find it quieter than a library. Interestingly, we were inspired for a second detour that way during the afternoon and were pleased by the sight of a couple of tilers on site ... well, eating their lunch in the garage at least.

So I wandered inside to inspect, and found that the first solitary tile (in the whole house) had been laid between the late morning arrival and breaking for lunch - hilarious!

Still, at least good to see that more paining has been done, all the tiling surfaces have been prep'ed and loved seeing this luminous glow effect at the entrance through the opaque glass.

That's all for now. Good luck for the week ahead everyone.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday update-Painting continues, caesarstone installed

Went to the house bright an early this morning @ 7:15am, for an appointment with our painter. This mtg was scheduled after a phone call late Tuesday night with our SS to question one of the colours on the stairs...
The painter picked up a mistake made by Studio M!! They had our stairs with the dark oak stain for the hand rails and 2 bottom risers as well as the zig zag pattern on the side of the stairs which was all OK. But the bottom hand rail as Dulux Lexicon Quarter not the dark oak stain as it should have been. I'm very grateful that the painter questioned this on his sheet, instead of just painting it anyway. It would have looked awful and I would have gone totally bonkers!! Just ask Craig :)

After this almost disaster, OK slightly exaggerating a little..... was rectified, we had a quick look around the house..

This is what has been done so far since my last post...

All the ceilings throughout the house have been painted, as well as the undercoat of the downstairs and upstairs areas. Architraves, skirtings and cornices also under coated. He started on the doors today, and will continue that till the end of the week. As well as staining of the stairs and all the wooden doors, including our front door.

Will have to make a trip back on Friday to check out what the stairs look like stained. We wont have all the stairs stained, as it will be carpeted for the kids safety. Afraid that now that we have two kids, some of the 'oh that would look so fab' factor has to take a back seat over, 'oh the kids might slip down the stairs' factor. Will still look fantastic, I hope.

Caesarstone benchtops have been installed in the kitchen, bathrooms, powder room and laundry,all looks great. We went for Osprey with all the Concept Oak cabinetry and 'Ivory' for the kitchen benchtops. Thought that it might be too white, with the white cabinetry and wanted something a little warmer. Sinks have also been installed in all the wet areas. Except for the main bathroom.

Cardboard stuck on the bench tops for protection

A lift of the the cardboard reveals the beautiful 'Ivory' colour caesarstone bench tops

The splashback mosaic tiles for the kitchen, can't wait to see these up

The kitchen sink
Laundry sink
Laundry, wishing that I had more cabinetry here, will do that after handover.

Ensuite sinks and bench tops, just beautiful..

Powder room sink and bench top

As we were leaving the truck came to deliver the sand for the tilers tomorrow. Can't wait to see the tiles. Very anxious to see that all my colours are coming together.

Watch this space for the next update:)