Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Opinion

Canberra’s Leading
Relationship Lawyers

First time buying an off the plan property

By treeroo - 17 June 2015 12

ask-riotact-default

I was wondering if anyone can advise us regarding the settlement and pre-settlement inspection of our newly built townhouse.

We were called to make an appointment for the pre-settlement inspection last week so we did and came in to see the builder, inspected and such. There were a few things making me feel very uneasy:

– No power there, so we couldn’t test any lighting or switch board. Certainly I couldn’t see if the air conditioner works or not either. I also can’t check if the automatic garage door can open itself with the remote, same reason was given that there was no power connection.

-Only the cook top installed in the kitchen (though I couldn’t check if it actually works), no oven, microwave or dish washer ‘installed’ yet, well there was no power so either way I won’t know if they will work or not!

-The kitchen fly screen is not installed ‘yet’.

-No keys to check if all the door and window locks work or not.

Anyway we managed to pointed out a few things like pain quality, some chips on the stair case, kitchen cabinet and the wardrobe. However I was told when checking for paint quality I have to stand 1.5 meter from the wall to check. IS THIS CORRECT? There was one area where I can see the paint work was not even and very messy (hard to believe they can screw up that much as they just paint on plaster board!) and the builder, though saying he will fix it, it is mainly because he is doing me a favour!

With so many things are not yet installed and no power to check if things actually work or not, is this too early for a pre settlement inspection? Can I ask for another inspection a day or two prior to the actual settlement date to make sure every single thing works before they hand me key to a ‘full of errors’ home? Now I know there is a 90-day maintenance period but I really don’t want to take a day or multiple days off work waiting for trade people to come and fix things either (or to have cold water shower, no heating in this winter, or can’t use the microwave or oven to feed ourselves)

As first time home buyer, I feel being bullied by the builder and the real estate agent when they can promise a lot and be very sure about things they say, but their actions don’t match (in my experience only). Is it too much to ask for another inspection when hot water and kitchen is installed, power connected so we can check every single thing again before the settlement?

If you have similar experience, either buying a newly built unit or contracting with a builder to build your own house, please share…

Thank you guys.

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
12 Responses to
First time buying an off the plan property
tim_c 2:35 pm 19 Jun 15

You’ll usually find they won’t install hot water heater or other appliances until the day before you move in, otherwise they probably won’t be there by the time you do move in. Assuming your contract includes all of these items, the builder is contractually bound to install them prior to settlement.

It would be worth asking WHY the power isn’t connect – is it just that Actew hasn’t been out to flick the switch yet, or is there some completion and/or certification required. It would be worth calling Actew to get their opinion on this.

You should have a Home Owner’s Warranty (mandatory for all new homes) and/or Defects Liability Period which obligates the builder to repair any defects within this period (I’d expect 12 months, but you will need to confirm this) – having said that, it’s much easier to get these things sorted before the builder gets paid because once he’s been paid, he’s got little incentive to come back and fix them.

vintage123 12:19 pm 19 Jun 15

Generally, variations in the surface colour, texture and finish of walls, ceilings, floors and roofs, and variations in glass and similar transparent materials are to be viewed where possible from a normal viewing position. A normal viewing position is looking at a distance of 1.5 m or greater (600 mm for appliances and fixtures) with the surface or material being illuminated by “non-critical light”. “Non-critical light” means the light that strikes the surface is diffused and is not glancing or parallel to that surface.
Slight variations in the colour and finish of materials do not always constitute a defect.

vintage123 12:17 pm 19 Jun 15

Yes it is industry standard to inspect paint at 1.5m.

gazket 9:53 pm 18 Jun 15

gazket said :

“We were told the same – it is how the paint looks at 1.5 meters away”

surely that can’t be right .

sounds like you are being told everything they want you to hear.

Have a flick through these, These are Queensland, it’s what popped up first on Google.

http://www.mpav.com.au/public/011_Inspecting_Surfaces_from_a_Normal_Viewing_Position.pdf

https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/sites/default/files/Standards_and_Tolerances_Guide_0.pdf

gazket 9:39 pm 18 Jun 15

“We were told the same – it is how the paint looks at 1.5 meters away”

surely that can’t be right .

sounds like you are being told everything they want you to hear.

vintage123 4:06 pm 18 Jun 15

treeroo said :

So looks like we definitely need another inspection 1-2 days before the settlement date. My solicitor scolded me for agreeing to go in as the place is not completed yet. However the builder told me on the phone everything is ‘ready to go’ and he personally checked everything and they all work!!! I consider this is every deceptive cause how can they expect me to check if the kitchen is not installed, hot water is not there and power is not connected.
My solicitor said she will ask for another inspection when they call for settlement and I should go through solicitor from now on and not to deal with them directly.

Who is the certifier for the project. It is the responsibility of the building certifier, as supervisor of building works to ensure all building is complete before the builder can apply for a certificate of occupancy. Usually you will still have one 15% payment to make. If so hold off on this until you have your solicitor speak to the certifier. Keep in mind the certifier doesn’t check quality, it is only compliance. However for additional fees some will check quality. Here is some more info;
http://www.planning.act.gov.au/topics/design-and-build/construction/occupancy_certificates

Genie 3:44 pm 18 Jun 15

You should be doing an inspection around the time the Certificate of Occupancy is issued.

Also alot of builders won’t install certain appliances or flyscreens until a week or 2 before finalisation as they can easily be stolen from site.

treeroo 3:24 pm 18 Jun 15

So looks like we definitely need another inspection 1-2 days before the settlement date. My solicitor scolded me for agreeing to go in as the place is not completed yet. However the builder told me on the phone everything is ‘ready to go’ and he personally checked everything and they all work!!! I consider this is every deceptive cause how can they expect me to check if the kitchen is not installed, hot water is not there and power is not connected.
My solicitor said she will ask for another inspection when they call for settlement and I should go through solicitor from now on and not to deal with them directly.

Kalliste 7:28 pm 17 Jun 15

It sounds like it’s too early. Generally (or from what I’ve heard.. I’ve only bought 1 house too) you have an inspection before contract signing to negotiate any changes/improvements and make sure everything you think the house should have does have.. how this works with an off the plan I’m not sure.

Then 2 days before settlement you have another inspection to say that the house is in the condition you’d expect.

If nothing is installed and there is no power I’d be asking for another inspection prior to settlement to confirm everything is as it should be.

MonarchRepublic 5:29 pm 17 Jun 15

We were told the same – it is how the paint looks at 1.5 metres away

Also, from what we were told – don’t forget that you can only lodge 1 report for the 90 day maintenance period, so we were recommended to compile a list of issues and only report close to (but not after) the 90 day mark, to give enough time for all the issues to present themselves.

Definitely organise another pre-settlement inspection if possible, and don’t forget to make sure everything on your inclusions list is actually included, even the type of lighting, etc.

mmmich 11:19 am 17 Jun 15

This also happened to my partner when he bought his off the plan house. But he did get a second inspection where he had power and the rest of the works were completed. I would definitely ask for another – it’s unreasonable to expect you to give an ok on something that isn’t finished yet.

vintage123 10:22 am 17 Jun 15

Your options are to;
1. Go with the flow and let the builder steer the way forward, which may result in some things not being completed.
2. Engage a solicitor and legalise the process from this point forward, whereby you can lever the contract and law to have works completed.
If it was me, I would do 2. As whilst it will cost more you will end up with what you have paid for in the house build.
What ever you do don’t make the pre settlement payment until you have legal advice.

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site