Take your time. There is no need to rush, you have spent a lot of money and it’s your chance to get things fixed.
Look at things from a different angle. It’s easy to miss things below eye level, when you are standing. In each room sit on the floor (or a camp stool) and have a good look around at that level. Sit on the toilets and shut the door.
Take your shoes off and walk round in stocking feet then you can feel any problems with the floor.
Turn on the Taps. Fill the basins, sinks, and bath to the overflow level and then check for leaks.
Run the showers and check they drain.
Flush the toilets, check they are securely fixed to floor and don’t leak
Check locks Make sure privacy locks on toilets and bathrooms work
Checkswitches and power points Test power points. Make sure that where you have several lightswitches on one panel the layout of switches is logical
Check you have the electric points you selected. Make sure all the lights and power points have been fitted
Sensor check If you have any sensor lights make sure the delay and sensitivity is correctly set. We had one in a wardrobe in our current house that went out if you stayed still for 5 seconds.
Check for rough edges Such as on the edges of paintwork from paint drying in lumps/drips particularly window sills. Those rough edges can catch your curtain fabrics and pull threads.
Record everything Making sure ALL of your concerns are noted down on paper, legibly and not skipped over. There may be some things where your SS will just say “Oh, that always gets done before handover”. Make sure it is written in the PCI list anyway. Unless it’s in the list, it may not get done at all.
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If you are building your new house with a big builder once the contract is signed the most important person in the build is going to be the Site Supervisor(SS).
The site supervisor is responsible for programming the works, ordering materials, selecting who will carry out the various tasks (from the tradies contracted to the builder), and supervising the works as well as liaising with you.
To get the best results for your house building a good relationship with the site supervisor is important.
I am not saying that you have to be best friends, but you should aim for an atmosphere of mutual respect.
Here are a few thoughts:
When you are first contacted by the site supervisor why not suggest buying them a coffee to start the relationship off in a good way.
Let them know what things are important to you.
Arrange site meetings during the working day. – Typically the building trades works from 6.30am until 4.00pm. It’s your house so if you can’t make the effort to meet during their work hours don’t expect the supervisor to use their family time to meet you.
If you are given a mobile number that doesn’t mean you can ring in the evenings and at weekends.
If you spot a problem be firm but don’t go off the handle. “I noticed that ‘X’ was different to the required specification” is going to get a better response than “YOU SCREWED UP!”
The typical site supervisor will be involved in building several houses at once so sometimes they can’t get straight back to you.
If during construction you are told that something you wanted can’t be done ask to be shown the regulation that doesn’t permit it. On our last house I wanted the gas meter and electrical meter together. One night I checked the site and the plumber had installed the pipework to another location. When I was told that they couldn’t be together I asked the question about the regulations and the meter location was moved without further discussion.
Sometimes it can be worth waiting a bit longer for the better tradesman to become available, rather than rushing the build.
Always go through the site supervisor, don’t try to order the tradies around if you visit the site.
How have you got the best out of your site supervisor?
Due to cost lots of people don’t use a Building Inspector, or only use one for the Practical Completion Inspection (PCI).
I think making sure things are OK at the ‘Pre-Plaster Stage’ is as important as PCI , so if your budget is strained that is where I think your money is best spent.
Getting things fixed at this stage is much easier than trying to sort out issues between PCI and handover.
A further advantage of a detailed inspection at this stage is that it really emphasises to the Site Supervisor that quality is important to you before they get to the ‘Fit Out Stage’.
Don’t forget the outside, Checks, if they haven’t been done at an earlier stage, should include:
Site Drainage – Are the drains and sewers in and the construction looks OK. Is the site graded so water doesn’t pond against the house
Brickwork /External Cladding – Does this look neat and well finished, and not have bricks overhanging the edge of the slab?
Building Weather Tight – Look up is the roof complete? Is there any evidence of rain coming in? If you asked for sarking has it been installed?
Layout – Are the rooms the right size and the doors and windows where you expected them to be
Framing Defects – Does the frame look and feel solid, square and straight? Have the electricians and plumbers damaged any of the structural members during their installation of pipes and cables?
Electrical and Plumbing – Are power cables and mounting plates in position where you want all your power sockets? Do the plumbing connections look to be in the right places
Wet Areas – Has the waterproofing been applied and look complete?
Insulation – Have the correct insulation batts been fitted into the external wall frame, with no missing areas, or gaps between individual batts. Has any noise insulation been installed between rooms and between floors, with no missing areas, or gaps?
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