Oct 01, 2021 3:53 pm
I apologise in advance for the long post, but I am at my wits end, and I am not sure as to how I should proceed.
So we are currently building through a local builder in our town. According to our contract the anticipated starting would have been the third week in September last year, and then the time to complete was 240 days.
After some wet weather delays, the slab was finally poured on the 6th of November, however because the lot still had to be subdivided and registered and all that, coupled with christmas holidays, the final registration in our name and payment of deposit only occurred on the 20th of January 2021.
As far as I can understand from the contract (standard Master Builders Association contract), our start date would then be when we paid the deposit? If this is the case, then we have still officially passed the 8 month mark that was set out in the contract. Apart from the 240 day period mentioned in the contract, we never actually got any other estimate or indication of how long the whole build was expected to take. Covid was already going on by then, and all he kept saying was that it would inevitably cause some delays, but that they were going to try and plan ahead and order thing earlier to minimise any issues.
Obviously we were told that we would be kept up to date regularly, but unfortunately this has not been the case throughout this whole experience. Updates are few and far between, and at times there have been days and weeks, in the beginning even months, where there would be no one on site and no information as to what was going to be happening and when. Even when we did get an update on something that was supposed to be happening, we would go by the site and there would be no one and nothing happening. We would usually wait a few days, and if there was still nothing happening and no update, we would have to contact them to find out why. Only then would we be told about a delay, always some vague reason regarding weather, issues with materials or problems with trades not showing up or cancelling.
Initially emails would get answered the same day or at the very least a day or so after. When it got to the point where it would take about a week to get an answer, we took to just calling the builder directly, as we could then get an answer right away. Now, this strategy too is not working anymore, as our calls literally never get answered when we phone, and our call will only get returned at least a day later, sometimes not at all.
The first time we started asking for an expected completion date, we were told that he would need to sit down and work some things out, and that he would get back to us, but worst case would be end of August. In the last week of July, we asked him if we were still on track, and he said he would see what he could organise and let us know. Two weeks later we asked him again, and then he said there was a shortage of wood, so we would not be done by the end of August. He also didn't know when we would be done after that.
So far he keeps saying that he doesn't know, or that he is just waiting to confirm when something is getting done/installed because then he will be able to give us a date, but then we hear nothing further from him.
We have been at lock up stage from somwhere in the last two weeks of June. At what point are we entitled to penalties because of the delayed completion?Obviously all the reasons thus far have been things that technically he can't be held responsible for, but how can we even prove whether that is true or not?
We don't get notified of delays until we actually ask about the lack of progress, and sometimes the story we get changes over time. For example, the painters were supposed to finish painting in time for carpets to go in this Wednesday passed, after which the builder said he would be able to give us an expected completion date. However, when we checked throught the windows last weekend, it was very obvious that the painters were not going to finish in time, based on the amount of time we were told it was going to take them. We also drove past the site every day, numerous times a day that whole week, and the painters were not even on site. When we contacted them to ask about whether this was going to cause a delay which we once again have not been made aware of, they told us that the painters were supposedly on site both Monday and Tuesday, but also they would be finishing this week and then carpet would go in at the end of this week or early next week at the latest. This is already a different timeline, so technically it is another delay. Once again I have gone by the site every day, multiple times a day, this whole week, and the painters were only on site yesterday (Thursday), so I don't see how they could possibly finish in time for the carpet install, unless they are planning on working through the weekend, which I highly doubt.
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