Jul 19, 2006 12:29 am
I just want to say how relieved we are to have somewhere where everyday people can share the experience of others when building/renevating. My partner and I have recently purchased a block of land which will allow us to build the house of our dreams at our preferred location, and having read some of the 'horror' stories has definitely made us more prepared to undertake when our time comes to deal with our builder.
Anyways, like many others, we have visited a number of display homes from a variety of builders, and are close to selecting Porter Davis as our preferred choice of builder. We believe the quality of these homes are greater than AV Jennings, Metricon and so on. We really like one specific plan, and we have also heard a lot of positive feedback from people who have built using PD. Unfortunately, we are unsure of the quality of these homes. Is anyone currently dealing wth Porter Davis? If so we would love to hear your experience.
Re: Porter Davis homes2
Jul 20, 2006 9:06 am
Stewie, ask Porter Davis (or any other builder for that matter) for some references. Sure, they can give you the happy ones but ask for a couple that have just started eg: slab stage, just finished and a couple that have been completed over 12 months.
If you are not building for a few months yourself then the 'just started' reference will be one that PD will not be able to doctor in their favour - not that I am suggesting they would, but the purpose of a reference is to get an independent non-biased view.
Also, call Consumer Affairs Victoria and ask them about any complaints made against Porter Davis so that you can see what their record is - especially the record they DON'T want you to see.
Another sometimes useful search is VCAT cases which you can find here: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/vic/VCAT/
To search effectively type 'domestic building' in the search window and select 'title only'.
Re: Porter Davis homes3
Jul 22, 2006 11:08 am
Builda, really appreciate your advice and agree that getting PD to provide references (especially of people who have projects just starting) is a great idea. Also, will definately look into calling Cons Affairs before we build - whoever we choose.
Recently have spoken with someone who built with a Volume Builder by the name of JVA (initials - not in any particular order). They recently found out - it was actually the man who they hired to fix their antenna - that 90% of the house was not insulated. Only around the manhole did the builder install insulation obviously in the thought that what are the chances anyone will notice. Lucky for them they are still within their Warranty period. But stories such as these are what really worry us about signing on with a volume builder. In saying so, I've also heard many happy stories with same builder so i assume it is pot luck..
On a side note, we will be definately exploring all our options before we do decide on a builder. I notice on other threads that you too are a builder and that you seem to have your head screwed on - i.e. you put yourself in the clients shoes. Is there any chance you can PM me some info about your business.
Re: Porter Davis homes4
Jul 24, 2006 1:16 pm
Hi there ... we are currently building with Porter Davis. Well, 'currently building' is a gross over statement as we are waiting for our land title to be released before anything starts. However... I digress.
We did the 'look at 5,000' display homes thing and we settled on a home with Porter Davis. From even the first 'thought' of building through to 'signing on the dotted line with them' we have been extremely impressed with Porter Davis. Nothing is too much trouble for them, and we have changed things 2 or 3 times .. then gone back to the original plan, and it is always done with a smile from them. They seem quite open and honest about things (you never know I guess) but we have had nothing but good things from them so far. We anticipate to start building somewhere between September and who knows when (currently November is the plan) so I will update you then.
We got some references and spoke to many people about them and barely heard a bad word. Of course there are the usual things that can go wrong but in general, they leave you with a feeling that you are doing the right thing by using them.
Hope this helps a bit.
Re: Porter Davis homes5
Jul 25, 2006 9:53 am
Of course there are the usual things that can go wrong
Very important point Amber as building is fraught with all sorts of things that can go wrong.
Building a home is not like buying a fridge because the whole thing needs to be made from start to finish on different sites and by different people in most cases - even if you are using a standard display home design.
Great to hear it all went well and that you could get over the problems and get into your house. To my mind, having a builder that can both face up to and SOLVE the problems is 90% of the battle won. Good work!
Re: Porter Davis homes6
Jul 26, 2006 1:45 am
Look forward to hearing your progress with Porter Davis Amber. We purchased our block (also in South East) a couple of months ago. Our plan is to be ready to build by early 2007 - once we set our budget and find the right home to build. Until then we plan to ask a lot of questions and perform the ''look at 5000' display homes, before putting pen to paper. At the moment our fav homes with PD include The Entertainer (double story), and The Hamilton (single story).
It's great to hear that you are happy with your dealings with PD thus far. From what I have been reading on this website however, it is not until issues arise that customer service can be rated (i.e. I've read that many ppl have difficulty getting into contact with site manager etc) - hence why we are really looking forward to your updates.
A couple of questions for you:
(a) In regards to your references, were you provided with rreferences of clients who were in the early stages of building or were they all completed projects?
(b) When you say you changed plans 2-3 times, how did you find dealing with PD in regards to cost $$$ (were they going to charge an arm and a leg like other vol builders), and level of flexibility in the type of changes you were allowed to make?
Builda made a good point when he advised that in dealing with building projects, things can go wrong - it is just a matter of how the builder responds to these issues which is the most important.
Thank you for sharing, and all the best with your project & (land release).
Re: Porter Davis homes7
Jul 26, 2006 10:17 am
Whereabouts is your block? We purchased in Melington Estate, Lyndhurst. We're so excited about the estate ... it looks really lovely and hopefully we'll have some great neighbours!!
We have chosen the Everton (single story). We loved the simple, open plan living (simple like it's owners perhaps, lol). Even now I look at display homes by other builders but I am pleased to say that not once have I ever said 'I wish I had ....'. Although the man of the house of course had one complaint the other day ...... we took a walk through somebody's house at frame stage and he kept raving on about the size of the garage. Admittedly, I wish we could have extended the garage a bit (he has a motorbike as well as the 2 cars) but we'll live with it I'm sure.
Anyway ... re your questions. We spoke with a few people - most had completed their home, with a couple having built with them once or even twice before. One couple had started building. The general theme that we got from them was that other than minor issues like things not arriving on time etc. in general, 100% happy customers. We raised the issue of Site Supervisors (based on the theme of a topic in this forum) and nobody said that it was difficult to get hold of the Supervisor ... or if you couldn't get them straight away, they always got back to you in a fairly timely manner.
Somebody at PD told us (and of course this could be part of their marketing spiel ... but at this stage I'll take their word for it) that the reason they have fewer problems than your Simonds, Metricon etc. is that they only build 20 homes a month. This is their maximum allocation and they never over-extend their building teams.
With regards to changes - we didn't make any structural changes to the floor plan, but made changes to bathroom, laundry cupboards etc. I had very firm ideas about what I wanted in the laundry (ie. there is never enough cupboard space) so we designed what we wanted and asked them to give us a price. Same with the bathroom & ensuite .... we looked around for months before hand and found what we liked and asked them to build it. My dad is a builder by trade (old school so very fussy) and when I showed him our design and the price they had given, he said that he couldn't really fault the pricing. Yes it was slightly more than he would have charged however his opinion was that it certainly wasn't unreasonable. So we figured that rather than saving a few $$$ and making poor old dad do the work, it was worthwhile to get the builders to do it while everything else was being done.
The one thing that was ridiculously priced were floor coverings. But we expected this as a Porter Davis Salesperson actually told us never to get PD to put the floor coverings in. I think this was one of the things we liked about them ... they were honest in saying "hey, we'll overcharge you here, so go and find your own". We really appreciated this which I think was a catalyst for using them.
They use Macey's for carpet, floor boards etc. so we got them to quote on carpet and timber floors throughout the house. We then went to Macey's separately with the floor plan and asked them to quote the identical carpet and floorboard ... and surprise surprise ... the PD price in the contract came back $3,500 more expensive than the price we were given.
We have since found a flooring place (not one of the big retailers that don't really care about your business) that we are extremely happy with and will be using them. AND just over $4,000 cheaper than the PD quote.
Anyway, sorry for the essay here .... but I'm pretty excited about this whole project so I could talk about it for ages!!! Maybe this will change when we start building but I'm enjoying it while I can.
I've started a blog to put my thoughts down throughout the process (and so that interstate friends and family can watch our progress). Not much there at the moment but will definitely be updating as we start the process.
Hope this helps a bit (if you're not asleep by now!!)
Re: Porter Davis homes8
Jul 27, 2006 9:04 pm
Good luck with building your new house - it sounds like you are very excited.
One thing that strikes me as strange is that a builder of more than 200 houses a year quoting a price which is $3.5k more than a person off the street.
Obviously they are intentionally pricing themselves out of the market. Have you asked why??
Re: Porter Davis homes9
Jul 28, 2006 1:35 pm
For anybody going through similar things this is all very interesting.
We looked at PD but decided to go with a smaller builder instead, nothing bad about PD (in fact it was my husband's no. 1 choice out of the big builders but for me - I wanted to go with a smaller builder from the beginning - guess who won??).
Unlike you I am not finding the business of selecting finishes, colours etc. very exciting - in fact I've had enough already although we haven't selected anything yet! I'm just too fussy!
Anyway, good luck and keep writing.
Re: Porter Davis homes10
Jul 29, 2006 12:40 pm
Mek, don't give up looking and making selections. If it is a pain now, imagine what it will be like if you haven't made selections and you have the builder and angry subbies on site twiddling their thumbs waiting for you to make up your mind! Rest assured, it does happen.
Worse still, sometimes they go ahead with what they think you want and it is a disaster.
Pleas, take the time now and avoid the bigger headaches later!!
It can be a little more work with a smaller builder as the onus is on you more to make the selections and 'do the shopping'. The bigger builders have a display and you just point and say I'll have that one. Either way, you still need to make the decision yourself.
Re: Porter Davis homes11
Jul 29, 2006 1:17 pm
You sound really excited and so you should be. Building a new house is a dream for just about everyone. I too can't wait to build our new place. Our block is a standalone block in Keysborough - not in an estate. We visited a number of estates, but found that the only ones which were reasonably $$$ to be too far away from work (CBD area), which would have caused logistical nightmares driving to work daily.
Unfortunately our block is not your normal block dimensions. With a frontage of 22 metres (huge) and depth of 27.5 metres (not so huge), we are finding it extremely difficult to find a good sized single story house to fit the dimensions (due to the lack in depth on the block). Hence why we are more inclined to build a smaller double story. This is the current main issue which we are facing at the moment. We knew of this before we purchased the property, however the location, sale price were too good to miss out on the opportunity.
Anyways, from what you tell me re PD, you seem to echo the opinions of many others to who I speak to. Like Alto, however, I am quite surprised about the flooring pricings though. Will definately keep in mind to look elsewhere for this work.
I have a general question which I will ask next time i visit a display property, hwoever perhaps someone knows the answer already. When a property price is e.g. FROM $200,000, however AS DISPLAYED = $279,500, what does this 'as displayed' price include? I'm sure it differs from builder to builder, but have always wanted to know if it means flooring, AND furniture which is on display, curtains, lighting etc?
I look forward to reading your updates.
Re: Porter Davis homes12
Jul 29, 2006 5:13 pm
Hi builda, no way would I let anyone else choose stuff for our house, so I'm buying magazines, borrowing books from libraries etc. I've spent hours looking at things, comparing prices, the lot.
My problem is, I am too fussy and don't like majority of things I see but if I do like something I can bet anything it's going to be very expensive So I already know I'm going to have to compromise... Stuff like: I want wall hung toilets (too expensive), hate small floor tiles (ie. anything smaller than 60 x 60) but anything over 50 x 50 is charged extra for laying, don't like the look for cornices at all - just a small selection
In other words, I'm getting sick of my own fussiness...
Stewie, "as displayed" price, if I understand correctly, would include all the finishes that are in the displayed house but not in "standard inclusions", ie. tiles might be a lot more expensive than standard allowance, benchtops might be stone as opposed to laminate in standard inclusions, maybe bi-folds, downlights, carpets, things like that, but probably not furniture, window coverings etc.
Re: Porter Davis homes13
Jul 31, 2006 9:36 am
The 'Start from price' and As Displayed' price quickly add up if you know where to look.
The house I have purchased (started excavating on Friday ...........YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) was $179k, we got an extras pack for $5k and a few extras, totalprice $209k inc GST.
The as displayed option was $350k. + land and GST
Biggies I saw were:
Flooring allowance - $5
Timber Doors, staining and Hardware - $1800 per leaf. ( Our has had 13)
Fireplace (The displayed Fireplace wall (doublesided fire) was $14k
Timber and stained glass internal doors extrea $250 per door
Al fresco extension $4k
Feature wall $150 per wall
Upgraded tiles,laying allowances, tile shower basins etc etc
Laundry cupboards etc etc
ETC ETC ETC
Yes it goes on and on. You can see it adds up.
Couple of tips here regarding extras
RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH.
If you dont want it now, can u put it in later?
Do I need it now?
Is it better or cheaper to get it now?
Do I need it??
What is wrong with standard?
My favourite words
No Standard is fine thanks.
Just my 2 cents worth...
Re: Porter Davis homes14
Aug 02, 2006 10:21 am
Isn't it always the way that once you start to praise somebody/something, they inevitably let you down!!
First real downer happened yesterday ..... Stewie, if you end up dealing with Porter Davis, ensure you ask the following question "Will the 5 Star Rating evaluation incur further cost".
Stupid question you might ask - well yesterday we received a post contract variation of $1,500 which ensures the house is 5 Star Energy Rated. What the **%($(? was the response by John and I.
The response from PD was that the 5 Star Assessment had been completed and due to client variations there are some things that need to be done to achieve the rating.
Now, forgive my blatant ignorance in this area but when we questioned items such as 'weather strips, Glasswoll Batts to external house walls and insulation to the ceiling' we asked why aren't these part of the initial cost of building the house - particularly when PD pride themselves on building 5 Star Rated homes. Note - we have made NO structural changes to the home at all. We have raised ceilings and in the formal lounge included 2 windows instead of one large one - that's about the only real 'structural' changes we have made but still can't understand why this makes any difference to these variations they say we now need.
Mood yesterday: P**%*%($ off
Mood today: Acceptance with mild aggrevation
We are looking into this further and will of course pay this stupid variation however it has put a small dent in the good reputation they have built so far with us.
Good thing I didn't go into this expecting nothing to go wrong!!
On a further point made earlier re the ridiculous pricing for floorboards/carpeting. When they gave us the price ($3.5k over the price we got privately) we showed them our quote ... from the same people .... and questioned the outrageous mark-up. The only response the guy gave was 'we have to make money and there is administration costs etc'. I think he was a little bit put out to start with when I accused them of blatantly ripping us off, but after some continual pressure for a proper explanation he agreed that it does seem a lot of money and we are doing the right thing by doing it after we take over the house.
Stewie - also in regards to 'standard inclusions', standard is exactly that. The very basics. Bear in mind that if you were to go to a PD display home (as an example) and say 'I want my home to be exactly like that' - they generally have every upgrade imaginable so be prepared to add at least $30k to the base price of the house. We ended up with $40k upgrades to the base price .... and that is without window coverings. Of course then take into consideration the points Adrian has made .... fencing, decking, landscaping blah blah... the list goes on.
anyway - still very excited - haven't let this little set back dampen the spirits.
Re: Porter Davis homes15
Aug 02, 2006 11:19 am
Amber, interesting post regarding 5 star. Introduction of mandatory 5 star ratings caused an enormous amount of angst in the Buiding Industry with both the MBA and the HIA taking a swipe at the Building Commission over its introduction.
The Victorian Government have tried to maintain that the overall cost of 5 star is only about $1500.00 per home, however the industry groups believe it to be much more. Keep in mind 5 star is LAW!
Showing that your minor variations alone increased the cost by $1500.00 easily puts paid to the bureacratic spin doctoring about increased consumer costs of 5 star!
Anyway, as far as your variation is concerned I believe you have a right to have the fee substantiated. That is, did they engage an external consultant to do the energy rating? If so, then you want to see a copy of the bill. If not, then you have the right to pay what would be a market rate for the service, especially if they did not advise you of the cost until after they are claiming they incurred it. Energy ratings (especially re-ratings) are simply not that expensive.
You will find a clause in all building contracts that the builder can claim a variation if directed to do anything in order to comply with regulations that was not on the drawing etc but this does not give any buider the right to claim whatever price they want for the variation just because they have a legal right to the variation.
Hope that makes sense.
Re: Porter Davis homes16
Aug 02, 2006 12:32 pm
Thanks Builda .. that's helpful.
I actually don't have a major issue with the $1,500 ... it's the issue that all of a sudden we are hit with this cost and at no point did they point out that they had to have a valuation after our variations were confirmed.
I guess my ignorance also ****** in what is seen as having an effect on the energy rating. I'm sure there are a whole lot of things that come under this category that I'm not aware of.
An example of my ignorance in this process is when we changed the colour of the door ... apparently the colour we chose meant they had to reinforce the door with something (that cost an extra $70) so that it would not warp in the future. Didn't think 'colour' would effect how a door behaves but there you go.
Mood: need coffee
Re: Porter Davis homes17
Aug 03, 2006 1:40 pm
Hi Amber, re the Energy Rating Assessment
I am surprised that PD do not have an accredited Energy Rating Assessor on their Payroll. Our builder have their own internally accredited people, provided a very detailed report and did so within a few days.
Ask for the copies of the invoice and report, both the old one and the new one.
Re: Porter Davis homes18
Aug 03, 2006 2:38 pm
I read it wrong when I got the information .. they have their own accredited assessor. Apparently after we made upgrades/changes they re-assess the 5 Star Rating based on items that could effect it (such as flooring, changes in doors etc). Apparently they were supposed to have the re-assessment back to us before we signed the contract but it didn't come in on time which is why we now have a post-contract variation.
After a few detailed emails this morning they have agreed to deduct $537 from the original variation due to mucking us around and causing delays etc.
They have given us a copy of the report and apparently (maybe somebody can let me know if this is bulldust) even things like changing the type of doors can effect the energy rating. Because we have changed doors, floorings etc. we now think that the cost is justified.
Once again, it's only $1k but more the principal of it all. But also in PD's defence, they have been very good about it and understand our concerns. They have not once fobbed us off and continually give us the information we are after.
Re: Porter Davis homes19
Aug 03, 2006 3:01 pm
PD are 100% correct on that statement re effecting the energy ratings as everything can and does come into consideration if it is done properly.
They should put us on the payroll as marketing consultants for them - this thread is now marketing gold for them!!
Re: Porter Davis homes20
Sep 10, 2006 5:02 pm
Hi all, this is an interesting thread, we too are building with Porter Davis, so this is all very good reading.
We too are not going thru PD for our floor coverings, way over priced, but we are just happy we found out beforehand.
Hope things are going well Amber.
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