Sunday, 21 October 2012

Practical Completion Inspection (PCI)

The day was finally here!

We were up early on the Monday morning so we could beat any potential traffic and get to the house early.

We gathered all of the things we wanted to take the night before, and set off at about 7am.

We got a message from our independent inspector saying that he planned on getting there a bit earlier so that he could start on the outside of the house.

We arrived at 7.45am, just before our SS and independent inspector.

The inspection could have started off a bit better. The house had been 'cleaned' at some stage between Saturday afternoon and 7.45am on Monday. When we say 'cleaned' we really mean that it looked as though all of the larger items of debris (carpet off-cuts, chipped or broken tiles, paint, timber etc) had been swept into the Garage, and the place had had a bit of a vacuum or sweep.

When we saw this, the first thing we said to our SS was that it would be impossible to inspect the floors (tiles, carpets, and wooden floors, which were all key areas to be inspected). From the paperwork we received and discussions we'd had in the time leading up to our PCI (which included a large invoice from Carlisle Homes as well), we were under the impression that the house was being 'presented' to us as a new home. So we expected clean carpets and floor boards, shiney tiles, and dirt-free window sills and frames. We didn't get any of this.

On top of that, our SS kept answering phone calls, and he disappeared for a bit to attend another site.

We were about to cancel the inspection, but our SS insisted that the condition of the house was appropriate for a practical completion inspection and that the point of the day was for us to indentify any defects that needed correcting prior to handover. He was willing for us to talk to his manager and possibly inspect the house with him, but we ended up saying that we might as well go through with the inspection, but that there would be privisos built in to our PCI report because there were certain things that we couldn't inspect.

The standard process is to have a PCI, and then a final inspection on the date of settlement. We said to our SS that, because the state of the house prevented us from completing a thorough inspection, we would require another inspection between PCI and handover. This inspection would effectively be a proper PCI, because we weren't able to complete a full PCI on the actual date that PCI was booked. Our SS agreed to the additional inspection.

We went through the house, room by room, identifying all of the defects and marking them up with red dots.

Here is a list of some of the items we identified:
  • Garage - not cleaned out so didn't bother inspecting
  • Alfresco - not cleaned out so didn't bother inspecting
  • Floor tiles - not clean so couldn't identify any chips/cracks/grout issues, although we did notice a few tiles in the entry that were chipped
  • Wooden floors - not clean so couldn't identify any sctaches, although we did note a few areas where the boards were lifting and weren't joined properly at the expansion joints
  • Paint - the entire house looked like it needed to be painted again. There were patches, scratches and dirt marks throughout
  • Ceiling - definitely needed another coat of paint througout. Even our SS was wondering what the painter had been up to
  • The staircase and surrounding are had not been completed. Our SS agreed that this was include so we didn't inspect it
  • Light switches, power points, and wall outlets at several locations were just wrong. Our SS said he would get all of the power points tested as several of them weren't working. We didn't test all of them, and will do so when they are actually working
  • The silicon seal around all of the wall and vanity tiles was the wrong color
  • For some reason our meter box had been messily painted in the wrong color
  • The outdoor tap in our front yard was right in front of the front door, which would make it impossible to create a pathway and entrance to the house from the street. Our SS said he would look into getting this moved
  • The sewer pit in our back yard was placed right in the middle of the yard, and that meant that we wouldn't be able to have a clear, decent sized patch of grass. Our SS said he'd look into getting this moved to a more reasonable location.
There were a few other issues that our SS noted on his list (hopefully he got all of them).  We haven't been successful at getting a copy of this list off him though and will keep pushing to get it, especially because we were made to sign it. Our SS did say that we would be going through the list at our settlement/handover inspections. That seems a little late to us.

And he also advised us that we would have a 3 month maintenance inspection after our handover date. We would have to note each problem/defect etc that we find over the first 3 months and then they'd come out and fix it all up.

Our expectation was that we would be moving into a house after all of the defects were rectified. Sure there would be bits and pieces that would come up as we started using the house on a daily basis, but why not fix up what they can now, and give us something that they are confident in and proud to say is completed to the highest standard?

In addition to these things are the items that our independent inspector picked up on. Most of these things were more structural - there were a few walls that had bows to them, the insulation had not been properly spread in the roof space, some of the tiled skirting on the balcony was blocking the vents in the bricks, and some of the articulation joints hadn't been sealed properly. There were about 15 things on his list, and we are waiting for our SS to respond to them.

Our SS has indicated that we should be ready to settle within 2 weeks of our PCI, which takes us to the end of October. Given the items that need fixing, we're not convinced. We're also not in too much of a rush and won't be bullied into taking possession of the house until we're happy with it.

We're supposed to learn more about the items being fixed and a more realistic handover date this week.

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