Friday, February 11, 2011

90 day service: Antenna saga FINALLY ended

Got a txt yesterday from the antenna people - called them back this morning, and by the afternoon someone had come around to finally connect our antenna.

So this is how it goes - when you build a house, you don't get an antenna. Your choice is to
  1. Add the antenna into your contract - let's say it's $400. This is maybe double what it would cost you to do after handover, but you should be able to move right in, plug in your TV and start watching whatever you want to watch.
  2. Organise the antenna to be installed after handover. Might cost you $200. Much less than the builder, but you have to make a few phonecalls.
Anyway, I thought we'd bite the bullet and pay the builder to install it for us... and get the benefit of having it ready to go as soon as we had the keys. Instead, we ended up getting it finally connected nearly five months after we had handover, despite me constantly reminding, calling, emailing Metricon to get it fixed - and it only took a 10 minute visit from the antenna technician.

Anyway, moral of this story is for anyone building a house, whatever you can get done yourself, do it yourself. Things like higher ceilings, floorplan changes, door locations etc you can't really change yourself after handover without spending huge amounts of cash so you'll have to get it drawn into contract.

Here are some things you may consider doing yourself once the house is yours.
  • TV Antenna (See above rant). But not extra TV points, easier & cheaper to do it through the builder.
  • Driveway, outside decking, rendering, stackstone, exterior tiling etc. You could pay $5000 to render your facade through whatever builder, or pay a tradesman $2000 for the same thing, avoiding the builder's markup.
  • Light fittings. You will get standard builder's light fittings in most rooms, which are the cheapest, nastiest things you can get - bare lightbulbs and a plastic hat. But you can choose exactly what light fittings you want, and get an electrician to wire them in later. Note that downlights are a tricky issue -you should put in downlights downstairs (in a 2 storey house) through the builder as it can be impossible or very difficult to add them in after plaster is up (floor trusses can block transformers etc).
  • Flooring (carpet, timber etc). You'd probably find better quality and range available cheaper if done yourself after handover. We used Fowles Clayton for our carpet and they did a great job.
  • Window coverings. Same as above. Except don't call Spotlight - they were meant to show up today to measure our remaining windows for custom blinds, and never showed up. Shitty customer service (by not keeping basic promises) is the easiest way to lose not 1, but 1000 customers. Ever been to a Spotlight store and watched 1 person try to serve 500 frustrated customers?
  • Feature walls - if you're handy with a paintbrush, cheap to DIY.
So, things that are integral to the house that you want, or if you're too busy to organise things yourself, get it through the builder. Everything else, organise it yourself if you want better range and price.

So, now only a couple of remaining items for our 90 day inspection - bowed cavity frame in ensuite, and plaster repair and paint in garage.

Ultimately, I'm happy I finally got my antenna connected, but since I paid the builder's premium to get it done during the house construction, it should've been ready at handover 5 months ago, not now. Or at least fixed within a few days of moving in - it's not like it was an expensive thing to organise, and it really soured our new house experience. You don't need a postgraduate degree in marketing to figure out what I'm trying to get across here - but if you do, my consulting services are available!



  1. Hi Tim
    It's surprising that something so simple takes so long and can cause so much irritation.
    We had been told at our first visit to Studio M that a feature wall would be extra but painting a room all in one colour would be standard.
    Our carpet is part of promo package but we are upgrading as the standard carpet and underlay is not the best quality and feels like standing on bare but furry concrete.

  2. Hi Tim and Tina. It's great reading your building journey. We have a question if you can help out. All the deposits we pay, do they come off the final price. We have paid $2000- to have tender drawn up. That's our 1st lot of money paid , but when we o at the end of this week they will probably ask for more then or the next time, do they take this off the final price ? Thanks C&M



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