When renovating, it just so important to understand the consequences (and cost) your decisions, before you commit to them. A seemingly simple choice can have far-reaching consequences if you don’t understand all the implications (not to mention possible consequences) of the choice you’re making…and just how badly things can go wrong…really quickly and easily.
It's Just A Fence...Isn't It?
Recently, while talking to a builder on site. he told a story about a situation he had been involved in…(and this story isn’t uncommon, unfortunately)
To give the story context, the builder we were talking too builds swimming pools and he regularly works with a certain house builder. A client of both was undertaking a major renovation project which included a swimming pool.
The client, in an effort to save some money, decided he was going to take all the fencing work(including boundary and pool fencing) out of the building contract and engage a third party company to produce and install all of it – as he had found someone who could give him a better deal than he was supposedly getting through the builder and the pool builder. Sounds fairly straightforward at this point…he thought so too…:(
The build went ahead and progressed relatively smoothly. The pool fences are one of the last things to be installed in this particular build. And if you are not aware, pool fencing needs to comply with a number of fairly strict criteria to meet the necessary certification requirements. However, when the fences were installed, it became apparent that the pool fence was non-compliant. In order to get the final sign off from the Certifier these things needed to be addressed before:
- the pool could be filled
2. and the pool itself was signed off by the Certifiers
3. the builder couldn’t get his final signoff and therefore handover couldn’t happen until this problem was satisfactorily rectified.
To get the fencing up to speed, some of it needed to be redone. Which resulted in a time delay and extra cost. The fencing supplier and had quoted on and supplied the fence the homeowner had asked for. So he couldn’t be held responsible. It wasn’t the builder or the pool builders responsibility either as it wasn’t in their scope of work.
Understand the Consequences
The homeowner simply didn’t fully understand the pool fence requirements and therefore didn’t brief the fence supplier properly, not to mention that to be compliant ‘all’ fenced around the pool, not just the new ones need to be compliant also – and the homeowner had not allowed for this either. There was a problem with this however, the client had taken the pool out of the builder sand the pool builders responsibilities. So the onus was on him to fix this. The responsibility was his.
He had not in act briefed the fence builder on the fact that the pool fence needed to be a ‘compliant’ pool fence and as a result, the fence builder quoted on just the fence. Pool fencing is a specialty and with changes constantly happening to what makes one compliant, its best left to the experts.
The time delays on the new fencing threatened the ‘completion’ of the total job for all involved. Faced a range of problems and budget issues he hadn’t anticipated this homeowner sat down with the 2 builders and they looked at the options. and to cut a long story short, all the parties came to a mutually beneficial solution, that was by no means a given. The homeowner was lucky to come out of this particular situation with only a minor time delay, a completely avoidable cost overrun, and no doubt a lot of gray hair.
What was in the scheme of things only a minor saving – a couple of thousand dollars backfired on this homeowner spectacularly… and ended up costing him many thousands of dollars, and if he had been with a different builder it could have been a whole lot worse.
Sadly, this is not an uncommon issue and is one of the many reasons, our renovation master planning system evolved. We’ve said it before, and will again and again… Knowledge is power.
A Lesson To Be Learned
This is a completely avoidable scenario, so some lessons to be learned are:
- Be aware of the responsibilities that come with any decisions you make
- Understand your contract inclusions and exclusions
- Know where the risk lies – Part of the cost of construction is risk – the builder or whoever is doing the work takes on the risk.
- Listen to the advice of your project team – seek a second opinion if you’re unclear
Never assume, talk to your team about the implications of each decision you make. and if there is any doubt at all – a word of wisdom, leave it to the experts.
So educate yourself not to get caught out caught out by avoidable mistakes.
Until Next Time…