Since my last blog, we've learnt that building a house quickly turns from fun into frustration.
After getting confirmation from the Design and Build company, 3 times, that the indicative pricing for the house fits our budget, we handed the plans to our valuer to check that, after the house has been build, it would provide us with 75% equity. Luckily for us it came back as providing 74.5% equity. Phew! The bank is happy so we are happy.
Then the Design and Build company we were using (note the use of past tense), gave us 2 prices for the same plan which greatly varied from the original price, despite no changes to the plan. When queried, they told us they made a mistake with the first pricing. Although that doesn't explain the $8,000 variance between the second and third pricing, which they had no explanation for. Despite the house now being $18,000 over our budget, they suggested we pay to get working drawings anyway. But really, what would be the point in that?!?
So after going round and round in circles and banging our heads against a brick wall a few times, we've jumped ship. We're now using Jennian Homes, who have been wonderful and marvelous in every way... so far, and better still hasn't varied their quotes in the slightest.
So now we have some plans we like, we need to sort out the building platform. Some months ago, we lodged a resource consent application to take earth from the bank on our site and use it to fill a hole on a different site nearby. After waiting 6 months for Maori to consult on whether or not that hole should be filled, the Council in their great wisdom decided to reject the resource consent application. They have asked us to instead submit two resource consents: One for our site; one for the other site. Muttermumblegrumble red tape muttermumble sigh.
In the meantime, we received our Engineer's report. Being solid rock, the bank is currently graded at a 15 degree angle. When we bought the site, we spoke to the engineer who originally determined the grading of the rock at 15 degrees. He said that we could take the bank back at the same gradient. Since then someone has put some loose soil at the top of the bank and over our boundary on to our land. At the time we discovered it, we didn't think it would matter much.
Turns out it does matter. It means that instead of a 15 degree angle, we need to a gradient of 30 degrees. The upshot is, we aren't allowed to remove as much dirt as we were able to, plus we cannot build within 2m of the toe of the bank, making the building platform smaller than expected. Consequence: the chosen house design doesn't fit the site anymore. Argh!
Back to the drawing board. So after chasing our tails some more and shaving a few yaks on the way, the man with a hole to fill has taken charge. Being a developer and a surveyor, he's working with the engineer to devise an earthworks plan which will allow us to have the optimum amount of space on our building platform.
Once we have their topography map of what the site will look like after the earthworks have been completed, we can then choose a house plan to suit the site. We then need to amend the resource consent to have the footprint of this house on the land, which we'd better do quick smart because the amended resource consent application is due back at the Council by the end of this week.
Where does that leave us? Pretty much in exactly the same position we were in a month ago. No resource consent. No plans. No working drawings. We even need to get the valuer to value to new plans. Sigh, two steps forward, one step back.
I feel for you guys since it seems building a house is a never ending set of problems. My sister and brother-in-law are currently building on the south island and every time I talk to my sister, there is something not right:
1) the builder charging extra for something which doesn't cost more
2) the bank changing the terms of their mortgage
3) getting the local iwi to check the site when removing earth
4) the resource consent at the council taking forever since the person only works two days a week
5) any number of other things
It's an ongoing thing it seems. I have my fingers crossed things go a little more smoothly.