Anyone who has built a home, or even come close to attempting to knows how stressful the entire process can be. But some builders seem to make it easier than others, and some tend to drag their feet on every problem and/or resolution.
Building with Metricon was a roller coaster ride – they had some very good qualities to their company, and some bad. At the end of the day we’re satisfied with our new home, but there were definitely speed bumps along the way. Here’s a quick scorecard, rating our build with Metricon Homes…
We initially looked at a number of home builders, including Eden Brae, Wisdom, and Rawson Homes, before accidentally stumbling upon the Metricon display homes in The Ponds suburb of North West Sydney. Coming to a crawl, Megan and I looked at each other as we first saw the Liberty 42 display home. I think we both instantly knew this was the home for us.
Our sales consultant was very helpful. Assisting in answering any questions we had, she would try and ensure that any concern we had was met with a quick and accurate answer.
Unfortunately however, she either didn’t know as much as we would have hoped, or was holding off on showing all her cards, as much of the information around building with Metricon homes isn’t divulged until after you pay your $1000 non refundable deposit. This includes the costs of upgrades that are shown in the decked out display home. This is different to many other builders on the market. For example, if you walk into an Eden Brae display home, everything that is not included in the base price of the home is clearly marked and, if asked for, they will provide you with a cost list for each upgrade.
The contract signing process seemed relatively straight forward from the get-go, but we ran into a few issues further on into the build due to the fact that one of the Metricon staffers provided us with some inaccurate information around provisional build cost refunds, and left the company between then, and when it came time to refund the money. We’re now out $2500 for fill that was never used, and will not be refunded to us, despite being promised verbally at the time of signing the contract.
Lesson learned – get everything in writing.
Metricon Homes typically have a higher base price than other builders, however in seeing a finished home (ours), much of what is an upgrade for other builders is included. It’s good to keep in mind too, the different promotions that are on, as these generally provide additional upgrades for a fraction of the cost. It always seemed like there was a promotion on, and they were all very similar to each other, so don’t let the sales person push you into putting down your $1000 non-refundable deposit with “the promotion will be ending soon”.
As for upgrades, it seemed like some options were better priced than others. It’s was common knowledge that Metricon added a 25% markup to anything added to the build contract – they mentioned it to us during contract signing! Because of this, we took a few things out to save money. Carpet, tiling, and the air conditioning was all removed as it can be easily done after handover. We did however, leave the A/C ducting in contract, as this can be very difficult to install after the walls go up – especially on a two story home.
All I can say is do your research on the pricing. Look at 3rd party installers and weigh up what it would cost to do upgrades on your own after handover.
Metricon Inclusions are pretty good compared to other builders on the market. High ceilings (2.8 meters), caeserstone benchtops, pivot front doors, are just a few examples of what is included in the base price.
Dealing with the administration staff and all the red tape that surround the building of a house was probably the most difficult part of the entire process. When things became difficult around the Council bushfire issues, the staff at Metricon wanted little to do with the issues and were very quick in wiping their hands of the issue. Eventually, after weeks of worry, they came back to us with a resolution that ultimately sorted everything out, but there was no communication around this resolution process, which left us scrambling to find our own fixes, when the problem was clearly not ours to deal with.
While the staff at Metricon may have their hands tied around what they could and could not help us with when we were in a bind, very little effort was put forth to keep our minds at ease and ensure the process was as painless as possible. The saving grace during the build was the fantastic support and help from our site supervisor, who constantly assured us that it would all work out in the end.
I’ve often heard that working with a site supervisor is one of the most difficult parts of the build process. Our experience was quite the opposite. Our site supervisor was the saving grace. He was the constant throughout the build process, always providing a reasonable outcome to any roadblock that we hit. He was especially helpful when it came to dealing with the bushfire issues we experienced during the build.
Metricon Homes has high standards for their finished products. As they should – their reputation is dependent on it. Their internal inspection team at PCI (practical completion inspection) states they must have a 98% inspection to pass. While I have no idea what exactly that pertains to, we find only minor defects when moving in that will need to be rectified at the 90 day inspection. Straight walls, clean edges – we’re pretty happy with the way the home looked the day we took ownership.
Metricon sticks to a 36 week build time. Ours was just shy of this, but we were hit with quite a lot of weather delays. 2010 was the third wettest year on record for Australia, and we had days (and weeks!) of constant rain. Even when our roof was on, the site was so wet and muddy that it made access to the house virtually impossible.
Thanks to the hard work and determination of our site supervisor, we had handover before the 36 week deadline. Can’t ask for much more than that.
Overall, we’re happy with the way the house turned out. It wasn’t without issues along the way, but I don’t know of a builder that doesn’t have similar issues. If you happen to build with Metricon in the North West region of Sydney, you’re likely to have the same site supervisor as us – and you’ll be in good hands.
The biggest piece of advice I can give you though is to get everything in writing. Metricon’s administration or “customer service” team doesn’t seem to be in it for the customer as much as they should – especially considering the amount of money they make off of each upgrade we include in the contract. You’d think they’d look after us all, as many people decide on a builder not only by the design of their homes, but by word of mouth and opinions from others that have built previously.
Consider this mine.