Rating our build with Metricon Homes

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

Presales

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.

Rating: C

Contract Signing

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.

Rating: C

Price

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.

Rating: B-

Inclusions

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.

Rating: B+

Administration Staff

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.

Rating: D

Site Supervisor

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.

Rating: A

Build Quality

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.

Rating: B+

Build Time

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.

Rating: A

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.


About Stefan
Stefan is the regular writer for Megan & Stefan, and hails originally from San Diego, California. A resident of Australia since 2007, he write about his experiences living abroad, his love of photography, and documenting the process of building a house here in this sunburnt country he calls home. Feel free to drop him a line - he's always up for a chat.

Comments

  1. Kriss says:

    I think “get everything in writing” is excellent advice. Having been through a similar process, I am not sure there is better advice.

    I can only imagine how stressful this build process must have been for you both, but I am so happy to see you settling in to your beautiful new home.

    Kriss

  2. Shayne says:

    Great post – what a good idea, think I will do similar when our build is done and dusted.

    I agree with you on the point that the customer service staff dont seem to be in it for the customer – and the lack of communication at times.. As you say, given the amount of money they make on upgrades they should be more informed about the options available, more willing to accomodate the customer and generally provide more “customer service”!

    Cant wait to get into our house so I know all the little issue will pale once those keys are ours!

  3. T&T says:

    In retrospect, I’m not sure what kind of grading I’d give metricon. I’m not committing to a final score until our 90 day service is done, which should be sometime this month. Still lots of outstanding little issues, nothing truly earthshaking but very very annoying. 3 months and still no antenna connection – wtf!

    tim

  4. ToniTones says:

    Hi Guys,

    Great post and blog too :)

    Hubby and I have just started the building process with Metricon and I’m glad I found your blog. So far we’ve paid our $1000 deposit and waiting to have a 1st consultation meeting.

    Before we decided we were going to go with Metricon, I googled them and a lot of the search results had to do with complaints about the customer service. Just in the last 2 days I too have experienced this. I’ve been trying to speak to our Customer Service Consultant, to give her some important information our land convayencer has told us we need to relay to Metricon and no luck. I left a few messages, asked the receptionist to email her and still nothing. It was only when I persisted and explained we settle on the land tomorrow that someone (not our consultant) called me back.
    I really hope this is not indicative of what’s to come as our initial salesperson was really good.

    Anyways, if there was another builder out there that had similar designs and quality of work, we’d consider someone else, but trawling through Homeworld, Kellyville and Parkbridge, Middleton Grange, I think we’ll stick with Metricon.

    Toni

  5. Ozichik says:

    Thank you for all your advice, we are off to sign our contract with Metricon tomorrow and already have found the admin staff a little lacking in customer service. But they will find us quite persistent and I am sure with your advice taken on board we will get the house we want. They do have a lovely product. we initially looked at building with Eden Brae but although they’re base price was cheaper, their Kitchen was lousy for cupboard space and we would have had to completely redesign. I am sure the costs would have been similar in the end. Thanks for the advice.

  6. Tracey says:

    Thank you for the detailed information. We have just signed off on our Metricon contract and looking at your site I think we may be neighbours! It is great to know what to expect.

  7. Trish says:

    I found Metricon absolutely disgusting in customer service and build quality. I signed with them in Oct 2008 and the house is still not finished.

    If you must build with Metricon I strongly advise that you employ an independent building inspector. It costs around $400 and probably saved me thousands more – particularly in stress!

    This is the second time that I have built a house and is by far much more stressful, unpleasant and has taken at least 3 times as long. I would never ever recommend them!

  8. Gary fox says:

    Yes we are building with Metricon and we are having problems with the foundations being out by 70mm. One of the internal structial walls is floating in mid air & the outer load bearing wall is just sitting on about 10mm of concrete yes the service is crap . thinking of going to Building Services Australia.

  9. AE says:

    Stefan, Thank you very much for your building advice and handy tips as I am contemplating a build process myself. Your website content and photography are an enjoyable read. Good to hear you decided to settle down under and your house..now a home..is coming along nicely!

  10. Stefan says:

    Thank you for the kind words AE! I hope that, should you decide to build, it goes smoothly. As always, be let me know if you have any questions.

  11. bali says:

    we r building with metricon as well.
    their communication is quite bad.we cannot get any straight forward answer from them.
    some one who r already building can advice me about the site cost to fix it r not

  12. FTG girl says:

    Metricon need to take responsibility for site works. They are the builder it is their business and they need to accept their responsibilities.
    Before u sign contract is the only power u will have in the whole process. Do not sign a contract until u delete.
    1. Owner not allowed on site. Buy a pair of work boots and a hard hat and go every day.
    Insert in contract the site supervisor and owner to meet measure and check the plan against the foundation prior to pouring concrete.
    Measure everything and particularly the foundations prior to pouring the concrete. Our drains were metres out of place and the rectification breached the termite barrier and possibly the engineered waffle pod.
    2. Delete on contract no other contractors allowed on site during the build. Need to get concrete driveways and paths etc otherwise the good weather is missed.
    3. Delete $1000 variation fee. This is immoral and disgusting.
    My second site supervisor was wonderful and had a heart. My son is building a new home but unable to recommend Metricon as their was so much pain.
    Would have like a gas oven and crimsafe mesh but alas Metricon dont do these so I couldnt have it.
    Sign everything with your name followed by (all rights reserved). This means you are still covered by legislation designed to protect the consumer.

  13. Helen says:

    I have and am still enduring what is one of the most stressful moments of my life. In summary, our experience with Metricon wouldn’t rate on a scale that is yet developed. Some issues we have encountered include, but are not limited to:
    (a) contradictory price quotes for the most basic items
    (b) rude incompetent, unable staff
    (c) build time of 42+ weeks and settlement with an undertaking of outstanding required items to be completed by 25 December 2011 (whereby, as at 23 December 1 out of 25 outstandings items has been completed)
    (d) 3 site supervisors (first one relocated closer to home, the second site supervisor as eventually sacked by Metricon after failing to do any work for 16 weeks on my home and others) and the 3rd site supervisor quit. Pending a 4th!
    (e) Invoices generated and interim payments requested well advance of completed work (scoundrels is a common term I refer to and I am persuing this item)
    (f) no communication regarding logic, reason or explanation for a required extension of time (yes there may be rain days of approximately 20 but competitors started their build well after our commencement in February and well before our settlement in late November)
    (g) painters arrived today to complete outstanding interior work and have failed to use drop sheets or clean their mess. There goes $10K+ carpet and a massive cleaning bill or house of my time on Christmas eve cleaning their mess!

    This is a ruthless selfish organisation that delivers a inadequate service, defective item and remains unaccountable. It appoints unqualified trades people who and are not licensed and management fail to oversee their activities to ensure that their work is complete and free of defects.

    For all, please also note that builders in Melbourne have taken a class action against Metricon. See Channel 9’s Current Affair program of December 22. I and neighbours are also thinking of doing the same for breach of contract with particular regard to the above. By the way, their liquidated damages is $30 a day (excludes rain days and industry shut down). I’m not sure where you rent a place for $210 week in Sydney in 2011 but be aware and renegotiate this amount.

    The adivce provided by others above is good advice – do strike out certain clauses and in particular those pertinent to access to the site to inspect and appoint your own trades people to complete work. Also include clauses that Metricon are liqble for damages to any work and you undertaken and accountable for removing all rubbish (including the concrete they dump in your proposed driveway).

    I would also recommend appointing an independent to review the work prior to settlement and arrange that the contract variation provides for this to be completed no less than 20 business days prior to settlement (allow for incomplete or defective items prior to settlement). Finally – site supervisors of Metricon have admitted to myself and others that they are unable (in NSW) to appoint relevant qualified trades people as Metricon’s budget does not allow for it! Go with a more established builder within your state and don’t be complacent – remain engaged and aware. Write everthing down and hold them accountable.

  14. Meile says:

    Hi Stefan,
    I have been researching options for a knock down/rebuild of my home in Castle Hill and Metricon seem to have the designs that best suit my needs (without mountains of redesign or upgrade). Given that it has been 12mths since your home was handed over and you are in a similar district to me, would you say that you are happy with the final product? The problems I’ve seen relating to Metricon seem to be primarily in VIC so not sure if they are run seperately.
    Thanks….

  15. Stefan says:

    The build quality has been good, and while I don’t really have anything to compare it to, I’m satisfied with the overall product. I think the issue for us was the office staff, and having them follow up on the warranty issues. We’ve been in the house for over a year, and we still have items that require attention. We know it will happen, but it’s just a matter of when – not if.

  16. NAG247 says:

    We’re thinking of building a new home and the decision is rushed because the plots we like are being released much earlier than expected. It is so educational to read opinions such as yours to give us a
    first hand experience of what to expect and plan for.

  17. Stefan says:

    Thanks for the kind words! I’m glad you’ve found the site useful.

  18. Amy says:

    Hi
    I came across your site and it is really informative and helpful for people like me who is building for the first time!

    We are building a Lib 38 in Bris and currently poring over the contract.

    Can you please advise if the estimates Met had provided earlier to you, far off from the contract? I have seen things like what was quoted lesser than $200 (under the stairs storage) had inflated to over $500!!! Eg, deletion of the eaves (for garage- zero boundary side), we were credited $250 for it in the estimate but in the contract, they wanted to charge us $1377 instead!!!

    I really had to pore over the contract with a fine comb and I just wish it was them who had done a cleaner job. Esp when I am paying them so much already!!!

    Do you think I hold them to the prices they quoted in the estimates? if not, what are the estimates for,, when they are so far off?

    Appreciate your advice!!!

    Cheers

  19. Stefan says:

    Hi Amy,

    It all seems like a distant memory to be honest. No major price changes jump out at me, but we did have to deal with ‘upgrades’ due to bushfire requirements. For example, we had wooden bifold doors on the back of the house that needed to be upgraded to Merbau (bushfire rated wood), which was in excess of $5k. In hindsight, it will be money well spent. The doors are solid and hardwearing – they should be easier to maintain down the road.

    Not much seemed to change for us. There were a few variations, but again, it was all due to building within 50m of a bush reserve. It was due to Council regulations and changes during the approval process. Once the building started, we didn’t have any additional variations.

    Hope this helps!

    Stefan

  20. Hershey says:

    Hi,

    Can you advice where I can file a complain against Metricon?

    Our land was settled last april 4, and up until now, they have not started building our house.

    The property consultant have called me twice, the first one asking me to pay 8k because base prices have increased and they are charging 1k for 6 months from December to June and some variations in the windows and the depth of the sewer. However, when i told them we can no longer pay such big amount, he told me to just quote an amount that i can afford but not “nothing”. The second call came in last week, telling me to do another land survey as the marks are already missing. They have gone missing because our neighbors have began construction and other did the fencing already.

    So now i am to pay for costs that should have been avoided if they only started construction. It is beginning to be a nightmare.

  21. Sat says:

    We are also waiting for the tender presentation after the initial deposit of $2000.00. After going through different online blogs, I am finding it a bit daunting to persue with them. We have also opted for Wisdom homes and the blogs about them seem to be very positive. I have not found as many negative comments about them as have found for Metricon.

    The very idea of being in a tight situation with Metricon later on really concerns me. There are not many positive feedbacks about them unfortunately. I thought that you blog gave a very balanced view about their performance, but may be you could be the lucky one. I have heard that they build more than 5000 houses. I wonder how they do it!!!

  22. Tom says:

    We have just paid our $1,500 to Metricon for a soil test and site survey and now realize we should have googled reviews on Metricon more thoroughly.
    Just a few days ago they were fined $800,000 for dodgy brochures that were misleading.
    Had an initial quote which included $19,000 for render and $14,000 for site costs so not really sure what all this will actually include – very vague so will have to wait for the “Fixed Price” contract.
    Problem is that all of these project builders just use the display homes as an office and the attendant at the display home is usually who you are stuck with to provide a quote and who you have to deal with prior to the signing of the contract. Most of these people have absolutely no building knowledge in relation to wind force, MPA concrete specifications, timber frames and the difference between Colorbond and Conorbond Ultra which you must use if less than 1 Kilometre from the ocean… the list goes. on!
    Metricon charges up to $2,000 extra for white/off white mortar joints and I don’t know how they can justify this cost as the difference between a bag of grey cement and off white cement is $1.50 and the difference between normal bricklayers sand and white sand is $10 per cubic metre.
    We have made a lot of notes obtained from Metricon reviews and hope we will be allowed to have the more serious matters addressed and allowed in our contract.
    We have come to the conclusion after visiting more than 10 different display homes that just about all of them are dodgy and it is “Buyer Beware”.
    Building a house will be one of the most stressful things you will ever do and having built three previous houses I vowed I would never build again. There is a never ending list of traps you will fall into and I thought I knew most of them!
    Still learning – especially about the mortar colour.

    Tom.

  23. Sat says:

    We are exactly in the same situation having paid $2000 to Metricon for the initial deposit. I am thinking I should have visited these blogs beforehand rather than afterwards. Going through various blogs has been scary and very discouraging:
    http://www.productreview.com.au/p/metricon.html
    This is where most of the dissatsfied customers have poured in their views. The display homes are deceitful actually because they will come back and say most of them is not standard anyway. I need to talk to some of the people who have built through Metricon in my area and re-assess my situation. My ealrier thought was that you pay the fixed amount and you do not worry about a thing. I was so dumb!!!

  24. Chelle says:

    Hi Megan and Stefan,

    Yes I have signed up with Metricon. =) This is my second build (built a split level Kauley in the past) so I have something to compare/work with. I have already paid my initial deposit of $1,000 and $4,000 on signing of Tender. Metricon is currently in the process of drawing up final architectural plans so am currently awaiting my appointment for the final contract signing at the end of this month.

    It is really interesting to read the different experiences above. So far, I find Metricon quite good! No problems or hassles with customer service (the sales person at the Stanhope Gardens office) contacts me regulary and returns all my calls/responds to all my email on time! Tender presentation was pretty straight forward. No problems or hassles with pricing and variations so far. Site costs were quite reasonable as well. I actually found their final pricing better than other builders, incl Eden Brae, considering Metricon’s base price are quite high.

    You guys are correct in ensuring you have everything written down in a contract. I find that if you do not have high expectations and remain flexible, you and ANY builder can work together. Expect that not everything will go smoothly – with ANY builder. I wish all of us the best of luck in this building process!

  25. Paul Leonard says:

    Go for Dwyer quality homes if you live in south east Qld…. They are fantastic,honest and high quality tradesman who built house in 14 weeks ..dec 11 ..march 12 ..you will be very happy
    Do not pay any deposit to metricon …you’ll lose it

  26. VAL BLETCHER says:

    It is 9 yrs since we built our Metricon 1 storey house. We have had minor problems such as roof leaking for the valleys are no longer concreted in, but yesterday we lost power points to four room and were unable to trip the Clipsal circuit back.

    Called an electrician $250 weekend call out fee and he reckons there is a break in the wiring – somewhere!!! He gave us a bill for $420 and is coming back tomorrow to try and find where the break is. In the meantime we have extension cords from areas which have power.

    I have been trying to find out if we have any warranty but it seems to be only structural guarantee. The plumbing and electrical is not covered.

    Going up to Metricon tomorrow morning for surely someone must be answerable for electrical work done, some guarantee of the quality of that wiring we cannot see???

    It makes me worried that the house has the same 10 yr life that appliances seem to have nowadays.

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