Dispute with a build design company

Posted by Howard on December 19, 2018

At the beginning of year 2017, I decided to do home extension, adding another storey over my current dwelling. I found a home design company to do architect, structural engineer, energy report, all the stuffs required by local council for building permit.

The headquarter of that company locates in West Australia, while they have a branch in Melbourne. After I paid deposit, they assigned a architect for me, as well as a project manager. The subsequent experience proved that the project manager never worked, he never replied to my E-mail, nor my text message or call. The architect looked good, but he was incompetent. He was always straying his mind out of my project, and he always forgot my request to modify certain items, so that one request to change would always take many times to be implemented. I found he only worked at night for my project. I seriously doubted if he had his own job and this was his part time job. So it is possible that he was not actually a formal employee of this company.

Looking back on the work he designed nowadays, it was almost nonsense. After the architect work, it was engineer , the real nightmare was coming. First ly, it took more than 2 weeks and many pushes for the company to assign an engineer for me. The engineer seemed reluctant to take my job since she did not reply to my SMS or email until I called her. She seemed having lots of work in hand and said I should wait for another one or two months to start my project. That is unacceptable. So I called their manager to reassign another engineer for me.

So another engineer came over and pretended to inspect. Actually he did nothing. The subsequent email with the initial engineer proved this. She said that site inspection is useless and she didn’t need it. The subsequent engineer plan reflected her basic idea of how to do the job.

Without any notice, the company transferred my job back to the initial engineer. She figured out a preliminary plan for me to review. I was shocked by her plan because there are lots of unnecessary steel posts and beams, which means there will be big changes in the fundamental structure of my property. I enquired another engineer and he can reduce lots of steel materials. I tried to discuss better solutions with the engineer and she tried to avoid meeting me in the office since she said she will charge me hundreds of dollars per hour for meeting. I got to know she was not actually an employee of that company. The company sub contracted my job to her, which may be a general practice in Melbourne building industry.

She would not like to discuss me for better solutions , thus I refused to pay the incompleted job. We are different not in the compliance with standard, but in a better solution to reduce steel materials. This case has been submitted to building dispute department of VBA(Victoria Building Authority) for arbitration.