Anger builds over housing delays

Chris Thompson waited two-and-a-half years for his new home. Picture: Marcelo Palacios        www.communitypix.com.au   d435761
Chris Thompson waited two-and-a-half years for his new home. Picture: Marcelo Palacios        www.communitypix.com.au d435761

Chris Thompson said he and his wife were told the build would take 10 to 12 months when he signed up for a home in Kalimna Estate in late 2012 but the house was not finished until this year.

The couple sought compensation from National Homes, part of the BGC Group, after the building process was plagued with delays and is filing a dispute with the Department of Commerce.

Mr Thompson claimed the delays had cost him $82,000 in mortgage payments, rent and storage costs over the years and he would not sign off on the final inspection until he received compensation.

He accused BCG of hiding behind the contract.

He said the delays had been compounded by BGC�s �inability to retain staff, training of staff and the handover of files from one contracts administrator to the next�, as well as �the shortfall in the management and their overseeing of this transition.�

�They continually hide behind a statement that the salesperson only gives a guide to the build times,� he said.

Mr Thompson said the stress of covering the costs of the delays had taken its toll.

He was frustrated at �being fobbed off all the time�.

�This makes a mockery of everything they say on the website,� he said.

�They haven�t taken the stress out of building, they�ve increased it.�

Mr Thompson said a verbal offer of $15,000 compensation was inadequate and he would not take possession of the house without a better offer.

BGC Residential general manager Mark Anderson said salespeople advised clients building could take 12 to 14 months as a guide but the process was dependent on numerous factors, including Shire planning and regulatory requirements and clients changing plans at their own discretion.

�The client in question fully understood at the time of signing his contract that his claim of being promised 10 to 12 months could never be met and that his home had not completed the administration process at that time,� he said.

�He still willingly signed the contract. The home has been waiting for handover since February, 2015.

�The process has not taken 29 months. National Homes are well within contract time and we are not liable to pay damages.

�This being said, the owner has already accepted a goodwill gesture from us for some administration time issues that I agreed had been caused by us.�

Mr Anderson said BGC had asked Mr Thompson for clear information on how he had arrived at the sum of more than $70,000 requested but he had not provided it.

�We have advised the client that we are more than happy for the correct dispute process to be engaged,� he said.

�The building industry has been through its busiest period on record and while every builder strives to get people into their homes quickly, it is unfortunate that time delays do occur.

�The consumer is protected by the building contract and has a fair dispute resolution path to take.

�We have tried and are still trying to resolve this issue amicably.�