Sunday, 25 August 2013

Carter Grange Maintenance Issues and Review - some useful consumer information

Here’s the process that CG use to manage defects within the 3 month period (post handover). This relates directly to a clause in the contract (in our case clause 39.0) and is therefore a formal process.

A maintenance form is sent out by email. We received ours in late May. We filled out the form noting our various maintenance concerns and returned it to CG. Our SS and the CG maintenance man then attended to do a walk-through, inspect and comment on each item on the list. Then the maintenance man attended to rectify these items (those he was unable to rectify himself, he arranged for the appropriate trades to return to rectify). Finally, CG sent out a letter attempting to confirm the completion of your 3 month maintenance period. The whole process took roughly 11 weeks in our case. The only issue is that we still have items outstanding so here’s a warning. Do not accept the confirmation letter until you are satisfied all items you noted have been rectified.

Here are some issues to be aware of and items to note and remember.

Check all lights and electrical items. Turn them all on, keep them all on at the same time, test everything. We had a few lights that died during our 3 month period. We knew it wasn’t globes, as it turns out, if they’re not installed correctly, it’s the contacts between fitting and globe.

Check that all external screws are galvanised. The screws for our external lights had all rusted over the 3 months because the wrong screws had been used.

For those using the same corner windows as us; Get them double glazed! The builder should warn you that if these corner windows are not double glazed you will have to contend with bad condensation, most noticeable when the heater is on inside and it’s cold outside. This means that water form on the glass on the inside and then ends up dripping down the window to rest on the inside window sill. We hope this does not cause paint peel, mould or other issues. We’ll keep an eye on it, but CG basically said they can’t do anything about it. If anyone knows differently, please let us know.

For those building with colour bond; make sure they use enough screws to hold down the flashing. During the recent windy nights, there’s been loud crashing on our roof, only audible from the inside (not from outside). This is one issue still outstanding but it’s under management and will be rectified.

Plumbing. The worst of our maintenance issues. Here’s the problem. Much of the plumbing work is underground and therefore unable to be seen by owners, private building inspectors and building surveyors. It’s obvious much of the plumbing system is only put to task once the house is occupied and also through various weather conditions (especially heavy wind and rain). As we have been advised, anyone can tick a box [on a certificate] but this does not mean the work performed complies, or has even been completed!

The first issue we discovered was a sewerage problem. Our landscapers noticed that sewerage was not draining from the sewerage trap (rear of house) correctly. Turns out the plumbers did not give the sewerage pipes sufficient fall. Plumbers had to return, dig through the mud, back to the pipes (not a small job) and rectify. We’re lucky it was identified when it was. We note this issue for the record.

The second issue we discovered was a storm water problem. There had always been flooding at the front of our property. We thought it was due to the natural lay of the land and groundwater. We were wrong. Turns out, we strongly believe, the plumbers forgot to connect the main storm water pipe responsible for discharging storm water into the street from our property [note: CG oppose this view]. As you can imagine, water from the roof after rain entering gutters and down pipes plus any water being collected at ground level through the aggie pipe system all being funneled into this pipe and it discharging all this water into the ground at the front of our property; big issue.

Unfortunately, this storm water issue remains outstanding. Since the disconnected storm water pipe was underground, we actually had no idea about it. We built a driveway straight over the top of it. The flooding became more pronounced after the driveway and crossover had been built, so we notified CG. We actually thought there was a cracked pipe somewhere. When the plumbers returned, they dug under the driveway and found the disconnected pipe. We saw the pipe, a pipe that just ended. The disappointing thing about this issue is that the plumbers will not admit they did not connect the storm water to its legal point of discharge. 

Given our contract is with CG, not the plumbers, we have been communicating with CG in an attempt to resolve this issue. We can only hope CG realise that at some point, while not directly their fault, issues like this are squarely their responsibility. We’re disappointed they have not shown more care for their product. To build a house for someone and not connect their storm water is not good practice. 

We have been advised to document this particular storm water issue. Set aside the fact we hope CG will take the higher ground and be responsible for connecting our storm water to the legal point of discharge, we want an assurance that between handover and now, all the storm water that has been discharged into the earth at the front of our property, has not caused any underlying problems and has not affected the long term integrity of the house, slab or foundations in any way. If any future problems arise, we will rely on this document as a record of events that have occurred.

Finally, a note about testimonials. We were recently made aware of the fact that CG have testimonials on their website. One of these testimonials is a direct extract from this blog. For the record, we did not authorise this nor approve this. We were not asked by CG if they could use an extract from our blog. It’s very misleading and we’ll discuss this directly with CG. The point. Take testimonials with a grain of salt. 

The only truly balanced view you will get is through consumer forums. The more we (clients and consumers) discuss and talk about companies like CG, the more we share our experiences (good and bad), the better informed we all become. When building a home, it is certainly much better to be informed than to rely on the builder to always tell the truth and to always act in your best interest.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with Carter Grange, it is very much appreciated by all users of consumer forums and people going through the building process. Good luck with your storm water issues and once again thanks for documenting this issue so future home builders can keep an eye on it.

    1. Thanks for the note. This feedback is appreciated. We think it's good to share our experiences, good and bad. As consumers, it helps us to be more informed.

  2. Sorry to hear about all your troubles. Hope it will be resolved to your satisfaction.

    On the other subject about the landscaping. Was it finished? Could you please give an indication how much that cost you for all post building construction (paving, driveways, landscaping)?

    Are you planning a front fence (or have you done it)?

    Thank you

    1. Landscaping is almost complete. We've been held up due to the storm water issues discussed in this post, but thankfully, these issues have now been resolved. The landscaping total was roughly $60-70K. Not planning a front fence just yet but have left the design open to accommodate a fence in the future.

  3. Your blog has been really helpful and I have followed your posts as we built our custom house in Boronia with them. Final settlement is done and now we are have found few defects such as scratched glass doors and splash back. So far journey with them has been good but not sure how would they respond in the maintenance period especially replacing glasses with scratches. I would like to thank you for your time and especially sharing your experience with others. It really helps !!

  4. Congratulations Harish on reaching final settlement. Make sure you note all defects (large and small) during your 3 month period. CG were excellent when it came to replacing scratched glass with our home. We're glad this blog has helped so many people with a point of reference. It's also nice to receive your feedback.