So our next step was to send an email to the BigM finance team requesting that the invoice due date be extended or placed on hold temporarily until we were able to inspect the works done. To summarise how the response from the BigM finance officer read, "No (tough luck), we aren't obligated to let you inspect the site before a progress payment is due, please ensure the invoice is paid by the due date. What frustrated us was not the NO, it was the fact that the finance officer had not even bothered to see if there was a problem or try and do the good customer service thing and ASSIST THE CUSTOMER WITH THEIR CONCERNS, all she did was just throw a bunch of contract terms and legal sentences at us! Zero consideration shown by them. It's all about the dollars in their wallets!
We pursued the request further as our site manager had been away on personal leave for over a week and we did not receive our weekly updates to advise on where the stage was at. we highlighted the fact of outstanding works from previous stages, to which we were told well you signed the contract with progress payment method 2 so we can invoice whenever we want. For those that are just starting the journey of their house build, method 2 favours the builders completely, it basically allows for the builder to invoice you for % of works completed during a stage (all stages except base and final stage). NEVER GO WITH METHOD 2!! Method 2 does nothing to protect the consumer and does not follow the Domestic Building Contracts Act.
Method 1 is the better option as it means builders can only request for progress payment once a stage is COMPLETE. According to the Domestic Building Contracts Act section 40, it is illegal for the builder to charge for incomplete works!
The BigM head office team clearly don't show any consideration to their customers. Although they still owe us the installation of the correct doors, emails from engineering confirming certain works are structurally okay, variation for a big mistake THEIR CONTRACTORS did (which we let slide) and regular updates regarding the status, THEY still won't show any flexibility or understanding of the situation.
Just a heads up BigM, this will not happen for the final invoice. You will deliver a completed (to the agreed specs in our contract) house to us otherwise you will have a fight on your hands. The contract states we should resolve any issues with you before we go to the tribunal to have them resolve the issues. So this is us following the contract guidelines.
On a less frustrated note, the house is progressing well (thanks to our site manager, no thanks to the BigM head office team). Hopefully things continue to progress well and we have no outstanding items or issues at or post handover.