The owner Michael, was meticulous with the details of not only the house design and specifications but also with the contract. He supplied us with a list of the fixtures, fittings and materials for us to quote on.
These items were then included in the contract right down to specific model numbers. Although the preliminary work took some time to finalise, once the contract was signed and construction began, everything went without a hitch because the owners had already considered every contingency. Construction was a dream run.
The owners block was a large 732 m2 corner block in a new development. It was reasonably level and had already been retained by the developer. It posed no challenges for construction.
These clients were particularly thorough. Not only did they already have a concept design for their house but they had built a model to scale of their new home, which they used to orientate the house on the block to maximise light and breezes and to eliminate heat from the western sun.
After hearing and reading all the horror stories about builders and after talking to a large number of builders (and rather clueless salesmen) we narrowed our search down to two builders. After checking their BSA records and talking to their references we had both of them do the soil test and prepare all the documentation including the contract. This was not the cheapest exercise but in this process we quickly found the differences: With Rex Manley and also his salesman Greg, we had two experienced professionals that could answer questions right there on the spot (no need to talk to some remote head office...) Also their attitude to some of our "crazy" ideas was very positive: We never heard "we don't do..." but there was always a proposal on how we could achieve what we wanted. Greg also put in a lot of work to get actual quotes for all the items - so once we came to the contract the whole lot was fixed price - no provisional sums whatsoever. Also no weird clauses that allow the builder to use any excuse as a valid extension of time (the second contract we got was by far not as straightforward !!).
The actual building was delayed by the certifier who took a bit longer than expected to sort the build over sewer application) but from then everything went very well and it was quite a pleasure to work with Rex. Since we lived only 100m away I saw what was going on daily - and he was very open to showing me around, introduce me to the main tradesmen and just allow me to be involved. (Also not something any builder will do) - So I saw a lot of things that went right the first time, and also things that had to be fixed - but all these items were sorted without any discussion, and I never heard "that will do" or anything like it. Rex was quite happy to let us in on a Saturday so we just could look around (and not be faced with a big surprise at handover...) Being a small builder he was also quite happy for us to provide the tiles and electrical fittings etc.
We had a number of small changes throughout the process, and kept track of them on a "plus / minus" list - no variation fees for every move, it was all washed up at the end of the build with a total value of $724 (this is no typo !)
All invoicing or commercial questions that came up in the process were addressed by Karen, usually by email the same day.
In the end we moved in only five days later than the estimated date that he gave us on a handwritten program at the beginning of the job - and still more than a month ahead of the contractual date.
Excellent communication directly with builder, no fuss attitude, very flexible and good quality of works. We had an independent quantity surveyor checking the works, and he stated that based on what he saw we were really lucky with our builder - The quantity surveyor even charged us 30% less than initially quoted, since he said he just did not have that much work on Manley Homes' site since there were next to no issues to be dealt with.
We are more than happy with what we got and told our neighbours - they are building with Manley Homes now.
So if you are doing something that is not stock standard and you are interested what is going on on site in Brisbane, we can only recommend him.
M Huber & T Fortt