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Hoping to build a dream home for his family, Nepalese man Bishnu Aryal spent years saving for a deposit. In 2016, he bought some land in Edmonson Park, New South Wales and found a building company called Zac Homes. Trusting the process, Bishnu stepped back to let the builders do their job. Three years later, Bishnu’s $700,000 investment left him with only half a home. We break down all the problems with building, we talk about how and why Bishnu ended up with a half house.

What Happened to Bishnu’s Build?

Bishnu and Zac Homes agreed to an off-the-plan custom build for $322, 400. Everything started off on the right track and Bishnu’s family expected a beautiful freestanding home to be created. So, what went wrong?

The Council

Zac Homes were forced to change Bishnu’s design in response to changing regulations. The local Liverpool Council stated that Bishnu’s home could not be freestanding or detached. Referring to the council’s development plan for the Edmonson Park area, they anticipated a need for “a greater mix of housing types” and “higher residential densities”.

In order to go ahead with construction, Bishnu’s house had to be an attached dwelling. Unfortunately, because the neighbouring plot has yet to begin construction, not only is his dream home significantly smaller than imagined, Bishnu is left with an ugly half house that looks unfinished.

The Builder

Zac Homes claims to have notified Bishnu about the alteration, stating that they provided a copy of the altered plans on April 2, 2019. These plans were for half a duplex or the now infamous “half house”.

“I forward the plan to the bank. I didn’t look,” Mr Aryal said.

From A Current Affair

Bishnu unfortunately did not know or realise that the changes had been made and forwarded the plans to the bank. Neither he nor his wife rescinded the Land Contract, and so it went ahead.

The Long Wait

Originally promising the home’s completion in a year, Zac Homes took three years to complete construction. The delay prompted Bishnu to intervene and check on the progress of the build. This was the first time that Bishnu knew he had agreed to build a half house.

While miscommunication is not uncommon in the building industry, Bishnu’s experience is unfortunately not unique. At least two other half-houses have been constructed in the same area, presumably by the same builder.

One of the half houses has a freestanding house next to it. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Damian Shaw
NCA NewsWire/Damian Shaw
Another half house nearby. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Damian Shaw
NCA NewsWire/Damian Shaw

What Could Have Saved Bishnu?

Accidents don’t just happen. Even if Zac Homes did the right thing and let Bishnu know about the change of plans, there were still no checks and balances along the way. Nobody stepped in to prevent this building disaster; instead, it appears as though everyone involved in the planning and construction simply said, “not my problem.”

It is possible that Bishnu did not fully understand the changes or anticipate changes in council zoning laws. English is not his first language and he has never built a home in Australia before. Not knowing the importance of doing so, Bishnu failed to stay up-to-date with the construction process.

Here’s how we would’ve done things differently.

Consultation

To be in the best possible position when planning his dream home, Bishnu should have sought expert help — even before buying his block of land! By partnering up with a building expert, you can be sure that your goals and building needs remain the priority.

Looking for a building broker? Contact Buildi for a free consultation.

The experts at Buildi will sit with you to understand what you are trying to accomplish. We also assess builders on specific criteria so that we can advise you on those most suited to your project and ultimately keep them accountable.

These are our focus areas:

  • Compliance
  • Build quality
  • Efficiency
  • Communication
  • Price
  • Risk of insolvency

In Bishnu’s case, a building broker would have known about Zac Homes’ previous projects (including other half houses) and looked into any reputation for delaying projects unnecessarily.

Due Diligence

A building broker performs due diligence to sniff out hidden problems and check the council’s conditions for your land. As we know, changes in zoning laws influence what you can build, and potentially put a stop to your plans. By partnering with a building broker, Bishnu would have been notified when the conditions of his land and building permissions had changed.

Communication

Bishnu says that he “trusted the process” and did not check in on the construction of his home. He did not see the half house until it was too late. Frequent communication with the site manager or coordinator might have prevented Bishnu’s project from developing too far, even if he was not able to see the construction in person.

Buildi brokers can perform on-site inspections on your behalf to ensure the build is progressing in the right direction. We’ll also check to see if you have access to a specific contact person for frequent and informative updates.

The Take Away

What can we learn from Bishnu’s story? If someone offers you a freestanding highset house for $300,000 then it is likely too good to be true.

Not every builder is going to work in your best interests. As an impartial and independent party, a broker can intervene on your behalf and ensure your build is protected at every step. It’s important for you to educate yourself so that you’re not caught out and — if you need help — then you should reach out to a broker like Buildi.