Friday, May 18, 2012

M & A Landscapes job done and outcome

We demolished our old house aka "the hovel" late in 2008. In September 2009 we took possession of our newly constructed house and set about having the driveway and other works completed, some of which were required under our DA or in order to get an occupation certificate.  For this work we engaged M and A Landscapes of Campbelltown Road Denham Court. License number 697C.  I guess this is the place to start the record of actually completing the landscaping of our new house, so here are some photographs of the work that was done by M and A Landscapes.

This ramp has a gradient of 1 in 2

Our termite barrier was breached. Downpipes were not separated from the concrete

Steps do not comply with the building code

Finish of the driveway is inconsistent and unsightly
Can you see that the bottom step is not level. The smooth edge is also very wide.
After two very stressful years of legal dispute, in January 2012 the CTTT awarded us damages of $36908.30. This money is to have the many defects in the work rectified. The court also ordered that M and A Landscapes were required to pay costs for the latter part of the legal proceedings. Fortunately, we did not pay for a large proportion of the work and so the money that was due under the contract was held in trust during the legal dispute and returned to us when we won the judgement described above. As at 18th May 2012 M and A Landscapes still owes us over $12,000 of the damages award.  As they have not paid the money ordered by the court, their license has been suspended and the money owing to us will be paid by the insurance company along with the costs of obtaining the judgement against M and A Landscapes. It is not clear how much of our legal and expert's fees will be paid at this stage.
To date, we have outlayed something in the order of $40,000 in fees to our solicitor and our building consultant. It would appear likely that when all is said and done we will be out of pocket by a considerable sum. Perhaps as much as $26,000. Best case scenario the insurance might pay all of our legal and consultant's fees. We won't know for sure until the claim from the insurance is finalised. 
Worst case scenario we are likely to be about $10,000 better off than if we had not taken the legal action, and of course, other people will be able to see that M and A Landscapes have had a judgement against them when they do a search of their license on the NSW Fair Trading website.

So. Now that the legal dispute is over we are still left with defective and dangerous landscaping which we need to have rectified. However, the upside is that when we go outside we can look at our yard with cheerful anticipation rather than just stress and depression. Now we can finally make our garden beautiful again... and put up a clothesline!