25 October 2010

Paint Job Review

Last week, Maricel asked me if Avida was going to finish painting the window casings outside. She explained that it looks as if they had just done one coat of paint.

I mentioned this to Des from the head office and Engrs. Frolan and Mark when they went to the house last Thursday to check on the problematic bathroom sinks (which you can read about here). Frolan immediately said that it was already finished and asked me, "the house was turned over to you, right?" in Filipino. I felt a tinge of sarcasm in his tone. I maybe sensitive when it comes to the house but I think I know when someone is being sarcastic. Let's just say, I use sarcasm quite often...

I pointed out the areas Maricel described, he started inspecting it in places I never thought of, and declared that Maricel was right! Further checks outside revealed that the paint in other areas were either peeling or bubbly. To think that it has only been four months since the house was turned over to us...

Engr. Mark commented that the reason for the peeling and the bubbles was that the paint had not been mixed well. I said, "Wasn't it Avida that did the painting?" And he gave me a sheepish smile and said that this was under Rommel's jurisdiction.

As to the sinks, Engr. Frolan advised that they will fix the ground floor bathroom sink but that Avida is "just accommodating" us. He further explained that since we signed a waiver due to the non-installation of the bathroom tiles, the sink was technically for our account.

First of all Frolan, we never signed a waiver and we have it in writing that we only asked Avida not install the bathroom tiles. It was a surprise to us that they didn't install the sinks and the toilets.

Second, Ellen advised that we should have told Avida that the sink and toilet installation was for a later date. Uh, we've already paid the plumber. Shouldn't we have been informed of this from the beginning?

Third, we got the standard unit which includes bathroom and sink installation. This means it's already paid for.

To Frolan and Rommel, I am sure we will all get along sometime in the future. But at the moment I just don't see that happening especially if you talk to us like we owe Avida a favor.

Try looking at things from our perspective because from all accounts, it's Avida that owes us big time.

In the meantime, please fix the house. Because if there was nothing wrong with the place, then I would not need to call you. Now wouldn't the thought of NOT seeing me be incentive enough to do things correctly this time?

21 October 2010

Manila F. A. M. E. International

Finally! After years of thinking about it, I can now say that I've been to the Manila Furnishings and Apparel Market Exchange International (Manila F. A. M. E.) trade fair.

There were so many beautiful things and since today was Shopper's Day, I was actually tempted to buy something not related to the house - a necklace! There were tons of fashion accessories - think row upon row of jewelry. But I was there for the house, so that will have to wait.

It was a pity though I could not take pictures as everything was so pretty - plates, furniture, home decor. But what was really sad was that most of the items are only sold abroad. Majority of the suppliers do not sell locally so you would a plane ticket just to be able to sample the merchandise. I find this a bit disconcerting - why can't the locals enjoy the products made by their fellow Filipinos?

Needless to say, I came home empty handed. But all is not lost, once the house is done I plan to go back to buy small trinkets for both myself and the house.

20 October 2010

As Per Plan

The drain hole for the sink in the upstairs bathroom is askew. This means that the sink is not centered and thus it's at the side of the wall. I asked Engr. Rommel if he would do the same arrangement in his house and he replied in Filipino that it did seem wrong. His actual words were "parang mali, noh?" But he said Avida can't fix it as it's "as per plan."

The bathroom sink downstairs is also positioned similarly. Avida installed the drain hole in such a way that the sink is now BLOCKING THE BATHROOM DOOR. Was that "as per plan" too? Just a thought.

Note that we did not mess with the drain holes. Ellen from Avida head office, told me earlier today that this situation is due to our contractors. I had to point out that we "borrowed" one of the plumbers from the neighboring house that is currently being built so technically he's not our contractor, he's THEIR contractor. And he only placed the sink over the drain hole made by Avida.

We found out about the sink blocking the door last Saturday because as mentioned in the previous post, the house was turned over without the sinks and toilets installed.

All this resulted in my temper going over normal levels (yet again) with Engr. Rommel in attendance. I asked him why we had to spend a lot on cement just so that we could install tiles properly? A few days prior, he said he would fix the situation. I asked him why he only offered to fix it now when we alerted him to the problem during the house inspection (which you can read about here)? Why only now when we've already done the repairs ourselves?

I told him that I was not mad at him personally but he's the representative of Avida. (I didn't bother to add that since he's from the Construction Group, he was responsible for overseeing how the house was built.)

My voice broke when I talked to him as I really felt like crying. I pointed out to him that we have spent so much just fixing everything from the floor to the electrical system only to have water go down the switches. He said it was fine and that nothing was damaged. I countered that, sorry but I do not trust Avida.

I have come to the conclusion that the ones who say "everything will be fine" obviously are not paying for the house.

Last Monday afternoon and early Tuesday morning, I tried calling Engr. Rommel to get an update. After 15 tries, he had yet to answer his phone. This was unusual as he used to answer right away or he would call or text back to inquire what I needed. Now, zilch.

I called Ellen to ask him to call me as I was getting extremely upset with the situation. He didn't call so I sent him a text message asking why he was suddenly incommunicado. He replied back that there's something wrong with his phone and that while he can be heard, he can't hear whoever is on the other side of the line.

That happened to me just last week and the person I called still picked up the phone to tell me he can't hear me and to text him instead. Why didn't he do that? He had no answer.

Might I be reading the situation incorrectly? Maybe. But at the moment I feel that he's mad at me for getting mad at him and thus avoiding me. Well, I certainly hope I'm mistaken as this is not exactly professional behavior.

15 October 2010

It's Raining - INSIDE...


They are now starting to install the sinks and toilets, so a couple of days ago, the plumber tried to test everything by turning on the water supply upstairs. Let's just say that water started coming out of the ceiling and the light switches on the wall. According to the workers who witnessed the event, this resulted in large puddles on the ground floor.

Uh, how did this happen? Well, when the house was turned over to us, they did not install the lavoratories as we asked them not to install the tiles. And while Engr. Rommel told me yesterday that they tested the water pressure of the house, I highly doubt it. Otherwise they would have known about the huge pipe leak located in the bowels of the ceiling.

Apparently, when Avida was installing the metal frames in the house, they drilled a hole through the water pipes... Take note that we've just spent a small fortune (in our opinion) fixing the electrical system not to mention that the ceiling, cornices and walls have already been painted.

I'm now worried about the state of the gypsum board ceiling and the lights. Moisture + darkness = MOLD. And what about the recessed light fixtures that are all made of metal? I have visions of rust dancing in my head.

After a "strongly worded" conversation with Engr. Rommel earlier today, he had John, the contractor, come over to take another look. He also advised that if anything gets damaged then the contractor will pay for it.

Turns out John had been in charge of the house from the beginning. I then took that as a great opportunity to rant about how much cement has been consumed just to fix the very uneven walls and floors! (Sorry, I couldn't help myself considering we paid for the repairs.)

Maricel told me that this happened because Avida sub-contracts the work to others. But I told her that ultimately Avida carries the responsibility of checking the quality of work done. Because in the end, had the house been the picture of perfection, they're going to say that it's Avida who made the house and not JJM (the name of the sub-contracting company).

Is there a solution in the offing? Yes, tomorrow John will be back to check for damages and will replace the areas affected by the water leak at least to start with. I feel bad though because they will probably ruin the work already done by Rabacon.

But if I were to look on the bright side, at least we found this out prior to living in the house and that they will actually fix this mess. Well, they should!

11 October 2010

Renovation Update 4

I'm so very tired, my limbs are aching all over and I've got the sniffles. In short, due to this house, I am just plain old exhausted. In a way, I'm glad we don't have children yet otherwise I don't know where I'm going to get enough energy!

The house has been like a giant jigsaw puzzle with all these bits and pieces coming together. And while I've envisioned in my head how it will all come out, we will have to see if things will more or less go as planned. I'm not striving for perfection as I doubt if that will be possible but with regards to the painting, I think Paul the painter has come close to matching the colors shown in Color Schemes.

Alecto has finished 98% of their work and their only pending item is to install four lamps. This is my fault though as I can't seem to find lights I like. The bathroom wall mounted light, for example, was basically bought out of desperation from Aristocrat as it was Alecto's final day (last Friday) before they go on hiatus. They will be back once I've found the rest of the lights which I'm hoping to buy during Shopper's Day at the upcoming Manila F.A.M.E. this October 21.

Thus far, I am loving how the room colors have come out and are blending with the other colors. One of the things I learned in the decorating books I've read is that when you open a door, the color outside (i.e. hallway) should not clash with the color inside. It helps that the underlying color for the three rooms upstairs is blue. Which, you may now have guessed, is my favorite color.

It was a bit difficult for the painter to get the exact shades I wanted even if I showed him a picture. As mentioned in Hindsight, paint in liquid form might match the color in a book but once applied to cement or wood, it can come out quite differently!

The problem was solved by going to Wilcon, buying ready-mixed paint from Davies and applying it to the walls for the painter to copy. And at just Php 180 per liter (compared to Ace at Php 500), it not only saves time by eliminating a lot of guesswork but you end up getting exactly what you want.

Next up are the kitchen cabinets. I am already finalizing the design with Cusm Furniture Shop and I'm hoping the main portion will be completed within the next three weeks.

07 October 2010

Lights - Set B

Eglo Gino - Php 899.77 each - wall sconces that will frame the mirror in the upstairs bathroom. Original price was Php 999.75 each.

Eglo Beluga - Php 4,499.77 - overhead dining table lamp. Original price was Php 4,999.75.

Akari Outdoor Light - Php 499.75 - outside wall light beside the back door.

Firefly Ceiling Light - Php 649.95 - upstairs bathroom overhead light.

Keystone Lotus Lamp - Php 10,800 - since the stairwell light is visible from the outside, I wanted something that I felt would not only look good but would also provide a lot of light. Here's hoping it works out as planned. Original price was Php 12,000.

Aristocrat WL FKA W-99 - Php 1,750 - ground floor bathroom wall light. Original price was Php 1,995.

02 October 2010

Security Issues

Maxi, my neighbor, originally wrote this as a comment in the previous post. But I've decided to transfer it here as this subject is a major concern to us. Here's the gist of what he posted last September 29 (some parts were translated to English):

Hi Nicole,

Intruders went to our house last night 9:15 PM to be exact at the laundry area! My brother saw them and started shouting at them. The intruders climbed the perimeter wall and escaped. Avida security guards were roving at that time but the thieves were just really good at evading them.

We are still blessed, no one in my family was hurt and I'm hoping nothing was stolen because we still haven't checked our items. We're all spooked at the house right now.

Avida posted a guard in front of our house last night. My entire family is having hard time sleeping and we keep on discussing what happened. Our neighbors also visited us and checked what happened. They are also scared.

1. The intruders came from the vacant grassy area next to Avida.
2. The intruders climbed the perimeter walls. The wall is around 5'5" tall from the other side of the wall and around 7' tall from house.
3. The intruders were able to quickly escape because contractors placed their debris on the wall area. Instant access for intruders!
4. There's no barbed wire or electric fence on the perimeter walls.

I reported this to Mr. Carandang and and some Avida executives and asked for their action since we are all scared to death. We agreed on action items that he can handle at his level:

1. Deployment of additional guards and light post at our area.
2. Removal of debris on the perimeter wall. Cutting of the Ipil-Ipil tree on the vacant grassy area.
3. Deployment of the bluesacks on the construction lot areas near our house.

I'm not really happy with these action items and I immediately went to the Avida office in Makati.

I learned from them that the electric fence is still under bidding and they started the biding since April 2010. I said it's almost Christmas, when will it be installed? They have no idea but they will share their timeline with me. I asked for an interim solution like barbed wires but they cannot install it today due to purchasing issues. To my dismay, I told them that I will purchase all the required materials to have it installed and reimbursed it to Avida after the completion. They will discuss it on their Mancom meeting today and will inform me of their decision.

I have no choice but to wait and if there will be no action, I will definitely file a formal complaint against them.

I would suggest that you also add barbed wires and grills to your budget. I'll have my grills installed over the weekend.

When I was still living in Cainta, we were only afraid of floods during typhoon season. We now fear everyday that our life is always in danger starting today. If I could only return the house over the counter, I would have done it this morning.


Avida's tag line is "Sure and Secure" so this is a rather disappointing turn of events.

There have been a lot of problems associated with this house, which I have written about extensively in this blog, but through it all Earl would cheer me up by reminding me that we didn't just buy a house. We also bought into the promise Avida made about a good community with a constant supply of water, regular garbage collection and security. They seem to have failed at one, now I'm wondering whether we should cling to hope about the others.

You maybe thinking that it's a new village just getting its bearings and they deserve a chance to redeem themselves. Well, my husband's father died when robbers entered their home and shot both him and Earl.

Sometimes it just takes one incident for things to end rather grimly.

The installation of the window grills had already been scheduled prior to this incident but I now think that the construction of the fence and gate should be pushed to the top of our to-do list.

One thing is for sure, we are not telling my mother-in-law about this as she will worry to no end.
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