Good news for Gisborne families in A1homes aftermath

'Any news better than nothing'

'Any news better than nothing'

Gisborne families caught up in the collapse of A1homes had to read in the national news that a “lifeline” and a “ray of hope” was being offered to them.

Three families spoken to this morning had not heard anything from the company itself.

Stuff and the New Zealand Herald both reported A1homes NZ, and the Registered Master Builders Association, would make an offer to affected home owners to give them the opportunity of having their houses completed on the original contract terms.

Gisborne man Arish Naresh, who has paid $24,000 for plans and an initial deposit for his first home with A1, had not heard from them.

Neither had another family who handed over $100,000 for their kitset home — they were “pretty disappointed” to read about it in the news.

“The longer everything drags on, the more anxious you get.”

Annoyed about not hearing from company directly

A1 customer Jacob Geuze said it was good to hear they were putting together a package but he was annoyed he had to read about it in the news, instead of getting a call directly or a reply to his e-mails.

“But hey, any news is better than nothing.”

Mr Geuze, his wife and three children have an A1 home that is 95 percent complete but unlivable after Fargher Construction Limited went into liquidation in February.

The family were due to move into their home but three days before the move the company went bust and all work stopped. FCL had the licence to build A1homes in Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Taupo.

Company owe more than $1m

They owe more than $1 million to customers, subcontractors and businesses. Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) were appointed liquidators on February 23.

Mr Geuze said he was finally contacted at 10am today by A1.

The email said their lawyers were sending them a letter to outline the “lengthy legal process”.

“But it did say they are committed to finishing our house.”

Mr Geuze said it had been a very frustrating and stressful four weeks since the tradesmen left the site of their new home.

“We have had one phone call from PwC when they took the job to let us know, and one email last Friday saying an A1 representative would be in touch soon. We are still waiting for that call.”

Mr Geuze said Masterbuild had emailed a couple times but so far no real progress had been made with them.

“Nothing has been touched on site. The only positive thing has been the support and offers of help from friends and the community, and the support of Brendan Fry the builder who, even though he has been left out of pocket by this, just wants to help us.”

FCL had the licence to build A1homes from head licensor Ross Thomas.

Rob and Sue Fargher are the shareholders and directors of FCL and their contact details for the Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Taupo A1homes have been removed from the national A1homes website.

Mr Naresh said he got an email from Pricewaterhouse Coopers on Friday, which said the liquidators were not in a position to carry out the planned building work.

“We disclaim any contract you may have with the company as an onerous contract.

“However, we have been working with the A1homes head office who have agreed to assist customers in the completion of their homes.”

The email said should Mr Naresh wish to proceed with this, an A1homes representative would be in contact to discuss options for completion.

The costs involved in doing this though “may” vary from the original quoted/contract value.

“We note you may have an unsecured claim in the liquidation for financial losses incurred in relation to any contract with the company, and we will write to you separately in this regard."

Gisborne families caught up in the collapse of A1homes had to read in the national news that a “lifeline” and a “ray of hope” was being offered to them.

Three families spoken to this morning had not heard anything from the company itself.

Stuff and the New Zealand Herald both reported A1homes NZ, and the Registered Master Builders Association, would make an offer to affected home owners to give them the opportunity of having their houses completed on the original contract terms.

Gisborne man Arish Naresh, who has paid $24,000 for plans and an initial deposit for his first home with A1, had not heard from them.

Neither had another family who handed over $100,000 for their kitset home — they were “pretty disappointed” to read about it in the news.

“The longer everything drags on, the more anxious you get.”

Annoyed about not hearing from company directly

A1 customer Jacob Geuze said it was good to hear they were putting together a package but he was annoyed he had to read about it in the news, instead of getting a call directly or a reply to his e-mails.

“But hey, any news is better than nothing.”

Mr Geuze, his wife and three children have an A1 home that is 95 percent complete but unlivable after Fargher Construction Limited went into liquidation in February.

The family were due to move into their home but three days before the move the company went bust and all work stopped. FCL had the licence to build A1homes in Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Taupo.

Company owe more than $1m

They owe more than $1 million to customers, subcontractors and businesses. Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) were appointed liquidators on February 23.

Mr Geuze said he was finally contacted at 10am today by A1.

The email said their lawyers were sending them a letter to outline the “lengthy legal process”.

“But it did say they are committed to finishing our house.”

Mr Geuze said it had been a very frustrating and stressful four weeks since the tradesmen left the site of their new home.

“We have had one phone call from PwC when they took the job to let us know, and one email last Friday saying an A1 representative would be in touch soon. We are still waiting for that call.”

Mr Geuze said Masterbuild had emailed a couple times but so far no real progress had been made with them.

“Nothing has been touched on site. The only positive thing has been the support and offers of help from friends and the community, and the support of Brendan Fry the builder who, even though he has been left out of pocket by this, just wants to help us.”

FCL had the licence to build A1homes from head licensor Ross Thomas.

Rob and Sue Fargher are the shareholders and directors of FCL and their contact details for the Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Taupo A1homes have been removed from the national A1homes website.

Mr Naresh said he got an email from Pricewaterhouse Coopers on Friday, which said the liquidators were not in a position to carry out the planned building work.

“We disclaim any contract you may have with the company as an onerous contract.

“However, we have been working with the A1homes head office who have agreed to assist customers in the completion of their homes.”

The email said should Mr Naresh wish to proceed with this, an A1homes representative would be in contact to discuss options for completion.

The costs involved in doing this though “may” vary from the original quoted/contract value.

“We note you may have an unsecured claim in the liquidation for financial losses incurred in relation to any contract with the company, and we will write to you separately in this regard."

Blame ‘should lie at licensor’s feet’

A former licensee of A1homes said he was muscled out of the company by head licensor Ross Thomas.

But besides the obvious underlying beef between the two, the former licensee said all blame for the FCL collapse had to lie at Mr Thomas’s feet.

The former licensee said A1homes had a “no surprises guarantee”.

“Essentially, it is an insurance policy that is run privately by Mr Thomas.

“He used to insure with mainstream insurance companies but changed to his own one. So all the A1homes customers hold an insurance policy with Mr Thomas.”

As head licensor, Mr Thomas also received royalty payments every time a house contract was sold — about $4000 to $5000, he said.

The former licensee said as far as he was concerned, Mr Thomas should be considered as an unsecured creditor in the fallout of A1homes Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Taupo because of the cash royalties he gets from the licensees underneath him.

All licensees are required to set up accounts with the same suppliers. Mr Thomas has accounts with them too and receives large rebates for the number of orders that go through, he said.

Mr Thomas could not be reached for comment by The Gisborne Herald.

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