‘Over the whole thing’

Clients of A1 Homes reveal the ongoing frustrations.

Clients of A1 Homes reveal the ongoing frustrations.

Work stopped on this Kaiti section due to subcontractors not being paid. File picture

More than four months on from the company that operated A1 Homes in Gisborne collapsing, it is still a murky mess for some clients struggling to get their homes completed.

Fargher Construction Limited (FCL) owned the licence for A1 Homes in Gisborne. They went into liquidation on February 23.

About two weeks before that, work halted on all A1 building sites around Gisborne because tradesmen had not been paid for weeks.

It affected about 40 clients in Gisborne who were left with incomplete homes, deposits paid but no work started, or plans only and an empty section.

Gisborne man Luke Marks accepted an offer from A1’s lawyers three months ago to have Tauranga company Newline Construction finish his build at no extra cost.

But then he heard nothing.

“Absolute zero, no phone call, no anything.

“I waited, waited and waited. I accepted their offer by April 10 and got no response, no replies.

“That went on for a couple of months, so I thought screw this, I just want to get on with it.

“So I hired my own builders, all the same people as before, but nothing to do with A1.

“It is costing me way more than it would have because of the money I have lost.”

Mr Marks estimated his home was about five weeks from completion, and he was $30,000 down.

“I’m itching to get in there. I am pretty much over the whole thing.

Mr Marks had cautionary advice for anyone building a home with a fixed price and progress payments.

“Make sure you scrutinise those progress payments and see what you are paying for, because that’s what I lost money on. I paid a lot in the beginning with the amounts tapering off.”

This meant when FCL went under, Mr Marks had paid for work never done.

Master Builders (MB) CEO David Kelly said FCL shareholder Rob Fargher was expelled from MB early this year as soon as they became aware of the situation.

“He is not working as a Master Builder or for one of our members.

Mr Kelly said this scenario further demonstrated the need to use only a MB when completing a build or renovation project.

Mr Kelly said all lodged MB guarantees had been honoured.

“I would also add the A1 head office has been very good to deal with in what was a very difficult and stressful situation for the customers of Fargher Construction.

“While issues of this nature are thankfully uncommon, A1 have been very supportive of customers and their builds, and we know that in most, if not all cases, have ensured their customers have received their new homes with no increase in cost.”

But this differs to the experience of some clients who spoke to The Herald out of sheer frustration.

Gisborne woman Ange Rice said she and her husband paid FCL $6000 for plans and an $18,000 deposit for their A1 home.

They signed the MB document, as did FCL, but it was never lodged.

Mrs Rice said they were not going to do anything about it but it had become such a nuisance, she wanted to speak up.

They are $24,000 down and have no MB guarantee. Instead, they have employed their own builders to complete their home.

Mr Kelly said they had been in contact with Mrs Rice, and she had provided MB with new and additional documents in order to allow them to review her case and any potential claim.

'Tradies stepped up' to complete the build

The Gisborne family who had a newborn baby and were only days away from moving in when all work halted on their property, are finally living in their new home.

Jacob Geuze and his family say they are all doing well, with their young son now five months old.

“Stress levels have dropped back and we are getting ourselves back on track.

“In the end, we had to have the house assessed by an independent builder to sort things with the liquidators. Once we were freed from the A1 mess, we were allowed to complete the house on our own terms.

“All the original tradesmen put their issues with A1 homes aside and stepped up to finish our house for us, which we greatly appreciated.

“Financially and mentally, the whole situation took its toll on us as a family but we got through it with the help of family, friends and the tradies.”

Mr Geuze said their MB they paid for became void because of how the situation played out.

“Nowadays we are just concentrating on the future with our young family and trying to forget the A1 mess ever happened.”

CooneyLeesMorgan are the lawyers for A1 Homes.

Partner Matt Tustin said their client’s focus remained on working with the affected clients and getting their homes completed.

But he would not comment further.

“Our client was disappointed with your previous reporting and felt that you misrepresented matters.

“On that basis, I have no instructions to respond to you further.”

The letter from the lawyers to affected clients of Gisborne’s A1 Homes had a deadline of April 10. It is not known how many clients took up the offer for Newline Construction Limited to come to Gisborne and finish their builds.

More than four months on from the company that operated A1 Homes in Gisborne collapsing, it is still a murky mess for some clients struggling to get their homes completed.

Fargher Construction Limited (FCL) owned the licence for A1 Homes in Gisborne. They went into liquidation on February 23.

About two weeks before that, work halted on all A1 building sites around Gisborne because tradesmen had not been paid for weeks.

It affected about 40 clients in Gisborne who were left with incomplete homes, deposits paid but no work started, or plans only and an empty section.

Gisborne man Luke Marks accepted an offer from A1’s lawyers three months ago to have Tauranga company Newline Construction finish his build at no extra cost.

But then he heard nothing.

“Absolute zero, no phone call, no anything.

“I waited, waited and waited. I accepted their offer by April 10 and got no response, no replies.

“That went on for a couple of months, so I thought screw this, I just want to get on with it.

“So I hired my own builders, all the same people as before, but nothing to do with A1.

“It is costing me way more than it would have because of the money I have lost.”

Mr Marks estimated his home was about five weeks from completion, and he was $30,000 down.

“I’m itching to get in there. I am pretty much over the whole thing.

Mr Marks had cautionary advice for anyone building a home with a fixed price and progress payments.

“Make sure you scrutinise those progress payments and see what you are paying for, because that’s what I lost money on. I paid a lot in the beginning with the amounts tapering off.”

This meant when FCL went under, Mr Marks had paid for work never done.

Master Builders (MB) CEO David Kelly said FCL shareholder Rob Fargher was expelled from MB early this year as soon as they became aware of the situation.

“He is not working as a Master Builder or for one of our members.

Mr Kelly said this scenario further demonstrated the need to use only a MB when completing a build or renovation project.

Mr Kelly said all lodged MB guarantees had been honoured.

“I would also add the A1 head office has been very good to deal with in what was a very difficult and stressful situation for the customers of Fargher Construction.

“While issues of this nature are thankfully uncommon, A1 have been very supportive of customers and their builds, and we know that in most, if not all cases, have ensured their customers have received their new homes with no increase in cost.”

But this differs to the experience of some clients who spoke to The Herald out of sheer frustration.

Gisborne woman Ange Rice said she and her husband paid FCL $6000 for plans and an $18,000 deposit for their A1 home.

They signed the MB document, as did FCL, but it was never lodged.

Mrs Rice said they were not going to do anything about it but it had become such a nuisance, she wanted to speak up.

They are $24,000 down and have no MB guarantee. Instead, they have employed their own builders to complete their home.

Mr Kelly said they had been in contact with Mrs Rice, and she had provided MB with new and additional documents in order to allow them to review her case and any potential claim.

'Tradies stepped up' to complete the build

The Gisborne family who had a newborn baby and were only days away from moving in when all work halted on their property, are finally living in their new home.

Jacob Geuze and his family say they are all doing well, with their young son now five months old.

“Stress levels have dropped back and we are getting ourselves back on track.

“In the end, we had to have the house assessed by an independent builder to sort things with the liquidators. Once we were freed from the A1 mess, we were allowed to complete the house on our own terms.

“All the original tradesmen put their issues with A1 homes aside and stepped up to finish our house for us, which we greatly appreciated.

“Financially and mentally, the whole situation took its toll on us as a family but we got through it with the help of family, friends and the tradies.”

Mr Geuze said their MB they paid for became void because of how the situation played out.

“Nowadays we are just concentrating on the future with our young family and trying to forget the A1 mess ever happened.”

CooneyLeesMorgan are the lawyers for A1 Homes.

Partner Matt Tustin said their client’s focus remained on working with the affected clients and getting their homes completed.

But he would not comment further.

“Our client was disappointed with your previous reporting and felt that you misrepresented matters.

“On that basis, I have no instructions to respond to you further.”

The letter from the lawyers to affected clients of Gisborne’s A1 Homes had a deadline of April 10. It is not known how many clients took up the offer for Newline Construction Limited to come to Gisborne and finish their builds.

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