The Build is Good, BUT …. The Rest Are “Too Good To Be True”
We did a lot of research, visited a number of builders’ display homes, and finally decided to go for steel frame and chose Format Homes. Having read so many “Excellent” reviews in this website, we embraced a high but reasonable expectation in our new home. Nevertheless, we were so disappointed with the services that Format Homes had given us.
Undeniably, the build itself was good, and the services/ workmanship from most of the traders were good, 4 to 5 star. But bear in mind their inclusions were really “standard” and basic and some even shaky, not “above standard” at all as some reviewers said (Well, we understand it’s subject to personal opinion). And the choices were very limited without incurring extra cost. However, their customer services and communication were terrible, we would give only ONE star. (It is daunting to repeat these nightmares here!)
– The actual building process took around 26 weeks. That’s on par with their promise. However the process starting from signing contract up to start of building was way beyond our expectations. The amount of time to push forward the project in that stage was beyond imagination - 6 months from finalising all selections to site work commenced.
– A few jobs were scheduled on the day of handover, which should have been done earlier: putting power point at our backyard, and numerous other touch up. Lesson learned: do NOT accept any last minute jobs to be scheduled on handover day. This simply gave them a chance to handover a house full of dirt.
– Floor tiles (we used porcelain tiles in living areas) were not cleaned up at all after laying. Workers who put power point in our backyard (on the handover day!) walked in and out through the living areas. We were not aware the tiles were not cleaned up and thought we could clean them after their work. When we tried to clean the tiles, we found it was impossible to remove the stains (it was due to epoxy oil marks) no matter what solutions we used (we bought a number of professional tiles cleaning solutions trying to remove the stains, waste of money!) because they were literally not cleaned up at all. After repeated and repeated emails, reminders, phone calls, waiting and waiting they finally sent a contractor to clean up the floor (and we had to move our moveable furniture around to let him clean). It took us more than 5 months of follow up to get this fixed. Extreme nightmare!!!
– We found buckled (steel) frames on attic at initial building stage and they were replaced only after our repeated chasings;
– Floor plan measurements were overlooked and need correction. Three major issues:
** Depth of wardrobe in WIR area was incorrectly installed. This required the wardrobe vendor (only after our insisting) to reinstall around 3 metres of wardrobe.
** Cavity sliding door separating living and bedroom area – the design was meant to have the door fully flushed inside the cavity to make the most of the width of doorway. To our surprise, it was not as agreed but protruding out of the cavity and effectively reducing the width of the doorway. Irreversible!!
** The windows attaching to kitchen bench top was not installed according to the designed height. The windows and adjacent bricks needed to be removed and installed again.
We were of the conclusion that nobody was really looking at the plan/specification in details. They could only build a “standard” house. For any variations, you’d better keep a very close eye on them.
– Kitchen mixer was changed to another style without informing us. When we asked they said it was because the one we selected was out of stock;
– We were informed on the handover date (June 2018) that the Certificates of Compliance (for electricity, SA Water and Council) would be mailed to us shortly. Again, after repeated follow up, nothing happened after 9 to 10 months, apart from promises.
– After handover, their contractor came to fix our shower head holder and accidentally broke the rubber ring in it. We demanded Format Homes to fix it. They agreed to fix but again no action after repeated follow up. We are so tired of chasing them. Exhausting!!
– Imagine you are calling the customer service rep and you were politely put on hold by the receptionist. You keep hearing about Format Homes’ advertising message about how good their customer services are! That was the reason we stopped calling. We don’t want the feeling of fatigue any more.
These are the bigger issues only. There were numerous other small things, but comparatively, we can accept them.
Having hiccups is normal. But how could they not respond in a reasonable manner. Their passive responses simply showed that they were NOT paying attention to the issues!
We probably will not build again. Format Homes has scared us. If ever we build again, we will rule out Format Homes.
2 stars at most :((
Flexible, accommodating and friendly - We couldn't be happier
We first learned of Format Homes during our search for our next family home. A beautiful house in Grange had been built by Format and we loved everything about it, with the exception of the price tag at auction which went well over out limit at the time. We continued searching for a house for another 12 months, but the idea of what could be achieved by building never left us and so we met with Frank to begin the planning for our new home. Frank was beyond patient in explaining what was possible and how we could achieve the same results with less cost. He really went above and beyond on the number of changes and suggestions and that time was so well spent getting it right up front.
Our block needed quite a lot of extra clean fill soil to bring it up to the correct level. Format were again extremely helpful, using their contacts to help us with the extra soil required. There were some delays with getting our planning approved, but once that hurdle was over, the build went very seamlessly. We had an excellent Site Supervisor who poured in a lot of effort to complete our house with as much care and effort as if it was his own. He was always responsive on phone calls, providing updates and estimations, and really turned up the dial close to completion to allow us to move in.
From a personal standpoint, I've been very happy with the build quality, and so has been a number of trades people who have come through the house since (and my father in law too). We've been living in the house through a winter and now a full summer. It's survived all the big winds and rains that we had, and it's amazingly cool downstairs in summer, which comes down to the great design and insulation choices we made. Our list of maintenance tasks at 4 months included very minor, superficial items, such as a sticker left on an upstairs window and a squeaky cabinet door which were both resolved very promptly.
I think we must have been a fairly difficult customer during the planning and contract negotiations as there were quite a few requests for more information or pricing. Format never showed any signs of frustrations and were always open to new ideas and requests. I'm glad we fixed it all at the beginning, as post contract sign there were was no other items that needed to be discussed or changed. Final cost was the contract cost.
I'd like to give a very special thankyou to Frank who helped us built our family home for the next 30 years. The patient, accommodating and friendly care we received from all Format staff comes from great leadership. Thanks again, we're very happy.
Stress Free Building
We had looked at many display homes, but it wasn't until we walked into Format Homes at Lightsview and met with Terry McWilliams that we felt completely comfortable with the whole building process.
We are very happy with our investment home. Paying a little extra for quality fixtures and fittings was definitely value for money. The workmanship was outstanding, with no issues during the build. All the team at Format were available to answer any of my queries.
We recommend them and would build with them again.
Our Dream Home Ian & Wendy on 2nd Dec 2018
We decided that our old house was way too small for our growing family and wanted to stay in the area so we chose to knock down and rebuild. Our journey began on looking for a builder that would listen to what we wanted, after months of looking at Display Homes at how most companies finished of there homes we had a couple of builders in mind. We went to Lightsview Display Village and looked around in stepping into a Format Display home we were pleasantly greeted by the Consultant after having a look at the homes on display we asked a few questions regarding fittings and finishes to the home, Terry the Consultant was so helpful and friendly and explained to us what was standard and what was extras in the Display Home. After discussing this with him we came home and chatted about what we saw we were very impressed with Format Homes we decided the next weekend to go back and see Terry as we had our own home design that we wanted to build sitting down with Terry and disgusting our needs he took a drawing of our plans back to the office. Once complete ew meet Terry at Format Head Office to view our plans it was everything we wanted.
We decided that Format were our choice of builder we loved that they built with Supalock and their standard fittings were well above any other builders standard fittings. Format Homes listens to what you want not like other builders that we approached they would not listen to what we really wanted.
So our journey for our Dream Home began building commenced and before we new it our New Home was being built. Constuction was well under way and our New Home was starting to take shape and looked fantastic we were very excited and couldn't wait for it to be finished. The site supervisor Levi was very helpful and friendly when we asked questions about our build as this was the first time we had built so we were always asking questions.
All the staff that we dealt with at Format were absolutely wonderful and so helpful if you rang the office the girls there were so friendly and would be able to answer your question. Once our home was complete we were so excited on getting our keys walking into our Dream Home and seeing it we were so impressed with the way it looked and the quality of design. All appliances are top quality SMEG, Carrera Kitchens are outstanding everything in the house is outstanding.
We say Thank you to FORMAT for building our truly beautiful Dream Home 12 months has passed since we moved in and it still looks as good as it did the day we got keys. We get so many comments on our home and everyone cannot believe that the standard fittings that we have in our home are what Format offers.
If you are looking at building really consider FORMAT HOMES as your builder I can tell you that you wont be disappointed we highly recommend them as your next builder.
12Months on we can still contact Format and ask the questions or if there is a problem they will send out their maintance man to fix it.
We cannot Thank Frank and his amazing staff at FORMAT enough in building our Beautiful Dream Home, we absolutely love it....
Trish and Garry
"We Love Our New Home!!"
We love the area we live in and had always intended one day to demolish our existing home, subdivide and build a new home for ourselves & an investment property.
Following a thorough research & meeting with various builders, we were most impressed with Format Homes.
With their assistance, we were able to design our two new homes - they listened to our ideas, were always accommodating and provided helpful advice. We were guided by their experience which was greatly appreciated especially as we were first time builders and have absolutely no regrets with the choices we made.
We loved that many of their "Standard" selections were defined as "Upgrades" with other builders.
They must be highly commended for their attention to detail and the quality of their products.
During the construction period we did encounter some issues ( not uncommon from what we have heard with any build ), however once identifed were promptly dealt with and rectified in a timely manner.
All of the Format staff were an absolute pleasure to work with from beginning to end and it is very evident they all enjoy working for Format Homes.
We cannot thank Frank and his wonderful Team enough for helping turn our dream into a reality.
"We Love Our New Home!!"
Integrity & Quality Best Describes FORMAT
The workmanship and build was outstanding overall, we couldn't be happier with the way FORMAT managed the whole project from start to finish. Every member of the FORMAT team kept us well informed along the journey and whenever there were any problems encountered, they were acted on swiftly and thoroughly. We were particularly impressed with the way everything was well explained and the manner in which FORMAT staff took the time to explore the possibilities, implications, costs, alternatives, safeguards, etc, etc. The attention to detail was extraordinary and very reassuring throughout the whole build. The quality of the overall build was both impressive and very satisfying.
From the attention to detail with all the fittings (doors, windows, bathrooms, cupboards, etc) to the final preparation before the handover. (Painting, cleaning, installation of appliances, etc) I absolutely loved the fact that everything was checked and sealed to a high quality prior to us getting the keys. FORMAT employ fantastic tradies, not only are they highly skilled and thorough, they were very accommodating whenever I had occasion to visit the site. You know when you're on to a good builder when the tradies talk about the integrity of the company themselves. Very reassuring!
We were also very impressed with our building supervisor who always kept us well informed and involved. It was obvious that he had the respect of the tradies and that he maintained very high standards and expectations of their work. Whenever there were problems and in any build process these are inevitable, they were well handled by the supervisor, with immediate follow up always to a high level of satisfaction.
All the staff at FORMAT were courteous, thorough and totally professional. We were particularly impressed by the personal interest and support provided to us by Frank Formato, owner of FORMAT homes. His involvement made us feel very reassured and satisfied that the build was on target to be one of high quality.
Thank you to all the staff and tradies connected to FORMAT. You have been responsible for making our dream house become a reality. Now we're living in it we notice the attention to detail in the build every single day and that puts a smile on our faces. Couldn't recommend FORMAT any more highly! Well Done, a builder that deserves to be described as one with the highest integrity and build quality.
Very happy with build experience and quality finish
We have just completed the 3-month maintenance period for our new Format Homes home and couldn’t be happier. The build was on time, on budget (not PC cost increases or surprises), and is built to a standard that leaves similarly priced builders in the shade.
We are a retired couple in our late 60s and we thrilled with the service provided by our sales/design consultant. He guided us through an unfamiliar process, and provided option after option until we were satisfied with the design that best made use of available space.
We are reminded of Format Homes’ best-value point of difference in each room. The Carrera Kitchen has a great layout and fitted with SMEG appliances, internal wall insulation, Littlehampton bricks, high doorways, decorative cornice and skirt – all as standard inclusions. The little things continue to impress – temp controlled gas hot water, bathroom fittings, semi-frameless shower, roof layout structure that supports future solar installation on the northern roof – and we are very happy with our choice of builder.
My daughter has recently signed with Format Homes for her build after witnessing the trouble-free build we had.
Our last home was damaged by whiteants, and after seeing the damage, a steel frame home made sense and provides some comfort. And it's always pleasing to get compliments from neighbours regarding the finish of our home or tradespeople impressed with the layout!
Excellent House- Great experience building with Format Homes
Format Homes made the process of building a new house very clear and straightforward.
From the beginning, Format Homes were very willing to accommodate our ideas for a new house and draw a personalised house plan that suited our plot and needs for a family home. Their team offered very helpful advice and guided us through the entire building process which took a lot of the stress out of building a new house.
We were kept well informed during the construction phase of the house and remain impressed to this day with the communication and great customer service they provided during construction and after we had received the house.
We were very pleased with the home they delivered which was both on time and had a high attention to detail. The exterior of the house was durable and well-finished. On the interior, we were pleasantly surprised with the quality of both the bathrooms and kitchen which far exceeded our expectations.
Overall, we were extremely pleased with our experience with Format Homes and would highly recommend them for their expertise and guidance to anyone looking to build a new home.
An exercise in getting what you pay for.
Overall an excellent experience. From meeting the brilliant Terry McWilliams, asking him to defy the laws of physics with only a vague idea, he hits it out of the park with his FIRST cad drawing. 2 houses later and I’m very happy. He was honest with the quote and his knowledge of councils and soils meant accurate footing quotes. As he said, Format are not the cheapest but there are no surprises later and he was true to his word. Variations were modest and some also in my favour. Integrity is obviously important to their brand.
Marina was excellent with selections and her knowledge of combining colours and textures meant we made good decisions with the fascia. Format’s selections partners are terrific, especially Carrera kitchens.
Bill needs a sample of his DNA extracted to ensure he is cloned for future generations. His knowledge on site prep and absolute transparency in dealings was refreshing. God he knows his crap but doesn't big note despite having every right to do so. My site has so much rock and he’d call to let me know me know they needed to manual digging and what not and approximate variations which were spot on.
Both Kieran and Frank were cool as site supervisors - Kieran had a LOT on before Frank joined so communication wasn't always timely but when it came to the non-negotiables, always on point.
Format use excellent tradespeople and the quality and timeliness of work is really something. In fact the only frustrations I had was having to deal with builders and tradespeople outside of Format’s remit. Word to the wise - yes you can save some coin by arranging some things yourself such as paths and driveways but in retrospect I would have paid a premium for getting it done without the headaches.
And the machine doesn't work without Lisa, Fofi, Joanne and the now-departed Amanda, keeping the gears moving. Format is an ensemble team and each person is important. And finally Phil who handled both handovers nice and smoothly.
It would be a lie to say everything was perfect - maintenance wasn't timely (but well executed) and there is a defect that can't be undone but it's not enough of a deal-breaker to undo the good things. You do hear pops and little noises with steel which I expect is settling and changes of weather. It no biggie. And given both builds happened during a personal tragedy, not having to deal with problems was a godsend. Both houses were completed at 6 and 7 months respectively which is pretty astonishing. If I ever build again it's with Format, no question.
When it sounds too good to be true
Our experience in having Format Homes build two on our block has been the opposite of the glowing reports we read in these pages.
Handover on 16.12.16 was 8 1/2 months after the first slab was poured. Despite repeated assurances in the lead up to handover, neither house was ready for occupation as promised. Work continued into the following week - just before Christmas 2016 and now in September 2017, we still have unfinished "repair" work remaining.
Post handover we went overseas and left the houses in the hands of a Rental agent.
Subsequently issues with the build quality were reported and in the end we paid for an Independent Building Inspection Report to be done on each house. The extent and nature of reported defects led to another Inspection - this time by The Master Builders Association of SA - and local Council (due to stormwater drainage non compliance issues) and attended by Format Homes.
That inspection by MBASA on 7.6.17 validated areas to be redressed by Format and a comprehensive list was provided on two spreadsheets.
This included work that was either just not done or not done to the approved plans or work that was considered not up to acceptable industry standards.
Repair work has included concrete paving to be dug up and replaced, major rework to their stormwater installation and much internal gyprock and painting finishes to be redone.
And now - another 3 months have passed and that list of corrective action has not been completed. We are now 8 1/2 months since handover and we are still waiting for Format to finish the houses to the standard they should have been at handover.
I doubt we will ever build a new house again - but if we do -
We would not trust this lot to build a cubby house…
The workmanship was very good. This confirmed by another builder.
I had no independent overseer and experienced few problems. However any alteration to plans before finalisation were overlooked and needed repeated reminders. Even then some matters like location of water tanks; plumbing loops; external power points; gas meters etc had to be rectified AFTER installation in wrong places. A cost to Format and delays frustration for me.
I would use FORMAT again but be more demanding about plan updates being recorded and followed on site.
Well done Format !
I choice Format to build my new houses, one has been hand over at last month and the other one is still under construction. I have to say Format did a really good job and I love my new house. I also need to thank my sales consultant Steven Riley. He really understands what we need and what we should pay attention on during the whole construction. He is knowledgeable sales consultant because we've got Asian background, he even know some "Feng Shui" theories that help us to design our new house. Well done Steve. If you guys need a quality builder, highly recommend Steve and Format to you guys.
Michael & Pam
Doug and Desiree
First of all, A BIG THANK YOU for the wonderful home you have built for Doug and myself. Even today we are still pinching ourselves having such a beautiful home.
The people who we have had dealings with through Format Homes are:
John Cooper (great sales job mate!!)
Bill Murphy (fantastic information we didn't know about)
All the girls in the office (who kept me sane)
Levi (for his excellent supervision of our site - and must be sick to death of us!!)
All the consultants from the various outlets where we chose our products.
If I have missed anyone out it's only because we were attended by so many FANTASTIC people.
I have attached the Customer Satisfaction Form and there are only a few minor things that need to be attended to.
Oh, I guess a big thank you to Frank Formado (hopefully I have spelt his name correctly) for the choosing of his staff.
Doug and Desiree James
Just like Christmas
We have just moved in to our new Format Home. A lot of our friends warned us about building, we heard all sorts of horror stories. Our experience was totally the opposite, we have one tiny outstanding job to be done, everything was just about perfect the day we got the keys. The quality of the work done, the quality of the fittings & fixtures is of a very high standard. We were promised a six month build time & it took five & a half months-even with very wet winter we had this year. We are both very pleased with our new home, we love coming home to our "new baby".
Money well spent, excellent value, excellent tradespeople, excellent office staff.
Owning a brand new house could have not been easier than this!
When I came to Australia, I could never imagine that after a couple of years of arrival I would be living in my new house. To own a house had become a dream and I could have not thought that one day soon I would ever own it. Format Homes made this dream come true in less than one year; far way from what I expected. That was not the only bonus of choosing Format Homes! Now that I am reflecting on the time I spent living at my unit while I was working and studying, I can not remember even one day that I had an issue with the house construction. I wonder how these guys built the house in a very quiet mode and left me at peace so I did not need to worry about anything. Every aspect of the house construction was taken care of; I was just enjoying to visit my house while it was being built and took some photos for my personal house project album; which, I tell you, is a huge fun! No one in my family and friend had done that before; all were admiring it. I take the chance to thank Matt who introduced me to Format Homes on the first day when I was seeking for a house builder. Terry, I am so thankful to you. You always gave me hope and energy and your warming words were always comforting me in the hardest time; I can not thank you enough; you are now my life friend. I am so thankful to Kieran my house project manager who was so patient when I was asking lots of questions and he was giving me his best professional responses. I express my thanks and appreciation to all Format Homes personnel, Philip, Rick, Frank, Marco, Joanne, Lisa, and many others who I may forget to name. You constantly supported me, advised me on your best, had very warm and welcoming attitude and customer service. Thank you all for everything you have done for me! Today, I am sitting in my house, drinking my afternoon tea and enjoying my house ownership!
Excellent service and quality build
I've dealt with a lot of different Builders around Adelaide both personally and professionally. The level of customer service and professionalism shown by Format Homes is unmatched. Not everything went right (as it rarely does when you build), but they were there to help every step of the way. The quality of the finished product was exceptional and exceeded even our lofty expectations. I cannot thank the whole team at Format Homes enough, and refer all my family, friends, and customers to them.
We had dreamed of building our home with Format after looking through their display homes some years ago, but initially thought they were outside of our price range. Having almost signed with another builder, we re-visited them to just talk with a sales person and see what the cost differences were. Turned out they were wholly within our price range as their standard selections were of such a high quality that they would have been considered "upgrades" with other cookie-cutter builders.
We had an amazing salesman, Terry McWilliams, who helped design our home with us and took into account all of our needs. We were well looked after all throughout the selections process to the finalising of everything and into the build itself. We always received our invoices and receipts promptly.
Now, nearly three months after moving into our home, we couldn't be happier. The quality of the craftsmanship can be felt and seen throughout - this is what initially drew us to Format when we visited their display homes. Our home looks and feels every bit as amazing as their displays did. We have not even had a single complaint or issue to report since moving in. Levi Nash was our site supervisor and was always approachable, professional, friendly and happy to answer all our (sometimes silly) questions. He was so incredibly thorough during our walkthrough and pre-handover inspection - he noticed small flaws that we wouldn't have even thought to look for and had them fixed straight away.
The only tiny things I would mention that Format could have done differently was to perhaps keep us informed as to where we were at and what was happening at each stage of the build. We only ever received an invoice when one stage was completed - and we would drive out to the site weekly to see what was different. Not having built before, it would have been nice to have had some updates. Additionally, it wasn't always clear who to contact about what issues (financial, land, council, etc.) so perhaps a list of contacts with clarification on who to speak to about what would have been helpful at the start.
Otherwise, can't fault Format for anything at all. Great quality, build stuck to schedule and price, competent and professional staff - I have been recommending Format to all of my friends and would encourage anyone looking to build with someone who actually cares about quality over quantity to visit one of Format's display villages and speak to someone. So happy we made the decision to speak to them again - our dream really did come true! Thank you Format for our amazing home!
Love our new Format home
From our first meeting with the sales consultant through until handover we couldn't have wished for a better journey. The staff at Format were so professional and friendly and guided us through the whole building process , from designing a plan to suit an awkward shaped block and on through the whole selection process. The build started on time and remained on schedule through to completion. The quality of all the trades was exceptional as was the end result. Any problems with council or development requirements was always quickly taken care of by Format. Most of the trades had worked for Format for long periods and spoke in glowing terms of the company. We love our new home and are very happy we chose to build with Format, if integrity, honesty and quality workmanship are what your looking for then this is the company that I would highly recommend .
Perfect dream home can not thank Format enough and would highly recommend them!
Professional service and easy negotiations from design to selections to the finished home. Can't rate Format Homes highly enough. The build quality and workmanship were extremely high. Their trades were excellent and all loved working for Format Homes. This commitment of excellence from their staff is why this has been an excellent stress free experience. We were made to feel a valued customer throughout the entire process.
Building our home while we were overseas.
Both the workmanship and build quality of our home were extremely high. Throughout the whole building process Format kept us informed and enabled us to have contact with the site manager whenever we felt the need. He was very helpful and despite us being in the uk throughout the whole build we felt very much involved in the process.
We had one trip over to Adelaide prior to the build to discuss details and choose fixtures, fittings and colour schemes. Again Format were very helpful.
After completion the customer service and support continued throughout the snagging of our home.
I have no hesitation in recommending Format homes to anyone.
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