Dream home renovation turns to nightmare following issue with trusses

Building your own home is a dream come true for most families - especially when you've saved up and worked hard to afford to do so.

But for one Samoan family, who chose not to reveal their surname, their hopes of dream home renovation has turned to devastation.

In 2017, Lila and her family decided to extend their three-bedroom house. Once they had the finances, they were ready to start planning for the build. While the home was expected to have been completed by now, a skeleton stands in its place.

"There's a lot of questions - where did I go wrong?" homeowner Lila told Tagata Pasifika. "There are times that I don't even wanna come here."

Lila was looking to extend the home in order to accommodate their growing family.

"We've got, you know, grandchildren, we have our nieces and nephews that are over at our place, so we have a very big family that we want to - our home to be welcome for them to stay," she said.

After months of planning, they found an architectural company to do their design and a builder to construct it. Their plans were also approved by the Auckland Council.

However, after two months, the family was told there were issues with the trusses, and construction was halted.

"Two months into the job - to the day before the demolition was complete - that was when the trusses arrived," she said, "and then we were informed that there is some issues with trusses, with the measurement of the trusses."

After several meetings, the architectural company was supposed to come up with a solution to change the framework of the house. However, Lila has yet to see the final plan.

"They've said allow them some time to complete the plan and they will get in contact with us. Weeks went on for about a month, I got a hold of them - there was no response."

Lila's son Sweden was asked to attend a meeting after Lila felt she wasn't being taken seriously.

"She asked me to attend a meeting and I came and yeah, they just made a lot of empty promises," he said.

In the meantime, Lila and her family are paying a mortgage on a home that doesn't exist, and are bunking up with family; the strain of the situation causing grief with their children.

"I just see an empty house and, you know, you have all your childhood memories there and you have all your family memories there and it just breaks my heart knowing that people treat it with so much disrespect and disregard," he said.

Lila added: "What hurts is the fact that something really exciting - a dream, a goal that you have as a family - has just gone really wrong."

Sweden said the house "was a big dream of my father's and my mum's" ever since their arrival in New Zealand from Samoa.

After seeking legal advice, an independent report was done on the build, which found mostly the architectural company at fault. However, the company has not responded, or taken responsibility for the family's unfinished home.

"I just want my house to be built. We've had this goal for a very long time and we've worked so hard for it," Lila said.

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"I just want them to complete the work that we paid them to do."


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