Business partners and friends, Hasina and Marco, have just completed 3 villas in Pererenan. In our first Build Diary they were right in the middle of their builds, and they were very excited and optimistic.
We sat down with Hasina and Marco to find out what happened during their builds. While they are very happy with the result, it was certainly not smooth sailing. Here they explain the highs and lows of building in Bali.
When did you get the properties?
Marco (M) – I got mine in mid May 2021.
Hasina (H) – I got mine the year before but I was stuck in Japan for 6 months during Covid, so I couldn’t do anything!
When did you start to renovate your Bali villas?
(H) We started end of July 2021.
When did you finish?
(H) April 2022. It took about 9 months. We were supposed to finish in about 4! We knew it was going to take more, so we weren’t surprised, but we thought it would be about 5.5 or 6 months.
Delays and more delays!
When did you realise it would take longer that 6 months?
(M) When the workers were sitting around all day and drinking coffee! We would go twice a day but there was no progress.
(H) We were going everyday but they had really slowed down. They had started fast but slowed down so quickly. We had planned to move in by Christmas 2021 but it became clear that was not going to happen.
January and February was so slow. They were also really disorganised. They would start something and then leave it and start something else. We eventually realised it was a strategy to start a new part of the build so they could receive the money for that stage, but not finish the stage. Then they would start something else so they could receive the money for it, but not finish it either.
We also realised that they were juggling multiple builds at the same time and had mismanaged the money. They were using our money to find the other builds.
(M) Yes, the builder was using us to pay for his other projects. It seems like it happens quite a lot here.
(H) Eventually it all catches up and falls apart. All you need is for one person to say I don’t want to pay now, and all the money stops.
What did you do when you realised what was happening?
(H) By Christmas last year, we were so annoyed, so we just stopped it. We were paying in stages so that saved us. However, we had paid for some things that hadn’t been completed.
(M) Before we tried different techniques, like paying monthly, or weekly or even daily, but they were so slow.
(H) By the end of January we had had enough. We were sick of it. And there had been some dangerous incidents where the electrics hadn’t been installed properly. One night it rained, and the electrical panel got wet and caught on fire. It wasn’t wired properly.
(M) After that we had to change builder. We fired him. I didn’t trust them anymore. We even thought there was some sabotage, where they deliberately badly installed some pipes and cables. Brand new pipes were leaking the first time we used them. So we had to break open some walls and floor to fix these problems.
(H) It was really annoying because we had to break open brand new walls and floor.s It was looking beautiful and then I had to smash it. It also derailed our cash flow. I had envisioned how much it would cost and suddenly we had these new expenses. Building is a stressful experience anyway but suddenly we had this extra financial pressure.
During their builds
Fixing the problems
How did you find a new builder to fix the problems and complete the build?
(M) We started by asking friends for recommendations.
(H) As it turned out, our landlord was building close by and she had a contractor, so we were able to use this contractor. We hired the contractor and we could see straight away that they were doing a good job. We could see progress.
(M) So we kept them and they were much better. They were much more professional. I don’t know if it was because they were also working for a Balinese family that we had a connection with, but they were clearly much better. Fewer breaks, and more work!
Did you change any of your original design of your Bali dream villa?
(M) We kept everything basically the same. Maybe a few details were changed, such as the type of materials used. But overall it was the same.
(H) Also we had spent a lot of time and money so the objective was to do damage control. We wanted to finish what we had originally designed as well as possible.
Their favourite features
What are your favourite features?
(M) I like my bathroom because I chose a special green colour terrazzo. It matches really well with the red wood and the stone in the bathroom.
(H) I think my favourite thing is that when I look at my house, the overall design is exactly what I wanted. Visually, it’s great to see your design come to life in front of you!
What advice would you give for someone who wants to build in Bali?
(M) Try to be onsite as much as possible! Don’t be scared to be involved! If you’re not there, workers will make lots of little decisions for you. And most of the time what they decide is wrong! Check your materials carefully – go to other places that have used the same materials and see how they look in a year or 2.
Of course, try to find a good contractor but this is a bit of a mystery! Don’t trust everything your contractor says! Double check for yourself!
(H) We hears so many stories of bad contractors so we tried to be very careful. But it happened to us too. Luckily we could resolve it. We could have had a better result faster, if we had used the right people.
Don’t forget to use a payment plan! If you can speak Bahasa Indonesia, it’s definitely an advantage.
Make sure you get a plan of your pipes. We never got it, so what’s going on under the ground is not clear. Our neighbour accidentally cut on our pipes and we didn’t know what that pipe was used for because we didn’t have a plan, so we didn’t know if it affected Marco’s house or mine!
If you are building in Bali (or have just finished) and would like to be featured on Bali Interiors, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org