Handover day is full of excitement. Sure, the site meeting with Henley’s site supervisor is pretty routine, but once you have your keys it’s on with the fun bit – moving in. My partner and I had a van full of our stuff parked nearby, ready for the big move.
At the site meeting I presented the supervisor, *Steve, with a list of defects I’d found and had us both sign it, as instructed in your HIA contract.
Later in the meeting Steve outlined the schedule for installing the appliance like the dishwasher and hot water system before handing over all of the keys to the house. At least that’s what he was supposed to have done.
When Steve handed me the keys, I asked him how I know that I had all of them. The reason I asked that question is because dozens of Henley contractors have been coming and going from the house for several months and all of them needed to access the house somehow. That’s where construction locks are supposed to come in.
For those who are unfamiliar, construction locks are special locks which initially can be opened by a standard construction key, the type of key most builders will carry. This is done for a number of reasons but most practically, it grants access to all of the various tradies who will be working onsite without the need to obtain a unique door key beforehand.
Once construction is finished the unique key, the one the owner will have, is put into the lock and turned. This dislodged pins inside the lock which are supposed to render the lock inoperative to construction keys. I was well aware of the widespread use in the industry.
What Scott and Henley didn’t know was that when Henley attempted to block my access to site several months ago, I found a key to the locks in a kitchen drawer and had one cut, so that Henley could not lock me out of the house.
All the keys?
Steve assured me at the site meeting that Henley used construction keys onsite and that he’d just finished processing the locks for my new keys. I believed him. I shouldn’t have.
A few days after moving in I grabbed my previously cut “construction key” and tried it in the lock. It opened the lock!
Henley have a track history of lying straight to my face so I should have checked on handover day in the presence of Steve. Literally anyone who wandered onto the unsecured site could have found the key and had a copy cut, just as I did.
Don’t expect your Henley home to be secure.