Brooks Reach Building adventure

Come with us now on a tale of the mighty house building.

Apparently no one wants us to have a driveway!

on April 20, 2013

It’s true. Or at least it feels like it. No one wants us to have a driveway.

Building your own home (especially your first one!) is meant to be a grand adventure, but at the moment we’re experiencing a lot of frustration – all over a little driveway!

March 10th we visited our lot to prep it for site excavation. We found this little surprise:

tree Wollongong Council had planted a tree at the front of our lot. Normally it wouldn’t be a big issue, BUT it has been planted right where our future driveway will be. We have had our house AND landscape plans sorted since January 2012. Our plans had been approved by Stockland (our developer) and Local Group (the company responsible for our Complying Development Certificate) prior to this tree being planted.

So why was it planted? We have no idea. I mean we assume that it’s to beautify the area, though it would have been nice to have been approached by council OR Stockland before they decided to plant a tree here. It’s also frustrating too as we don’t know what type of tree it is AND as part of our developer guidelines we need to comply with we have to plant TWO native trees in our yard post build anyway. FRUSTRATING!

We have been following this issue up with council and Local Group over the past month. Council’s feedback was ”Normally the removal or relocation of a street tree is considered as part of the DA process. If approval is granted appropriate conditions will be attached to the DA consent such as the following condition. “Compensatory Street Tree Provision  – Prior to the issue of an Occupation Certificate the developer must make compensatory provision for the existing street tree required to be removed as a result of the development.  In this regard, a mature plant stock of the same maturity and species shall be placed in an appropriate location on the road reserve.” As your dwelling was approved as Complying Development you should contact the Private Certifier appointed for the construction of your dwelling house to ensure all necessary approvals have been obtained including the street tree removal.”

So the next step was contacting Local. We sent various emails as it was something we needed to have in writing. After no response and several days passed, B called and spoke to Karen at the Wollongong office. She said that they had received our emails and that the person responsible for our CDC had been on site and done an inspection but had then passed our file back to her without letting us know anything. Karen said she would put it back on his desk to prompt a response (he could have at least called us though, right?!)
Again we waited. Another week passed and B called again. After 8 minutes on hold he was told someone would call him back shortly. Eventually the CDC man called and his response was that:

  • whether we remove the tree now or later it won’t hold up construction process.
  • removing the tree won’t be problem with him or Council as he is the one to sign off on the compliance of the lot and it doesn’t bother him if we remove it.
  • he suggested we could try and move it if we wanted but he didn’t think it would survive transplanting.
  • we can plant a new tree if we like, but we do not have to.

So i guess that’s some good news, though now we have to try and get it in writing from him. We don’t want to pull it out and then be hit with a fine or told we had to replant it or something.

External Drainage Installed
On the 12th April the external drainage for our home was installed. This included a 450mm storm water pit to the front of our house.. Right where our driveway will run! No one wants us to have a driveway!

stormwater pit FRUSTRATING!! So we actually knew that Clarendon would be installing a stormwater pit as it was part of the hydraulics report but we didn’t know where it was going to go as it was never indicated on any of our plans. The picture doesn’t show the location but it’s to the left edge of where the driveway will be poured. What we want to know, and what we’ve brought up with Clarendon, is why is it installed where the driveway will obviously be? Why were we never asked about where we’d like it to be, or at least told or shown on a plan that it would be installed there!!

Not only will it look ugly but it’ll make the price of pouring our driveway go up as extra care will need to be taken when pouring/stencilling etc. We will also need to ensure the drain is safe to drive over and if not, potentially pay to upgrade it. There is also the thought we may even have to have an ugly curved driveway to compensate. The fact the drain is so visible and near the front of the lot will hurt re-sale value too. I understand of course that it’s good for our driveway and lot to have the drainage but our frustration is just that it’s not in an ideal location and there was no communication with us about this!

B has tried talking to the SS but he said it can’t be moved and ‘it shouldn’t affect our driveway’, though we have visited the lot a few times now after the pit was installed and we are pretty sure it will. Whilst visiting the site we also noticed the sewer inspection outlet had been raised considerably.Sewer Inspection Outlet

The SS advised that it can be raised or lowered and we are even allowed to put a bird bath or something easily moveable on top of it. No real issues there. I think it’s just raised at the moment so they don’t damage the area surrounding it during the build.

We were going to measure the distance of the stormwater pit in relation to the garage today BUT (in good news) our frames were delivered yesterday so that prevented access. Aren’t they beautiful?!!

frames; blog

Frames

 Frames

If the rain holds off next week they should take 2-3 days to install 🙂 Bring on lock up stage!!!

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4 responses to “Apparently no one wants us to have a driveway!

  1. RJMcGray says:

    Love your blog! So much information! It really helps show just how much extra it is to make a house a home with upgrades to everything! Would love to know the total in upgrades compared to the basic house price. Hope the rest of the build goes well for you!

    • Rubyam says:

      Thanks for commenting 🙂
      I know the initial tender we signed with Clarendon on the 7.12.11 was close to $250,000 but that was before we dropped a lot things and had our kitchen appointment etc – In the end we’re paying Clarendon about $222,000 as we’re doing air con, carpets, tiles, blinds, Driveway post handover (and they were all included in that original base price, but there wasn’t any upgrade provision) We think that if we had stayed with Clarendon for all of the above we’d be looking at around $260-$270,000.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Agree with the above, we’re building with Clarendon and all your details are so helpful. I’ll try to do the same with our build eventually.

    It helps so much understanding what the rough cost of all the upgrades are, and we at least know we’re not being ripped off!

    Also…..what a stupid place for a storm water drain! I’ve heard so many comments about a lack of common sense when it comes to placing these things.

    • Rubyam says:

      Hey Jeremy 🙂
      Thanks for commenting on the post: It’s good to know that someone is finding the info provided helpful.
      As things progress through your build make sure you ask lots of questions and understand everything clearly.. Miscommunication is so frustrating!!! If you had anything specific you wanted to ask Please shoot me a comment, i am happy to answer anything 🙂
      I tried to keep my posts ‘rant free’ and general with the details to it would be beneficial but am happy to go into more details about anything.

      Thankfully we have resolved the stormwater pit (at least we have – it is still yet to be moved) but i will talk about that in my upcoming post 🙂

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