Brooks Reach Building adventure

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

The Final Countdown …

Doot Do Doo Doot Do Doo .. Hopefully we’ll have the keys to our brand new home this time next week.
On Wednesday 31st July we had our Practical Completion Inspection (PCI). It was quite breathtaking to see the house without the site fence; it is starting to look like a real home!
IMG_3616

There was a hive of activity onsite as cleaners were onsite wiping down the laundry and kitchen, a few guys were outside clearing away the majority of big rocks from the site. We wonder if they had planned to have tradies around so it looked like they were busy working on our house.

We were onsite for around 2 hours and 20 minutes. Nothing too major to report on really. Howard Ryan, our private certifier, did his inspection yesterday and we received his report soon after.

The key issues we found

  • Missing 50mm mosaic tiling strip above ensuite vanity
  • Wrong shelving installed in pantry (wire shelving installed, is meant to be melamine)
  • Stormwater pit, sewer vent still to be moved
  • Sides of external laundry door frame are yet to be adequately sealed
  • Gap between brickwork and gyprock wall on right side of front garage brick wall needs to be filled
  • Underside of window architraves are yet to be sealed to the wall and painted, excessive filler has been used

Other minor issues

  • Lots of paint chips, dirt/scuff marks on walls. Every room has paint cracks along the skirting joins
  • Inside edge of front entry door is yet to be painted
  • Slab surface requires cleaning
  • Front door is tight in operation and requires adjustment
  • Locking mechanism to Bed 1 door does not operate as intended
  • Striker plate and handle is yet to be installed to robe door in WIR
  • Tops of tile within shower recess area are yet to be completely sealed/grouted in ensuite
  • Re install light fitting against ceiling
  • Manhole cover missing (had been stolen)
  • WIR door missing (had been stolen)
  • Incorrect hand dummy handle has been installed to linen closet to rear hallway
  • Inconsistent heights of shelving to walk-in-linen closet near garage entry
  • Shower frames still not delivered or installed
  • Scratches and marks on most window frames
  • Bent sliding door frame
  • Chipped/scratched front door near locking plate
  • Kitchen cupboards and drawers require adjustment in areas
  • Scratches and imperfections on kitchen cupboards in areas
  • Striker plate is yet to be installed to external door jamb
  • Grouting to be improved around tap to laundry tub and taps and waste to underside of laundry tub
  • Bathroom bottom of door is yet to be sealed/painted
  • One of the windows was not sealed/closing properly
  • Holes in bathroom where towel rail was incorrectly installed
  • Towel rail is loose
  • Bathroom locking mechanism to door does not operate as intended
  • Silicone seal is incomplete to rear left corner of bath tub
  • Tops of shower tiles are yet to be completely sealed/grouted
  • Handles to BIRs are loose and doors not aligned

manhole
ensuite

Things still to be done

Rainwater tank to be installed
Oven, rangehood, cooktop, instantaneous hot water (ss is pushing for after handover)
Splashback (Was measured up on Saturday with BBS glass. We chose the Dulux colour ‘Native Scene’)
Window service (clean and grease all windows)
Lightglobes and shades to still be fitted
Correct pantry shelving installed
Sewer vent & stormwater pit moved
Site scrape down
Final clean
SS advised painter will be back after splashback installed to paint the nib (side) walls.

SS seemed to be understanding of our frustration at the time and said we should go ahead and book our carpets, tiles and AC for this week; if we didn’t have the keys he wouldn’t mind them onsite doing the essential jobs so we’re not delayed moving in… Well that all changed when no work was completed onsite since our walkthrough last week. We’re devastated to say the least.. Our tiles were due to be delivered tomorrow but the SS called on Tuesday afternoon to say we had to push it back a week as he has finally got hold of the painter to be onsite and finish all touch ups etc. It just so happens he has to be there on Friday so it means no tiling or carpets for us this week. SS has now said he is hoping for handover next week sometime, but we’re still waiting for Clarendon to send us the final account balance so our bank can get onsite and do their inspection before paying the last instalment. It’s really hard to trust what we’re being told as things have changed so often. There seems an awful lot of work to be done in such a short amount of time..

SO… Our current plan is to have tiles delivered Wednesday 14th and installed Thursday, Friday, Saturday with carpets being installed on Monday. We’ll then have the movers out on Tuesday 20th. We’ll then do a mad clean of the apartment and hand the keys back on either Friday 23rd or Monday 26th. There has been no talk of when appliances, hot water system and splashback will be installed; but we’re pushing for those things to be done right away.

Ok so some pictures of the place:
IMG_3605
IMG_3470
skirting

internal front door

kitchen & meals
hubs

laundry 31.07.13
IMG_3544

B&R 31.07.13

Ahhhh! So after all that we’re just praying that things continue efficiently and correctly. We want those keys in our hands!

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Locked up, Lockin’ good!

What is up with this weather? Crazy storm the Illawarra is having. A timely reminder how thankful we are that our house has finally reached lock up stage Oh yeah! Rain can’t keep the builders away now!!!

Hubby and I did a quick trip out on Sunday to visit the lot and confirm that we had reached lock up stage. Happily (or is that sadly?) we couldn’t get inside but here is a lovely picture of our front door
Door (It will be painted Colorbond ‘Bushland’)

On Friday Shrimpy advised us that wet floor tiles are due to be delivered this week. Carpenter has been in wet areas and installed doors so that the tiles can be laid when delivered.

  • Second and final stage of waterproofing has been completed (this relates to nail penetration, angles across pipes etc)
  • Carpenter will install skirting and architraves sometime this week too. Today I confirmed a time with Wynstan to meet onsite this week for the check measure for our Plantation Shutters! Hubby will attempt to arrange a meet up with South Coast Floor Coverings for the same time so we can get it all done at once.
  • Other internal doors have been delivered and are currently in the master bedroom waiting to be installed this week.
  • Kitchen is being installed Monday/Tuesday (this is what I am most excited about)

Hopefully we’ll be able to snap some photos when we’re onsite.

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Splendid Insulation… It’s electrifying!!!

We made a quick trip out to Books Reach on Saturday and did a walk-through to see that the gyprock had been delivered (yay)! Gyprock

The sparkie had also been through and installed a bunch of wiring (and data cables, yay!) Wires Hubs and I were a bit sad as we thought the SS was going to call us and let us know when the sparkie was onsite so we could install a few extra powerpoints, but that didn’t happen 😦 I know we can always add them later but we probably won’t. I think looking at it now we wish we’d put in another data cable, but oh well – the house will still function as it is yay

Waterproofing in the wet areas had also been done too. Waterproofing
Roofing is complete and it looks like all the sarking is on and no more gaps between it and the roof battens/tiles. We think the roof looks lovely and has a really defined look.Our house

SS also moved the four pallets of bricks to the back of our lot along with 10 roof tiles he is leaving behind for us in case of future breakages etc. We’re really happy he did that as we had no idea how we’d manage on our own! Sadly he took all the pallets i was hoping to use for craft 😦

While checking out our lovely backyard we also noticed this monstrosity DWV
Would you believe it?! Another ugly, out-of-place, not on the plan sewer drain-waste-vent!! Our issue is not that we have one, we know how essential they are, it’s just why does it need to be right there in our back yard and not off to the side of the house that is hidden? Crybaby We’re hoping it’s at least going to be painted to match the roof tile and our downpipes. That spot is originally where we were planning on having a small clothesline *sigh* The plumber for our lot is awful! While we are on the sewer topic, our SS advised that the plumber would be on site over the next few weeks to move the sewer pit over a few metres in the front yard and the back sewer vent would be moved right out to the corner of our lot in the backyard.

After our little expedition we then decided to head to Warrawong and with the help of Floor Planner we sized up some new furniture for our home!! It’s really exciting to pick out furnishings! We ended up putting a deposit on an entry (hall) table, tv lowline, two book/dvd cases for the media room, a coffee table, lamp table, dining room suite, double bookcase and coffee table for the family room and Freedom’s sale is on until July 17th so we’ll head back there in a week or two to order a 2.5 seater and two armchairs (if we get over the bad customer service we’ve experienced from them in the past week.)

Dining

LowlineHall Table

Site Inspection 11.06.13

We met our SS on site yesterday just after 2pm for an inspection as per Clarendon’s requirements. The tradies had obviously been onsite earlier and started installing our roof and wall batts (Fletcher Insulation Pink Batts). It’s slowly coming together now. In our excitement we forgot to confirm that the walls between the main bathroom/toilet and bed 2/3 were lined with Acoustic Batts as we paid extra for those – we have emailed our SS and are waiting for him to confirm.
Batty

Gyprocking was due to start today with the plan for lock up to be completed by next Monday. If the front/laundry and garage doors aren’t delivered on Monday though it will be Thursday. We checked all the wiring, powerpoints and light switches were all roughly were we had placed them during our electrical meeting. Everything is looking good so far!

SS advised we’re still on track for August handover, whether that is early or late August we don’t know – We’ll just be happy when we have the keys in our hands!! Bring on moving dayhappy
Cuties

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Brick it!

Two weeks have zoomed on by! Following the last post on our frames, on April 29th we received the largest invoice EVER, indicating that our frames were done and windows had been installed 🙂 Hubby and I quickly stopped by to check everything was as it should before fore we paid that kinda cash!

backyard brick Bricks

 

 

 

 

 

 

As can see, our bricks were also delivered 🙂 Our brick choice is ‘Engage’ By Austral Bricks and it’s part of the ‘Everyday Life’ range. We were really pleased with the brick colour when we chose it back in early 2012 so it was nice to see we still liked them as they sat there waiting to be laid.

Site Supervisor meeting May 2nd 2013

SS was 10minutes late onsite but he eventually turned up and we chatted as we walked around the lot for about 45minutes. He was nice, answered all our questions and said he’d follow up on our issues which is great. The key points from the meet up are outlined below:

  • Our first layer of bricks is done! Pest control and granite guard have been applied. Waterproofing still to be done by SS at a later date
  • SS said we will lose a week of work now as the brickies are tied up with other jobs; he is sure he can make that week back later down the track though
  • We were told that roofing was going to be done first, but SS decided to get bricks done before roof tiling in the end
  • We advised SS we wanted to keep leftover bricks and roof tiles. He said that’s fine we will just need to move them to the back of the lot before clean up happens on site, but he’ll let us know when that is
  • Estimated date of handover.. wait for it.. 3 MONTHS!!! WHAT!?!! That would mean a total build time of 4 months (as opposed to the allocated 5 months) But we know a lot can happen between now and then so we’re not holding our breath – We are hoping ot be in by September at this stage
  • SS said that if there were extra powerpoints we wanted (on parallel walls) he could arrange some cash jobs with sparky
  • SS is happy to have out carpet/tile and blinds company come through and do a check measure once we reach lock up stage
  • Our bank has contacted SS to arrange an inspection before bank releases funds for frame invoice
  • Howard Ryan has made contact with SS to arrange for the first of 2 private inspections we are having. HnK Ryan will come through when gyprocking starts in a few weeks
  • The cowl for the ducted rangehood won’t be installed on tiles for; a pipe will direct it out to the eaves so it’s not visible. The SS thinks cowls are a bit of an eyesore and don’t really match your roof tiles
  • The stormwater pit issue was discussed and  SS showed us the copy of the hydraulics report. He said we should have received a copy of it but Clarendon had never sent it to us. We followed it up with our Customer Service Consultant and she sent us out the report.  The stormwater pit is actually meant to be further across, almost in line with our bedroom window. The SS thinks the plumber was lazy and has put it where it is so he didn’t have to dig in under ground to have it flow through to the main drain. This will eventually be moved.
  • The final issue we wanted cleared up on the day was this small silver thing we had seen on our lot… Turns out it is a SEWER VENT!!!! It is right outside our sliding door and huge ‘family room’ window.  What the heck was the plumber thinking when he put that there?!! We told the SS that that is where our future decking is going to be, and we don’t have much of a yard so we need to use every bit we can. I had also noticed the sewer vent wasn’t on the hydraulics report when he had it out earlier. The SS said he will follow up with the plumber and have it moved to the back door area near the laundry

Home sewer vent

So after all that Hubby and I felt much better about the issues we have and it’s comforting to know we have a SS that seems to know what he’s doing. We actually feel like someone is looking after us now.

May 3rd

We received a bill from Sydney Water for our water connection. Nothing major but Clarendon had provided them with the wrong address (as they do with all our services!) I contacted Sydney water and updated our postal address. I have also submitted an online request to have our meter address updated as it’s not the primary address for our lot (corner lots have alternate addresses). Sydney Water advised we’d get another bill once we’re connected to the sewer.

May 10th 

We had our weekly call form the SS on Friday and he said he expects the bricking to be complete by middle of this week (possibly Friday at the latest as they aren’t finished yet!!). According to our ‘Clarendon Homes Construction Journey‘ we’ll then have another (huge) invoice and followed by the roof tiles going up and then they’ll head inside and get things moving. SS said that in around 2 weeks time the gyprock will be delivered. We asked about when the stormwater drain and sewer vent will be moved and he said he’ll get to it after lock up.

Hopefully I’ll have some more good news to share with you all next week 🙂 Each day that goes by brings us one step closer to our beautiful new home!

Partial Bricks Back Bricks

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We’ve been framed!!!!

It feels like a lot has happened over the past week, we’re thanking God for such beautiful weather!!!

Shrimpy (our Site Supervisor) called late Tuesday to say that the plumber had been onsite with him and they reviewed the hydraulic plans. They decided they will relocate the stormwater pit so it is not in the way of the driveway. WOOT WOOT!!!! Winning!!He didn’t say when they would do it, just that they would. We are so happy. So very happy. The roof trusses were estimated to go up on the 24th then we were told they will move onto roofing before the bricking commences so the progress on the house isn’t at a standstill. We’re not sure if that means that there had been a delay in the bricks or that the builders are just busy with the other Clarendon builds going on at Brooks Reach at the moment.

Frame update – That’s right; we’ve been framed!!

The carpenter didn’t arrive on site to start the frames until Tuesday, and by then our windows and sliding doors had also been delivered  Head against a brick wall! Seems that the builders have made quick work of it though and when we visited our lot on ANZAC day we were amazed at how much it really has started looking like a home. The SS called today and seemed a little confused; we have a meeting with him on site next Thursday and he thought it was today for some reason. No update on the site was really provided other than to say bricking should start on Tuesday 30th April – I don’t know if this means the bricks have been delivered yet or if they’ll turn up on Monday. Lots of things we’re just not sure about, but we know they’ll happen eventually. So is the roofing still going to go on first or did the SS just mean the roof trusses were going to go up? We’ll have to wait and see what next week holds… Hopefully more good weather and other progress to celebrate.

Frames were estimated to be finished today, but we didn’t receive the invoice so we assume they still have a few final things to do. Building

Garage meals&kitchen Home Theatre room Back of house

Ensuite Window B & R framed

We had an amazing morning out at Brooks Reach and it was lovely to spend time with Nat, Vass and Jes. Brooks Reach really feels like a community that cares for each other, even in these early stages! If you want to read more about what’s going on at Brooks Reach and what the other neighbours are up to, check out this thread i created on building website Homeone 

 

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Apparently no one wants us to have a driveway!

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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Organising a private site inspector for your build

When building a home there is SO much to think and agonise about. It’s not just the colours and bench top but also the layout of each room, where power points should go, lighting, heating/cooling and of course how the home will look on the outside!

As our build slowly progresses it’ll soon be time to engage an Independent Inspector (or Private Inspector as we like to call him.. a PI!!) Is it important to have a PI? Yes. Though you want to trust your builder and assume everything is up to code, a lot of the time it’s not. From my research I’ve found that generally there are issues with EVERY build, though the severity of these issues varies greatly. Hiring a private inspector is a small price to pay upfront and could save you from major issues years later. I’ve heard it described this way “You pay for inspections when buying a car or an existing property, why would you not have an inspection during your build?!” If you browse the Homeone forum for terms like ‘Independent Inspector’ or ‘Private Certifier’ you’ll see further discussions about the benefits of hiring a PI.

I started my research by reading through many many many posts on Homeone and even posted about it in the Brooks Reach thread but wasn’t having a whole lot of luck. So, I hit the phonebook *gasp* well ok so I browsed the phonebook online and a bunch of other building directories. This is the list I came up with for businesses in/serving the Illawarra:

  1. Jim’s building Inspections  www.jimsbuildinginspections.com.au/new_constructions-renovations-and-extensions-inspections
  2. Hnk Ryan www.hnkryan.com/report.html
  3. Houspect www.houspect.com.au/construction … ?state=nsw
  4. Safe House www.safehouseconsultants.net/index.html
  5. Restwell Property Inspections www.restwellpropertyinspections. … bout.shtml
  6. IBC www.illawarracertifiers.com.au/services.html

Hubby and I began contacting them and sending through a copy of our plans. The general quotes and information we received are below.

Jim’s Building Inspections:

  • frame – 330
  • preplaster – 330
  • final – 440

Ben who looks after the South Coast area for Jim’s recommended we only need the final two

Total: $770 (of 2)
Total: $1100 (of 3)

“An independent building inspection can be very beneficial in picking up poor or inadequate workmanship and items missed or defects. Although I would suggest that only 2 & 3 need doing as the frames can be seen at the pre plaster inspection.”

HnK Ryan:

Preplaster/Lockup – 595
Completion – 595
Total: $1190

They said they’d need the address, the site supervisors phone number and our contact number if we were happy to proceed. Once they have access they will call for our Credit Card details.

Houspect:
frame – 350
lockup – 350
prehandover- 795
10% discount if all 3
Total: $1345.5 (with discount)

Pre-handover stage – $795 (this is a very detailed inspection of all final finishes and takes more time than earlier inspections, and can be used for defects and Builders Warranty claims).

These rates are GST inclusive and include inspector travel time, inspection time on site, photos and report compilation.

“We would be pleased to offer you a 10% discount if you choose to purchase all 3 stages with payment upfront of $1,345.50. If you choose to have us inspect all 3 stages of your build, we can have the same inspector look after all the stages of your project. This will assist with communication and the inspector’s understanding of how your build is progressing.
Houspect uses fully licensed builders with a minimum of 15 years experience to do all of our inspection work.
Houspect Inspection services cover construction standards and conformance related to Australian Building Code standards and actual on-site construction and workmanship.

Please note Individual inspections are booked at the completion of each construction stage, and paid before we can issue the report to you as per our standard terms and conditions. In terms of the timeframes for the inspections, we ask for at least 2 weeks notice as this will provide us enough time to speak to your builder and coordinate the inspection, and to schedule our inspector. We also need your builder or site manager to provide us with access to the site for each inspection.”

Safe House:
Frame – 300
final – 600
Total: $900

“Depending on the supervisor and the quality of the construction the first inspection at frame stage I would budget for $300 (Frame can be done before plastering after the brick work is my understanding), and the final report before the handover period I would Budget for $600. It may be less if few defects . High cost of final is due to the detail required stating what is the defect, how it should have been done and the recommended fixing method.”

We did not hear back from the other companies at the time of writing this post.

We have decided to go with HnK Ryan; They were first to respond, quotes were true to their website, they had an actual website and many people on Homeone recommend them. The special bonus? You get a discount if you’re a Homeone member… So it’s actually cheaper for us than the above quoted price.

I hope you’ve found this information useful. It’s important that you go with someone you feel comfortable with. Ask to see sample reports and how many building inspections they’ve done in the local area. Though it is a small amount to pay in comparison to the total house, you still want to ensure it’s worthwhile.

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Slab kebab!

That’s right, we have a slab! wahooooooooooooooo!!!! *party*
But wait!” I hear you all cry; how did all this happen?!

Rewind to November 2011: We paid deposits on land and building tender.
Fast forward to 24th March 2013 and on a random visit to our lot we see it has been cut/filled

Cut/fill

Cut/fill Fun :D

 

 

 

Then we received a call on the 25th March to say ‘Hey, we’re starting your piering today. Feel free to come check it out around lunch time.” And sure enough lunch time rolled around, we zoomed away on our lunch break to find:
Waffle pod
Look at that lovely peiring. (We assume it’s lovely!)

Then as we were celebrating Easter and thanking God for all His blessing and provision we decided to visit the lot again, just because we could.. And what a lovely thing we found:
Waffle pod
Our waffle pod!! What is a waffle pod you ask? The Waffle Pod Slab Systems allows a more accurate specification of concrete quantities, reduces waste and provides a substantial boost to building site efficiency.
It has minimal impact on the environment – there is less soil disturbance, and no excavated rubble from trenches to dispose of. (if only the polystyrene was bio-degradable!) The pods allow air pockets in the slab to form an insulating layer between the structure and the ground.

What great progess they had been making, and so quickly too!!! We went back to work (grumpily) on Tuesday only to receive an invoice in the late afternoon for our slab. Now this is the first big progress payment for us (other than all the $$$$$ we had paid up to this point) and there was no way were going to pay 20% of our total house cost without checking out that slab. Our Site Supervisor (SS) had called hubby on the previous Thursday to tell him the slab would be done on Friday the 5th of April so we weren’t expecting this invoice so soon. To our great delight we found this upon our late night arrival after work:

Slab

Cuties

 

So we’re just enjoying the quick progress while we can. Now we’ve paid Clarendon a bunch of monies I wouldn’t be surprised if things slow down a little bit. Well, that and the fact is has rained both days after the slab was poured and is forecast to rain for the next week and a half! Oh well, it just gives the slab time to cure.

Hopefully I’ll be able to share pictures of the framing and bricks as they go up over the next month or so. At this point we’re estimating we’ll be in around November (worst case) with a possibility of being in late August/early September if everything goes perfectly and promptly!

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Clarendon Create appointment pt 2 (internals/electrical)

Following our Clarendon Create appointment on the 6th of January we had a ‘Part 2’ on the 16th of February 2012 which included:
Clarendon Internal colours – Here we choose door furniture, drain type & finishes, bathroom/laundry layout & finishes, internal paint colour of walls and ceilings
Accent Flooring – Carpet & timber flooring
Ark Finishing Touches – window treatments (not curtains), blinds, plantation shutters, flyscreens, security doors, letterboxes
Sentinel Alarms – for security needs, ducted vacuum, TV & Telephone points and Smart wire requirements if needed

Clarendon Internal Colours
Ceiling: Taubmans Crisp white
Walls: Taubmans Pacific Pearl
Skirting/architraves: Taubmans Pacific Pearl gloss
Bathroom cabinets: Wilsonart Designer White D354
2x1200mm width mirrors to bathrooms above vanities
Bath: maxton 1500 bath
Bathroom sink: Monaco bowl bathroom vanity

We had our tile appointment with Dons Tiles at Narellan on the 14th March 2013. They had a great range and our sales consultant, Holly, was nice and knowledgeable. She didn’t push us to upgrade anything and thankfully the tiles we loved were in our included price range. We ended up spending about $2000 in upgrades at our appointment to bring the tiles in the bathroom, ensuite, separate W.C and laundry to 1.2m half (half way up wall). We also had the mosaic tiles put above our sink in the ensuite and a strip across the face of the bath.

Bathroom tile

Bathroom tile

Bathroom tile and mosaic

Bathroom tile and mosaic

Laundry tile (not having the mosaic in the laundry room though)

Laundry tile (not having the mosaic in the laundry room though)

Threshold tile

Threshold tile

Accent flooring
We had already obtained some external quotes from companies around Wollongong so we had an idea as to what we wanted (and a good price range to know if we were being ripped off). Oh my.. the carpets.. SO TERRIBLE!! Our ‘standard’ range included colours like blue with orange flecks or just solid burnt brown; colours that you wouldn’t even let your grandma keep in her old home. And boy was it itchy! And the underlay was so basic that you’re forced to upgrade. We were up front and told the sales person from Accent and informed her we had sourced a more affordable quote with a much better product (and premium underlay.) Of course if Clarendon/Accent were able to offer a better product and a nicer range of carpets we wouldn’t mind paying a little to upgrade; it would be great to have the carpet done at the same time as the rest of house so there would be one less thing we have to do after hand over! In the end she gave us this quote just for our reference:

Daylesford 7300/- Stonewash 100% Polypropylene loop pile carpet
Or Ballino 575/- Jarrah 100% Nylon plush pile carpet
QUOTED PRICE: $3,150

Ark finishing touches
How beautiful are plantation shutters!!! If this wasn’t our first home (and/or we were loaded) we’d definitely get plantation shutters everywhere! (If we miraculously make it under budget we might JUST be able to get a few shutters installed.. One can hope!) The salesperson tried to sell us vertical blinds but I told her strongly how much I hate them. We did ask about the price of getting vertical blinds but in a solid pvc/wood as the care and upkeep of them would be a lot easier and hubby was used to these types of blinds as they are quite prominent in the states. Though they are easier to make the cost is a lot more expensive as they aren’t blinds that are mass produced like the hideous fabric vertical blinds. Our developer guidelines don’t allow us to have a patterned front screen door so we didn’t have to worry too much about that. We would like to have a screen door installed after handover, though it will be expensive as it needs to be steel mesh to be compliant with BAL 12.5 bush fire rating.

Prices from Ark:
$800 For 12 flyscreens w/ aluminium mesh to meet BAL 12.5 rating
$400 Sliding Flyscreen Door in Black to meals sliding door with aluminium mesh to comply with BAL 12.5
$700 63mm “New York” Polystyrene Imitation Timber Venetian Blinds in “White” to ensuite & bathroom. 2 windows in total.
$900 Provide 127mm Vertical Blinds in “Spirit” 100% block out fabric to family, meals door & meals window. 3 blinds in total
$6500 (+ GST) 90mm Basswood Timber Plantation Shutters in colour: “White” in frame with rear metal wand control to front door sidelites (x2), bed 1, living/home theatre, bed 3, bed 4 & bed 2. 7 windows in total

Sentinel Alarms [and electrical appointment with YHC]
We had 2 TV points and 2 Phone points included in our plan and added 2 Cat 6 cables for $125 each. Sentinel tried to sell us the Hills Hub for the NBN for $500 (plus GST) until we told her that hubby works in the software/IT industry and we would not be going with the hub. I can’t remember the quote for ducted vacuuming points but it was too expensive for us.
We also discussed alarms and zoning with the quote being about $1400.

As we had signed our tender so long ago when it was time for our final electrical appointment, Clarendon had changed electrical providers to Your Home Consulting.

Our final electrical appoint was on the 7th March at Oak flats (yay, we didn’t have to go to Sydney!). We met with Kiah from YHC and she was lovely. Our appointment went for about 1.5hours and we discussed power points, lighting and wiring (we had to go over everything we had signed off on with Sentinel). Though it was a bit frustrating having to redo a lot of things, we ended up saving a bit of money as YHC charge for providing phone and tv points as well as the Cat 6 cables being considerably more expensive with them. Below is our electrical layout for our power points and hot water control pad.

Electrical Plans 18.03.13.pdf

Price list below for individual YHC items:

  • Baton Light Point $53.00
  • External Wall Light Point $70.00
  • Extra Light Circuit and Safety Switch $240.00
  • 2 Way Switch $50.00
  • Supply & Install Motion Sensor (Outdoor) $125.00
  • Single Power Point $58.00
  • Double Power Point $68.00
  • Extra Power Circuit and Safety Switch $250.00
  • Weatherproof Single Power Point $115.00
  • Weatherproof Double Power Point $125.00
  • Upgrade Meter Box to 3 Phase $480.00 $480.00
  • Door Chime Wiring (240v) $130.00
  • Wire, Supply & Install 2 Lamp Fan Light Heater (Includes Extra Circuit & Extra Safety Switch) Non ducted $440.00
  • Wire, Supply & Install 4 Lamp Fan Light Heater (Includes Extra Circuit & Extra Safety Switch) Non ducted $520.00
  • Wire, Supply & Install Side Vented 2 Lamp Fan Light Heater (Includes Extra Circuit & Extra Safety Switch) $590.00
  • Wire, Supply & Install Side Vented 4 Lamp Fan Light Heater (Includes Extra Circuit & Extra Safety Switch) $660.00

We ended up spending about $3000 at our YHC appointment with lights, outdoor motion sensors, outdoor junction box for porch light and extra power points.

Next blog post will about actual progress on the land 🙂 If you have any questions about upgrades, our selection etc just comment below 🙂

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The beginnings of our home .. Clarendon Homes meeting.

(continued from previous post here.)

B & I rushed over excitedly, discussed the lot specifications and confirmed we’d paid the initial $1000 deposit to Stocklands. Deb had the initial plans and paperwork ready to go when we got there.

We decided on building the ‘Kenthurst’ (Clarendon have since renamed and slightly tweaked the plan now being known as the ‘Kentville 24’.) Our 4-bedroom home would be 23.54 squares; 218.70 sqm with a break down of the ground floor 182.886 sqm, garage 33.89 sqm and porch 1.95sqm.

The original floor plan .

Because we signed our paperwork and paid Clarendon $1000 that day, we saved over $9000 with different promotions and packages that Clarendon were running at the time. We got the ‘Lifestyle Plus’ extras which is said to include $21,000 worth of extras. See brochure here. Now because we also paid a deposit on that day and the land will be fairly flat (less than a metre fall) we also qualified for the ‘Smart Build’ promotion saving us $4000. In total a savings of $13,000. We were glad we had done our homework and knew what our budget was and that we wanted to go Clarendon. I think it would have been really easy to be pressured into signing something right away for fear of ‘missing out on the promotions’. While we know we got a great deal that really suited our needs, the truth is all builders offer different promotions throughout the year – So if you are looking to sign with a builder in the near future check out what else is being offered and if the builder of your choice isn’t offering as much as another builder, use that to your advantage and persuade them to throw it in as a means to get you to build with them.

On the 7th we also collected the following documents from Clarendon Homes:

  • Draft floor plans for our home to be built on our specified block of land
  • Brooks Reach Clarendon Home & Land flyer for the Kenthurst (which detailed some of the inclusions in out package)
  • A ‘Siting instruction’ for how our house would sit on the block of land
  • Clarendon Residential Group Privacy Statement
  • Clarendon Homes Construction Journey timeline
  • Clarendon Residential Group permission agreement for sign erection on construction site – This means Clarendon are allowed to have signage on the site as the build. It is not necessary to agree to have signage during the build, but we figure it will help keep Clarendon accountable and if any passers-by happen to notice dodgy things going on in the lot they can inform Stocklands/Council/Clarendon right away.
  • Clarendon also presented us with the ‘initial estimate’ – around $450,000 (inclusive of land and house). Right away we noticed there were a few errors in the document. Deb instructed we take it home and email back any errors or issues we had.

Here are some of the costs we had in our initial estimate:

  • Gallery façade: $5,900 (this was meant to be a free inclusion and was later rectified)
  • Automatic door opening unit for double garage: $720
  • 6.5 HP single storey AC, Brivis system $10,600
  • Melamine shelving to all robes:  $1,000
  • Double vanity in ensuite (we were later instructed our bathroom layout/size did not accommodate for a double sink. We were also told at our tender meeting a double sink would be around $1,200 not the $500 originally quoted to us by Deb.)
  • Rheem intergrit HWS $650 (control pad not included in this price)
  • Hills security system $1,420 (4 zones with 1 voicenav, 3 passive infrared detectors, 1 internal siren, external strobe and horn siren, power pack and battery back up.)
  • Stone bench top $1,500 (Actual price was $3,710 PLUS $396 for additional 300mm overhang for breakfast bar. We were really disappointed with the initial ‘estimate’ we were provided.)
  • Robe to bedroom 4: $500 (we discussed this at tender and indicated some of the plans we had showed it was included so we got it for free.)

Plus additional site costs that did not indicate a breakdown at this point.

After studying the initial estimate we emailed back our concerns to Deb and she essential just told us to take note of those things and we can clarify those at the Tender meeting. Looking back now there are a lot of things we should have got in writing that day. That’s something throughout the whole process we wished we knew from the beginning. We lost landscaping, privacy locks and various other items that were promised but never included as we didn’t have them in writing.

Woot! We’d signed the initial paperwork for our new home.

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