Brooks Reach Building adventure

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

We have keys!!

Yesterday was the day.. we received our keys!!
SS was onsite from about 12.10pm to go through paperwork and sign over the keys to us. I even got to hold the ‘builders’ key and try it in all our locks to prove that they have changed them and only we now have access.

We weren’t able to do a full walkthrough as the tiler from South Coast flooring was doing his thing (remember how i said he was meant to be done Sunday, or monday at the very latest?! He mentioned he wasn’t planning to be done until Friday. But more on that can be found under the ‘issues’ tab on the right if you’re really interested) So we stood awkwardly around the kitchen bench and went through our ‘handover folder’ and discussed certificates, warranties and completed the HIA booklet. There were a few outstanding issues that were noted: two kitchen cabinet doors were still away being fixed, no lights/shades installed, appliances still to be delivered, door handle to WIL still needs to be replaced, Manhole cover replaced, various paint touchups. The one thing we forgot was that the WIR still doesn’t have a door handle or door plate thingi. Hubby will follow up with SS during the week.
We have around 90days now to note any other defects we want the Clarendon warranty team to fix/replace and after we lodge our form it will be reviewed and then someone will visit our house to assess the issues.

Appliances delivered in our garage today ready for install tomorrow or Thursday.
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Our hot water system is installed and good to go
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Here is a shot of our ensuite too; tiling still needs a wipe down
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So forgetting about the stressful issues with the tiler and company; Handover went great. We received a lovely ‘Sheridan’ towel and fragrance package from Clarendon. B sheridan 20130820_162311
Our Site Supervisor has really been great the last few weeks which has really helped us manage the stress and disappointments we’ve faced.

Tomorrow is moving day! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT, finally!!

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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!
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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:
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skirting

internal front door

kitchen & meals
hubs

laundry 31.07.13
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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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4 weeks til Handover

After several attempts to get through to our site supervisor, darling hubby made contact on Monday and got the following brief updates:

  • Plumber has been overseas so the stormwater pit and sewer vent will be moved next week upon his return
  • Taps in vanities, showers, sink have all been installed
  • Electrical mark up has been done
  • Shelving has been installed in robes and pantry
  • Painter is meant to be back sometime late this week/early next week to complete the second and final coat of paint
  • Toilets to be installed later this week/next week
  • PCI (Practical Completion Inspection) Walkthrough will be 2/3weeks then a week following to allow for any touch ups etc and we should get keys first week of August if everything goes to plan. We’re aiming for the second or third week in August though just in case, don’t want to be getting our hopes up to high at this point.
  • Not sure when water tank/gas hot water system will be done – I assume sometime over the next two weeks!

I received a call on Monday to say there was an issue with our splashback. We originally chose to upgrade a ceramic tile splashback in the kitchen to a Metaline panel spanning the entire bench length (around 3m). It was one of our most expensive upgrades and not an easy one to make. Last week that splashback was meant to be installed, but apparently issues have arisen over the past few months with bubbling and YHK (Forstan kitchen company that Clarendon Homes uses) no longer endorse the product. A lady from YHK offered a free upgrade to a glass splashback for us which we have accepted. We now have to wait for a call from their supplier to arrange a measure up onsite and they can try and match a colour for the glass to a paint swatch. We’ll be sticking as closely as we can to a metallic green with gold flecks (like our original splashback). The lady said it can be installed after handover but I adamantly stated we wanted it done beforehand. Hopefully we’ll get a call soon arranging the site visit so we can get it behind us.

Freedom furniture are delivering our new couch/armchairs on Friday so we have to store them in our tiny apartment til the move. 

<—This is what we’re getting for the family room. It’s called the ‘Harry’ and it made me love it even more; I’m a huge Harry Potter fan!

Rather than getting another couch we chose two accent chairs. Chevron is amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This has been my favourite purchase for the house so far other than my gorgeous Green Apple Kitchenaid stand mixer (thanks Grandma Judy!)

I have heard that getting the keys can be a huge anti-climax but we’re trying to stay positive and excited about it all. Hopefully only a few short posts away from the grand tour 😀

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The beginnings of our kitchen

Last week was terrible weather wise. I think we’d all forgotten how often it rains in Wollongong, but it was worse with this recent downpour as it rained all. week. long.

While progress haltered on most sites we know the carpenter was on our lot at least for a few days as we saw him there on Thursday when we had our check measure for our plantation shutters. We’re not sure if anyone was meant to be with him or not but when we arrived he was just sitting on a milk crate for the longest time … When we finally went inside and introduced ourselves and kinda said ‘this is our house’ he slowly moved around and cut a few pieces of wood for the architraves during the three hours we were there. When we were leaving hubby looked in the window and he had gone right back to sitting down on the milk crate!!! It’s so frustrating as we heard him telling the guy from Wynstan just how flat out they all are etc and there isn’t much more to be done for our build so I don’t understand why he was just so relaxed and seemingly lazy.

The purpose of our visit to the house was to measure up the blinds/flyscreens/shutters as I mentioned above but it was also a great excuse to actually get inside and see what has been done.
We were told on Friday 21st of June that last week we were meant to see cornices, skirting, architraves, kitchen and bathroom cabinetry installed with wet tiles being delivered and possibly installed on the Thursday/Friday. What we actually saw on Thursday was the cornices were installed, cabinetry had been completed for the kitchen and bathroom/ensuite and the carpenter only started the architraves while we were there onsite

But progress is progress. Here are some quick snaps we took of the kitchen

Kitchen
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Kitchen 27.06.13

Our bathroom and ensuite vanities are the same

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And just because
Ruby kitchen

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Hopefully we’ll get a call from Shrimpy tomorrow saying everything has been done and the house is good to go I can hope, right?

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Pre plaster/ Lock up Inspection

As mentioned in our last post here, Howard Ryan was onsite on Monday 3rd June to do the first of the two Private Inspections Hubby and I are having during the build.

We received the report as promised on Thursday night and spent a good few hours pouring over it, looking at the photos that were a reference for each issue that was identified.

We forwarded the report onto our SS via email and he responded right away saying he would have his carpenter on site the following day to fix the few issues that were mentioned. He said that it was all stuff that would have been fixed up along the way anyway.

We’re happy our list was pretty small in comparison to some I have read over on Homeone and other building blogs. I’m not surprised though as our SS really seems to know what he is doing, but maybe the tradies were just taking a few shortcuts or something.

Our one disappointment was that the inspection was not scheduled at the most effective time for best value of our money. Hubby and I think it should have been pushed back a week or so, but oh well, it’s done now.

Below are some bits and pieces we have taken from the thorough report Howard provided to us.
——————————————————————————————————
An excerpt from the inspection report:

This is a visual inspection only: Limited to those areas and sections of the property fully accessible and visible to the Inspector on the date of the Inspection.

  • The inspection DID NOT include any breaking apart, removal of any insulation products, removing or moving objects including, but not limited to mouldings, eave linings, sidings, ceilings or any of the sites current stored goods and or building materials. The  Inspector CANNOT see between covered floors, inside skillion roofing, other areas that are concealed or obstructed and CANNOT climb onto pitched iron roofed dwellings.
  • The inspector DID NOT dig, force or perform any mortar testing or other invasive procedures at the time of this
  • inspection.

The items below were marked as ‘Incomplete Works: (works that are yet to be completed as was originally intended and lacking in part)’.

THE EXTERIOR FINDINGS TO THIS DWELLING:

1. Windows and sliding and or bi-fold doors will need the manufacturer’s service, general adjustment,
track clean and lubrication, prior to completion
2. Sliding and or bi-fold door units need their base sill tracks covered and protected during this
construction process to prevent construction damage which may hinder the sill and doors intended
operation
3. Some sections to the exterior were incomplete at the time of this frame inspection therefore these
incomplete external items will be re-inspected upon the completion handover inspection by H & K
Ryan at a later date as and when required
4. Roof tiling and eave linings were incomplete

The Site:

1. The site safety fencing must remain completely intact (and locked if intended) at all times and must be
maintained in a safe standard at all times. Gates should remain locked and under the builders control.
2. The site is to be left clean of building debris, site areas to be graded and levelled out appropriately on
completion, subject to the Builders contract Specifications.

The Interior:

The significant items that need remedial works are:
a. Truss sheer blocking is incomplete in areas above some of the internal braced walls near the
ensuite and the kitchen areas,
b. Speed brace tails must be wrapped and fixed to the underside of the top wall plate in areas
1. A recommendation was made that where all the galvanised wall frame braces pass over each other that they be
separated with an insulation material to prevent interior wall cavity knocking in the future.
2. Sheer blocking is incomplete to to a braced wall at the entry area (photograph was included in report)
3. Blocking incomplete for the wall linings support around the bath unit (photograph was included in report)
4. The truss speed bracing must be wrapped and fitted to the underside of the top wall plate as intended

GENERAL DUTY of CARE NOTES THAT SHOULD BE APPLIED:

1. Tops and bottoms of all external and all of the internal wet area doors should be sealed, once they
have been installed. This will be inspected by us at the final PCI completion inspection.
2. i/ WC Cistern’s wall blocking is yet to be fitted to some areas only, (these blocks are only required if
the WC suite specified is to be a wall mounted unit and not a pan mounted unit,)
ii/ dryer units wall mounting blocks are yet to be fitted at 2.1 to 2.3 centres, subject to the Builders
contract Specifications.
iii/ wall blocking for any future wall mounted Plasma/LCD TV unit, are not a requirement under a
building contract and if required would normally be a variation, but are essential to be installed at this
frame stage. (CASE NOTE: We have been advised of a past matter in the USA where a wall mounted
Plasma TV unit had fallen off a wall and killed a two year old child due to not being fitted
appropriately to adequate wall blocking.)
3. The garage slab floors need protecting during this construction process as they are intended to be a
future finished surface.
4. It is recommended only that all the Rehau water pipes be silicone sealed where they pass over each
other and where they pass through wall studs to prevent possible water hammer knocking within the
wall cavity areas in the future.

GARAGE:

Wall noggins incomplete in areas,

REAR HALLWAY:

Wall noggin loose in the rear linen press unit

BATHROOM:

Bath wall lining blocking incomplete,

LAUNDRY:

Wall mounted dryer blocks should be fitted at 2.1 to 2.3 centres, if required by the
homeowner, (a variation may apply if this blocking is required
——————————————————————————————————
Hubby and I definitely think it was worth the money to have the inspection done. It’s peace of mind for us and I think it’s also a little extra pressure on Clarendon to make sure they do the right thing knowing we’re having our own private inspector come through and check things out.

We plan on heading out over the long weekend to check on this weeks progress as Daz and Nat over on Homeone have said they have seen people onsite every day this week. Woot!!!
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With a rooftop over our heads

That’s right, the roof is on!!!! The corner pieces are still to be laid but that won’t be til later in the build. There is some nice shiny stuff on the inside of the roof though.IMG_3165 (Large)

Downpipes have been installed (still to be painted though) along with gutters and fascia. Downpipes and roof
Hubby and I are still trying to decide if it was wise to go with Sandbank for our downpipes or if it would have been better going monument. What do you think? Let me know in the comment section below.

We have Howard Ryan (HnK Ryan) going through the house with our SS tomorrow for the first of two private inspections. This one is the lock up / Pre-plaster inspection and Howard will be onsite between 7am and 8am take photos, record any issues and send through the report to us later in the evening. We then have to forward this report onto our SS.

Weather is dreadful outside right now but forecast for the week is mostly sunny. Praying for a little more sunshine so the tradies can finish everything they need to before moving inside!

Bathy times

Branden in the bath… Stop looking, you pervs!

Chef Ruby in the future kitchen

Nearly done with the roof..Back entryFront entryrooftiles

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Pantry

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Gutters, and fascia, and roof! Oh, my!

We headed out to our lot yesterday after a beautiful weekend away with our Bible Study group in Killcare (Central Coast region). It was a beautiful 20 degrees (only a week until winter hits too.)

Sad to say there was no roof up yet, BUT there were roof tiles and battens ready to be installed. Our bricks have also had a beautiful spray clean 😀

Roof Tiles

roof riles

Battens

Obligatory happy pose

Hot hubby doing his thing
We are loving the gutters and fascia and can’t wait to see it all together when the eaves, downpipes and roof are installed.

So we were originally meant to move the bricks today after work but the SS called on Friday and said not to bother as there were several delays on the house due to wet and windy weather last week. There was still scaffolding and the roof tiles in the way so SS said we could move the bricks once they head inside to work in a few weeks. It all worked out in the end as Hubby and I came down with terrible colds so we would not have been very productive anyway.

SS advised Lock up should be less than 3weeks away now 🙂 Lovely Nat over on Homeone mentioned on the forum today that they were busy working away on the roof with a cute little conveyor belt delivering the tiles onto the roof!Cheer

Gutters and Fascia

Measuring

Gutters and Fascia

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Brick-it down now

*hums ‘can’t touch this’* As of May 17th, our brickwork is complete 🙂 Completely Bricked Ain’t she a beauty?!!!

Our gutters and fascia were delivered last week and our SS said the Fascia went up on Tuesday 🙂
Gutter / Fascia

There have been some issues with weather, first wind and now rain, so Clarendon have been set back a little. Yesterday we were meant to move the leftover bricks from the front our lot to to the back so we could save them from being taken or thrown out. SS said it’s ok to have a few extra people onsite to help move them so we will try and convince a few friends to give us a hand (with the promise of cookies!!) We’ve been told there is no real rush to move them as gyprock won’t be delivered for another 2 weeks (sad face). But I figure it’s best to get them moved to a safer/secure location asap so we’ll head out Monday 27th after work.

And here are some other shots from around the lot just because 😀
Air Con space Backyard brick

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IMG_2887B&R 18th May
Awwdorable

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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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