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!
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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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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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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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