Brooks Reach Building adventure

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

One year later …

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of getting the keys to our beautiful home, so i thought it would be fun to do a short post on what it’s been like living in beautiful Brooks Reach.

Brooks Reach CollageAs you can see, Brooks Reach is stunning; especially at sunset (or sunrise if you’re really keen!)

We’ve met a few more of our neighbours. The park is a great facilitator for this with well maintained grassy areas and bbqs perfect for a weekend get-together. A group of people from the estate all met together just before Christmas for nibbles and a further ‘getting to know you’. This was all arranged on our awesome forum thread on Homeone. Including all the lovely people we’ve met around Brooks reach there are also these regular inhabitants:


There’s ducks, possums, bats and even a few snakes in the woodland reserve area. Just be careful of that during the summer months out here in Horsley; snakes and redbacks. Yikes!

A few weeks after we moved in we had our landscaping and driveway completed by Glenn (let me know if you’d like his details).

DiggerRetaining wall


And our fences were installed by Made to Measure Fencing (you can find them on facebook. Steve is a great man). The winds have been pretty strong and noisy particularly over the last two months. We’ve been using ‘white noise’ to try and help us sleep through the night.

Our beautiful lillypilly tree is also growing. I can’t wait for the one out the front to really take off and provide a bit more privacy to the place too.

We celebrated our first Christmas in the house. It was lovely to see so many people with wreaths and Christmas lights up around the estate 🙂 Such an awesome family-friendly place.

But I think the most exciting news so far is that this December we will be welcoming a beautiful new addition to our family!




Well It’s been nearly a month since we received the keys to our beautiful new home. We’ve done a lot in that time and yet have not accomplished anywhere near as much as we’d thought or hoped we would.
Moving is stressful!
Organising tradies is time consuming!
Cleaning and more cleaning and still cleaning is exhausting!
But overall we are LOVING being homeowners!! We’ve settled into our regular run to/from work, the construction noise early in the morning doesn’t bother us so much and our neighbourhood is just delightful!
Our SS has been amazing, even more so now we’ve had handover. His team are coming back next week to fix the pantry shelving height and do the paint touch-ups we need.

The major updates to the house since keys:
We have air conditioning


Our landscaping has started

NBN was installed

And we’ve slowly started putting together other rooms in the house



kitchen lighting




Still lots of bits and pieces to do, but we’re enjoying it!
Hope you liked the sneak peek at our lovely ‘Manor’.


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!

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


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:

internal front door

kitchen & meals

laundry 31.07.13

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!


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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Land Registration Update

After heading out to the site at Brooks Reach on Sunday 11th March we heard that since November 2011 the developer has recorded 60 rain days … that’s huge! As such we were recently reissued with an updated estimate as to when our land may register and settle. Our lot is in stage 4 and we’ve known it would be at least June before our stage was ready, but the setback is still disheartening. Just one of those things we can’t control. Keep praying for warm, sunny days!

For lot details click here Brooks Reach lot plan feb 2012
Below is an updated post of all the land registration details we have had up to date:

Registration Update 8th March 2012

Stage 1: Registration anticipated June 2012

Stage 2: Registration anticipated June 2012

Stage 3: Registration anticipated June/July 2012

Stage 4: Registration anticipated June/July 2012  —> Our stage!

Stage 5: Registration anticipated July 2012

Stage 6: Registration anticipated June 2012

Registration Update 17 February 2012

Stage 1: Registration anticipated May 2012

Stage 2: Registration anticipated April 2012

Stage 3: Registration anticipated May 2012

Stage 4: Registration anticipated June 2012 —> Our stage

Stage 6: Registration anticipated June 2012

Registration Update 16 November 2011

Stage 1: Registration anticipated May 2012

Stage 2: Registration anticipated April 2012

Stage 3: Registration anticipated May 2012

Stage 4: Registration anticipated June 2012 —> Our stage

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