Brooks Reach Building adventure

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

A week to go …

Ok time for a quick sit down and a few deep breaths… We think we’re a week out from actually being able to move in. The bank has done their valuation and we’re now just waiting on the report. Payment is then sent from our bank to Clarendon via EFT and 24hours later we can have handover!!!

Here is a snapshot of our glass splashback installed last week (nib walls weren’t painted at the time; we didn’t pay to upgrade to have the splashback wrap around the sides)

Our current timeline looks like this:
15th Tiler starts (expected to finish 19th at the latest) Our SS has been really accommodating in letting us start before we have keys; a big shout out to Shrimpy. Thank you!
16th Potentially have handover if final invoice has cleared in Clarendon’s bank account
17th August Go to Warrawong and pay off furniture at the wood factory outlet.
Go to Harvey Norman and purchase our dishwasher to then be delivered on Thursday 22nd
Purchase queen mattress and arrange for delivery on Thursday 22nd
Go to Bunnings and buy letterbox
19th/20th Carpets installed. Mop tiled areas/wipe down kitchen cupboards
20th Appliances installed (hot water system, cooktop, rangehood and oven)
21st MOVING DAY. A big truck comes and takes all our lovely things to the new house
22nd Air con installed in the new place
End of Lease cleaning in the apartment
Wood furniture delivered
Dishwasher delivered
23rd Air con finished being installed
Wynstan Blinds install flyscreens, fly screen doors and panel glide blinds
26th Keys back to rental agent (if not beforehand)

Still waiting on a call about our Shutters but they will probably go in next week too. Once we have official date of keys we will arrange NBN hookup and change our gas/electricity back to AGL. We’re still awaiting the quote from our landscaper for various items that need completing; retaining wall, driveway and fencing the most urgent.
Then it’s all the little things like mail redirection, changing addresses for the cards/services we have.

I have our meal plan sorted too for the next week so one less thing to think about amongst it all. We still actually have to BOOK a removalist and cleaner, but we’re trusting God to provide us with great quotes and service people.

I feel like I am having a ‘Home Alone’ moment like we’ve forgotten something majorly important.. But don’t worry, we don’t have kids that we’ve left in another country or anything like that haha.

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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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