Brooks Reach Building adventure

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

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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Kitchen Spec

Our kitchen meeting was part of our first Clarendon Create appointment but I felt it needed it’s own post as it’s such an important part of our home.
The kitchen has always been my focus during the house hunting and now building process. Thankfully I have an incredible husband that has supported my kitchen-crush during this whole time. A promise of never ending brownies may have also helped!

Our kitchen will have 3m long stone benchtops with a breakfast bar extension making the island bench even wider. We will have a 900mm gas cooktop, canopy ducted rangehood and 600mm electric oven. We will eventually have a side-by-side fridge/freezer with a filtered water point. WE HAVE A HUGE WALK IN PANTRY! We haven’t picked out tiles yet as our builder is making us wait until construction is under way (who knows why!) but they’ll be a light colour like this:ZIRVE BEIGE (MARBLE) - Tile Sample from QQ

We describe the feel of our future kitchen as open and earthy with the green and brown tones. One of the best upgrades we made was our kitchen sink to be a double bowl sink. Best $15 upgrade I think! Of course we had to source specific models and ask for a price on all the items we wanted, but that wasn’t too much work. We also upgraded our oven to a newer model too for a small fee.
Branden’s Grandma & Poppop gave me some money towards my KitchenAid that I’ll purchase as a house warming gift to myself when we move in. I’m thinking green apple KitchenAid Green Apple Artisan or possibly Cobalt Blue (B’s fave colour is blue) Cobalt Blue KitchenAid. The hubby will probably spend his gift money on electronics or something for the theatre room. Boys and their toys!

The original quote for upgrades came to a total of $12,970!!!!!! *wide eyes*. We just couldn’t believe the cost for some of the items. We didn’t get a quote for the tepanyaki built in cooktop with wok, I think that would have been neat but very expensive. We would have loved to have SMEG appliances too but agreed we could upgrade to those later once we settle in and save for those kind of things.

Below are the items we had quoted (with approximate figures):

  • Craftwood bulkheads above cabinets (between ceiling and cabinets) $420 Did not get this upgrade (Essentially it’s a fake wall so you don’t have to dust above your cabinets. How silly)
  • Provide matching door colour above canopy rangehood $192 Did not get this upgrade
  • Matching door colour bottoms to matching side of wall cabinets either side of rangehood $190 Did not get this upgrade
  • 300mm depth extra overhang to breakfast bar $400
  • 20mm thick stone benchtop, pencil round edge $4000
  • Laminex crystal gloss melamine doors/panels (Espresso) $2100 Did not go with this upgrade
  • Brushed aluminium laminated kickboards $420 Did not get this upgrade
  • Lamanix metaline splashback (including behind rangehood), Champagne Perle $2600
  • 1 x bank of 2x pot drawers righthand side of underbench oven $220
  • Soft closing drawers – $820 Did not go with this upgrade
  • Soft closing door hinges – $384 Did not go with this upgrade

*Microwave provision removed
*Aware that our fridge door will not extend fully due to wall cavity.

Our total for upgrades/changes etc came to around $6000

This is our beautiful kitchen plan

Kitchen drawing

Splashback: Laminex Metaline Champagne Perle champagne_perle splashback You can’t tell from the picture but it is a soft green colour that hs a subtle gold fleck through it. So pretty.

Benchtop: Quantum Quartz New Diamond white New Diamond White stone benchtop

Kitchen cabinets: Wilsonart Chocolate O547 Morro Zephyr 4846

Cooktop: westinghouse ghr95s – 5 burners baby! GHR95S-14700
Oven: POR667S POR667S-14158

Sink: R175 MK II double bowl sink R175 MK II double bowl sink

rangehood: WRF900CS-6286 – Canopy Rangehood WRF900CS-6286 - Canopy Rangehood

The colours will end up looking something like the below design sample (The design is different though)

Envisage Kitchen design

Up next: Clarendon Create pt2 (internal colours, alarms, bathrooms and other not so exciting things)…

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