Brooks Reach Building adventure

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

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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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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