Brooks Reach Building adventure

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

Clarendon Create appointment pt 2 (internals/electrical)

Following our Clarendon Create appointment on the 6th of January we had a ‘Part 2’ on the 16th of February 2012 which included:
Clarendon Internal colours – Here we choose door furniture, drain type & finishes, bathroom/laundry layout & finishes, internal paint colour of walls and ceilings
Accent Flooring – Carpet & timber flooring
Ark Finishing Touches – window treatments (not curtains), blinds, plantation shutters, flyscreens, security doors, letterboxes
Sentinel Alarms – for security needs, ducted vacuum, TV & Telephone points and Smart wire requirements if needed

Clarendon Internal Colours
Ceiling: Taubmans Crisp white
Walls: Taubmans Pacific Pearl
Skirting/architraves: Taubmans Pacific Pearl gloss
Bathroom cabinets: Wilsonart Designer White D354
2x1200mm width mirrors to bathrooms above vanities
Bath: maxton 1500 bath
Bathroom sink: Monaco bowl bathroom vanity

We had our tile appointment with Dons Tiles at Narellan on the 14th March 2013. They had a great range and our sales consultant, Holly, was nice and knowledgeable. She didn’t push us to upgrade anything and thankfully the tiles we loved were in our included price range. We ended up spending about $2000 in upgrades at our appointment to bring the tiles in the bathroom, ensuite, separate W.C and laundry to 1.2m half (half way up wall). We also had the mosaic tiles put above our sink in the ensuite and a strip across the face of the bath.

Bathroom tile

Bathroom tile

Bathroom tile and mosaic

Bathroom tile and mosaic

Laundry tile (not having the mosaic in the laundry room though)

Laundry tile (not having the mosaic in the laundry room though)

Threshold tile

Threshold tile

Accent flooring
We had already obtained some external quotes from companies around Wollongong so we had an idea as to what we wanted (and a good price range to know if we were being ripped off). Oh my.. the carpets.. SO TERRIBLE!! Our ‘standard’ range included colours like blue with orange flecks or just solid burnt brown; colours that you wouldn’t even let your grandma keep in her old home. And boy was it itchy! And the underlay was so basic that you’re forced to upgrade. We were up front and told the sales person from Accent and informed her we had sourced a more affordable quote with a much better product (and premium underlay.) Of course if Clarendon/Accent were able to offer a better product and a nicer range of carpets we wouldn’t mind paying a little to upgrade; it would be great to have the carpet done at the same time as the rest of house so there would be one less thing we have to do after hand over! In the end she gave us this quote just for our reference:

Daylesford 7300/- Stonewash 100% Polypropylene loop pile carpet
Or Ballino 575/- Jarrah 100% Nylon plush pile carpet

Ark finishing touches
How beautiful are plantation shutters!!! If this wasn’t our first home (and/or we were loaded) we’d definitely get plantation shutters everywhere! (If we miraculously make it under budget we might JUST be able to get a few shutters installed.. One can hope!) The salesperson tried to sell us vertical blinds but I told her strongly how much I hate them. We did ask about the price of getting vertical blinds but in a solid pvc/wood as the care and upkeep of them would be a lot easier and hubby was used to these types of blinds as they are quite prominent in the states. Though they are easier to make the cost is a lot more expensive as they aren’t blinds that are mass produced like the hideous fabric vertical blinds. Our developer guidelines don’t allow us to have a patterned front screen door so we didn’t have to worry too much about that. We would like to have a screen door installed after handover, though it will be expensive as it needs to be steel mesh to be compliant with BAL 12.5 bush fire rating.

Prices from Ark:
$800 For 12 flyscreens w/ aluminium mesh to meet BAL 12.5 rating
$400 Sliding Flyscreen Door in Black to meals sliding door with aluminium mesh to comply with BAL 12.5
$700 63mm “New York” Polystyrene Imitation Timber Venetian Blinds in “White” to ensuite & bathroom. 2 windows in total.
$900 Provide 127mm Vertical Blinds in “Spirit” 100% block out fabric to family, meals door & meals window. 3 blinds in total
$6500 (+ GST) 90mm Basswood Timber Plantation Shutters in colour: “White” in frame with rear metal wand control to front door sidelites (x2), bed 1, living/home theatre, bed 3, bed 4 & bed 2. 7 windows in total

Sentinel Alarms [and electrical appointment with YHC]
We had 2 TV points and 2 Phone points included in our plan and added 2 Cat 6 cables for $125 each. Sentinel tried to sell us the Hills Hub for the NBN for $500 (plus GST) until we told her that hubby works in the software/IT industry and we would not be going with the hub. I can’t remember the quote for ducted vacuuming points but it was too expensive for us.
We also discussed alarms and zoning with the quote being about $1400.

As we had signed our tender so long ago when it was time for our final electrical appointment, Clarendon had changed electrical providers to Your Home Consulting.

Our final electrical appoint was on the 7th March at Oak flats (yay, we didn’t have to go to Sydney!). We met with Kiah from YHC and she was lovely. Our appointment went for about 1.5hours and we discussed power points, lighting and wiring (we had to go over everything we had signed off on with Sentinel). Though it was a bit frustrating having to redo a lot of things, we ended up saving a bit of money as YHC charge for providing phone and tv points as well as the Cat 6 cables being considerably more expensive with them. Below is our electrical layout for our power points and hot water control pad.

Electrical Plans 18.03.13.pdf

Price list below for individual YHC items:

  • Baton Light Point $53.00
  • External Wall Light Point $70.00
  • Extra Light Circuit and Safety Switch $240.00
  • 2 Way Switch $50.00
  • Supply & Install Motion Sensor (Outdoor) $125.00
  • Single Power Point $58.00
  • Double Power Point $68.00
  • Extra Power Circuit and Safety Switch $250.00
  • Weatherproof Single Power Point $115.00
  • Weatherproof Double Power Point $125.00
  • Upgrade Meter Box to 3 Phase $480.00 $480.00
  • Door Chime Wiring (240v) $130.00
  • Wire, Supply & Install 2 Lamp Fan Light Heater (Includes Extra Circuit & Extra Safety Switch) Non ducted $440.00
  • Wire, Supply & Install 4 Lamp Fan Light Heater (Includes Extra Circuit & Extra Safety Switch) Non ducted $520.00
  • Wire, Supply & Install Side Vented 2 Lamp Fan Light Heater (Includes Extra Circuit & Extra Safety Switch) $590.00
  • Wire, Supply & Install Side Vented 4 Lamp Fan Light Heater (Includes Extra Circuit & Extra Safety Switch) $660.00

We ended up spending about $3000 at our YHC appointment with lights, outdoor motion sensors, outdoor junction box for porch light and extra power points.

Next blog post will about actual progress on the land 🙂 If you have any questions about upgrades, our selection etc just comment below 🙂


Stop, Tender time!

December 7th 2011
What an ordeal that Tender meeting was! Unfortunately for us most builders have their main business in the Sydney area so we had nearly a 4hr round trip to Clarendon Homes at Baulkham Hills. (Thankfully I have been to many Hillsong conferences/events over the years so I had a general idea as to where we were heading as Clarendon’s office is right near Hillsong Church!)

We had arranged my uncle to meet us there for the tender meeting as this is our first home buying/building experience and he has an engineering background so we thought it might help. Hubby & I are considered quite young to be building a new home too so we wanted an older presence in the room .. and boy are we glad he was there! We waited about 20 minutes past our scheduled appointment time before heading into Mr T’s office (for privacy’s sake that’s what we’ll call him). It was quite a lavish office with lots of tribal pieces that kinda freaked me out, so that didn’t help me feel at ease. The other thing that got us offside was he continued to state that he’d rather be playing golf or be anywhere than with us in that meeting.

The meeting got off to a bad start with Mr T saying they had lost our file so he didn’t have it with him. He left the room to go and search and another 20 minutes later he returned and exclaimed how great it was that he had found the file. The next 15 minutes or so was spent with him reading over our file and reading through the Tender document someone had put together for him to deliver to us.

One of the first questions my uncle asked was ‘how much overhead do you get?’ and all our jaws dropped when Mr T mumbled ‘at least 25% on each product/service’ etc. Firstly, that is a huge amount! It was good to know that as we got down to the gritty details. Before our Tender appointment we studied our developer’s guidelines and read up on council requirements in our area and tried to arm ourselves with as much knowledge as possible. One of the first things we discussed was our floor plan. We had to point out to him that the design as it currently stands does not meet our developers guidelines as there needs to be a break in a wall if it has a run of more than 12m (ours runs about 15m). Mr T tried to question us as if we didn’t know what we were on about. We advised that Deb was aware of these guidelines too as she was the first one to hand them to us! Mr T then made one of several phone calls he’d make during our time there and left the phone awkwardly on speaker phone. Mr T left the room with the plans and returned 15 minutes later saying he had been in with draftsman and that they had solved the problem by extending our ensuite by 200mm, giving us the break in the long wall. He said that due to the changes and what they have to do with the roof it would be an additional $3300 – we were instantly devastated to say the least. Before we could speak my uncle piped up and reminded Mr T that this is Clarendon’s fault, not ours. We signed initial paperwork and paid a deposit based on different information. Hubs & I also pointed out to Mr T that we had signed documentation stating that our house package would be compliant to the Developer’s guidelines. Ahah! We had him, or so we thought. He obviously had to agree that we were not at fault and not responsible to pay, but in the next breath he said they wouldn’t be doing any of our turf for us. It was apparently only a verbal agreement when we signed on with Clarendon that they would turf our front lawn for us. Mr T confirmed via phone call (again on speaker phone, speaking badly of us while we were in the room) that out in Brooks Reach there was an agreement in place for turf. But as we didn’t have it in writing Mr T said they are not going to turf our lawn. It is interesting that future home designs & packages from Clarendon out in Brooks reach all mention that Clarendon will turf their lawn. We’re better off not paying for the plan change though and dealing with the turf when we arrange the rest of our landscaping.

We added a few things on to our tender – like locks for the bathroom door; why they don’t come standard I have no idea! We also moved the toilet from the main bathroom and made it separate. We also had to pay for an exhaust fan in the room as it does not have a window. In total around $600 for that small change, but we definitely wanted the toilet separate. Another change we made was to put a door on our ensuite. YES A DOOR! Apparently a trend in the house designs at the time we chose ours was to have an open ensuite (and not just from our builder, most builders were doing it). I think it is just another way of getting money out of people. So we argued with him as to why we wanted a toilet door, though you think it’d be obvious as to why .. even though we’re married we need privacy sometimes, ya know?! He then tried to suggest we need a door on our walk in closet! I nearly laughed in his face. He said we need a place to hide Christmas presents when we have kids, and it looks better with a door. We continued to decline his reasons for us needing one until he moved on. We also added two sliding doors to our theatre room and made the wall in that room a complete wall rather with arty holes in it.

Most of the things included in our tender were pretty standard overall. He advised us that we could easily remove items from the tender/contract as we need to but there would be a $2200 admin fee for each major structural change after contracts were signed. We didn’t really have the opportunity during the tender meeting to ask for a free dishwasher or things like that. Our tender presenter was not really a people person and we didn’t get on well with him at all; we were worried if we asked for any inclusions he’d take more things away from us!

Provisions included in our Tender(things that might not be needed, but an average price to give us an idea as to what we could be paying):

  • $8000 for BAL 12.5 bushfire requirements
  • $1500 for stone bench top upgrades (This was one of the worst miss-quoted items. Our benchtops ended up costing around $4000)
  • $7500 for rock excavation, additional piering, import of fill/export of soil as required
  • $2000 allowance for stormwater to hydraulics engineers details as required by council

Items in our Tender we would later drop:

  • $1210 for a brick letterbox
  • $10500 Brivis 6.5HP ducted air con
  • $7335 driveway pavers
  • $8210 Builders range of quarry tiles
  • $2940 Builders bronze range of carpet
  • $550 landscape concept plan

We had 7 days to sign the tender but signed it on the spot at the conclusion of the day as we were content with what had been presented and we were happy to proceed with Clarendon. We also paid an additional $4000 to secure the tender. We left the meeting with a copy of our signed tender (expiation date of September 2012) a sample copy of the formal contract and our ‘Clarendon Create’ folder.

Next Step: Contract signing and part 1 of our Clarendon Create appointment on 6th January 2012