Monday, 25 August 2014

In The Beginning...

Hi there. A couple of things keep popping up at work so I thought I'd touch on them here just in case anyone is still reading (aside from who or what ever is spamming my comments!).

Look at your plans. Really LOOK at them. If you don't understand something, ask, because what you sign off on, is what the builder is going to build. Go through the display home as many times as you need to. Take a measuring tape. Compare the display to the first set of plans the builder draws up for you. Are you happy with the type of glass, the direction of the doors, the fridge space, the placement of the tap and niche in the shower. Is there something you have seen in a display home that you would like in your home? Just because the display had under stair storage, does that mean you will have it? Do you want to move or remove walls? Are you doing flooring afterwards? Keep in mind that the builder is going to go all out in a display home, so you won't necessarily have the things they have provided. Check with your salesperson, because the sooner you realise these things and make the changes, the greater chance you have at saving money. Builders will often charge a fee for any late changes.

Especially important are the windows. I know when we built we assumed bathrooms would have obscure glass provided. Clear glass was the standard. You can choose from a variety, including obscure and translucent glass but get onto it early. The upgrade isn't too much but not realising you don't have this can again result in additional costs. Check that your tender and your plans match up. Windows take quite some time to order (allow about a month) so you don't want to get this wrong.

On a similar note, does the builder provide a privacy set for the doors on the bathrooms/bedrooms? You may need to add these into the tender. When you're at tender stage, it may be wise to list as many of the items you could possibly want, as early as possible. To go back for tender after tender is extremely frustrating and time consuming. If you are advised "you can discuss that with the supervisor", make sure you can. There have been times when people have been advised of this (e.g. tacking on skirting boards so the owner can later remove and do their own flooring) when it really should have been disclosed on the tender, and in the end you are hit with a late fee.

Rubbish on site. Oh my goodness. Check your tender because there could be a section that advises you need to ensure your site is clear before the builder takes over. Not getting rid of this before you are out of admin can mean delays. You might need your site to be pegged out again, which takes a few days.

Have you got the fusebox on the correct side?

Where do you want that towel rack?

External lights?
(Which reminds me, if you want downlights in your eaves, get the electrician to get that started for you. I have had my arm in our eaves far too many times.) 

That's it for now...
Oh and by the way, I mentioned our 21 photinias in my previous post. I think we have maybe six left, and even those ones are now half the size thanks to the dog.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

We have a backyard!

So the job with the builder seems to be going well. I'm still learning exactly what goes on behind the scenes but it's nice to be able to help people and make them feel more involved in the process. The less worry, the better it is for everyone. Everyone in my team has been really helpful. Hopefully I will be there for some time if the morale and enjoyment continues like this. I guess it's still the honeymoon phase for me :)

On our block, we have completed the fence and gates. We've also turfed the backyard - completed that on Saturday. If any of you are local you will know that it has been bucketing down since Monday with no end in sight. A little too much rain for my liking! We had a big area of the front yard under water twice this week. 4m x 8m. We had to pull apart one of our drainage pipes to get the water level down as it was soaking into the grass and waterlogging it. We already have some minor issues with waterlogging but for the most part it all looks ok. We REALLY need some sunshine, or at the very least warmth to dry out the grass a little.

Brett the Bobcat Man had a couple of extra tonnes of soil he needed to get rid of the other he dropped it off to us for nothing! So stoked! We also got extra turf from Cobbitty Turf Farm, though I initially was quite cranky as there was a miscommunication which led to our turf being delivered at 11am rather than 8am. It really sucked to be shovelling soil and playing with turf in the hottest time of the day. Plus a trip to the nursery was needed. YES another one! We have bought about 21 photinia. I am convinced our dog will destroy these when she comes to live with us. I have attached a couple of before and after shots, our front yard water feature, and a cute little white lizard who has been spending some time in our alfresco recently. Waterlogged? Albino (that can't be good for a cold blooded(?) animal?)? Chameleon!?!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Fences delivered. Now to install!

How have I left it so long between blogs! I turn on the computer to add an entry, and then we end up looking at pavers, fences, concrete, turf name it! Like this post. I wrote that first sentence half an hour ago, and Stephen came in saying we should move our fence palings into the garage. Interruptions! :)

So we've been in for two months now. The first few weeks were absolutely MENTAL. We didn't really have a break over Christmas, we just did 'house stuff'. About a squillion people came over, and we just kept buying things for the house. I'll add some photos shortly.

I am so glad this blog has helped some of you guys out! I know what a pain building can be at times. And you know what? I just went and scored myself a job with a builder. WHAT am I doing!!!!??!?!? To have to deal with people like us, who freak out about an email being a day late? Panicking about the estimator taking too long. Panicking about why something hasn't happened on my site exactly when you said it would. We did all these things. At least I will have empathy!

So basically, the cabinetry has been added to bathrooms, our wardrobes, the pantry, and almost the garage. That's one of this weekends tasks. We still have a few boxes leftover but we're getting there. We got our rebate in about 5 days. That has since been spent on wood, soil, I don't know what. But I certainly underestimated exactly how much would need to be done afterwards. Add to that organising a wedding...there goes some more money.

If anyone is looking for someone to level their land, we used Brett the Bobcat Man. He's local and didn't charge a bomb. We also got him to get us 8tonnes of soil. More to come. He'll take away your excess clay/fill too if you need it. We didn't have a lot. Made up a sign saying 'free fill' and within the day, it was gone! So put up a sign if you want someone to take something, and it might just happen!

Post handover cabinets. Shelving to go between and around the mirrored cabinets.
Post-handover wallpaper and pendant light.
Post Handover wardrobe (ex study nook).

Post Handover: fencing!
Post-handover levelled land, retained, fresh topsoil. Yum!
Todays action - reo in, formwork up, ready for concrete next week!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

The joys of moving in - Part II

After a couple of days, one of our neighbours came over with a box of chocolates to introduce herself. How lovely! We have met the majority of people living in the houses we can see. Makes you feel more at home, safer and more community oriented I guess. There are a few people who go walking in the mornings with dogs, bikes, people. Seems like a nice community so far. The tradies we have spoken to have been awesome. The guy over the road at Allworth even tried helping us out with the air conditioning. Hopefully the Masterton tradies next door will be just as good.

Something I wanted to touch on was trespassing on your site. It's very tempting to do it. You should definitely not do it, but if you can't help yourself, be sure to tell your SS that you plan to go to site for whatever reason, whether it be to measure something (to order blinds, to plan for building something for the house). At least he can prepare to meet you on site and prepare any necessary paperwork to cover himself AND if you are going on site, don't be an idiot and wear thongs. Wear appropriate closed in footwear. Runners. There are pieces of colorbond, nails, screws, reo, shards of brick and pavers on site. Slippery clay, loose rubble. You do not want to be slipping on this or having a nail go through your thong and into your foot. Plus if you get hurt, you aren't covered. Our SS told us some horror stories of people who had been hurt (or worse) on site. We have seen people take their kids up scaffolding in Oran Park. If you are going to be on site when you shouldn't, at least use your common sense and don't climb on things or put your life in any more danger than you already have. You want your SS to be on your side - and he is - so don't risk irritating him by injuring yourself when you shouldn't be on site. (This is a huge case of "Do as I say, not as I do". We had been on site, and I never felt comfortable being there. And if you feel uncomfortable, there's probably a reason why! I did a lot of looking from afar and sitting in the car haha...)

How about I go and take some photos of the work done to date? :)

The joys of moving in - Part I

We had our site meeting with the SS at 7:30am. Paul has been amazing. If any of you are in our area and you manage to get him, you will be in good hands. We went through everything and the only issues were a downpipe and electrical. We were done in about 45 minutes and most of that was hanging around waiting for the electricians to arrive. Then we drove to Norwest to meet our CSA. I do not envy the job they have to do...being the point of contact between a whiny client and estimators/the other consultants. Katherine was lovely. We took about half an hour to go through everything, get our keys etc and get out of there. We went via the in-laws to collect our shutters.
The first thing we did was put up our shutters. Fairly straightforward, just measure twice (cut once)before you order. I Seek Blinds was the company we used and we could not be happier. I will post photos in the next blog.
At the time of writing this, we have been in the house for one week. At first I thought the house was doomed. Our appliances all needed tweaking.

The air conditioning didn't work on the day we moved in. That day it was 41 degrees. 41 DEGREES. We worked from 12-4pm in the stinking hot heat. Called the CSA and got her answering machine. Called the SS and got his. Called the air con mob and got the machine "We won't re-open until the 13th" or something to that effect. So Stephen kept calling and I think he got through to our CSA who said she would sort it out. At 4pm we had a visit from the air con maintenance guy! The installer had put in the wiring backwards. You would think that either they would know where to put each wire OR they would test it out to ensure it is working. We had a play around with it on our final inspection day, and it worked fine for the first minute or so, so we switched it off. It wasn't until we needed it that we realised it wasn't happening.

The washing machine drainage hose didn't fit properly, so we flooded the laundry a few times.

The clock on our oven was knocked back (we bought this, so not EBH's problem), into the oven cavity. To work the oven or stove at all, you need to set the clock. We couldn't do that, and we couldn't get a gasfitter to come out to set up our gas connection until yesterday.  I lived on cereal, 2 minute noodles and leftovers until last night.

The fridge. Our hose connection wasn't the right size. Went to Bunning's to get a connection to reduce the size but even that wasn't right. A couple of trips to Bunning's and the fridge is connected and working like a dream. Having an ice machine and cool water from the fridge is still a novelty. Good thing Bunning's is just around the corner. Everyone must know Stephen's face by now.

Electrical. Was. A. Nightmare. Ok maybe a slight exaggeration but we had issues from the start. Emailed SS about them, fwded to electrical people, most weren't resolved. Points were missed. Extra holes unnecessarily punched into the walls. One of our switches still doesn't work. Switches placed willy nilly in some areas, very close to robes, not anywhere near evenly spaced in the room. If you want that, specify it in your contract because they will just put it to the closest stud. Fair enough, but it isn't always practical. We had different tv points which have since been rectified.  A bar panel was busted from a screw. They are all minor things but some of them just seemed so silly that you'd think no professional would make such a mistake.

We have television sets, but no television. We called opticomm who pencilled us in for January 6, but said they could do it on Dec 20 if we had someone home. 2-3 days after the initial call (when we have arranged to have someone house sit for the opticomm guy) they said they wouldn't be in the area and as it was 2 hours from their location, it wouldn't be worthwhile.

Stephen has been working his butt off with the joinery in this house. He has fitted out our pantry, linen cupboard and my wardrobe. They all look sensational. Next on his agenda is fitting out his own wardrobe and  storage/cabinets in the bathrooms. Eventually he will renovate the kitchen, and fit out the study, laundry, BBQ, Home Theatre and other wardrobes as well. It looks amazing. He is a very talented guy!

We have had a lot of help with this move. A friend of Stephens is an electrician and was able to install our down lights and pendants. He did a sensational job. One of my friends played removalist recently and we brought a LOT of our belongings over to the new house and we are very grateful to both. We have also had people visit us unexpectedly. Sometimes you just need people to stay away for a while so you can get stuck into doing what you need to do. This might sound rude or ungrateful but if people are coming over and wanting a coffee and a chat, you can't really give them the time they deserve if you have as much to get through as we do. We're only off work a little while so we don't have a lot of time. If people can wait to have their stickybeak until after you are mostly set up then that is ideal. Either that, OR have a HEAP of tasks you need people to do, ready to go so that when they ask you "What can I do?" you don't think "Just p!ss off and let me do it", but rather have a plan ready to go and they can help and be out of your hair for a while. We had 9 people in this house at one point, and it was only the second day. We had planned for a maximum of 4 people. Not to sound ungrateful haha...  Moving is stressful, so if you can make it as stress free as possible I recommend it!