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!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Things we didn't consider...

We noticed a few things at the house that seemed odd...or we just didn't think about them. Not complaining, just thought that it might be worth mentioning in case these were things that anyone might be overlooking, or interested in.

The Doorbell
Ours sits horizontally, rather than vertically. Have you EVER seen a doorbell attached horizontally? Ours was my first! Now Stephen wants to do away with it altogether.

The Lintels
The section above your door frame that holds onto the lowest row of bricks. They paint the bottom of it...and they painted ours in monument (dark grey), when every single door or window frame is (basically) surfmist (white)! So there are white frames, light brown bricks, and light grey tiles, and of all colours they pick the darkest one not even out there :P Oh well, it will be an easy enough fix and it's not like we noted what colour we wanted them so we'll cop it.

The Garage Door
Similar story. Except this one is painted white. If there is any leftover paint we will paint it a dark grey...because it leads outside and it's going to get dirty in no time. Might pay to note on your contracts (or at your colour appointment) which colour you want this to be! This never crossed our mind.

The Front Door
Ours is stained and still waiting to have the final gloss added. At the moment it's quite rough in areas and there are a few drips but they should be easy enough to fix I would think. Everything *should* be finished off by Friday.

We upgraded ours, and were asked if we wanted it included in the patio and alfresco. Check if you are getting cornice out here too.

Skirting boardsThese were put on after tiles...originally we thought it wouldn't look as good but the tilers have done a very good job. If you do want your tiles put on before your skirting, make sure 
you mention it at tender or you will likely need to pay a PCV fee.

Bathroom Tiles
If you want your top row of tiles in the bathroom to line up, put it in the tender. It's standard (in our package at least) for them to be finished neatly, but neither our bathroom or ensuite line up at the same height. As they have tiled to standard, we will fix this in future.

Items to leave off walls
Don't want a soap holder or rail attached to the wall? You know what to do! I was actually quite worried the tradies might put them on anyway...but they didn't. We've got the towel rail and will install when we move in...we just don't know where it should go yet. 

Depth of wardrobes
I think this was around 450mm. It's not terribly wide and at the narrowest point of the wardrobe, I can turn sideways but there's not much room either side. You might want to consider making this deeper if you have space to play with. What we have will be sufficient, but an extra 10cm would go a long way especially when we are going to add cabinets, drawers and doors.

Location and style of Window Handles
Something to consider, particularly if you are getting shutters installed. Can you get to the twisty knob? Can you slide your window open and have your slats open?  


Where will they put them? At electrical appointment, be sure to make a note on your plan stating where these go. We had a bedroom planned out but the electrician put a powerpoint about 20cm from the wardrobe. Still functional, but it's in the middle of no mans land and is less practical for what we had planned.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Post Construction Inspection

Today was the day! Neither of us went to work and we started off the day with a filling breakky from our friend Andrews cafe (at Moorebank Flower Power). Delicious as usual! We arrived to Oran Park at 9:45am (for a 10am meeting), and saw that our Site Supervisor was already there. We headed in early as these guys have a ton of jobs and we didn't want to waste his time or ours. 

He explained that he had already gone through the house, marking any imperfections he could see. They use painters tape, basically. He went through with blue tape, and the Tyrells inspector went through with green. There were a HEAP of blue ones, and only a few green ones that had been missed. To be honest we had a look at some of the green dots and we couldn't tell what the problem was. I guess that's why EB use Tyrells! We really didn't find much. I think most of it was due to the trades coming in after the painters, with scratches, scuffs etc on the paint. No huge issues that will delay us. An example of touch ups required:
  • Stink pipe to be painted, and downpipes to receive second coat
  • Electrical - a missing powerpoint, power for rangehood
  • Kitchen - back panel of island to be replaced as a screw or two were almost protruding through the board.
  • Clean up of mortar in back corner of yard. Wheelbarrow took a tumble. Whoops ;)

Sorry about the angles...they were edited but apparently stubborn and don't like change. We really love the carpet. REALLY. If you are considering upgrading your carpet, you should do it! We are really happy with the house so far. But we're at a point where we feel very disorganised. We are so close to moving in and we just want to get started already :)

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Nearly there!

We are about two weeks away from having the house finished (more or less!). We have had painters, tilers, plumbers, carpenters and electricians in recently and a walk through planned early next week. Kitchen is in. Bathrooms are all but done, just need shower screens. I'll add more photos once we can get in and it's looking a lot cleaner. Handover is anticipated for December 20th. However, wanted to mention a couple of stores who have provided great service lately.

We bought an outdoor setting this weekend from The Outdoor Furniture Specialists on Blaxland Rd. Pickup from Smeaton Grange. The service from Sue was amazing. Seriously. If you need an outdoor setting/furniture etc, consider these guys because she really knew her stuff. Lay by is an option if you find yourself buying a crapload of essential items for your home. Granted, this was not essential, but I think we needed to buy ourselves a 'present' for the new place :)

The other recommendation is for A Melbourne based company. We ordered our shutters a couple of months back. If you're handy around the house you should definitely consider them! Pay half when you order, half when they are ready to be shipped. If you are building, they could be a great option! Ours came last week. I'm very happy with the quality but will (hopefully) be even happier when they are installed in a couple of weeks! We should be receiving our roller blinds from blindsonline this week as well.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Lock Up + Photos!

Has it really been over a month since my last post?! 
It feels like things are happening so quickly at the moment, but at the same time I feel I have nothing to write about.

Earlier this month we met with our Site Supervisor.Top bloke, gives me faith in the building company after many months of back and forth with admin, contracts and sales. The admin side of the build is frustrating, but I think it has made us appreciate the building side even more. Anyway, our meeting with our SS. If you are building in our suburb you have a good chance of getting him and if your build is anything like ours and our tradies, you will enjoy yourself! We met with him just before the gyprock was to go on. Only exchanged a few emails prior and couldn't really get a feel for what he was like so we didn't know what to expect at the meeting. We spoke for about an hour, and went through each room of the house. He addressed our concerns and was very patient and informative. He took the time to go over the details. We did not once feel rushed and left the meeting very happy and satisfied.

We have been to the site often. We have had a walk through. We've spoken to a lot of tradies and they have all been great personalities and from my uneducated eye, they seem to have done a very good job to date. We only picked up on a few errors but all minor.

We currently are at lock up. Front door went on yesterday. Bricks have been cleaned and I could not be happier with the colours we have chosen.  Interesting to see how the colours appear in the different light.
Brick: Mocha
Roof: Colorbond monument
Gutter: Colorbond monument
Fascia and window: surfmist (garage door the same)

I recently commented on how frustrating Eden Brae had been at times. I suppose this is partly due to all the other delays on site, not their fault, which have you wanting to start your build 'yesterday' basically. But at the same time now that we are in construction, every time you see the house, there is something new to get excited about. It's Christmas Day for adults.

This week we are being waterproofed in the wet areas, skirting and gyprock has been completed, and on Wednesday the kitchen and vanities should be installed. Our next door neighbours have got their pegs! I have been waiting for them to start for a couple of reasons. They are closed in by all three access might be tricky, and I am keen to get a fence up for the dogs ;) But best to wait a little while to give tradies space and minimise the chances of them or us damaging the fence in our enthusiasm to get the house and landscaping complete haha...that's the last thing we want when we're all poor from furnishing houses and purchasing dozens of plants!! (And yes, we bought more plants on the weekend :) )

Monday, 16 September 2013


We've been looking into landscaping a little more lately. Who has everyone been using? We went up the road to Waratah Landscape Supplies, who are merging with Shepherds (from Camden Valley Way near Prestons). The guy there was really helpful and gave us a bunch of prices and advice on what is good for what we need to do. I suppose that's his job, but if you're in the area I'd recommend checking them out. Free delivery to Oran Park. They've just opened up in the area a week ago so there's not a lot there, but what is there is quite good. If you've got any recommendations, leave me a comment or give me a yell on the forum =)

We are at a loss for what to do in the backyard as our 8 month old puppy is currently going through a very destructive phase. We have nothing planned for the yard yet aside from the two trees Oran Park require us to plant for the 5K rebate. If they don't get past Marley I might have to encourage her to get a job to earn us the $5,000.00. I know what I want in the backyard...but will she let us put it there!?

In awesome news, we seem to have gotten approval to bump our side fence forward a couple of metres. We were concerned about having the bulk of our living area windows facing the street and hoped we could get at least 2 of the 3 into the backyard. Even better - more space for the dogs now! More grass to rip up.

In other news, we have bricks! We've just started our sixth week since the site was scraped. The house has gone up so quickly. For those interested:
Bricks: Mocha
Roof and Gutter: Monument

Eaves, Cladding and Fascia: Surfmist
Driveway: Charcoal paver

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Site Progress - In Pictures

When we bought the land - September 2nd, 2012. Not a thing in the background!

August 4 2013. Monster house going up in the background. So grateful there are a few blocks between us. Hopefully nobody else between us will build something like this.

August 8. SITE SCRAPED!!!

August 13 - Shade cloth delivered.
August 16. Piers and formwork done.

August 18 - Portaloo delivered, pipes in.

August 18

August 19, 2013. Eden Brae don't like to litter, so they tie rubbish around trees ;)

August 19 - Waffle pods in!

August 19 - view from front.

21 August, 2013 - We have a slab!!

Items to purchae, post-handover

One thing we didn't consider in any great detail, were all the things we will need to buy once we've moved in!! I've had to prioritise them so we keep some money in our account for the important things like bills...and foxtel :) I thought it could be helpful to anyone reading, to compare to what you've already listed once you move in.

These are our top priorities
  • Blinds (At least need to purchase the blinds/shutters for the bedroom, bathrooms and living areas). We're looking at either blindsonline or iseekblinds
  • Numbers to put on the house/letterbox - thank you ebay for the low prices and 1sttimebuilding2012 for giving us the idea!
  • Letterbox (to be bricked and rendered, like others in our estate)
  • Fence - seems like our new neighbours have contacts in a fencing company. I like them already!
  • Concrete down eastern side of house
  • Deadlocks
  • Downlight cables (got the downlights already. Thank you mum for the Bunnings vouchers!
  • Dog Kennel
Our medium priorities:
  • Soil (any suggestions on suppliers?)
  • Turf and mulch
  • Blinds for remainder of the house
  • Pavers (?) for edging in front garden
  • Irrigation fittings and tubes
  • External lights, spotlights and downlights for eaves
  • Fridge (We are using a 500(ish)L one at present. We bought one last week as our last one was freezing everything. We hoped we could get our big one but didn't know that if you have a fridge connected to the need to connect it to the plumbing. We don't have that option where we are staying at the moment)
  • Lounge - we have our eye on an ikea lounge
  • Wallpaper for entry foyer
Lowest/'eventually' priorities:
  • Pet Mesh - We have ordered fly screens from Eden Brae, but we have a 7 month old puppy who terrorises our 9 yr old (dog) and wreaks havoc on the screen doors we have here. Luckily these have the tough pet mesh and security screen so she can't do anything to them. I anticipate our fly screen doors at the new house will be destroyed in a matter of weeks.
  • Gas heater
  • Water Feature for front garden - something to go under our side piers below the wardrobe window.
  • Outdoor Setting
  • Shed - cheap sheds here:
  • Lawn Mower
  • Whipper Snipper replacement
  • Washing Machine replacement
Items already purchased
  • Fridge - Good Guys Campbelltown should be renamed The GREAT Guys. This store has the best customer service I have experienced at any good guys. Great variety and very knowledgable staff.
  • Vacuum (Mothers Day Sale!! Yeah!)
  • Dishwasher
  • Stove
  • Microwave
  • Fan
  • Lights, lampshades, pendants
  • Clothesline
  • Beds for the dogs
  • Kennards Storage fees
  • Plants, pots, soil
  • Furniture
  • Homewares
  • Sound systems
  • Hose systems

Friday, 16 August 2013

Formwork, Piering and Pipes (oh my!)

This week has seen more progress than the past 11 months =)

We dropped by the block a couple of times after work this week. By Thursday we saw the first photo:
Formwork in, piering done, portaloo present and shade cloth set up at the back to catch any sediments that want to make their way onto J&M's block behind us. This was great because I could finally get  an idea of how our house sits on the block and how much (how little) backyard we have to play with. There's really not much at all  but we will make do! Unless any of our neighbours is happy to leave their land vacant? ;) The location of the piering also gave an indication of where the walls are going. On another note, have a look at the direction our street lamp is facing. How does that even happen!

Pipes are in! Reo to the left, waffle pods to the right covering up most of W&J's block.

Oh yeah. We practically have a house! ;)

Oran Park notes:
Seems Stage 2C is not registering til the end of September if they are lucky. D'oh! I hear it's to do with water issues. 
Art and Craft markets on at Oran Park on Sunday. We'll be going down for a look.

Friday, 9 August 2013

SS Appointed,..Site scraped!

A lot happened today! We received a letter (snail mail) introducing our site supervisor. I hope he is the hard-@ss some people have spoken about. If not...I just hope he is competent lol!! I'm sure he will be just fine. We'll get a call from him in a couple of days to introduce himself properly.

We drove out to the block today and found this (pic below). Very happy! There's a drop of about 30cm from the end of the scraped section, so we are a little bit concerned that there may be a bit of a drop from the house down to the grass. Over the site - front to back - we have a drop of 60cm. I don't know if we will need retaining walls...hopefully not...but if we do, I am excited to think of what we could do to the garden :)

I still find it a little bit strange that the house behind us still has no action, despite being the first in our stage to receive pegs, several weeks before we did. The EBH guys over the road are yet to be scraped. Thought they may have been scraped the same time as us. Two doors down have a slab and frames already. Next door haven't had anything done yet, not even pegs I don't think...Hoping they start soon so they don't have any access issues if we and the Allwörth build 2 doors up close them in. They have a very narrow block so it could be a problem. Luckily for them we have a heap of room on that side of the house. The Evèryday Homes builds in our stage are being built at an unbelievable pace. One in the corner already has bricks. Crazy.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Designing for Dogs

In my building-process-boredom, I have been looking into what I could put into the backyard to entertain the dogs. Very important! I have no kids so I don't need to think about them. I want to keep my dogs happy, safe, and having fun.

There are some good articles online. I will add some links later. There are some amaaazing looking dog houses - the houzz link will give a link to doghouse designs.

So what I'm thinking is something like this:
  • Leaving space between fence and plants for the track they will inevitably wear into the garden
  • Elevated platform/obstacles/agility type items. Tunnels/tubes
  • Maybe a tiny kids pool or trough type water feature for hot days
  • Grasses, softish resilient plants that can take a beating
  • Soft materials like mulch or pebbles
  • Different natural materials. Wood, sandstone?
  • Small sandpit for digging/play
  • chicken wire or cement under fence to discourage digging at boundaries.
  • Flaps over kennel doors in warmer months
  • Screening off garbage area (Our little one is a bit of a ratbag)
  • Raised garden beds?
  • Planks, benches, areas to create interest.
We have things like water tanks, sewer access pits, air conditioning units in the backyard, so if we can incorporate things around these, that would be great. If you guys have any ideas, feel free to share in the comments below! We have a Rottweiler X (9) and Beagle X (7 months). Both girls, both lovely :)

Red Pegs

We got this in early/mid July. Nothing since then. It's been more waiting. Eden Brae give themselves 20 working days to order things for our build - our 20 days will be up on Friday. 

We went through CDC rather than Council. We have been pegged for about a month now, and our EBH neighbours over the road got pegged just under a week ago. The concern for us is, will EBH wait til they catch up to us, and do our builds together? We have had that many delays so far (not entirely EBH's fault mind you!!), that we just want to get started. We chose all our colours in December - another concern. Will the tiles still be produced when we get around to needing them?

Anyway, maybe..MAYBE...we will have something on site by the end of next week? I don't know. In some ways I am completely over this building business. We bought the land 11 months ago and thought we would be in by Christmas for sure. Our CSO said realistically we could expect to be in by early March.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Survey and final plans ordered

This is what we've got at the moment. More grass...and just in time for the builders to come along and destroy it ;) We've gotten our commencement letter from the bank. We've signed off on all our variations and paid 5% of them. Our survey has been ordered (4.7.13) and we should have final plans to check over at some point this week.Once that's all approved we can organise our site start meeting with our CSA.

Here are a couple of our favourite pieces which will go into the new home. Brushed aluminium pendants for the kitchen (Beacon), wall clock almost as big as me (Splendour Interiors), our dining table (with the chairs that I hate!!) and foyer light (Masters).

As for the build, here is where we are up to. So much more to go! At least we are almost out of admin.

Fast forward one hour and we have received our final colours, PCV's and plans to check over :)