Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Final Contract Meeting - 'still' to be continued

Well things have just about come to a complete stand still - on M's end anyway.  Its fast approaching 3 weeks since our original 'final contract meeting' and only a few queries have been answered / resolved. 
The few they have answered to date appear reasonable, except one provisional amount.  I wasn’t happy with the number of the provisional amounts and requested they do whatever… to define / quantify them.  Anyway long story short, the one provisional amount for $6k that they have come back to us has now turned into a provisional amount of $12k….  That’s a 100% movement.  Needless to say we will be reassessing the need for this item altogether.
On our side of things, I’ve met with the demolisher I’m most comfortable with and discussed all things re demolishing.  He has been recommended to me by a friend and his initial quote was very competitive.  We were also able to work the price as well.  He is also happy for me to remove anything I can sell from the old house.  This may sound odd, but some demolishers claim they have offset the salvage value of items into their quote.
My demolisher is old school – get in and get out.  They come in with a truck and a big arse digger and push it all over.  He’ll grab any vegetation at ground level and pluck them clean out of the ground.  The ‘ultimate gardeners tool’ as he puts it.  We have had all utilities abolished, so only two other items ahead of the demo.
Firstly, I’ve also arranged for a local ‘renovators paradise’, supplier of second-hand building materials specialising in antique/period items, to come in and quote for anything they have an interest in.  The house was originally built in the late 20 / early 30’s and has many original fittings and fixtures which could make this process worthwhile.  They are even interested in what hardwood flooring is under the carpets.  Anything I can get will offset the cost of demolishing the old place.
Secondly, although I have the council’s approval to demolish the house, I also need its approval to remove one tree which is governed by the councils ‘tree protection laws’.  It’s a non-native on the boundary, which the neighbour wants removed so it should not be a problem to be granted approval.  Everything else is under its size requirements, so plucked they will be. 
Hopefully next time we blog, M will have answered some of our queries.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Final Contract Meeting - to be continued....

Well, we had our 'final contract meeting' the other day.  The meeting had been scheduled in for sometime and we were very much looking forward to it - seeing how all our ideas and plans had come together.

We requested a copy of the 'final' site plans and variation list prior to the meeting so we could review it in detail, in the comfort of our own home and at our own pace to ensure all was in order.  The copy came through via email 2 days ahead of the meeting - not a great deal of time to review it all but we had catered for it so not such a big deal. 

The problem was our CSC (who to date has been very helpful and a pleasure to deal with) didn't receive all the information from the respective departments of M in a timely fashion and was under pressure to collate it all within one document.  So there were omissions, inaccuracies and straight forward errors.  Its unfortunate for our CSC as she is the one holding the bag so to speak, sitting across from us trying to explain others logic or lack of and now she has to correct the errors.

I can understand why some problems had crept into the contract but there are others that are simply unacceptable.   Like changing the location of light switches.  If its required for legitimate regulatory reasons - tell us and we will revise our plan.  Don't redesign our home for us...  For example, if the light switch cant go at the entry of our ensuite, dont assume our alternate location is the furthest back wall! What, you want us to walk through the ensuite in the dark to then turn the light on.... Unusual design M, definitely not what we want.

We were also awaiting the results of probe testing - to assess the level of underpinning required to support our neighbours garage.  Those results weren't available, resulting in significant provisional amounts within the contract.  Not a fan of provisional amounts... 

Needless to say, we didn't sign the 'final' contract.  We will be waiting for the required changes have been made first.  Now we wait...It has been over a week since this meeting and still nothing???!!!?

On a related note - we are keen to hear the build times inserted into others final contracts.  We had been told (admittedly by their sales team - who kindly wrote it down for me, 'handy in hindsight') the build time was around 9 months.  I had checked this with a builder mate and that period is about right for a double storey mid 40 sq house.  So, I was a little surprised to see in the contract the build time was just over 400 days - over 13 months, not including breaks for Christmas etc.

We have had approval from the local council to demolish the old house, gas and electricity are disconnected and we have organised a new underground electricity pit to be installed by United Energy (for about $2500, a great deal less than the $6000 M wanted to charge us for the same??!!). I am meeting with the demolisher on site next wednesday to discuss the next steps and we also have a renovations warehouse/reseller coming out to have a look at what fittings and items from the old home can be salvaged and they will pay us for them and then sell them on.

Things are moving on our end but now so much on Metricon's end...


Style on the Mile: Metricon House for Sale in Canterbury

I was looking through the local paper the other day and stumbled across this absolutely stunning new Metricon House in Canterbury that went for auction this morning (ill see if I can find out the final selling price). It is lovely to look at and great to have a look at a house that isn’t a display home and therefore the people here were at the mercy of the Studio M gods just like the rest of us!

I believe that the house is an enlarged Laguna house. The block is small, a mere 500m2 as it is half of a 1000m2 block that has been subdivided. It is located in a leafy inner city suburb which has always been a higher socio-economic area.

Here’s what the agent had to say along with some photos.

Making a statement in style and luxury on the Mile!

Designed for those who demand the finer things in life, this State-of-the-Art 45sq approx executive residence takes an inspiring approach to high-end luxury and innovative style.

Exquisite modern finishes and resort-style luxury heighten the innate beauty of this awe-inspiring entertainer where each gallery-like space is a visual feast that culminates to perfection in an "outdoor room" designed for all-year-round dining and intimate poolside entertaining. Replete with stunning natural stone finishes and expansive glazed aspects to seductive outdoor areas, this streamlined home features 4 deluxe bedrooms (WIRs, 2/ensuite including master/dressingroom and freestanding tub in chic ensuite), study, lavish home theatre, chef's kitchen (butlers pantry and wine storage) and superb open plan zones (gas fire) revealing north-facing BBQ terrace and stylish spa-pool amidst lushly landscaped garden milieu. Also flaunts upper teen retreat, deep bath in family bathoom, powder room, heating, cooling, security and double auto garage. Land: 500sqm approximately.

I think you will agree, the house is lovely. But what do you think about the 2.5-2.7 million dollar price tag?


Friday, July 1, 2011


We are getting really close to demolishing the old house now and as a result this week my task was to get the electricity and gas lines/meters abolished. A seemingly simple task, it took all Monday, most of Tuesday and all of my resolve to get these items organised.

Electricity was really simple, I rang United Energy, the distributor who told me to call AGL who were the retailer the previous owner used as the electricity was still connected. The lovely guy at AGL opened a non-supply account for me, emailed me the form and I had the whole thing organised in about 10 minutes. Sweet.

Gas was a whole other story. Now, I like the odd glass of wine but usually I don’t indulge until the kids are in bed. Monday and my dealing with Origin Energy had me hankering for a crisp glass of Sauv Blanc at about 3pm to try and get me through the rest of the day.

It seems that on the general Origin energy phone number, no-one knows how to get gas disconnected. I was on hold for 50 minutes, transferred to 4 different people and when they finally answered I got disconnected and had to start again… that was just Monday morning.

Not willing to waste more time on hold, I twittered about my ordeal and tagged Origin on twitter. Almost instantaneously I heard from Claire, their social manager and she had my details passed onto my own private customer service officer who would do all the waiting on hold for me trying to sort this out. Redeemed! Or so I thought. After being transferred a few more times, the guy at National response centre told me I needed the previous owners final meter reading to get the abolishment and subsequent employees told me I needed to create and account, get gas connected, disconnected and then abolished. What the? I threw the towel in at that point on Monday afternoon. 10 Origin employees, over 2 hours on hold, 1 message on twitter and still no idea how to get rid of the gas.

Tuesday was a different story. A new call to the National response Centre had me connected straight away with Rylie who was fantastic. She emailed me the form whilst I was on the phone. Told me all I needed was a copy of something with my name as the owner, the meter number and a completed application form. I sent this in on Tuesday night and by wed morning the job was raised and the gas will be taken out ASAP at no cost!!! I can’t believe how easy it was. Apart from Rylie, Origin Energy really need to get their act together and certainly won’t be in the running to supply our new house with anything once it is built!

More studio M and colour selections.

The last few weeks have flown by and we have been snowed under trying to get things organised to demolish the old house and get the final Studio M alterations made along with preparing for final contract signing.

First things first. We are still in the process of making corrections on our Studio M selections, especially to the kitchen and wet areas. I just want to make sure that the cabinets are correct and given that we had no internal elevations available at selections we have found it hard to find the right descriptions on the colour schedule. This is slowly being resolved. The last few things that need addressing are the addition of popup chrome plugs (I got that idea at the last minute from Rachel and Sandy… thanks!) and also getting the codes right for all our upgraded tapware.

The other major colour change we are considering is to make our lovely 2340 x 1020 front door another colour to make it pop a bit more. We are thinking of making it bright red but it is hard to see how this would look as the ‘Envisage’ program wont let you choose a bright red colour. This is what the front of the house looks like (well it is the closest fa├žade that I could get to ours) and then the picture below if a mock up I did on paint with a red door. Still not decided!???

Next step… final contract