Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chip Chip Chipping Away....

Just a quick update...

So, we now have power...  Apparently the paperwork had been submitted to United but it had been 'misplaced' by United.  From talking to a few people in the industry this is a bit of a regular occurrence.  Two upsides to this is the chippies can run their gear from mains power from now on avoiding using a generator (happy chippies) and no more noisy generator (happy neighbours)...

The rain has held off, so far this week anyway, and it has been a massive effort from the chippies. The same three carpenters have been on-site all week and achieved quite a bit.

So by Tuesday, all the floor joists were in place and the flooring down.  The timber to make up the second storey walls etc was craned onto the second storey floor for ease of use first thing Wednesday morning.  Must have helped out the guys because when I dropped by on my way home from work below is what I found.

Front view with gargage to right

Rear view with 'grand' outdoor room under roof line to right

Kirst dropped by tonight (Thursday) and pretty much the balance of the upstairs frame had been done.

Front view with gargage to right

Left hand front corner - large opening upstairs is for access to balcony upstairs area (yet to be built) 

Tomorrow morning, if all runs to the SS's schedule, the roof trusses will be craned up and fixed into place.  Expected to commence at 7am - sorry new neighbours.... 

I need to be in the office early tomorrow and its on my way to work, so may head off early and see if I can catch them in the act, so to speak. Hopefully the tiger tailing will be on the powerlines as there is $1500 in the contract to allow for this. If not, then another nice little refund is in order!

No trades are working this Monday given Tuesday is Melbourne Cup day except our SS.  Actually our SS has asked us to meet him on site Monday afternoon to check out what has been done (because we don't have access to site) and discuss the next few stages.  That works in well with us cause I'm not working either...

He also discussed the prospect of a reverse build with us when we met with him on Tuesday. We understand this to mean that the house will be wrapped and then bricking outside and plastering inside will happen simultaneously. We would be interested to hear of others experiences with this/thoughts on this. He estimated that completing the house in this way should knock 6 weeks off the build time.

Until next time...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rain, rain... go away!

Some floor joists were installed over the dining room and kitchen last Friday but given the rain the chippies didn't get too far with it. They were scheduled to continue with the floor joists and have the second storey floor completed by today. Given the rain today so far, I'm tipping that hasn't happened.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) the timber to build the second storey frame is to be delivered and loaded upstairs by a crane (but given there is still no floor, not sure how this will happen?) The upstairs walls should be built by this coming Friday hopefully.

Also supposedly happening this coming Friday... another crane is scheduled to lift the roof trusses up and they will be fixed into place. The following week, Monday through Friday the gutters and roof tiles should be put on/up. 

I hope that the rain holds off this week to enable the work to get done. Throw Melb Cup day in there too, i think the time frame needs some tweaking by our SS :( We are off to Sunshine Coast in few weeks and it would be lovely for the brickies to be doing their thing when we are sunning ourselves up north!

Looking at the lounge area from the dining room.

The joists above the kitchen and dining room.

Having a ball in the playroom!
Until next time
Kirsten xoxo

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ground Floor Frame is almost up!

There has been heaps going on at our block and as of this afternoon the whole ground floor is almost framed.

The chippies were due to start last Friday but for some reason about being footy players (????) they had a day off and began our house on Monday. Not a big deal seeings as though the timber didn’t arrive until Friday lunchtime. The lil fella, bub and I were lucky enough to be passing by just as the truck was unloading and Lachie was thrilled to see the ‘crane’ in action!

There have been a few issues regarding the supply of electricity to the site. We organised and subsequently had completed the underground electricity pit over 2 months ago and informed M of this. We signed over authority for them to connect power when we signed the final contracts a few months ago too. The electrician who did all the wiring to the meter box etc (that’s another error I’ll go into shortly) or the office at M still not organised for power to actually be connected and now we are waiting for United Energy to connect power to the site (it could take up to 2 weeks).

Luckily for us (but perhaps not our future neighbours) our SS is a man of action and isn’t really interested in going through the office for everything. He organised for a generator (at their cost) to be on site Monday morning so the guys could power their saws, nail guns and most importantly their radio, sandwich cooker and kettle J No holdups there…

Monday morning bright and early the chippies got started and progressively during the week the house is starting to come together.

I have heaps of piccies taken on various days….

The end of Day One and look how far they've come. I was a little timid in taking the photos. I didn't want them to think I was taking photos of the shirtless one ;)
Day Two - the basic frame for the whole downstairs. This is the front of the house (minus the garage on the right)

Lovin' the nice big entry.
This is the study at the front of the house. The Meter box there is the standard one and not the one that we had to pay $500 to upgrade to (apparently a larger one is needed for extra circuitry). We asked the office and they are in the process of getting the right one installed. Lucky we noticed now as the frame and bricks will go around this and the upgraded box is larger and wouldn't fit.
The sitting room and stairs (on right) The Jetmaster gas fire will go in the middle and there will be lovely big windows on either side. Mummy's retreat = no sticky fingers allowed. LOL

Powder Room with two lovely little windows to go either side of the mirror. nice and big!

Adults Lounge and TV area - so much bigger than we remembered

Kitchen (on left) and Dining leading onto Grand Outdoor Room

Kids Rumpus Room

Looking from the back of the block onto the Rumpus and part of the Grand Outdoor Room.

Looking back again... love the wide space of the doors from dining to outdoor room.

From the back sliding doors to the front door. Hello... Hello... Helloooo...Heeelllloooo

This afternoon the boys and I did a driveby again and most of the internal walls, bulkheads, ply etc is in place too. I forgot to take the camera so no photos. Cam was told by SS that they guys should be finished ground floor by tomorrow. We will find out whats next when we speak to him again tomorrow. In the meantime, our invoice for slab stage only arrived today.

Its so exciting to see the makings of our lovely home :)
Kirsten xoxo

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Slab poured!

The guys started at the ungodly hour of 6:30am this morning to get our slab poured before any rain came. I went by at about 1pm and they just had the garage to finish off.

Here are the piccies...
Study in the foreground


Front door step
I guess after a clean up and check by our SS, they will be asking for another progress payment?!

Onwards and upwards...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Site cut / Plumbing / Electric's / Site Supervisor Meet & Greet

Site Works
Well since we last posted about our build, there has been a reasonable amount of progress - considering the weather over the last week or so.

As you know the site was cut and pegged a few weeks ago, but unfortunately as the weather turned for the worst 10 days ago and most of the soil wasted away.  So we ended up with a nice sized lap pool similar to the one we originally thought about and then quickly dismissed.....

Anyway, after it dried out, on Monday and Tuesday last week the piers were drilled and filled and then the plumbers and electrician's got in there and set out the storm water, wet area points etc and run the electrics from the front of the block to a freestanding meter box.  So we have water and nearly power - subject to united energy getting back to finalise the power connection from the street lamp post.  The best thing about this is we wont need a temporary power pole.  Nice unexpected credit...

We have water....
We have power....
Site Super - meet and greet

So last Thursday we met up with our site supervisor, on site, to do the meet and greet etc.  Nice enough guy and from our first impressions, a guy we feel we can work with.  He was interested in our 'office' experience to date and keen to hear the good bad and the ugly. He was happy we weren't there to pay out on him at the first meeting.  Lets keep that for another time - hopefully not required at all...

He told us to expect a call every Friday for an update and contact him via email, text or mobile if we have any queries.  That was luck cos I'd used two of the three options already.  He has 9 jobs on at the moment all within a few neighboring suburbs at various stages.  One being a large double that's nearly 6 weeks into build around the corner and at lock up - so we checked it out. 

We popped back again Saturday morning and found this guy below working away, laser levelling the block.  Footing around the 'grand' outdoor room and the portico have also been dug ready for concrete. Another bonus was that they apparently didn't find any of the rock mentioned in our contract (our last provisional amount!) and so we will be getting another  $4k credit. Hooray! (for some more new furniture - Kirst!)

Waffle Pods (the white things in the background, not the two in the foreground - K)

Steel reinforcements

Our little site supervisor enjoying the sunshine out the front of the block.

What's Next?
After a brief call with SS today, we were told that there were 13 guys out on site today (including other SS from the area and the CM) getting the form work for the slab prepared. When Kirst drove by at 4pm it was all finished and ready for the concrete to be poured tomorrow! 

SS has also booked in his framers to start on Thursday. Followed by brickies (also tentatively booked in) etc. He thinks that lockup by Christmas is not out of the question. There are 50 working days for them until Xmas. 

We cannot wait! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

TIPS - our top 10 tips for building a new home PRE-CONSTRUCTION...

Now we have signed off on our FINAL plans, we thought we would list our top 10(ish) tips for new home builders to consider when building with a volume builder like M.

Double check everything prior to signing off on your final plans.  Its YOUR new home, so if you're not happy with everything, dig your heals in and take the plans away with you for detailed review and consideration.  Its not a insignificant amount of money you're signing off on, it your hard earned! Best make sure it's all correct.  This includes preliminary contracts.

Salesman are just that.  Take everything they say with a grain of salt especially contract and build times.   They are looking at the commission.  If its to good to be true... well.....

Provisional amounts.  I just don't like them!  In what other purchase do you effectively sign an open cheque.  These amounts can change significantly so be very careful and do some research yourself.  The problem is they are unavoidable but take care.

Your builder is happy to undertake work on your behalf, but you will pay for it.  So, if you can arrange for some  items yourself your likely to save 000's.  Remember most builders have a margin of at least 20% on everything - they are in business after all.

Try to ensure your CSC will go in and bat for you.  It will make the process a little easier. This means developing a rapport with them from the get go so that they will go the extra mile for you. Never be rude or abrupt as this will only get them offside. It seems like we're stating the obvious, but so many blogs we have read about people going off half cocked at their CSCs. In our opinion (and remember that these are just that), you get everywhere with good manners. Proof is in the relationship we had with our own CSC!

Try to ensure your other consultants ie.colour and option selections, electrics, tiles etc are FULL TIME employees and knowledgeable about their area or expertise's.  PART TIME consultants (like our Studio M) are difficult to find when you need them to resolve something.

If you doing a re-development, ensure your demolisher provides an pre and post demolition asbestos clearance certificate.  If you're doing a redevelopment, its most likely an old place and most likely contains asbestos in some form.  Your builder wont go to site if they think there is any risk of any residue asbestos on site. Nor should you expect them to.

No question is a stupid one.  OK, some are, but ask anyway.  The more you know the better the process will flow.

Prepare for the selection meetings.  Without a reasonable amount of preparation you may well struggle to make the right decisions (but you could also be lucky)

Start with the biggest wishlist, build without a budget.  Once you see what each item is worth you can make an educated ($) decision if its truly worth it or if for that price you can live without it.

Building a new home will test you.  Test you in patience and if you're like me they test you ability to visualise design and colours. (lol says Kirst)

We are sure that there are more things and will add them when we think of them. Please feel free to add any of your own tips to the comments section below :)