Thursday, February 23, 2012


For all the Melbournites building a house, Dare Gallery is having a warehouse scratch n dent sale. One day only this Sat. They have some nice furniture every now and then so it might be worth a look ;)

I found the flyer in our local paper. I can put more details if you can't read the print on the dodgy iPhone photo.


Ps...I'm writing a post on something other than what's not going on onsite so I don't get further disheartened :(

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Slow going......

Progress on our build has slow dramatically over the past few weeks.  A small number of jobs here and there and that's about all.  What is getting done is as our SS has said – it’s just minor work.  Is it better than setting our expectations at an unrealistic level?? Probably...

I get the feeling our SS is doing his best.  Does that reflect the fact he has transferred in from the southern region to central in January and he hasn't built up the required rapport with the trades yet, issues with his scheduling or is it just M in general??

Our site meeting last week didn't resolve the three key issues - the insulation query, the gas meter location and the powder room sewer point.  All these items had been raised over two months ago now.  Very frustrating. We have now been told that plastering has been pushed back another week whilst the insulation issue is fixed. Its not like they haven't had enough time to get this fixed before now! I hope they dont try and pin this hold up on us...

Anyway, when you want something done, best to do it yourself.  Well, we are now aware of why the gas meter issue hasn't been resolved.  The excuse for the past month from M is the need to clarify the requirements for the location with Jemena.  By absolute fluke last Saturday night we found out that Kirst's friend's husband works at Jemena in the exact division which looks after new gas installations.... we found out that our site is not even within the Jemena system as a new install.  Not really surprising M is still waiting for a solution from Jemena.  M - you need to contact someone at Jemena, record the gas install requirement, tell them your query and they will probably action something for you..

Anyway, via our contact at Jemena – who signs off on the installs – we have our answers.  After mentioning this briefly to our SS I was basically told to 'stay out of it' and that he will resolve the issue once scaffold is down. Which really means it will happen in a another month, probably more…

Good to finish on a positive note – our tapware has now been fixed (3rd try) and the plaster can now commence this week.

Til next time

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Plan to be Plastered......

Well most of the work our SS said would be done last week was actually done.  I think he is a little bit of an optimistic or maybe i'm a little pessimistic about what will get done when.  Either way, he appears to be getting things done and so far so good re communication ( excluding the text message to cancel a site meeting but its been less than 4 weeks that he has been on the job so you would hope so...)

Last week the painter were in painting the upstairs externals while the scaffold is still in place.  Very happy with our choice of colours.  We'll save the pic's til when the scaffolding is down so you all can get a better feel for how it will look.
What wasn't done was our site visit with our SS due to him being ill, a complete brick clean and the plaster being delivered.

Well as its only a 2 minute detour from my usual drive home, I drove pass to see if there was any visible change.  Nothing from the street but I did notice the front gate was again open.  Thought I'd close it up (again), but as I was out of the car lets have a look through the window.  Then I notice the front door wasn't secure (again) so I popped in to see what had been delivered during the day.
Plaster , Plaster and more Plaster......  Massive sheets.  Not sure how such massive sheets can be handled without them breaking in half - but that's probably why I'm not a plasterer.  Two of the five huge piles of them below.

Plaster sheets in downstairs dining area...

Plaster sheets in upstairs sitting area....

Very happy to see the plaster on-site.  Must mean its not far away from the plasterers starting but first a few things need to be finalised namely,

  • the insulation - that's an ongoing discussion with M as the wrap was poor quality and our independent building inspector has recommended the insulation needs to be upgraded to conpensate its poor quality,
  • the gas meter has to be moved from the front of the house to the side next to the switch board - this has also been an ongoing discussion point which M has put off and off.  This needs to be moved prior to plastering can start as the brick work has been finished and access it only internally, and 
  • the powder room sewer points needs to be aligned.  Current quite some distance off alignment.  Not sure if that impacts plastering but best to get it sorted first one would have thought.
We have a site visit this Wednesday - all being well (pun intended) so lets see what happens.


Friday, February 10, 2012

No... No... No...

Metricon Customer Service

I received a very interesting – if not odd – phone call from an M customer service representative today. She was enquiring about a number of things ranging from my experience with our SS to recommending M to others.

I did explain he had only been on our job for 3 weeks so it is probably too early to answer her questions with any real accuracy at this stage. None the less she continued.

Three question which were particularly interesting included

‘Am I happy with the level of customer service from our SS’.. reply – well over the three weeks it been ok but this week he cancelled a site meeting via text message 2 hours prior to the meeting time. These things happen. So given the rating scale is a yes or no – I can’t say yes… He has been ok overall but given limited options to answer, it has to be no.

‘Are you happy with the build to date’.. reply – well there has been and continue to be a number of things to be rectified. If they are resolved to our satisfaction then yes but at present they aren’t so I can’t say yes… It’s been ok overall but given limited options to answer, it has to be no.

‘Would you recommend M to someone else’.. reply – well we haven’t reached lock up as yet and again depends on a number of things to be rectified. If they are resolved to our satisfaction then yes but at present they aren’t so I can’t say yes… I wouldn’t say yes but I would say no either but given limited options to answer, it has to be no.

Keen to give customer feedback at any point in time but this time it was really pointless. Let’s talk again in a month or two….

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Poor Form....

Our scheduled site meeting didn't go to plan.

Just prior to 1pm yesterday, I received a text message from our new SS - he hadn't been well the day before and was still unwell so we would have to reschedule our planned site visit intended for 3pm that afternoon.

Fine, if you're not well, you're not well - can't be helped. But a phone call the day earlier or early in the morning or even a text with a heads up would have been nice but a text message 2 hours before hand... I'd re-arranged my work schedule and we had arranged for the kids to be looked after so we could both attend rather than just me having to relay the message on that evening....

Poor Form  !!!!

His text said that he would call today to reschedule - that didn't happen either....

Anyway rather than waste our time completely, we thought we would pop in and see what has been happening while the kids were being cared for, even if we are locked out we were keen to have a good look at the finished brick and clad work. No need to worry about just checking out the externals - front and back doors were open as was the upstairs balcony. So much for being secure... Unfortunately this seems to be quite common based on other blogs we have read.

So we had time to look around inside and out and make a few further notes re items for the SS to follow up on including,
  • the plumber had been back to correct the bath tap settings. That's great news - would have been better if he had actually corrected it to the specifications of the tap fittings we have selected. Would not have thought it would have been that hard. The mixer and spout is on the same large backing place. So, why would you have the spout at the foot of the bath and the mixer in the middle...
  • nothing further has been done re the gas meter location...
  • the down stairs powder room toilet waste outlet has not been corrected either - raised with M mid December.
Lets see if he rings tomorrow for the Friday update.


Monday, February 6, 2012


It has come to our attention that in Victoria you can no longer build the Nelson design. The displays have closed down and it isn't listed as an option on the App or main website. After a bit of detective work I found out that you can still build it in QLD and NSW

Its such a shame, as in our opinion it was the perfect design to fit on a narrowish inner city Melbourne block. 4 Bedrooms, Study, Sitting, Lounge, Leisure and Rumpus all on a 15m wide block!

Here is a refresher of the floor plan for our Nelson 43 (which by the time we added a few things is more like a Nelson 46 square!)
The Nelson in Nuvo Facade

This is our Ground Floor with Grand Outdoor Room

This is our First Floor
*** Sigh *** its such a shame it is no longer available :(

There is lots going on this week including a meeting with our SS on site. We will update throughout the week :)


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Work schedule & further 'requested' variations

Progress since scaffolding in place.

Front entry with battens ready for cladding 

Front view with some eaves and battens in place

Rear view with battens along back second storey wall ready for cladding.

Work Schedule
Per our new SS, the following is the work schedule for this week,
  • Brickies only have a few hours work left,
  • Chippie only a few days to complete all externals works including construction of the balcony, install eaves and cladding,
  • Solar panel to be fixed on second storey roof,
  • Chippie will double check the internal walls to ensure all plum etc, 
  • M’s ‘independent’ inspection done for compliance prior to plastering to commence, 
  • Once mortar had some time to go off the brick's will be cleaned, and 
  • A general clean inside - which is desperately needed.

Next weeks schedule includes (assuming all of this weeks work is completed),
  • Painters in to paint externals while scaffolding in place,
  • Window film to be removed and windows cleaned,
  • Full site clean,
  • Our inspection re insulation quality given our concern as reported within our independent building expert report, 
  • Plaster delivered and maybe started later in this week (plastering to take 12 to 13 days which sounds a long time but I'm no expert and it's a 46 square house, so maybe right. Rather they take an extra day or so and get it right that rush it).     
M's Variations
M has requested further 'no cost' variation to be signed off.   The latest came to us from M's CM (JP - our 'acting SS' for those regular followers) requesting us 
late last Friday afternoon via email 'would we acknowledge the need to adjust the size of the central Kitchen island bench so the office could raise a no cost variation'. WHAT THE....   All news to us....  Acknowledge your email maybe, accept a change very doubtful.  
Notification by email, with the assumption we would just say 'yeah why not, do what you want, whatever is best for you as long as it doesn't inconvenience you at all...'   A touch arrogant for my liking - whether intended that way or not, that is the perception.   And we all know perception is generally reality.  
My initial reply was for further information as to why the need and what is the change.   Five days later and no reply from the CM.   No doubt this will drag on similar to the other items this CM has been involved with.  Extremely poor customers service.
We did some investigating ourselves and it appears all island benches are now slightly smaller than previous. Our bench is modeled off an old display home now closed.  Hence the issue.  The dimensions are within our contract so we don't have to change a thing.  Time will tell if we elect to.
Next time (hopefully next week) I catch up with our new SS, I will be asking the direct question as to why this request has come from the CM, not himself and why without any prior discussion.

Til next time...