Saturday, June 25, 2011

Appliances, a tiling re-think, and lockup

I thought the decision making was over...wrong !

This week we bought the appliances we need for the new house - fridge, dishwasher, front loader (oven etc is already sorted through the builder).  Our builder's standard kitchen plan allows for 900mm x 1700mm for the fridge cavity - we'd already had an inkling we'd go a double-door fridge that would require a 1000mm cavity so from the outset had expanded that. We didn't check height, or whether the fridge would need to be plumbed in - until we'd chosen a fridge, whoops. Fortunately, the cavity does happen to be high enough - but we are now having to have the plumbing done kind of after the fact (if only we'd thought to sort this before gyprock...), and waiting for the bill to no doubt punish us for not researching enough! No such dramas on the dishwasher, which is already my favourite appliance !!!

Later in the week we had tiling dramas. Way back when we picked the tiles, we selected some beautiful glass feature tiles, which the tile shop salesman had mentioned might not have any additional charge to us depending on how many we wanted to use. We used them liberally in the original design for the bathrooms and I remember chasing the customer service officer (CSO) for weeks for a price, thinking we'd start with the ideal and scale back until we hit budget. Well, excitingly, the answer was - no additional charge ! So we left the bathroom plans with the extravagant feature tiling.

When the tile order was placed this week, it came back several thousand dollars over what we had been quoted originally, so our new (and improved) CSO rang us in a bit of a panic trying to figure out what had gone wrong. The cynic in me thinks the old CSO, knowing she was about to leave, couldn't be bothered doing the sums to tell us the actual cost ! Another very disappointing outcome from the original colour selections we had. I was already a little nervous about our floor tile for the bathrooms so we decided to use this opportunity to rethink our original plan altogether.

The end result has actually been to our advantage. We found a nicer, much cheaper tile for our living areas that is also suitable for the bathrooms - and by selecting the cheaper tile, have managed to tile an extra room in the living area, at no extra cost. So what seemed like quite an inconvenience this week actually worked in our favour !

And the end result was...

The 30x20 white tile will be horizontally placed on bathroom walls. Dark grey tile at top right hand side will be 60x30 in living areas (that's a sample of kitchen island bench resting on it), and 30x30 in wet areas. Glass feature tiles at the bottom will be used SPARSELY in bathrooms!!! 

This was the week we reached lockup, which is quite an exciting milestone, even though it meant us walking around in the mud-pit that is the site peeking in windows while it rained one afternoon this week. The temporary fencing is finally gone ! We have all external doors now fitted, and almost all internal doors and skirting boards fitted too.

Terrible photo of front door. My apologies ! 

Skirting boards and window sills in the nursery

Bedroom door

Built in doors

 View from south-west of block

View from the road

There is still some work on skirting boards to be done, and the rest of the timber for the deck has arrived, so we're expecting carpenters back this week. Beyond that the week ahead is a bit of a mystery as yet, we expect the changes to the tiles might delay the actual tiling and not sure if the plumbing that needs to be done in the fridge cavity will delay the cupboards going up, which we were expecting any time. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Deck, retaining wall and cornicing

The deck is nearly done !

Obviously still the railings need to be finished, and extended along the alfresco. But we're thrilled with how this looks so far.

The plasterers have finished now, the last of the cornicing went up late last week. 

Cornicing isn't very exciting to photograph...

Retaining wall (south/west side of house) was finished today.

Today, doors and some other bits and pieces were delivered. Its going to be quite sad once they install the doors and we can't just wander inside every afternoon to see where things are up to. But then again, that's what windows are for, and it will be nice to have some things inside worth "locking up"!

Last week we wanted kind weather, this week we're hoping for bad weather ! The carpenters have an external job elsewhere booked in this week, however if it rains our kitchen cupboards/vanities/skirting boards etc will be installed instead. So, bring on the rain dance !

We had been waiting for the retaining wall to be finished so that we could book the concreter in, to do both driveway and the section of path in the last photo above as well as a similar section along the western side of the house. Talking to the site supervisor last week he advised to have this done just before handover so that the driveway isn't at the mercy of trade vehicles coming and going - he told us to book the concrete for early August. Best case scenario has always been a late August handover, pretty exciting to have confirmation that we're still on track for this timeframe. That would gives me at least a month after we move in to get the house organised before its newest occupant arrives ! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Week 8 Progress

The gyprock is up, and plastering underway (tradies were even hard at work on today's public holiday). I'll let the pictures speak for themselves this update.

Master bedroom
Family Room 
 Family Room/Alfresco
 Media Room (they are stacker doors on the right, there's a sheet of gyprock across them)
Kids' Retreat 
Max's Bedroom 
Brick piers finished on alfresco, deck in background 

Porch pier underway

So this coming week we're expecting plasterers to finish off, if the weather is kind the carpenters will complete the deck.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Even in the last week I'd say we've been everywhere on the customer-satisfaction spectrum from "disgruntled" to "surprised and pleased". People had warned us that building was an exhausting journey, well I think we understand that a bit better now :).

Although progress on the house itself seems to be moving along very well, we had been quite frustrated at the lack of a resolution on the deck. This was the week of a thousand (not quite, but close) phone calls and emails trying to sort the deck out once and for all, and staff changes at head office meant a lot of repeating myself. 

Someone advised us to keep a record of every email/phone call/conversation, who from/who to/ what about/when/method, and its been our best asset during these hiccups. So if you're trawling this site looking for hints as I've done with a thousand other building blogs, take that one and tattoo it on your forehead!

In the end, I think we came to a very fair middle ground, and just in time too - we've been told the deck will start shortly.

So, since my last update, there has been work on the house every single day. 

We have a completed roof...

Insulation is in place, as is electrical (as you can see from wires hanging down) and ducting (above the blue stars spray painted onto the cement)

Gyprock has been delivered, installation due to start tomorrow 

 The alfresco slab has been laid ! After an incident with a clumsy bobcat driver, the base had to be re-bricked but this was all sorted quite quickly. In the end, the slab was laid 1 day late. 

This is a view down the hallway, on the right hand side (unfortunately not easy to photograph) was a "box"in the frame for the intake for the airconditioning/heating. It was a recommended upgrade to have the intake in the wall of the hallway, which we'd agreed to, however when the ducting man came to do his job - the size of the "box" was insufficient for the rather robust a/c/heating unit for the house. will now be in ceiling of living areas, and I get that broom closet I forgot to ask for...

Rockwool insulation between media/bedrooms - ie sound absorbing -  because my husband likes his surround sound loud, and my child(ren) like to sleep.

Speaking of children, Max approves (of the temporary gravel where the driveway will go - when we tell him we're going to visit he usually says "no block, no no no").

Western aspect, roof.

Back of house

Alfresco finally done, note the mis-matched bricks on the right hand side as a result of the clumsy bob-cat driver! The deck will hide them.
The deck is the next outdoor task, and will extend from the alfresco in an "L" shape around to the laundry, visible at the right hand side.

And, at least in terms of progress payments, we're now halfway ! Judging from our neighbours' experience (same builder, started a few months earlier), this seems to be where things slow down (or in their case, start and stop like an L-plater in a manual car for the first time). I really must remember to keep visiting site to wave my enormous pregnant belly at all of the tradesmen...