Sunday, November 25, 2012

Landscaping, fixin' and lack of pool progress

A friend and builder has resurfaced and is taking care of our long driveway, retaining walls and rear yard landscape preparation.  Looking forward to having a rear yard the kids can play in and where we can plant stuff at last. So far we have busted the water pipe to the house twice.  Mostly because the pipe goes from the meter in the centre of the block all the way to the northern boundary and traverses towards the southern boundary about 8m from the front of the house.  And no marking in sight to let us know that's how they dealt with it.

Brett or Brent from BnB turned up today and made it so we can lock our balcony door (so excited about that), close the doors on the kids bedrooms, covered a gas pipe which was left exposed on the deck and stopped the guest room sliding doors from coming off their rails (plus some other minor fixes).  Plus he came up with a solution for the vanity cabinet debacle.  Very happy with that.  I've let go of a lot of minor issues but I want the big ones sorted.

Lastly the pool.  Our tiling was done last Tuesday.  7 weeks since the concrete pour.  And yes they charge $4 per cut of a non standard tile.  $2.50 for a boring little clay paver.  Just one more thing to watch out for when budgeting for a pool.

We didn't choose to have a waterline tile when doing the pool quote - at each step the pool company keeps pushing us to do it - for an extra $2,000.  Hmm a nice glass tile sets you back $55/sqm.  Only need about 3sqm.  Exorbitant tiling cost for those tiles is $1,100.  So they make minimum a $730 profit on that part alone.  We have a waterline tile now by the way.  At less than the $2K pool company quoted of course.  The other upsell they try is the nicer interior.  I just want a pool the kids can swim in - I'm not looking for the forecourt of Versailles here people.  Australian standard off-white pebble will be just fine.

Little touches we have added include a retaining wall for an extra $1K.  Seems excessive.  Some stack stone to go on that - $167 for the materials, $500 the rip off price for laying about 1.5sqm of tile.  And we used trojan edge travertine for the pool coping - should have cost us about $500 but we spend $60 more than we needed to.  Just have to find a use for the wastage I guess.  The tiler did a lovely touch with the skimmer box cover though - he cut a piece of travertine to size and put two finger holes in it so no ugly plastic cover to deal with. 

Those touches have added a bit of class without breaking the bank.  Currently taking the pool total to about $33K including the excavation bill shocker - but we hope to make the pool company wear that cost.  And we still have the sewage, electrical and water connections to do.  They cover 6m of sewage.  We are halfway down a 91m block and the sewage connection is at the rear of the block.  6m won't even get past the 7m pool.  LOL.

So beware when you get a budget pool expect to pay at least about half the price again to finish it.  More if you want glass fence and nice pool surrounds. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

The pool Dun dun dun

OK so the pool.  When I was doing my budget I had decided against doing a pool.  I wrote about this in one of my earlier posts.  The sales rep from a major pool company had given us a quote for all the fancy stuff that ultimately we didn't need.  We had asked him about the pool specials that we hear advertised all the time and he would not do a quote for those because "that's what they do out in Blacktown".

Not being satisfied with that hubby rang the company back and got a different guy out who quoted us for a basic pool.  Against my better judgement I agreed to go ahead with the pool.

Shortly afterwards hubby received a call from the original sales rep who said the nastiest things including "I hope something goes wrong with your pool".  Hubby rang the head office about that of course.  They were most apologetic.

They also changed the latest pool deal to something which suited us better so we had a variation done.  Problem was the variation took so long to go through it left no time for the pool company to get in dig their hole and line it with concrete and get out before our builders started.  That meant we were stuck with getting the pool done after the builders were out.

So 10 months later we go ahead with the pool.  Of course it will now take a smaller excavator and therefore more time to dig the pool.  We asked the supervisor how much extra and he said $800.00.  Fine that's doable.  We proceed rather than pulling out like we were thinking of doing.  Pool is dug, small variation to the dig so we check with supervisor if $800 is still the price.  He reassures us that it is.  Fine.  Uh oh can't get excavator out as planned have to get a crane in.  Again we check with the supervisor if that is included in the price.  Again he reassures us that it is.

Concrete is poured, pool builders decamp for several weeks (actually it's been 6 weeks now and we seem to have been forgotten despite being in touch with them twice since the concrete pour including sending an email because new supervisor doesn't have the variation)

We receive a bill from the excavation company for over $3K!  Not happy.  Extremely unhappy you might say.  The boss from the excavation company shows up at our doorstep telling us what the site supervisor told him as though it was fact.  I think I finally convinced him that the pool company supervisor was out and out dishonest with him and with us.  Really annoyed by now.

Apparently the tiler is going to charge $4 for every tile they have to cut.  What the???  I hope that isn't true. 

And we were planning on having a gas pool heater that we happen to have installed - don't think that's going to happen so now we will have a freezing pool. 

Urgh - wish I had gone with my first instinct and not gone ahead.  Could always have done it later if there was money down the track.

It's been nearly 3 months since we moved in

Oddly enough this feels like the most stressful end of the build.

Overall the house is fine but every day little things will irritate me.  Like three chips in the tiles, lack of squareness and worries about whether our balcony door is going to get fixed when they do everything else.  The 90 day guy talked at length about that door and  how to fix it but when I checked my list of things he got me to sign - it's not on there. 

The sink being in the wrong place bugs me but we are stuck with it.  The electricals lady deleting one of our powerpoints and not telling us when she said she made a mistake and sent the revised electricals back to us to sign irritates me every time I vacuum.  I needed that power outlet!  The little messes that they left, the scratched ensuite window that I had on a list but didn't get mentioned at 90 day appointment because I forgot, basically lots of little irksome things that I notice every time I clean.

And I wish it had been pointed out to us right at the start that a front porch slab is not included.  It would have been so much easier to have added it at that stage than trying to find someone to lay that slab after the build.  Sigh.

Following on directly from that we are building a pool.  But that might have to be an entirely new post.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Pictures - with splashback!

Appliances in the earliest on Friday.  I remain hopeful that if not Friday not long after.  We really need handover soon because we have given notice to the real estate agent.  The bigger issues have been noted with the SS and the minor ones will be sorted after handover.

Friday, July 27, 2012

OK well tiles but no splashback

Expect photos in a couple of days when we do our first walkthrough.

The tiles arrived on Thursday and the tiler carted them down and started prepping that afternoon.  A decent amount of tiling was done by Friday afternoon although poor hubby spent ages tracking down some extra bags of the right kind of glue because the floor is so uneven he needed extras. 

Sadly no splashback, I was dying to take pic of it and see how pretty it (hopefully) is.

The remaining tiling will be done today and the grouting tomorrow, so no delay as a result of late start thankfully.

Hubby seems to believe handover could be as early as Wednesday.  Deliveries and carpet being orgnanised next.  We have someone designing the driveway.  Somehow we will manage the moving in despite the dirt drive.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Things have been going along quite well, the cleaners were in last Friday and as far as we can see inside is looking pretty good.  Little touch ups here and there needed but otherwise good.

We had the tiler for the main floors lined up to start on Monday.  Only he didn't.  He says the warehouse told him that something hadn't  been paid for.  Only it all has been.  He said if we get it sorted out he could start next Monday.  I think the M. site supervisor is tearing his hair out at that.  My husband just spoke to SS and he is going to speak to the tiling company.  SS goes away on holidays next week and he wanted handover to happen before then.

Thankfully the SS had the plumbers in yesterday to finish up some problem areas like putting in the right tap in the butler's pantry.  Sadly our yard is a bog so our nice clean house which was ready for tiling now has clods of mud in it.  Also the stairs have been stained so that's good too.

The splashback and possibly the appliances are due on Friday so that's exciting.  That's pretty much it.

We have a list of issues to be sorted - if it hasn't already been done.  For example we had an upstairs bedroom we wanted no internals in but the wardrobe people put them in there but not in the guest room downstairs which is where the internals were meant to be.  I hope they realised their error and fixed it.  The external paint is wrong too - I hope they mean to come back to touch up the paint job and while they are there they can paint the weatherboard and the portico in Stonecrop like it is meant to be.  Other than that it is mostly little things.

SS also said the person who seals in the tubs will be in next Monday.

So so so close.  Then we have the headache of getting a driveway sorted because there is no way we can get a removalist truck down to the house the way the sloping bog is at the moment.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Yesterday the electricians put in lights and switches.  We can live with the temporary lighting which is better than expected.  We will put in our choice of LED downlights, step lights, pendant lights etc over time after we have moved in. 

Big trench was dug today for phone, electrical etc.  I think the tiler and painter were also in there finishing up the insides.

Splashback, shower screens and wardrobes to go.  Possibly the air conditioning unit - we don't know if it went in yesterday or not.  We gave the tiler the go ahead from Fri/Sat to do the main floor tiles and hopefully we can get our carpet people in on Mon August 4th.