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.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Still painting

I won't bore you with details - SS says they should be done by the end of the week. 

I noticed that the baths and WCs have been delivered.  So here's that exciting snap shot.

Hopefully there will be more to report by Monday next week.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I know I'm kind of due for another update

but the tilers have pretty much taken up all the time so there's not much new to report.  The painters were in on Saturday doing the ceilings and doors.  Second coat on upstairs ceilings are required but otherwise very nice job.  This is just a sneak preview of the finished tiling.

From what we can see the painters weren't here today but things have been moved around a bit including the garage door being left open so we checked it out. No one was on site but we noticed aircon vents were in. We made sure the place was locked up and closed the garage goor as we exited.

They also cleaned up the site a bit which helped us visualise our home a bit better. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pretty much still the same plus...

I can see empty basin boxes out the front of the house and I think I spotted the stone benchtop on our ensuite vanity so that looks like pretty good progress.  I can also see wall tiling in the ensuite.  They appear to  have only just started the wall tiles in the powder room.

I also think the deck might be finished.  Certainly the steps are on.  I'm so glad that everyone (PCA, SS and deckers) were happy to put the steps where we asked for them to be put in the first place.

At tender time we were told that the steps were standard and because we wanted something different they would be made of treated pine to minimise the cost and we could remove them later.  The deckers, however turned up and were going to make the big set of stairs down the back out of merbau.  Works out best for everyone that we get our little set of steps to the side.  Much less merbau being used.

I told the SS that it would be really nice to have handover for my birthday (mid July).  Not sure it will happen.  He's doing what he can but this tiler is making sure everything is perfect.  Which is wonderful, but slow. 

So some railings, some plumbing, some electrical, the painting and staining, kitchen benchtops, appliances, door handles and locks and then the main floor tiling.  I think that's it.  Not sure it can all  be done in 15 working days.

Fingers crossed.

ETA Rainwater tank and aircon - knew I forgot something.

ETA again - rainwater tank is in.

And here are some photos from today (and the staircase from much earlier)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tiling and decking

The tilers doing the wet areas are inside.  Apparently the guy is a perfectionist.  I can't wait to see the finished result.  We are happy with the deck progress too, it should look very swish.

So some painting, some plumbing, some electricals, the bits and pieces like baths, shower screens, rainwater tank, air con and HWS plus the main area tiles and we should  be right.  How long should that take.....

I told him handover by my birthday (about a month from now) would be a really nice pressie.  ;)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lots and lots happening

I don't have an update pic yet for a visual but I'll get there.

Once these guys got moving they really got moving.  It was a bit dicey there when lead flashing was taken from the site for the second time and the gyprocking had to start while there were still tiles missing from the ground floor roof.  Thankfully the rain held off enough and the back wall was put on, the safety rail removed and the tiles replaced.

Gyprocking took 2 days.  The wet areas have been sealed.  The front door, back door and entry door from the garage are in - I assume more doors inside are on, but obviously we are now locked out of the house.  Very happy about that.

Saw the garage door being worked on and I can see our upper bedroom doors are on.  Apparently the kitchen cupboards went in yesterday.  I think the architraves and skirting boards are in. 

Don't know if I missed anything in all that.  It's been go go go since the insulation went into the walls.

I'm starting to make plans to give notice at our rental home.  Feels good.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hmm progress since Friday 4th of May

I'm starting to wonder whether the fact that we drive and/or walk past the house on the way to and from school every morning and afternoon is such a good thing. It can be frustrating to see no one on site.

Monday 7th - Downpipes
Tuesday 8th - Nothing
Wednesday 9th - Call from site supervisor telling us about the tight schedule to get everything he said would be done by that Friday to be done by the following Friday. Scaffolding comes down. (Couple of hours work)
Thursday 10th - The small amount of remaining roof trusses goes onto ground floor. (Couple of hours work)
Friday 11th - Remaining guttering and fascias delivered, nothing else happens on site
Monday 14th - Guttering put up on ground floor roof (again a couple of hours of work)

So it's Tuesday - I am about to set off on my walk to pick up our daughter from school. Let's hope there's a roof or at least some evidence of work at the house, because there weren't any workers there this morning when my husband went past.

I'm sure there's probably some safety rules in place so that people aren't rushed but this pace seems ridiculous and totally inefficient. It's hard too because we walk past other building sites and see the progress those builders are making compared to ours. Our finished product had better be infinitely superior for all the extra time it's taking. ;)

Friday, May 4, 2012


The painters worked like trojans for the past three days and, from where we can see it, the house looks completely painted. Although I'm not sure the portico has been done in a different colour to the rest of the house like it is meant to be. Must dig out my sample sheet and check it out. The eaves appear to be completed also. Which means some more roofing and then they can get to work on the inside I think.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Rendering has begun

Two weeks of virtually rain free weather and we have the external walls up, the roof on (oh yes)and the rendering has begun.

Must be time for more rain. And another bill. LOL

I know the roof looks green, I promise you it isn't. It is gun metal grey.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's been a while

Mostly it's been frustrating. Whenever they have been ready to work it's been raining and when it's not raining they have been elsewhere. So we watch each week crawl by. Just to to make matters worse, some heel dumped their site fill on our property right in front of the locked gates midway down the block. By the time we the builders had removed the rubbish, repositioned the fencing and it had rained on the scheduled delivery date - we had lost another week.

Tomorrow might bring better news for us - weather permitting. The Hebel has finally been delivered so we might have walls up by the end of the week. Here's hoping.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lower floor framing

When we left off frames had been delivered to the site. By the end of last week the lower floor framing was pretty much done.

From what we can see from next door, we're hoping that little items will be fixed before they do the second storey. We now have an assigned site supervisor who Eug met by pure coincidence on Tuesday morning and got a bit of an update on when to expect more framing to arrive etc.

Some of the building materials have been moved around but as far as we and our neighbours know it's not the builder who has moved them. This is a bit of a concern. I never knew I would worry about a block of dirt, concrete slab and a bunch of lumber. LOL

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Framing delivered

We went away for a short break and when we came back we were greeted by the sight of a heap of framing ready to go. Maybe next week will see our frames erected, weather permitting. We will also have a site supervisor at last. It's all very good, very organised and very exciting.

Fingers crossed for the following week.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Plumbing done

Surprisingly there were people on site last week doing the plumbing. It was completed on Saturday or today.

There are also non-Metricon related people accessing our site which we have to put a stop to ASAP. It's a result of a bit of a misunderstanding about the permission we gave. We thought it was implied that permission was revoked once we had started our building. Oh well.