Monday, December 22, 2008

Another update!

Well it has been some weeks since I have updated… not because of a lack of progress. No, on the contrary, the building is going full steam ahead! My lack of update is because I went away for a holiday… back to Victoria to visit my family (in Bendigo) and friends. I spent 2 weeks away (well nearly 2 weeks, it was really 12 days!) and these past 2 weeks back at the old routine, with kids, cleaning, cooking and grocery shopping, add Christmas shopping into the mix too. Anyways Mr G keeps saying this update needs to be done, so here it is.... :)
During this time, a lot of things were done on the house, I will start with what was done first. Before I left, all the wood roof timber had shown up on site, and that was started on the 24th and it took 2-3 days to complete. A bill arrived while I was gone for “plate-height” progress payment. I had to sign it, but had no internet for email or knew anyone with a fax! After a bit of discussion, I decided to wait for a couple of days until I visited my best friend in another town; I used her email and faxed it off at the local PO. All done!! Just as I was leaving (after spending only 3days there :( ) I received a phone call from our CLO. Apparently the kitchen laminex is unavailable and I need to choose a new one. I explained I was out of state, she sent an email with 3 colour choices, which Mr G passed onto me. After arriving back with my family I then had to find a laminex showroom to check out these 3 colours, I was hoping that they weren’t too blah! Choices were: *white Valencia, *cotton craft and *pietra snow after getting small samples the salesman asked if I wanted to see them on a larger sheet. Cotton craft wasn’t available, which was a pity as that looked okay on the small sample, pietra snow was available, and on the sample it looked too busy with too much colour, but on the large sheet, the colours didn’t seem as brightnoticable, it looked quite nice. White Valencia had a light marble grain going through it, I chose the White Valencia it didn’t have as much pattern as the other and looked nice on the large sheet too. Just hope it goes with the licorice linea cabinets. Messaged Mr G back with colour, another problem was solved. Hopefully I won’t get a phone call later saying that the tiles are unavailable!
After the roof frame was finished, the guttering fascia and downpipes were installed; we do still have two in our WIR. The eaves, alfresco and garage ceiling have been plaster-boarded? The brickies came back and fixed up all those cracked bricks under the windows, the electrical chasing was done and wiring put in. The renderer has been and done his job, and the front is now not looking so shabby! :) The roof tiles were delivered with an email saying they will start on the 8th just after I arrive back home.


along back of house
chasing in walls
electrical wires

render...unpainted at the moment.

*This next part was written on Sunday, but had trouble with the site... so its a couple of days out of date!*

When I arrived home, it was great to see the progress on the house. Since coming back, the roof tilers’ have been and the roof is finished. The plasterers have finished the grey ‘float’ coat on all the walls and the plumbers have been and put in all the pipes and we now have our outside taps. The inside ceilings were fixed to the roof frame but haven't got the cornice in yet. I think the white coat of plaster will be done first. I dont think there will be anymore done on the house before the labourers break for xmas... Unless the joins in the roof plaster are done. *fingers crossed*
We also have our 'smart' electricity meter installed and the gas meter too.

I am not sure when the white ‘set’ coat will be started or when they add the glass in the windows or the doors, but it shouldn’t be too far away. W did say that they were hoping for the grey coat to be on before xmas, and that is well and truly done, he also said lock-up just after xmas, but if the grey coat is on, they may be at lock-up earlier than planned, will have to wait and see. Not sure whether it would be good to be at lock-up before the holidays or after. I guess if vandals are going to ruin the house they will do it regardless. Although I must say that when we drive around the estate, we haven’t come across anything that looks like vandalism at all….but then again, we haven’t been there when its holidays!!

More photos from the last 2 weeks:

roof tiles on
Front entrance

main bedroom... mostly grey coated no ceiling

fully grey coated and ceiling on
electrical and gas boxes *first 1 shut, then next 2 open :)
*I wonder why there is a power point in there

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bricks are finished.

On Friday 21 we had a meeting on site with W. He was very informative and friendly. While we were conversing with him, we found out that the bricks will be replaced. We got a bad batch apparently, and are now waiting for more bricks to be sent over. Other interesting things we found out were: *Ultimate are a medium sized company and only build approx 200 odd houses a year, whereas some of the bigger companies are doing 500+ a year. This suits us as it means that they aren't focused so much on quantity, but more on quality. *W also only supervises 20 houses, so not too many and, from what the brickies said, goes out 3 times a week. *The plus series houses..what we are building...take approx 6 months to build. So may be looking at an April/May finishing time. (YAY) *Hopefully the grey coat on internal walls will be done before christmas.

When we pulled up to the house we noticed that the roofing materials had arrived. W said they were booked in for Friday, but were held up on another job, so should be starting on Monday, they will take aprox 4 days to complete, then the roof tilers should come and do their bit. It looks like the roof will be finished, by the time I come back from my holiday. The brickies were also finished, possibly early that morning, going by some wet mortar, and that means that the inside is now completed too! Everything looks great, and the internal bricks were pretty decent compared to some of the ones I have seen in other houses.

Front panorama
Kitchen...with my lowered wall oven :)
Alfresco, looking into completed meals/kitchen
Main bedroom.Games roomRoofing material......tiles haven't arrived yet.

Monday, November 17, 2008

External finished...

On Sunday we made our bi-weekly trip to the block to check progress and all the external walls are up with windows and doors placed. The inner external brick was done also. All they need to do is finish all the internal 'dividing' walls, and robes/kitchen. And that will be the brickwork finished. Hoping they will finish by the end of this week, or the beginning of next week.
We were disappointed to see that the cracked bricks were not replaced, and now every window has cracked bricks under them. Yes thats right, every brick under every window is cracked! Just the ones the windows are sitting on. Not sure if they were cracked before, or after the window was placed on them. But it looks ugly, and it will be fixed. I dont care whether they think it is 'acceptable' there is not one other house built in the area that has the cracks in the window bricks. We will be seeing W on Friday and discussing it with him and see what can be done. Hoping he is a reasonable man and will fix it.

So now time for some photos...
Front of house

Inside main bedroom.

Looking from the back into alfresco/meals room to the left

Along the back and 2 bedrooms

More of those ugly cracks.

We went out again today...and part of the inside is done. 'Mr Brickie' said they should be finished by Friday. Hope so, as it is meant to be raining this weekend. Will post more photos and another update on Friday when we meet with W.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quick update.

Just a brief update today. Went out to the block, to see how much had been done, on Sunday. Most of the garage walls were completed and the 2 row of bricks down the side, behind garage towards the alfresco, and windows were placed. We seen some things that we didn't like. 1: In the garage some of the face bricks are facing the wrong way... not really a big deal, but surely they could tell the difference, and if they do it there who knows where they will do it next. 2: The garage wall was really rough in a couple of places, some bricks had mortar missing, and the back of the electricity box is showing. 3: On the study wall (behind garage) there are a couple of bricks that have been broken and subsequentially, just filled up with mortar. 4: The second course under the windows along the side are all cracked and facing the wrong way! We sent off an email with photos of the above mentioned, and we received an email back that day! Very effecient. The parts in the garage that were rough will be having piers in front of them as well as the electricity box,the bricks that are the wrong way- there is nothing they will do about that, and I dont think you will be able to pick it on the outside anyway. We were also told that the broken mortar filled bricks were common as they are getting covered over with plaster and it helps the grey-coat to stick. I guess I would rather have them filled with mortar, than nothing! As for the cracked bricks under the window, they will be replaced. As they are visible, someone with authority said that they will be redone, they agreed that it doesn't look so nice. All in all I was very happy that our questions were answered in a timely manner, and am happy that the cracked ones will be replaced. She even thanked us for sending the photos with the offending bits circled. What a wonderful lady S is. We were also updated on the progress, brick layer will be there for another 3 weeks, then the roof will be delivered along with piping/gutters etc. I will be sending her a thank-you email tomorrow to let her know that I appreciate the work she has done so far.
Hopefully the brickwork will be completed (or close to) when I go for my holiday, and on my return the roof will be finished.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Our bricks have arrived! We were informed by our CLO that they were going to arrive on the 30 Oct, and that they brick layer was booked for the 5th Nov. When we went out on Sunday 2nd we seen that they had indeed arrived on time. The kids still aren't that interested and were too busy playing ball and chasey around the bricks to care. The photos show the bricks, the ones on the slab are the internal and the ones around the outside are the external bricks.
side view, garage closest, looking towards front door and main bedroom
front view

These are our external bricks...not sure about the colour they are different to what I imagined them to be, going by pictures and other houses, but they may look different as they are built and the mortar goes in between. I just thought they would have more of a colour variation to them.

Close up of external bricks

The electricity box, toilet and storage shed were also brought in sometime during the week. The kids seem to always need to 'go' while they are here....don't know why...surely the use of a portable toilet isn't that interesting!!

On Thursday 6th we again went out to the block, as the brickie was meant to be there Wednesday, so we thought that we might check it out to see how much progress he had made. Seeing as it was wet Wednesday afternoon, we didn't know if anyone showed up or kept away because of the rain. We were pleased to see that he had, in fact, been out Wednesday, not sure how long he was there for. The first row of external perimeter bricks had been placed and we have 2 half finished garage walls. Thursday was of course raining, today it's not... so we will see if there is any more progress on Sunday, when we again, venture out there. Looks like we will be making bi-weekly trips at least until the walls are up.

garage walls

bedroom recess looking towards front door
main bedroom looking down the side, towards back of house.

Close up of garage wall.

We also took up 'S' on her offer to meet 'W' our SS, he was meant to get in contact with us to arrange a meeting. So far we haven't heard anything, so may have to give 'S' a call and see whats happening...hope this is not the start of things to come... ie: slow to call etc

We rang up the developers during the week to find out about the back of the land. At the moment there is a ditch and a post and wire fence beyond that. Initially, as the land was getting developed we thought the back of our property would be forward of the ditch. Not so, we measured the length of the property on Sunday to find that it goes back to wire fence, which means the ditch is on our land, and cuts about 1.5-2 metres off our small backyard. I put the question to the forum, and was shown where the ditch is on the 'house-siting' plans, so it was there all along. Anyway after the phone call we have been told that the area will be covered in. The developers were waiting, as they didn't want to put in a retaining wall. The land behind us will get developed and end up level to us, only problem is I have no idea when it will be developed... not for a few years yet at least. They will send an engineer out soon to do whatever he does..there are 3 houses being built on our side so far (6 blocks total... until the rest of the area gets developed), that will need fences up sooner rather than later.

Friday, October 24, 2008

We have a slab

Yay! The plumbing etc was done early this week, it was definitely in by Wednesday afternoon. We were hoping to get out to the block before the cement was poured, but alas when we went Thursday was already done. So no photos of the pipes etc. just some of the we were leaving the windows turned up too, so we got a couple of photos of those. It has also left me doubting whether I we picked the right colour. Our mortar will be darker than what the windows appear to be, and what about the render, will it match?? Maybe I should have gone with the 'magnolia gloss' ones instead, it is darker than the 'white birch' we have got.... or maybe even 'silver lustre' might have been nice. Its so hard to choose when the only samples you have are 10cm lengths of pipe, 4 bricks with mortar, and no render colour to compare with! Its too late to change now anyways, so I guess I shouldn't stress myself out about window colouring!! Also found out while checking the contract that not only do we have flyscreens for the windows, but for sliding doors as well. I didnt even see that until today *blushes*

So now the photos....

This was on Sunday, before pipes etc had been laid.
Our slab... it takes up most of the block, I dont think we will be having any backyard at all. Not happy about that, but what can you do when block sizes these days are sooo small!
Looking from rear of house to front. The pipes sticking up are toilet, laundry and bathroom pipes..the ensuite ones up the front.
This is the way they do garages here. The rest will be laid later on, towards the end of the build.
Our new windows. I hope they dont go "walk-about" while they are sitting there waiting to be installed.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It has all started!

Well as the title says, things have started on the block! We got an email from our Construction Liason Lady...'S' let us know that now that everything has gone to construction, she will take over from 'C'. We have to go through her if we have questions etc, and she says she will keep us updated fortnightly on progress. She also told us who our Site Supervisor is, we'll call him 'W' from now on, and that site works are starting and slab will be down within the next fornight. We also can meet W if we like, we have to go through her though to make an appointment. I think we will take her up on the offer, mainly to put a face to the name, find out how long building should take etc, and hopefully get a 'feel' for him... (see if he knows his stuff or if he's a dodgy SS!)... I will also have some Q's I will want answered too.
Luckily Mr G knows someone who has built and is living in the estate and kindly said she will go past and update us. We will be making weekly visits out there now that everything has finally started. Hopefully we can get pictures before the slab goes down, which should be sometime next week. I guess the next step after slab is the handing over of money.... eeekkk!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

We have a sign...

Well the bank finally come through, about a week after my last post. After getting confirmation, we paid the deposit (out of our pown pocket :( ) and rang our CA, who was away. The replacement girl, thanked us and had everything sent to construction.... Yipee no price-rise!!

We also got a plan for the storm water disposal...theres a soak well on the plan-not sure if this is a good or bad thing yet. The council had deleted one soakwell from the back, (not sure where the water from the d/pipes goes for them though) and it looks like from the scribble on the plan the front one was moved from near the house to the near the footpath??? A bit later down the track we will go to the council and work it out between ourselves, we arent quite sure what it all means!

A call to Ultimate last week, had us excited as we were told that everything should start in the next couple of weeks. Our original CA 'C' is also back from holidays.

A trip to the block on Sunday had us (Mr G and I) cheering as we had our builders sign erected.....the kids weren't impressed, all they still see is dirt, once building actually starts I think they will be able to muster up a little bit of enthusiasm.... quite possibly it will dimish quickly though, when we drag them out there week after week!

The houses are going up all around in our section of the estate, so its quite nice to see it develop.

Kids sitting in front of the builders sign..(note the beanie miss7 is wearing :) )
Looking towards the main entrance..our block is the 2nd one in on the left, not visible in picture.
Looking down the street, directly in front of our block.

Looking towards our block from street in above picture.
Part of the creek area that cuts through the estate. This area is on the other side of the main entrance/our block. Our side of the creek hasn't been started yet.

You can see the main entrance from this picture, and the rest of the 'undeveloped estate.

While driving back home, I managed to get the kids excited when I seen 'Herbie' driving towards us....okay maybe I got a little excited too (I loved Herbie!!) Mr13 insisted it was the same car from the movies...after all there cant be 2 'herbies' ... I am sure he got miss7 and mr10 believing him! So all in all it was excitement all around!!

"Beep beep"

Friday, September 19, 2008

At a standstill.....

We are waiting, waiting, waiting for the bank to come through with our bank approval. It looks like what was a while ago agreed to, is now null and void, and we have had to apply for the house loan approval again...only to come up short! We are a week over our "date" of 11 Sept. and the bank is saying that our current house valuation is now not enough. We are risking the house price-rise if this is not finalised soon, (like today!!) and have to pay the house deposit of $12k ourselves...this is the only way we can get the loan, without mortgage insurance (getting that would mean a lengthy hold-up while they re-do the loan with the added amount in it and we haven't the time.)
The thing that annoys me the most is that we asked the bank first how much we could borrow before even looking, that way it allowed us to not look at houses/designs that were out of our budget and to keep upgrades minimal so there was not a lot of the back and forth between builder and bank.
On the plus side we did get our building approval from the council yesterday, haven't seen what "stormwater" system the builder has put in on the application yet, I think they used a soakwell...hope we can just eliminate that, but will have to talk to council first. That is to be done after hand-over anyways by us, so plenty of time to figure what we will do.

I hate this waiting, but what can you do?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A little closer now...

We have been out to the block and we have a tap...hurrah! :) Who would have thought that something so little would get me all excited. While out at the block, we have discovered that we are not the first to start building either. :( LOL! The block next to ours already has its brick-work started, (and has a whole heap of dirt half of which is piled on our block) at least 3 other places have their slab and a couple have their taps/electricity boxes. We said "howdy" to a.... I guess I can call him a 'neighbour' that is building just up the street from our block. He was walking around on his slab, lucky thing.... but I guess soon enough it will be us doing the same thing too. We haven't met the people building next to us yet... I already feel sorry for the poor people who have to live next to my brats kids!!
Some good news too...the bank has approved the loan...again... and our financial advisor got stuck into them for taking so long, so the bank...bless their corporate heart... has decided to start the 12 month bridging loan from this loan approval rather than the first one for the land. So that gives us the 3 months back, which is great. :) Hopefully that means that we may even be able to move into the new house before selling this one, which, in turn, means that we wont have to find somewhere to rent between selling and end of building.

Only thing we need to figure out now is schooling for next year.....

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A much needed update.....

Well its been a while since our last update and things have been moving along nicely....
First off, our settlement went through and the block was officially ours on the 24th June....Hurrah! Then on the 14 July we got a phone call to let us know that soil samples are in....... came back much earlier than expected. Apparently around our area there is a lot of clay, and if we ran into that, then the soil had to be sent over east for some analysis, yadda yadda yadda, 8 or more weeks later we possibly would of had a large site works bill. Anyhoo luck was with us, our soil was okay, our site costs weren't too extreme and 'J' is coming around tomorrow so that we could sign contracts. On the 15th everything was looked through, signed and sent away. Then we got a call from our CA, 'C', for our prestart meeting....which brings you up to date. :D
Our prestart was yesterday, and it took about 2 hours. The variations need to be signed and sent back in the morning. Then we have until September 11 to have everything submitted......deposit, finance approval and building permit. These are the 3 things that could push us back with starting, 2 things are up to the bank and one is up to the council....I guess we will have to get out the cattle prod and make sure they dont take their time! :D
So I guess this is the time I tell you about all the things we have chosen, and things we have done to our new house. Pictures will be compulsory.... so you can all 'ooh' and 'ahh' over it. :D

First up is the external colours:
*Roof style:vienna colour:graphite
*Bricks: Burnished red/cream mortar
*Gutters/Fascia: solver 'weathered copper'
*Garage door: Jaspar
*Render: dune
*Feature render: Jaspar
*Front door: Dulux 'Box Red'
Time for some "Oohing" people!!

The internals are the tiles, bench, cupboards, they are:
Ensuite: *floor-stone grey *wall-matt white *border-contempo grey *vanity top-platinum micro *cupboard-licorice linea
Bathroom: *floor-stone grey *wall-matt white *border-striscia grey *vanity top-rock salt *cupboard-licorice linea
Kitchen: *wall-matt white *bench tops-ash dust *cupboards-licorice linea

Now the "ahhing"

The selection for all these were on boards (about 8 different ones) with all tiles/laminates assigned for the three areas. All we had to do was just chose a board that we liked best. We could not change if we liked kitchen bench from board 2 and ensuite tile from board 4, we couldn't mix together, it was all of one or nothing. I don't mind the ones we have, its just not the ones I really wanted....(maybe on the next house ;) )
Door frames and trims will all be solver 'studio white'..... no internal painting is done by the builders, we will need to do that after hand-over.
Things we changed/added: *Deleted all brick paving, will do that after h/over with liquid limestone (credited)*added door to bed1's WIR & deleted shelf and rail *added a door to laundry *added a door to rear garage, and most importantly *added d/washer recess, (and contrary to someone's is not my hidey-hole... or the kids for that matter! )*Relocated trough to w/m spot *lowered taps and p/point to accomodate bench *lowered oven stack, so that I can actually see into microwave recess ( darn short people!) and added pot drawer under....albeit smaller to accomodate lowered oven.....should be ample room for all those trays :D lol.
For the electrical we only added a couple of extra lights, moved the theatre one (for d/lights after h/over), upgraded most single gpos to doubles and added extra doubles in some rooms. We also added conduit boxes for tv/phones/exhaust fans.

All up we only added an extra $4k, give or take... so not to bad.
The kids dont seem to be too interested in anything at the moment, took them out to the block, and we checked out the holes (from soil testing......2 metres deep)...they didnt want to get out the car, the red front door they barely glanced at.... so we haven't shown them the internal colours as yet. I wonder what they will do when we start cheering and getting excited at taps and portaloos on the property, probably wonder if we have truly gone mad. :?

While we (I mean "I") were working out our front colours, I 'photoshoped' the front in our preferred colours, here is the side and front view.

Okay 'ooh' and 'ahh' again please people! :D lol
I am not sure if the roof or the gutters are the right colour, we only had a 3cm x 2cm colour strip for the gutter colour, and the roof tile changes colour, we grabbed a sample tile at the 'home expo'....sometimes it looks black, others dark brown, and sometimes even a greyish black. So we did the best we could, if it does look weird after its built, I guess I have a 'handyman'.....(or at the very least 'a man'?) repaint it!!