Thursday, 13 September 2012

It's been a while, and a lot has happened...!

Hi everyone... it certainly has been a long time since we've updated this blog. And the reason for that is NOT because nothing has happened!

It's been nearly 3 and a half months since we posted anything up here, and to go back and provide the detail is nearly impossible. Maybe I'll just start at a high level and work my way through the fun bits.

First and foremost, everything has gone very well, and we are incredibly happy with our house. The one thing that has made it sooo good, was the safe arrival of our baby girl, Evie Mae, on Monday 27 August, at 11pm, weighing 3.73 Kg.

She's the light of our life, and has really made our house a home.

Now, back to the house.

We settled on Friday 15 June, with painting still going on while we went off and got the keys. From here, we quickly got into ripping off all the skirting boards and getting them a coat of paint. Our families came and helped, as we worked our way through over 130 pieces of board. All of them got a coat of paint by about midnight on Friday night. We were off to ante-natal classes the whole Saturday, and when we got back, the family came around again, and we painted them all for a second coat. On Sunday, we collected them all up and stored them in the garage, as the floors were starting on Monday morning.

The floorboard guy was only available on the Monday and Tuesday, and was returning the following week to finish them off. He was so careful and meticulous with his work, we thought he'd need a month to do them. On the Wednesday and Thursday, the carpets went in. On Friday 22/6, the wardrobes and blinds went in. This meant that we had to put down the skirting boards in the wardrobes on Thursday night.

The fencing guys were also to start on Monday 18/6, but due to weather, didn't get anything done till the Wednesday, and took till past moving day (Sunday 2/7), to complete, as they were doing the guys behind us at the same time, in between pouring rain. The same went for the concreters, who were doing the side of the house (coloured), the driveway (exposed agg), and the front apron (plain) extending off the portico, for us to lay a deck at a later stage. They didn't finish till mid-July. To put the skirting boards back on, we hired a Handyman that we'd used before who nailed them all back on and filled the holes. I then went around and sanded the filler back. The colour has dried an almost exact match, and you don't notice it.

Appliance Day was Friday 29/6, and we were to get:

1. Hot water system
2. Oven, Dishwasher, Rangehood, Steam Oven
3. Heating / Cooling system
4. Minor electrical not completed at handover
5. Ducted Vac

What we got was a fair balls up. The wrong rangehood was brought, the steam oven was too big for the cutout, half the electrical work wasn't completed (they brought 1 of 2 facade lights, 1 of 2 fluoros for the garage, a white rim LED downlight for the portico instead of a chrome halogen and also discovered there was no cabling for it).

You wouldn't believe what a debacle the wrong rangehood resulted in. What transpired is that the multiple emails and phone calls to various PD people (despite their acknowledgement), still didn't get the fact that we wanted a different rangehood installed, made clear to the sparkies when they marked up the wall for the holes to be cut into the splashback. As such, they marked up the holes for a different model, which meant Stegbar cut the holes in the glass for the wrong model. The sad part is that the incorrect holes didn't get discovered on Appliance Day. We only thought that the wrong rangehood had been ordered. So after a gruff phone call to our SS, he organised the order of the new one (which was going to take a week because it isn't kept in stock). When L&O came back out to fit the new one, they realised the holes were wrong, and they can't cut the glass themselves, Stegbar need to do it. But Stegbar won't recut the glass, they'll have to get a new piece of glass. And because where the Rangehood goes is on one of four pieces of coloured glass, for the sake of colour matching, ALL FOUR PIECES HAVE TO BE REPLACED.

Stegbar came out a few days later to measure up the new holes, and said they'd put a priority on the glass as we were already in. The normal lead time was 10 days, but we should have it replaced in less time than that. 14 days later we got our glass. L&O then came a few days after that to install the rangehood. In all of that time, there were probably 4 missed appointments... not good when Leanne was heavily pregnant and unable to rest, waiting for these guys to turn up. But after having a gaping hole in the kitchen for 4 weeks post Appliance Day (6 weeks after Handover), we got there. And you can only get angry and agitated about it so much...

Rewind back to move in day, which was Sunday 2/7, and there was another unexpected problem to deal with. On the Saturday before, whilst moving boxes and preparing for the following day, I noticed that the toilet failed to clear after flushing it. So I flushed it again. And then I called the plumber on the PD contact list. He came out an hour later and gave the loo a good plunge, but the problem didn't go away, which meant the Drainage guys had to come out. What wasn't clear is whether he would organise that, or his office would, or I had to. When I didn't hear anything 2 hours later, I called them myself and left a message. As the evening progressed the Ensuite toilet started to have the same problem. So I called again first thing Sunday morning and again no answer. We proceeded to call every Drainage contractor on their list, and surprise surprise - no one answered. Then my mate who was helping us move suggested we call The Drain Man. A friendly guy answered the phone and had someone out within the hour... on a Sunday! I'll spare you the gory details, but after 3 hours of playing with waste, in the rain on a Sunday in our muddy backyard, we were incredibly lucky to find the issue. A piece if PVC piping from the Inspection Shaft that was sticking up out of the ground had broken off during the course of the build and slid neatly down the pipe, blocking the flow of water. Add some toilet paper and you have yourself a blocked drain! Also, the bottom of the Inspection Shaft had a 90deg bend in it instead of a curved bend, and there was a 5cm tear at the top of the pipe. This all went down on his report, and he removed the broken PVC pipe so we could use the house again. The cost for this...? $1100. PD got the bill and reimbursed us within a few weeks. PD's drainage guys were in our backyard a few days later and had to dig out 2 cubes of dirt to fix the other issues. Lucky for them (and us too, I guess) the problem wasn't in the middle of the house under the slab...

Aside from these 2 issues, and given the crap weather causing delays for fences, concrete and landscaping, everything has gone well. All of our furniture turned up and suits the house really nicely, and all the artwork we had and bought new has been set up and looks great too. We've basically finished the house, just need to complete the Timber decking to the front of the house (currently plain concrete), and Timber decking to the Alfresco. In the meantime, we painted that surface with concrete paint so we can put our lovely King Outdoor furniture out and use the area. We also need to buy the Cocoon open fire for the Lounge room.

We also found the World's greatest electrician. A local guy who spent 2 straight days at our house hanging pendants (including the delicate and expensive Skygarden), fitting off extra powerpoints, powering up the heated towel rails and a stack of other stuff.  The quality of his work was second to none, and we heartily recommend him to anyone looking for a trustworthy and reliable electrician.

Our floating shelves in the Pantry and Family Room came up perfectly. In the Pantry, we went for 3 50mm thick shelves in the same finish as our cabines (Laminex Parchment Crystal Gloss). We preferred this over the standard PD shelving to avoid the thin shelves, mounting brackets and wasted space. The shelves in the Family Room are Tasmanian Oak, stained in Walnut to match the floors.

We used SunPro1 Landscaping, who did a great job in specifying and laying Tall Fescue in the front, side and back. I love the idea of big chunks of nice lawn for Evie and her friends to play on, along with the dogs. While they were here, they also scraped out a couple of areas which we were going to clear and rock at a later date for a pathway.  They offered to do it, and also lay compacted road base so it was off a flat and stable surface for a few hundred extra.  It meant all the land around house became mud free and completely usable. Win!

Leanne's mum and I spent the weekend of 25 & 26 August finishing off the landscaping by planting shrubs, trees and completing the rock work, along with painting the Alfresco, just to get it all done. At this stage, Leanne was a few days overdue but we were expecting her to go another week... but at our Obstetrician appointment the next morning, they decided to induce due to a significantly reduced amount of amniotic fluid and reduced foetal movements... we weren't planning on not coming home after that appointment and only had the 'emergency bags' in the car, but were bundled straight off to hospital and our beautiful baby was born later that night. Four nights in a hospital room at Frances Perry House made us realise how much we loved our home :) and lucky for us, it was ready and waiting for our new, improved family.

Here's some pics, but purely for security, we're only putting up a few. If you'd like to see some more, please contact us privately and we'll see what we can do.

For those who are interested, Leanne made up a mood board and also included some images of the furniture we were buying whilst building, at this page. Just to compare how it actually looks in the house.

Kitchen and Dining, taken from Family.
Evie's daybed is that funny thing in the middle of the picture if you're wondering...

Dining, looking through to Lounge.
Skygarden light looking grand over the Dining table.

Dining, looking to Entry and out to Alfresco / Side Yard

Side Yard looking to Alfresco, with Ensuite door on far wall.
Lawn almost ready for a mow.

Kitchen, WITH rangehood.

Family and Kitchen (large canvas coming, to go on wall above couch)

Main Bathroom

Down to entrance... Lounge to the left, Alfresco to the right, Chester in the window :)

Family Room. Cocoon open fire to go on left wall, between shutters
(although you can't see the other shutter).

Lounge looking to Alfresco and Study.

Foyer looking back to Kitchen.

Evie's room, with wall decals from Poss & Wom :)

Evie's room :)
99% finished facade. You may be able to notice the plain
concrete around the front, which will be decked.
So there we have it... a great project that has taken us over 18 months to complete.  We're very happy with the outcome, but it's been a very busy and testing time.  We've loved sharing it with you! This will most likely be the last blog post we make... unless we do the decking and/or fire place soon.

Good Luck!

Leanne & Rups

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Week 28 - Summary

Monday 28/5 - Sunday 3/6:

The countdown to Handover is on! A stack of work was completed this week, which ended with our PCI (Practical Completion Inspection) meeting on Friday.

Downpipes need painting, and that ugly as sin rainhead
is to be replaced with something smaller and square.
We started by going through the items noted within our Inspector's pre-handover report from Wed, with pretty much all things accepted by our SS to fix.  Some he won't / can't fix (eg: the smaller of the 2 Master BR doors has a rattle, but it's because of the locking mechanism into the frame, not because the door is faulty, and can be fixed by putting a tiny rubber spot into the frame to absorb any movement - Item 16 below), which is fine with us, but all items were addressed.  We then went through each room together pointing things out, then around the exterior.

The main things picked up in our walk around are:

* Paint touch ups.  Little things all over the place.
* A handful of minor electrical things.
* Some paint / render splashes on the gutters / fascias at a few spots around the house.
* Some of the cornice joins to the ceiling in the family room aren't plumb and require attention.
* Replace the rainhead on the facade gutterwork.
* The Laundry requires new stone, as the new hole they cut for the trough ended up being too big!

A copy of the report from New Home Inspections is below:

So the final fix list is the items above, plus what we picked up, which is mainly paint related or just general clean up. This is what has to be rectified for a happy handover....which will definitely not be this Friday 8 June.

Our SS is pretty certain he can't get the stone in the Laundry replaced & one of the bifold doors replaced within the week.

Contemplating the things that need fixing, it's all fairly minor and generally cosmetic.  All things going well, we should have handover on 15 June!

The furniture companies are calling saying our stuff is ready, and all the post handover trades are now booked in, and we've agreed the fencing with our neighbours which is great!  Can't wait to get cracking on all the finishing work, and move into our beautiful new home!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Week 27 - Summary

Monday 21/5 - Sunday 27/5:

For all intents and purposes, the house is pretty much done! And it feels ready too with all the fencing, port-a-loo and rubbish cage gone as well, and the site scraped clean.  The place looks exactly how we planned it to look, so we're very happy campers!  Great job PD!

But, can't crack out the bubbles just yet (and Leanne will have to wait a fair bit longer too)... there are still a few more jobs to get done along with the post-PCI touch ups. Then we can sign off with PD, and get into the jobs to make this house our home.

The work this week saw the site cleared, the termite barrier installed (something I completely forgot about in my list), and the splashback fitted.  This was the last item to go in that represented all the 'personal choices' in the build and the one that was probably done with least confidence.  Trying to pick a colour which will look different against the glass and surrounding joinery / stone was quite difficult.  We were persuaded to change the colour from Spritzig Half to Bosco Blue by our colour consultant. It's come up alright... just needs to grow on us.

We also got a new Building Coordinator.  Our old one finished up, which I had an inkling of because there was no contact for a few weeks. Anyway, the new one seems pretty good.

The mirrors went in on Thursday, which basically finishes off the bathroom and ensuite, and the flyscreen doors went in on Friday.  The rest of the flyscreens still need doing.

Our SS has been through the house and put little stickers where things need touching up, which will be in addition to whatever our Independent Inspector comes up with on Wednesday and whatever we come up with at PCI on Friday.

Here are the jobs that still need doing:

* Mirrors
* Splashbacks
* Showerscreens
* Render Colour Coat
* Facade Painting
* Telstra Lead-In
* Gas Meter
* Flyscreens
* Site clean
* House clean
* Termite Barrier
* Facade lights
* Linen closet shelving

From a defects perspective, this is what needs attention so far:

* 2 blown downlights (entry & theatre)
* 1 of 2 fluoro tubes to be fitted in garage
* Damaged door handle and scuff plate (from brick washing acid)
* Kitchen pot drawers still at mismatched heights
* Alfresco flood light should be a double (only a single fitted)
* Ensuite external door handle needs replacing
* Stained mortar on facade
* Laundry trough replacement
* General paint touchups, mortar blowouts, and a couple of rough plaster joins

Splashback in!

Ensuite Mirror

Bathroom Mirror

Facade - still needs painting and downpipes

Finally get to see it without the OH&S stuff! Love it!

Upcoming dates:

30/5  - Independent Inspector
1/6    - PCI
8/6    - Planned handover
15/6  - When we reckon we'll get handover
18/6  - Floors & Fencing
21/6  - Blinds
22/6  - Wardrobes
25/6  - Concrete
2/7    - Move in
3/7    - Turf

Monday, 21 May 2012

Week 26 - Summary

Monday 14/5 - Sunday 20/5:

Not sure what corny line to start this week's post with, but the message is, 'nearly there!'

All work is traveling along nicely for a 1 June PCI, and our Independent Inspector is booked in for Wednesday 30 May.

We haven't had much communications from PD, unless we call them for something, which is a little disappointing, as there are a few question still outstanding.  Our SS wanted to gauge our flexibility on keeping the plastic laundry trough as it is apparently quite hard to change, but we're going with the Stainless Steel one for many reasons. Not sure why it's so difficult to swap over, but I guess that's not really our problem.

The downpipes around the house were connected to stormwater, but there are still downpipes to be fitted on the facade (only 1 of the 3 is in), and all 3 will require painting. The colour coat of render went on (Dulux 'Time Capsule') and looks fantastic!  Can't quite get the full picture on the facade as parts still require painting.  The house also got cleaned which has made a big difference to the windows, benches and sinks, and the gas meter was fitted.

And last, but not least, the showerscreens went in over Friday and Saturday.  We upgraded these from the standard Stegbar Softline style to their Grange semi-frameless ones...  well worth it!

So from the 'high-level' list of things remaining from last week:

* Mirrors
* Splashbacks
* Shower screens
* Render colour coat
* Facade painting (it was stopped when they realised they had a leak)
* Telstra lead-in
* Gas Meter
* Flyscreens
* Site clean
* House clean

We've finalised the landscaping plans (will post details during the week), organised the concreters and nearly sorted the fencing.  The furniture for the new house is on track for delivery and the floors, wardrobes and blinds suppliers are all booked in!  It's going to be a very busy 2 months, with a few weeks to settle in before bubs is due!

A door was left open on Friday night, so we were able to get in and take some pics...

Facade almost complete. Downpipes and some painting to go.

Facade - reverse angle :)

Ensuite almost complete - just need mirror.

Soooooo can't wait to use this :)
Massive kudos to the tiler.

Kitchen looking good. Love the Island Bench.  Splashback in this week 

Shot from Kitchen back through the house.

Laundry, waiting on proper tub.

Alfresco area now completed.

Sunlight changes the colour a lot!

Which bright spark thought it would be clever to drill the door stop into a $4000 door?!

So... cleary not much to go... hopefully next week's post celebrates practical completion!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Week 25 - Summary

Monday 7/5 - Sunday 13/5:

Getting excited now...!  The house is in the final stages of completion...!  Our BC gave us a PCI date of Friday June 1 and a Handover date of Friday June 8.  No problem with 1/6 - this is very achievable, but reckon 8/6 is pushing for it to be completed properly.  No rush for handover here, and no interest in having to chase them up for things for a month after.

Good number of trades made it through this week and got their stuff done.  The worst part about all of this, is the fact that we can't get in.  Every door is well and truly locked at the end of each day. So the photos that we can share with you this week are the ones Leanne got when she dropped in last Wednesday (her regular day off).

The tiler finished up on Wednesday after getting some extra tiles for the Laundry splashback return, and finishing off the grout.  Very happy with his work.

The garage door went up on Tuesday and adds a new dimension to the facade. The brand is not what is contracted (AGD Fineline Timber FX) but is an Eco Garage Door instead.  Obviously one company's definition of 'Walnut' is different to the next, so we're uncertain how much difference there is and if it matters.  So we're looking at the door at different times of the day in various light to come to a consensus. So far I'm tipping we're happy to keep it.

On Thursday the plumbers came through and installed all the taps, toilets, shower bits and front downpipe.  The portico was re-sealed on Friday, and the carpenters also filled in the small gaps above the bathroom window and rumpus doors and the brickwork.  Door furniture was also done on Friday (handles and stops - yes, we've bought some nice replacements from Bunnings).

So... very high level, we have the following to go:

* Mirrors
* Splashbacks
* Shower screens
* Render colour coat
* Facade painting (it was stopped when they realised they had a leak)
* Telstra lead-in
* Gas Meter
* Flyscreens
* Site and house clean
* post-PCI activities

Main Bathroom shower

Couple of tiles missing on hob. Waiting for plumbers to connect the bath.


Trough to be replaced with Stainless Steel tub

Nice big shower!

The door stops we bought from Bunnings, but less shiny

Garage Door...  looks a lot lighter in direct sunlight

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Week 24 - Summary

Monday 30/4 - Sunday 6/5:

Slow and steady this week, with the tiler settling in and working his way through the house. The tiled areas aren't extensive (wet areas + Laundry splashback) so we're a little surprised that we're not finished yet.  But - credit where it's due - the tiler is so careful and methodical with his work that we're happy for him to take as long as he needs. Our SS called on Monday morning when the tiler turned up to make sure the tiles were all good and how we wanted them laid and blended (the colour and veining in the tile varies significantly).

The cabinetry was also replaced with Crystal Gloss, so tiling could continue. Finally.

The sinks were installed in the Bathroom and Ensuite, and the Laundry trough was done too, but is in white plastic instead of Stainless Steel.  We weren't sure what to make of this (is it better or worse?), but have decided to contact our BC and ask for the stainless steel one. The heating and cooling ducts were also fitted off this week, and the holes for the rangehood were cutout - which we assume is due to the splashback guys coming through for a measure up.

The tiler also locks up the house every night, so we haven't had a chance to get any photos, but grabbed a few through the windows. If we get a chance this week, we'll post them up.

The return wall still needs to be done.
Not enough tiles were supplied. Floor done.
Plan for next week:

Finish tiling
Garage Door
Plumbing fit off?