Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Week 5 - Summary

Monday 19/12 - Sunday 25/12

A nice roll into the Christmas break this week, with framing complete, a site clean and the gutters fitted off.  We also resolved the lingering brick matter in our favour, which is a relief!  There won't be anymore action on-site until mid January when our roof tiles are scheduled.

So far, we are very happy with our progress, and look forward to seeing it all come together next year!

Monday 19/12:

Framers on-site finishing off the roof, adding in our extra noggins, and fitted the doors & windows. The foyer window that was delivered was the wrong size (2100mm tall instead of 2400mm tall), so that will need to be resolved next year.

Master BR window (from inside)

Family and Dining 1800x1800 picture windows

Entry - waiting for the 1200mm pivot door

Completed Frame

Invoice received by email at 3pm!

Wednesday 21/12:

Site has been cleaned, with all building rubbish removed from the block and surrounding areas, and the cage emptied.  Crushed rock has been delivered all around the site as well.

CB Monument gutters and fascias have been delivered to the garage.

Thursday 22/12:

Received a call from our BC confirming that we can use the Elements Magnesium brick! Good one PD, common sense has prevailed! However, it comes with a couple of disclaimers.

1. Austral are out of stock and do not expect availability until mid-February.  This will most likely result in PD claiming delays.  Not a big deal for us, as it may extend handover by a week or two, worst case.

2. If Austral do not provide the bricks by mid-February, and we are delayed until March / April, PD may apply penalty interest to our contract. Slightly annoying, but we will cross that bridge when / if we get to it.

3. They cannot lay Cat 1 bricks to the rendered areas due to the fact that most of the render work finishes on corners, however, they have decided to not charge us for the upgrade to Cat 9 where there is render underneath. This is a fair compromise in our opinion and a great gesture on their behalf.

To validate the delivery date, I contacted Austral.  They advised that the entire Elements range is due for new stock on 10 Jan, so all going well, they will be available prior to the roof tiling starting, which is scheduled for 13 Jan.  I will be calling Austral on the 15th to confirm availability.  I think PD were hedging their bets when they said mid-Feb for availability.

All in all, a good outcome... although we wish the Hawthorn brick was still available...

Friday 23/12:

Gutters and fascias fitted off.

Plan for next week:

Nothing!!  Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and best wishes for 2012!!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Week 4 - Summary

Monday 12/12 - Sunday 18/12

Just like last week, great weather kept things moving along.  We kicked off the week with an 8am onsite meeting with our SS.  This was the first time we were meeting him and wanted to put a face to the name and vice versa for him.  We're both very comfortable with him and his approach to the job at hand.  So, big tick for him and PD!

We also ran through some of the little things we wanted done, and how best to tackle them over the course of the build.  Most things he could take care of, some he could assist with (such as getting an extra course of tiles around the ensuite shower to take it up to the ceiling, by leaving a couple of packs of tiles on-site and the tiler's details) and some we just couldn't do (like bringing our own, bigger rain showerhead).

We also dropped off some fruit mince pies for him and the framers, who seem to be taking a great amount of pride in their work and doing a wonderful job.

By the end of the week, we have 95% of the framework complete (including the roof), and have some facade features and the windows / doors to go.

Walking around the house, in its barebones frame, is wonderful.  It feels just like we imagined it would and some of the features such as our raked ceiling are just fantastic!

Monday 12/12:

External wall frames start to be erected whilst we were on-site in the morning.

And when we came back in the evening, all external walls were complete and some internal walls were up too.

View of facade. Master BR on the left, Garage on the right

View from edge of Portico, just waiting for our big pivot door!

Kira and Chester being builder's assistants... View from Lounge / Alfresco to Kitchen / Family

Tuesday 13/12:

Framing continues with internal walls completed.

Looking good!

Looking at the Home Theatre room, with the city skyline in the background

A lot of the internal walls around the bedrooms and bathroom

Wednesday 14/12:

More framing around the garage and wall bracing completed.

View of Alfresco and Dining from side yard

Thursday 15/12:

Roof trusses started, and timber door frame and windows delivered to site.

Raked ceiling in Lounge, looking towards Alfresco where we will have a 5 leaf timber bifold

Side view

5 leaf and 4 leaf bifold

Timber window frames ready for fitting. Timber door frames right at the back.

Friday 16/12:

After having a good look at the frame work on Thursday, we believed a slab of beer for the guys was definitely in order.

I popped in on Friday morning to see how they were going and to drop off some beers, and they were putting the garage roof together.  They think they'll be all done by Monday and were waiting for the aluminium window frames to turn up.

We're so happy with the work these guys have done, and a slab of beers was the bare minimum we could do for them.  They were very humbled by the gesture, and were hoping all goes well with the frame inspection! With the care they've taken, I'm sure it'll pass with flying colours!  We hope all our trades are this awesome!  They also wanted to know when we'd tell them where the additional noggins would go, so we'll get onto that on Sunday afternoon and go see them on Monday morning.

Saturday 17/12:

The aluminium window frames have turned up.  These are going in the ensuite toilet, lounge, bathroom, toilet, Home Theatre sliders, and BRs 2, 3 & 4.

Glad that they are stacked neatly and with some protection.

Sunday 18/12:

Popped in to mark up the noggin locations for a handful of weighty items... ready for Monday!

Plan for next week:

Finalise our bricks - yes we're still screwing around with them. PD are reluctant to let us choose the Elements Magnesium... but we're not backing down on it. They don't have a good reason, and we've done our homework directly with Austral.
Complete framing
Install windows and doors
Break for Christmas!!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Week 3 - Summary

Monday 5/12 - Sunday 11/12

Great weather this week ensured we got plenty done!  We are very happy with the pace and quality of the construction.  We also got a chance to meet the framing guys who were working on Saturday, and interestingly are building the frames by hand.  We got our first invoice this week and got our head around the progress payment process, along with putting in the last of our own contribution to the build cost!

Awesome week!

Monday 5/12:
Reo and waffle pods laid into excavation.

Ready for concrete pour

Tuesday 6/12:
Slab poured.

Taken from Master BR (front of house)

Taken from Rumpus Room (rear of house)

Wednesday 7/12:
All the excavated dirt has been spread out around the site and all rubbish removed. The electricity meter box has been fitted and framing wood has been delivered.

Thursday 8/12:
Framing started with the outline of the walls marked out, and template lengths cut.

Taken from Dining Room

Taken from Ensuite

Friday 9/12:
More framing work with the majority of the studs and noggins cut, ready for nailing.

Saturday 10/12:
Frames nailed together ready for erecting early next week!

Framers hard at it on Saturday

All their good work - looking at the Home Theatre

More of their good work - Looking at Master BR / Ensuite / WIR

Plan for next week:

SS Meeting on Monday to go through some of the finer details
Mark up of additional noggin locations (towel rails, cocoon heater, etc)
Framing completed
Gutters and fascia (?)

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Great Brick Fiasco

We are becoming so annoyed with BRICKS!!

Originally we decided to go with Austral LaTrobe bricks, then we decided they were not quite right so we changed to Hawthorn in a PCV.

We found out these were discontinued (from Humble) and let our BC know, she told us they were still available. Just in case, we decided we could go with Hawksburn which is the replacement. After seeing a couple of houses with these we decided Hawksburn were too light, as we want a really dark brown brick.

At our construction drawings appointment our BC still said Hawthorn were available, so we were really relieved.

Last Friday we received a call to say Hawthorn are now discontinued, please choose another brick. LaTrobe are also discontinued.

The problem being: we can't find a suitable brick in the PD Austral range. If we make our brick lighter then all our other external selections will have to change. We tried the Boral avenue, but, no go !

So PD have come back to us and said we can go to Cat 7 at no extra cost, which is no help as they are all light. PD then said we can have any Austral brick we like (it doesn't have to be on the Hopetoun list or a Victorian brick). I spent some time today on the phone to Austral to find a dark brick that was actually displayed in Victoria.

EUREKA !!! We have a brick.

It is from the Elements range - Magnesium. I saw it on a house today and it looks great, the base colour blends in well. We still have to tell our BC, so fingers crossed it all goes well.

Elements Magnesium

Elements Magnesium up close

Monday, 5 December 2011

Week 2 - Summary

Monday 28/11 - Sunday 4/12

This week saw the setup of the earthworks, ready for a slab pour which was originally scheduled for Thursday 1/12.  Unfortunately, the rain over the weekend caused delays at other jobs for the concreters, so we got pushed back to Tuesday 6/12.

Leanne jumped the gun a bit and posted some pictures of the plumbing and formwork in the post below, so I won't double up on them here.

Monday 28/11:
Under slab plumbing installed.

Thursday 1/12:
Slab excavation complete, formwork started. Reo and Waffle pods delivered to site.

Friday 2/12:
Slab boxing complete.

Completed slab framework

Plan for next week:

Reo and waffle pods laid
Slab poured
Electricity meter box fitted
Framing started

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Pre slab

On Monday our sign board was delivered, we really have a proper build now !!

We almost have a slab, here are a few pics of the preparations. Can't wait to be able to stroll about on the footprint.

Boxing for the slab - if you look really hard the city is in the background
More slab boxing
Our Reo and Waffle Pods

This is a copy of one of the plumbing plans we found on site near the bin cage, so we grabbed it for a closer look.

Plumbing plans

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Week 1 - Summary

Monday 21/11 - Sunday 27/11

Site Start came with a whole lot of excitement for us! We started our building journey on day one of 2011, and it has taken us 47 weeks to get to this point.

Leanne & I generally believed that building a house could do more damage than good, especially when we considered the stories of our friends and family. However, I always had a deep seated sense of wanting to build our own home, and Leanne really admires a beautifully designed and decorated house. What could possibly go wrong?!

We've both learnt a great deal about homes, construction, the building industry and decorating over the last year, and when we look back to some of our initial notes on what we wanted in our new home, they are quite amusing!

Driving around to so many parts of Melbourne looking at bricks, and colours and fittings seems like a world away now, and we hope all the effort in bringing our selections together, gives us the result we are after... and when you wait so long to start on site, you can't help but second guess yourself.  It almost makes the journey a bit unreal because it is all just on paper... "are we ever really going to build this thing!?"

But here we are... and the sense of relief and excitement that has come with the following innocuous activities is quite incredible!

Progress from 24seven

Friday 11/11:
Signed off Construction drawings and Final Variations List, and received building permit.  Couldn't get a site start date as their systems were dead.

Monday 14/11:
Call from BC advising site start date was booked for Monday 21/11.

Friday 18/11:
Port-a-loo delivered and site scraped.

Monday 21/11:
SS calls to introduce himself and we have a quick chat about what to expect over the coming weeks.  Slab pour booked in for Thursday 1/12.

Tuesday 22/11:
Rubbish cage delivered.

Rubbish cage & port-a-loo

Wednesday 23/11:
Electricity cables run and building envelope staked.

Stakes and electricity

Thursday 24/11:
Security perimeter fence installed.

Cyclone fencing

Plan for next week:

Slab formwork
Slab pour

Friday, 18 November 2011


We went out to the block this evening and to our surprise we have a port-a-loo.


Site start is Monday but they have already started doing some kind of scrape! It seems like they have done a bit of the master bedroom, portico and main living area. We will have to go back tomorrow and have a proper look when its not so dark.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Final Drawings

We had our construction appointment last Friday and it went really well. Everything was sorted from the 7 PCV's. The few things that were not done were fixed in minutes. Being all good, we signed them off. We had everything that needing amending from our contract drawings highlighted, so it was just a matter of cross referencing it all.

Our slab structure was modified due to more accurate soil surveying, the site is still classed as a P. The 60 piers from the original drawings are gone and we have some strengthening around the slab perimeter instead.

Our building permit is in and out site start is the 21st of November !!!

We are both just soooo excited. Bring on the port-a-loo !!!

Here are some of the final drawings:



West (Front) and North Elevations

South and East Elevations

Kitchen, Pantry and Ensuite Elevations

Bathroom and Laundry Elevations