Rough-ins

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks on our site.

Our windows are completely installed, and our rough-ins (electrical, plumbing, gas) were done this week.

We had been booked in to do our first walk-through on 9th March. However when I had a brief discussion with Stephen (our first site manager) on 3rd March, he said he would get Dean (our new site manager) to phone me earlier in the week to confirm a walk-through on Friday, 10th March. I didn’t get a phone call, so we assumed it wasn’t happening, then at almost 7am on the 10th Stephen phones me to ask where we were. That was annoying that we could have had it done this week but a lack of communication failed us.

Dean phoned a little later on in the day and we have booked in our walk-through for this Thursday (16th March) at 6:30 am.

This week, it’s all about the bricks and plastering.

In other news, I stopped by to take my weekly photos on Wednesday and our neighbour (who’s slab got poured that day) showed up as I was taking a photo. He sounds like he’s a nice guy, I think we’ll get along just fine. Our other neighbour had her plumbing dug in this week, so hopefully by the time we get there on Thursday her slab will be all done. It would be seriously nice if our three houses could be completed at roughly the same time – it will allow us to have fences completed and move in shortly after handover.

We’ve contacted SEF to do our landscaping and fencing as well. It looks to me like we may need to have a little retaining wall at the front of our property. We’re going to try to meet with him in the school holidays to get some firm-ish ideas on what we want and start booking him in.

 

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Solar panels and windows

Our solar panels are now on, and our windows are being installed. I had a lovely conversation with the guys installing them. I even got offered to come on site and have a look around, but husband and I haven’t set foot on the land yet, and I think it’s important to do that together. Which should be next Thursday.

In other house-building news, our site manager has changed. Stephen Robinson has helped us through the first 5 weeks and getting our house through this stage. He’s been amazing. Here’s hoping the new site man is as good or better!

 

Build day 21 – frames

Our frames got delivered on Monday, and I visited the land today to find an almost-completed frame.

The site manager was there and gave me a rundown on the next week or so. By Friday 25 February, we should have tiles on the roof. We have a planned walk through around 9 March, which will be right before plastering and bricking.

Build day 11 – slab done!

My first weekly phone call with our site manager (S) was on Friday at 2:46 pm. It lasted about 5 minutes but was all sunshine and puppies. We started off talking about the excess soil that we had to get removed (at our expense). 2 truck loads gone and no invoice yet. But because we got that sorted, the slab got laid yesterday. I was surprised they would pour it on a Saturday, but hey, I’m not complaining!

S said he’ll inspect it on Monday and we can expect our first invoice next week. Woohoo! Not much will happen next week, as the slab has to set. However on the 13th of Feb the frames are due to be delivered and on the 14th the carpenter will get to work putting the frames up. We should have the second invoice for framing around the 16th.

I asked if it was possible to walk around when that is complete but S said until the roof is on, it’s still dangerous.

I stopped by the land on the way home from husband’s cousin’s wife’s baby shower, with my mother-in-law and both aunt-in-laws in tow. The slab sits up higher than I would have expected, but I think that’s due to the flooding possibilities. A lot of people have told me the slab will look smaller than I expected, but I didn’t think so. The space between the slab and land boundaries looked a little smaller on one side and a little larger on the other, but that’s because I can’t judge distances very well.

We also took a drive around the estate – which was quick to do as it’s really one long circuit that loops back around. There were 3 other slabs laid (2 of them with M and the same site man) and about 3 more with the plumbing down. So we’re one of the first to get started. With any luck, our neighbours’ houses will start soon and hopefully finish around the the time ours do (or shortly afterwards). I’m concerned that we won’t be able to fence our property if they are still building, therefore not be able to move in (or have to leave our dog with husband’s mum for a few weeks). We’ll see how it plays out.

If the build keeps going like this, our house will be at practical completion stage in early May. I’m still keeping a move-in date of 16th of September at this stage (it’s only feasible to have a move-in date during the school holidays for us), but we will see how we go.

And we’re off!

So a week after our settlement, and we have a build start-date. We’ve struggled with getting our covenant approval. The end result is that we’re rendering our beautiful, lovely bricks that we adore to satisfy the requirements.

I spoke with our customer service representative today and it may be the last time. Then, I spoke to our site manager, and have organised to meet him at the land tomorrow (Friday, 20 January 2017) to discuss what needs to be discussed.

Our build starts Wednesday, 25 January 2017. Four weeks before the date they provided in the contract. So our 180 days (the magic number for Metricon builds) finishes on Monday, 24 July 2017.

I’m so excited… and so tired, and so scared that things will go wrong.

Contracts

Last day of 2016! We received our loan contracts yesterday, but are a little confused so now waiting for our broker to go back to work to get him to sit down with us to complete them.

Our land settlement date is slated for 12 January, which probably won’t happen as the bank’s paperwork says they need to get the contract back 15 days before settlement.

I did find this awesome little article though:
http://www.safewise.com/blog/home-building-timeline-keep-sane/

Happy new year! 2016 was okay for us, lots of stuff happening… but it’s really going to be 2017 that things happen for us!

We have the finance!

My last post was 21 days ago. That’s a long time for the bank to get their approval back to us, but it has happened.

In that time, they’ve reevaluated the as if complete amount for our home, and requested several additional things, like my tax debt be paid off in full and credit limits be reduced. We have been frustrated with them because they queried how much we had already paid even though we had provided them all the receipts a while ago, and they queried why our window coverings weren’t on the house contract, when they were (that wasted a good couple of days).

But we have got there in the end. On Thursday, 22 Dec at 5:43 pm I found a text on my phone from the bank with my pin to access the account. Then I got several emails from the bank and broker. I am so much more relaxed now that we are several hundred thousand dollars in debt. Haha!

The Metricon plans are moving along (in my opinion anyway) quite fast now as well. We have all our council and building approvals and they are getting ready to order all our “stuff”. I have a list I need to double-check.

Our land settlement is on 12 January, and S, our customer service rep, confirmed that the build will definitely start in January. WOOOHOOOOO!!!!!

This has been the best Christmas present I could ask for.

 

Signing of the contract

I received an email on Tuesday 29 November from S, our customer service rep, telling us the contract is ready (YAY) and the 5% deposit amount.

On the long drive home, I used my awesome maths skills to work out what the 100% total would be. At home, I discussed with hubby this and we were both a little freaked out that – despite having investigated rough prices for all our upgrade stuff online, the total was coming out to about $12 grand more. “WTF?” We kept saying to ourselves. S and H (sales consultant) when we asked roughly what the overall extra from the pre-lim contract was. Turns out our credit from Studio M hadn’t been applied yet. [insert sigh of relief here]

Yesterday (Friday 2 Dec) we went to sign the contract with H. We went through everything and prices looked roughly like what I had calculated. Our soil test came back as ‘highly reactive’ so our slab had to be upgraded to the E class, however the concrete piering for the slab was removed as it wasn’t needed. Winning!

We aren’t going to have massive rounds of variations either. Our requested doggy door wasn’t available, so we’ve requested to remove the security screen from the laundry door and we will take care of that when we move in. I intend to get something like SureFlap, as we want our dog to come and go as she pleases, but our cat/s (when we get them) will be inside pets only.

I’ve sat down and updated my awesome Excel spreadsheet to show proposed and actual costs and I’m happy to say I hit close to the mark.

Our extras from our selections are roughly:

Security screens $6,300
Tapware $700 (didn’t include the kitchen sink mixer – I’ve emailed to get that included)
Upgraded roof tile and sarking $1700
Bathroom upgrades $340 (acrylic edges for benchtops, pop up plugs, better toilets, etc)
Dulux Wash-n-wear upgrade $320
Venting rangehood outside (not into roof space) $525
Stacker doors to living room $540
Blinds to doors and windows $800

In addition to the costs, we now also have a build start date. 27 February 2017. Our sales consultant told us 180 days roughly, but with our floor plan possibly shorter than that, weather permitting. So I’ve adjusted my calendar in my head – I was telling myself that we would be in the house no sooner than June, but I’m now setting September 2017 as my plan.

I’d better go and update my budget spreadsheet now, to reflect that!

 

 

The house selection

On Tuesday 15th Nov, we were put up at the Mantra Legends hotel for the night, so we didn’t have to travel down there on Wednesday.

Our appointments were booked in for Wednesday 16th Nov:

Studio M – 9 am (3 hours)
Stratus electrical – 1 pm (3 hours)
Tile studio – 4 pm (2 hours)

I knew that time was going to be tight – I’d read some forum posts about people being rushed through appointments – so I wanted to be prepared. After we had signed the Expression of Interest contracts, I had gone through the Home Solutions guide we were given and googled and sniffed out a vast majority of the options we had and saved them into the file. When we did our studio M tour, we got brochures galore. So Husband and I sat down on Sunday 13th Nov and shortlisted “stuff”.

Our Studio M consultant (K) did a fantastic job with us. We pulled out our copy of the Home Solutions guide (complete with PDF markup and highlighting), and she knew we were organised. We started talking external selections first and were able to tell her exactly what brick, roof tile and colour, gutter cut and colour, garage door and colour. I think the biggest thing that affected our selection appointment was when K started talking to us about an upgrade option on the roof tiles. We stopped her and explained, politely, that our budget was already really strained (I had read positive and negative things on forums about being offered upgrade options at the selection appointments), and that set the tone for the rest of our appointment. She discussed upgrades but she knew what she was working with, with us. She didn’t tell us about upgrades for really unnecessary things (bench tops, for example).

The upgrade options we were took were:

  • roof tile upgrades (Elabama to Atura – and the benefits, and a ballpark cost of $682)
  • sarking (upgrade cost $300)
  • security screens were one thing we were definitely going to include, and we got a doggy door for our fur-baby (quoted by Bradnam’s separately of about $6,500)
  • venting the range hood outside (instead of into the roof) (cost unknown)
  • tap ware was our decision from the get-go (cost below)
  • acrylic edge to the bathroom bench tops $30 each
  • pop-up waste (plugs) – we both wanted these! I think we were quoted about $30 each
  • paint upgrade to Wash-n-wear (OH DEFINITELY. Kids are in our future, with any luck, upgrade costs unknown)

We had chosen our laminate flooring in our Studio M tour, so choosing the bench tops, cabinetry and paint colour was based on that. I had shown Husband what I had shortlisted for bench tops on Sunday, but after looking at the laminex options, he pointed one out that I hadn’t considered.He certainly has an eye for colour!

By 10 am, we had chosen almost everything. We had to wait for the flooring guy to arrive, and K had to type up the document for us to sign, so we went for coffee for half an hour. Our meeting with the CarpetCall representative took about ten minutes – we laid the laminate flooring down, and chose the type of carpet we wanted and he laid out some colours for us. Bang! Done!

We signed all the paperwork then trotted off to Stratus, across the road (Katie managed to bump our appointment up to 12 instead of 1 pm).

Our consultant (M) from Stratus was also fantastic. And I believe pleasantly surprised when we pulled out two floor plans showing where we wanted lights and power points, and the codes for the products we thought we wanted. 45 min into our 3 hour appointment, we were sent on another break while Melissa sorted out the paperwork, then signed it and we were left to our own devices until our tile appointment.

We got into our tile appointment earlier as well, around 2:40 pm. Again, we were well-organised. Husband had walked around the tile studio on our Saturday tour, pointed to a tile and said “That one!”So we had our wet areas tile sorted. We had left our shower recess (for the ensuite), outdoor tile and kitchen splash backs to choose. After 15 minutes we had them, and waited for half an hour while our consultant did up the paperwork.

Details and photos:

For our externals:
Brick: Boral Springbrook with ironed joints
Roof tiles: Atura Barramundi
Gutter/fascia/downpipes: quad cut, ColorBond shale grey
Garage door: Slimline profile in shale grey
Window frames: Bradnam’s monument (matt)
Driveway: exposed aggregate in midnight colour
Front door: Carinthian PSC15
Photos for externals: brick, driveway, door, roof tile, then the samples together (from selection day)

Internals:
Flooring: Laminate flooring oak grey brushed
Bench tops: Laminex grigio grafite (diamondgloss for bathrooms)
Cabinetry: Laminex sarsen grey
Wall colours: Dulux casper white half (upgraded to wash-n-wear, cost unknown)
Carpet: Cruiser range Deck colour
Wet area tile: Como black 300 x 300 mm
Shower recess for ensuite: Como charcoal
Outdoor tile: Simplicity sand 400 x 400 mm
Splash back: light cream gloss 250 x 400 mm
See captions for details on photos.

Tap ware and electrical:
Tap ware: Caroma saracom (upgrade cost unknown, price on Caroma site totals $1,105)
Shower head: Dorf villa shower rail (upgrade cost unknown, price on web $235 each)
Bathroom/ensuite lighting: heater/light/exhaust (upgraded at $183 each)
Light switches: Impress SC2000 (upgrade $26 each x 15)
Lighting for beds 2-4, and outdoor area: Brushed aluminum ceiling fan with LED light (upgrade $434 each)
Lighting for rest of internals: LEDLux infinity brushed chrome downlight in warm white (upgrade $117 each)
Total # of additional double power points: 5 ($63 each)
External floodlights x 3 (total $400)
Additional TV point: $80
Ceiling fans for Bed 1 and living room: $263 each

 

I’ve done some calculations, and I think we’ve gone over our $10,000 credit with Studio M slightly. For our electrical selections, we had a $2,500 credit due to our internals upgrade package and were pleasantly surprised when total came to less than $5,000 after the credit is applied.