Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Keys! 29/08/11

Its Done! The house is ours! Met our SS at midday today, went over things that had been fixed and what was left to do. Had a quick look around, everything looked good! So next stop was Narellan, a good hours drive but well worth the wait. Handed over the final payment and got some shiny metal in return. Oh and a gift pack too! Just realised how much we have to do and the fact that we havent even begun to pack. Next few posts are going to be pictures galore so those with low quota beware! Timber booked in for tomorrow, should take two days to complete. Also a little bit of concreting too.

Monday, August 29, 2011

House inspection 19/08/11

Since we have been constantly updaed by our site supervisor, we hoped that there wouldnt be too many problems to find. Our kitchen cupboards had already been fixed, with the kitchen sink to be moved early next week. Theres always the thought of hiring a private inspector to go over things that you might have missed. My suggestion is that if you're really not sure what to look out for, it might be a good idea. Basically the things we would be checking are: paint, opening and closing EVERYTHING, lights, powerpoints, check the walls are straight and level, cornice / skirting, location of tv - telephone points etc, scratches and the inclusions list. We were'nt too fussed as builders usually give 3 months maintenance period where you can find and document faults for them to fix. The build quality of Wisdom Homes has been very good so far. The only problems we found were a few minor scratches, areas to be repainted and possibly 1 missing whirlybird. Nothing to worry about really. For those worried about a really thorough inspection I found a great website. Its
A lot of great advice on what to look out for. Also includes a link to the aussie building standards and a checklist guide. Generally a great website for those building. Wish I had found it sooner.
In other news our driveway was completed yesterday and it looks absolutly amazing. Our SS had told us to expect handover for 29/08/11. Cant wait!

Painting, Electrical and Carpet 12/08/11

Work has been steadily progressing the last few weeks. Hard to get updated now as we are locked out. but here are a few sneak peeks!

 Carpet looks a lot different then what we expected. The colour does vary greatly depending on how much natural light there is. For example it looks a lot darker on the stairs.

House is nearly complete. Inspection date is set for  19/08/11. Finger crossed all goes well!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Phone line and Internet

If you're building a new home, don't forget the phone line. In most cases when building a new home, it's necessary to dig a trench for cabling when telephone services need to be provided to a new site.You can dig and backfill the trench yourself or hire a contractor / Telstra to do it for you. Find out if this is something that your builder will do for you or if its in your contract. With our driveway to be done soon, I realised that this was a good time to find out. We were lucky in our case as Wisdom Homes would do this for us as part of thier inclusions. All we had to do was call up telstra and apply for a new connection. This will cost $299. A Telstra technician will most likely come out hook up the line and also test it.

On the subject of internet I know that I definately wont be going with telstra again. I am looking for a company that is reliable, affordable, generous in thier quota and wont lie to me. For affordability I have been thinking of tpg but i have also been eyeing off iinet. Iinet has been recieving good reviews and is constantly in the tops ranks for service. This will most likley be my choice, hopefully they can give me a good deal.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Picasso was here - 31/07/11

Painting is underway! Can really see the light at the end of the tunnel now.
Not much left now. Things tend to slow up a bit towards the end. Builders will have recieved the majority of thier payment, only the final payment remaining in our case. But Wisdom Homes has been good so far, work has been constantly hapenning throughout the build, even if its just little things. We have electrical work, driveway, carpet and cleaning remaining.Things such as appliances and aircon are usually done after handover due to theft concerns.

More Kitchen Drama 27/07/11

Regarding that funny indented cupboard two posts ago, Timpelle Kitchens have said they can fix it however at an additional labour cost. We really cant be bothered arguing any further about this so we have no choice but to pay. We were quoted $300 to fix it but were finally charged $350. Now on to another problem. The kitchen sink has been installed incorrectly. It is currently sticking out of the nib wall and is not according to our plan. Also we had asked for an underbench oven with cooktop option as opposed to the standard standalone. It looks like they will have to replace the entire ceaserstone benchtop. Our site supervisor has told us that this will not be a problem to fix at all, and without any charges as it is clearly not according to our plan/contract. Some pictures below

In other news, we are locked out!

Our beautiful front door above. The tiler has finally completed his work. It was a single lonesome man doing the tiling to our whole house. No wonder it has taken him about two weeks to complete. This is probably the only thing that has felt a bit slow in progress in our build so far.

 Main Bathroom nieche

More about Timber Flooring

Our last two houses were both tiled and we felt that it was time for a change. Timber also feels "warmer" in my opinion and I really think that it adds to the value an appeal of a house. There were some issues that we had to think about though, such as surface scratches and maintenance. There were three main types of timber that we saw:

1. Solid Timber

2.Floating Timber

3.Floating Laminate

There was also Bamboo Flooring and Engineered Hardwood Floating (distressed timber) but were of less appeal to us.

Solid Timber is real thick timber flooring and perhaps the best value for money out of the three. On the positive side they can be sanded multiple times in case of scratches however some do not come pre-finished which means that that HAVE to be sanded and polished during installation. Another problem is that when laying this type of timber on concrete, it has to be nailed onto a secondary layer of timber which is in turn attached to the concrete slab/surface. This will increase the floor height quite a bit and will be a problem for door height, height of first step on stairs, Dishwasher and fridge space, skirting's, transition from timber to tile/carpet etc. This may make it harder for those looking at a diy installation. You must tell your builder before construction begins so they can adjust all these accordingly.

Floating Timber is made from 3 layers of timber materials. Each individual layer is laid so that the grain is glued at opposite directions. This reduces the timber warping and the overall strength is increased. In addition, expansion and contraction is reduced compared to solid timber floors. It is easy to do a diy installation and comes polished and ready to lay in a simple click lock system. The downside is that they can only be sanded perhaps 2 or 3 times. This is what we have chosen for our house.

Laminate is probably the cheapest option. It is very hard wearing, resistance to scratches, low maintenance and also easy to install. However it is not real timber and in my opinion can look a bit cheap too.

Most timbers will have colour variation and most will scratch so you must chose carefully. In the words of a flooring specialist "if you are worried about scratches, don't buy timber". Few things to remember:

1.Colour - The colour of timber flooring will vary even with particular species of timber flooring

2.Hardness - Timber has a hardness rating system called the Janka rating. I would recommend a rating of 5.0 or higher. Bamboo and Doussie are one of the hardest rated timbers we came across.

3.Origin - Where the timber originated might be of some concern as well as where it was manufactured.

In our search for best price and quality we visited Carpet Call, Deco Rug, Carpet Court. We went though a few overly pushy sales reps who seemed to be full of crap but found Deco Rug and Solomons Flooring at Bella Vista to be genuinely helpful and informative. We have gone with Solomans and will report back once it has been installed. I feel that we have received a good price but perhaps there are better bargains out there if one looks hard enough or is prepared to wait for stock. Compareativley our neighbour has paid $60 sq/m or so for Solid Kempas fully installed from a smaller outlet in Auburn. For us it really came down to different retailers quoting us different sizes of area that they would cover. A 10sq/m difference is a difference of $960! It will really pay to measure up the area yourself or to get them to do an on site measurement instead of the house drawings/floor plans.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

View from the top and some progress

A nice panoramic view from the first floor. Easily taken since we now have stairs! Speaking of which..
Absolutely love the stairs! Thinking of getting first two steps done in timber to match with timber floor downstairs and the rest in carpet to match upstairs. After much deliberation from Kempas to Jatoba we have actually decided to go with Doussie as our choice in timber flooring for the downstairs area. Everywhere except the tv room and study. We have even put our deposit down through Solomons Flooring. We paid about $96 per meter square and this also included installation.

Kitchen drama 6/07/11

At this stage the kitchen had started to get installed. All looked well from a distance. We were a bit worried how the nib wall (servery style wall behind sink to hide tap and dish-drainer etc) would look. But in my opinion it turned out great especially since we had done it in polyeurathane.

Upon closer inspection of the microwave cupboard next to our fridge space we noticed something a bit strange. They had decided to push this cupboard space into the wall, meaning that these were now recessed into the wall while the rest of the cupboards were flush with the gyprock wall. I could not begin to understand why they would design this in such a way. We frantically looked at out kitchen plans trying to understand this strange design. To give you an idea of what the actual display kitchen looks like, I will show you a picture.
Now I understand this is an upgraded kitchen, but if they are doing so much as indenting a wall they should have at least pointed out this difference to us? We were told about the cupboards, sink and benchtop difference but nothing about this. We hope that this can be fixed.The site supervisor is unable to help us as he is simply "going by the drawings". It is quite impossible to see this indent in the front and top views that we recieved of the kitchen drawings. So we will have to take this matter up with Timpelle Kitchens. On a more positive note, the rest of the kitchen looks great

Saturday, August 13, 2011

We have Gyprock! 18/06/11

As I approached the site on this day, the scene was exactly as I had pictured in my head. A few Asian men, cigarette in one hand, drill in the other, zapping away and covering our house in gyprock. They didnt speak much english but what they lacked in communication skills they certainly made up in thier speed of work. It only would have taken them two days or so but offcourse the skirtings and cornice will take a little longer. Prior to this stage, if your builder / site supervisor allows it, you may do some wiring of home theatre systems, intercoms, security etc as this is pretty much the last chance you will have. However any data or power cabling must be done by a licensed electrician. In our case we are very lucky to have an amazing site supervisor who has made our lives / build much easier and relatively stress free so far.
 Kitchen area
 Kitchen area
 Entrance and study on the right
 The waterproofing for wet areas was done shortly afterwards and tiling also started
 Main bathroom
Our massive downstairs shower