Monthly Archives: December 2013

Things the bank needs from the builder

Christmas is over and we’re all drifting, exhausted, towards the year’s finish line.

Good time for… filing paperwork!

come back


There is only one thing worse than paperwork filing and that’s electronic paperwork filing. I have to get all the attachments out of emails and into the appropriate file on the hard drive. And, of course, I can’t tell which is what just by looking at a file name so I will have to open everything up, rename it and sort out where it’s supposed to go. Then what happens when the hard drive dies? I need to get it all onto the cloud somehow. I can’t even justify a trip to Office Works to get some fancy new stationary!

At this stage of the build you will be collecting so much paperwork that you will begin to think they may as well just send you the whole tree (and a variation to pay for the delivery plus builder’s margin).

The latest paperwork we received came with the CDC approval. These are the things you will need to send to your lender to get their final approval.

1. CDC/council approval. The builder needs to send you a copy of the Complying Development Certificate or council approval. We received a scanned copy via email and the original stamped plans by post.

2. Home Owners Warranty. This insurance is the “safety net” in case your builder cannot honour its commitments in the contract. For contracts over $20 000, the builder must provide you with home warranty insurance before taking any money from you and certainly before any work is carried out. It is very important that you check that all the details are correct and that it has been provided by an approved insurance agent. You can find out how to do that and read more information here:

3. Builder’s licence. The builder needs to provide you with a copy of their builder’s licence. It’s important that you check the licence is valid and current. You can do it online: Home builder’s licence check.

4. Builder’s insurance. The builder needs to show you they have insurance to cover all the horrible things that could go wrong. The builder should have:

  • contract works insurance
  • professional indemnity insurance
  • public liability insurance
  • workers compensation insurance

See NSW Fair Trading Insurance for more information.

5. Services connections letter. The builder should supply a letter from the Gas and Electricity provider showing that you will be connected to the services.


CDC approval

Just when I was beginning to wonder what on earth was happening with our build we got an email today saying that we had received CDC approval (council approval).


I wasn’t even aware they had sent it to the CDC for approval in the first place so it is a very nice surprise and a lovely way to go into the Christmas holidays.

When I got home there was a fat envelope in the mail with our Complying Development Certificate in it and copies of our plans with big red approval stamps on them.

The email we got says there is about 25 working days of paperwork left (after the office reopens after Christmas) and then the file will move on to construction. It looks like we may well make our construction date in February.

We also found out our address today. You can check out addresses using Blacktown Council’s online maps.

More variations

Each year, as the Silly Season commences, I get this foreboding feeling that time is rapidly escaping. Then the panic sets in. How on earth am I going to get all of that done in this little time?

This year we’ve got all the usual fan fare plus the house. We are in some kind of stage where just about every other day we get some variation or another requesting yet more money (on top of that “fixed price contract”). It’s frustrating because it doesn’t feel like anything is actually happening, except more requests for more money.

You may recall that we needed to pay to have a sewer peg out? Well, turns out that the house is close enough to the sewer to require extra piering. Bam, we’re charged $365 for the engineer to amend the drawing to show the impact. On top of that we’re charged $1380 for the additional piering.

Today we have been sent a variation for “council fees”. The variation is a little light on the detail:

“Council fees required in order to obtain CDC approval:

1. Road inspection fee, $95
2. Road administration fee, $43
3. Engineering fee, $96.”

That’s it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it’s fair to invoice someone for any kind of “fee” without explaining what that fee is actually for. So, we’ve asked them to explain them because we’re smart people who would like to know what “engineering fee” actually means.

All of these costs will need to be paid from our own cash stash because they’re not included in the fixed price contract, despite being predictable fees and charges.

We’ve also asked the builder to double check our kitchen quote is comparable with what the other kitchen supplier would charge (we had to do with Knebel, Timpelle is the other supper). Apparently the file has gone to estimating. They will no doubt come back after two weeks and say “oh yeah, it’s all good.” or “oh, we should have actually charged you even more so think of it as getting a discount.”

Other than that, nothing is happening as far as we can tell. The builder will have a 5 week shut down period commencing soon. I think a start date of Feb 28 is looking like a bit of a joke. I’ll have to check if they specified which year.

Landscaping quote

So here is the long promised break down of the landscaping quote.

Preparing the site:

  • excavating lawn levels to 100 mm and garden beds to 200 mm, $1500
  • removing 1 truck load of clean fill, $750


  • excavate, supply and install reinforced plain coloured concrete, $7400
  • supply and install strip drain in front of garage, $880
  • increase concrete strength (saline soil), $300

Garden edging

  • supply and install havenbrick garden edging on mortar base, $2200


  • prepare garden beds with premium garden soil and mulch, $2250
  • supply and lay Sir Walter Buffalo Turf, not including nature strip, $5750
  • supply and install plants (300 mm pot size has been substituted to reduce costs), $4600


  • supply and install masonry letterbox. Finish to be in white Moroka paint, $900

Timber decking

  • supply and install timber decking using merbau hardwood on concrete subfloor, $9900


  • supply and install 1.8m ezyclip fencing, $5050
  • supply and install 1.8m ezyclip gates, $2310


  • supply and install Hills Everyday Single Folding clothesline (2.2 m x 1.2 m), $550

Total: $44 340

We have a $5500 landscaping gift card for signing up with Wisdom so we have to pick and choose which of these things we want done. The rest of it we will have to do on our own.

I have absolutely no idea where I’m going to get 120 plants of the same variety in 300 mm pot sizes for our compulsory hedge. I guess I have to order them from somewhere. Any ideas?