Category Archives: Construction progress

PCI

PCI was yesterday afternoon. I’ve hear a lot of different things about a lot of different ways of doing PCI but ours was really laid back.

Basically, we met the SS on site and we started at the front door and inspected every room. Anything that didn’t look right was noted down. Things like defects in paint work will be picked up later next week before our final inspection.

There really wasn’t much to complain about. There was one privacy lock missing on the ensuite door, the strip lights under the cupboards hadn’t been connected to the power and a couple of other minor things.

All of it will be tidied up next week with a final inspection and settlement booked in for Friday. After that we can expect another touch up of paintwork etc at the 90 day inspection.

Time to start hounding the bank to do their end of the business!

Here are some photos. Some are a bit dark- not easy to take the photos!

Front door from the inside

Front door from the inside

Study

Study

Powder room

Powder room

Leisure room

Leisure room

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen

Dining room stacker door

Dining room stacker door

Ensuite

Ensuite

Kitchen/dining

Kitchen/dining

Laundry tub

Laundry tub

Main bathroom shower

Main bathroom shower

Ensuite shower

Ensuite shower

Main bathroom basin

Main bathroom basin

Main bathroom bath

Main bathroom bath

The driveway is also being poured today (well, it had better be!). Early this week, knowing that they would be trying to do the driveway, James had contacted them to ask what was happening with the tree. Of course, the tree had been completely forgotten about! So Wisdom Landscapes has had to go back to the council and request to move the tree all over again. What a drama. Anyway, the upshot is that wisdom agreed to move the tree for us at no cost. Hooray! Now we just have to hope it stays alive.

Driveway with tree moved to the right hand side

Driveway with tree moved to the right hand side

Driveway formwork

Driveway formwork

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No more fence

Yesterday we dropped by the block to see if any work on the driveway had started. No work there but the fences have been taken down and the cleaners have been in. Here are some photos. I promise there will be a few more after Thursday’s inspection.

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Primary frontage

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Secondary frontage

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Corner

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Finishing touches on the services boxes

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Finishing touches on the services boxes

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Kitchen splashback installed

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Powder room

Downstairs tiles

We’ve slowed down the visits to the house recently. There hasn’t been a real lot of point seeing as we’re locked out.

When we did visit on Friday we saw that the downstairs tiles have been finished.

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We can also see that the kitchen cupboards have been replaced with shorter versions and the cornicing has been installed along the top. It’s not the look we were after but we didn’t have a lot of choice about it. We received a refund on the price we were charged to have extra height cupboards there.

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The bathroom mirrors have been installed.

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But the powder room toilet is mysteriously in the study at the moment. Not sure what the issue is.

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An vent has also appeared in the media room ceiling but we’re not sure what it’s for- there is no air con ducting there. Don’t have any pictures of that.

We’re having the pleasure of dealing with Wisdom’s admin again while they finish off our paperwork 😐 So far I’ve received two copies of the PCI letter from two different people and we’re onto the third attempt at the final invoice. Sigh.

We’re told that the inspection for the interim occupancy certificate will happen on September 8 and we should have a copy of it by September 12.

We’ve gone ahead and purchased home and contents insurance (bank won’t let you settle without it) and the mortgage broker is organising for the bank to do their physical inspection of the house as well.

We’ve tentatively penciled in a move date and if that falls through we will struggle because we’re both very busy at work and getting the time off requires a miracle at the moment.

We’re at the end of our 6 week cleaning schedule and we’ve made a few trips to drop off items to charity as well as giving away some furniture on gumtree. We’ve been able to sell a few items which will help pay our “removalists” (family) on the day.

We’ve managed to pack a dozen or so boxes and a whole lot of vacuum bags. The challenge at the moment is finding free floor space to store the boxes!

Garage door, window hoods and toilets

Come Friday afternoons I’m practically desperate to know that even if my work life has spiraled out of control this week then the build has continued to make progress. But, frustratingly, at the moment all we can really do is peer through the windows.

This week though we got to see a few more bits of the outside as well. First up is the garage door. You can also see that the electrician has been back on site to install the security system and light batten holders.

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Security and light fittings

Security and outdoor lights

And then there is the window hoods. If you can recall, these were on the insistance of the DRP. That’s why 5/8 of them are utterly useless.

Window hoods on the secondary frontage. These face north so they will be semi useful in summer.

Window hoods on the secondary frontage. These face north so they will be semi useful in summer.

Most useless window hood in history. Yes, we did argue that this would be stupid and yes, they did insist on it anyway.

Most useless window hood in history. Yes, we did argue that this would be stupid and yes, they did insist on it anyway.

There are more on the western front but I didn’t snap a picture. I may have been distracted by our shiny new door furniture.

Front door handle

Front door handle

Weather strip on front door

Weather strip on front door

Around the perimeter of the house a orange pipe has been laid for the termite control. You can see it here under the outdoor power point.

Outdoor power point and termite control

Outdoor power point and termite control

On the inside (peering through the window, I’m sorry) I can see the taps, towel holders and even the toilet has been installed. The tile work has been finished off, too.

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Powder room

In the kitchen I can see the range hood has been delivered, the lights are in as well as our sink. No news on the cupboards though.

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Kitchen

While all that is happening James and I have been busy sticking to our cleaning schedule. So far we’ve managed to cull an awful lot of paper (who knew, in the digital age, that two people could keep so much paper?) and enough books to start our own library. If anyone needs any engineering textbooks let me know!

Other things that have made their way to the bin is about 10 half used tubs of various  moisturisers (and I STILL have a dry skin). I also finally got rid of a kilo of talcum powder, which we only ever used once to make deodorisers for James’ sweaty bike gear (that totally works, by the way, but you definitely don’t need a whole kg).

Next on the hit list is electronics. We’ve managed to sell off one piece and hoping to either sell or donate the rest. Sadly, the goods seem to be coming in as fast as they go out… we’ve had to buy a new iron (the other one met the wrong side of some fusible interfacing one too many times) and we’re in the market for a new washing machine. But, alas, washing machines are a whole other story and it’s getting on towards dinner time!

Painting, tiles and other bits and pieces

Having worked all weekend I’ve barely had time to think about the build, let alone write about it, but I have a spare few minutes now.

After much deliberation (and I’m still not sure we made the right decision) we asked to have the top of the kitchen cupboards reduced in height just enough to fit in the cornice. We think this will fit in with the rest of the house better. It’s not a huge place and we think the square set would have looked a bit out of place. I will miss the sleek modern look of those cupboards though! Sigh.

We also made this decision knowing that the square set cornice was not a “done deal” and arguing back and forth would take time and energy we just don’t have at this point. We have asked for a refund on the extra money we paid to have the height of those cupboards increased in the first place ($430), but we haven’t heard back about whether that will be honored or not yet.

We think the cupboards will take between 3 and 4 weeks to be rebuilt, plus install time, so we have our fingers crossed it won’t push out our guesstimate move in time.

While all that is going on the tile guy has been going slow and steady. The things we know about the tile guy (having never actually met him) is:

  • he’s a one man show
  • he has not managed to put the wrong tile in the wrong way on the wrong floor (yet) and the work looks fantastic
  • he is happy to work around the painters and they don’t mind working around him (we’ve heard that painters and tilers don’t always play nice together).
  • he chain smokes. Inside our house. The house reeks of cigarettes. (We are not smokers and the smell drives us mad).
Main bathroom

Main bathroom

Ensuite shower

Ensuite shower

Decorative tiles have arrived

Decorative tiles have arrived

The painters have been busy as well. Our parapet moroka has been painted and after a nervous moment where I thought I was going to hate the colour I’ve decided I like it instead.

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Finishing touches have been put on the eaves and cladding over the garage (sorry for the blur).

wpid-20140815_172639.jpgBits and pieces of the services have been painted, like the plumbing on the rainwater tank. We’re actually not pleased with the plumbing work here, it didn’t need to stick out as much as it does. Further confirmation that our plumber is a bit lazy.

wpid-20140815_172303.jpgThe laundry door has been painted, as well as our front door. Inside, all the walls and the stair case has been painted.

Laundry door

Laundry door

Front door

Front door

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And we were thoroughly locked out over the weekend so I’ve had to settle for snapping photos of whatever I can through the windows (which are filthy, by the way).

Kitchen bench has arrived!

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And so have the bathroom benches and sinks.

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Unfortunately that’s where the fun stops because we can’t get inside!

Behind the scenes we’re having all kinds of trouble with the stupid tree that needs removing  (long story). We’re also busy getting quotes for things like dirt, turf and haven bricks to guesstimate how much the landscaping will cost us. Because we haven’t filled every square cm of the block with our house, our neighbour’s builders have been using our back yard as a thoroughfare. That means we’re going to have to add quite a bit of fill. $$$$

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Kitchen dilemmas

Remember all the trouble we had with the kitchen company? We fought them the whole way over prices, paperwork not being returned, incorrect quotes, everything. We had our quote revised 6 times. Well, they’re the gift that keeps on giving.

We have an issue with the overhead kitchen cupboards. If you can recall, I specifically asked for the overhead cupboards to extend up to ceiling height, removing the need for a bulk head. This made sense to us for a number of reasons- not least of which it meant that they wouldn’t draw a lot of attention to themselves and just kind of blend into the wall, making the room look a little bigger.

Well, we got what we asked for but the problem is that someone should have pointed out they cupboards would never work with the cornicing! If they just run the cornicing into the cupboards it will firstly look really stupid and secondly we won’t be able to open one of the doors.

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The SS invited us out to discuss some options. This was the first time I’d met him and he actually seems really lovely. He spent an hour with us going through the cornicing issue and a few other little niggling things. Basically, he was not at all impressed with the kitchen company. If you can remember there are two companies and we didn’t get any choice which one we got. The SS said that if we had the other kitchen company this kind of thing would never have happened because they are so thorough. I offered him some feedback on our experience with them and hopefully he takes that back to his boss.

Back to the cornicing- we don’t have a lot of options. The big boss wants to rip the cupboards off the wall and send them back to the kitchen company to have them remade 150 mm lower at the top to be able to put in a narrow bulk head and wrap the cornicing around all the cupboards.

Another option (and one that the big boss probably wouldn’t approve anyway) is to remove the cornicing from the kitchen, dining and leisure rooms and have it square set. Square set cornicing is usually the most expensive option and I’ve heard some builders will flatly refuse to do it.

Any suggestions?

The best bit!

HOOORRAAYY! The kitchen has started!

Also, the ceiling has been painted and the plaster seal paint is finished.

Kitchen- viewed from dining room

Kitchen- viewed from dining room

Kitchen- viewed from leisure room

Kitchen- viewed from leisure room

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The bench top will sit out as far as the measuring tape in this photo. And that’s one of the tiles that will go on the floor. We were surprised to see they are not where near as grey as we thought they would be.

Showing where the bench top will sit out to

Showing where the bench top will sit out to

On the underside of the overhead cupboards you can see the small recess for where the LED strip lights will go. Can you remember all the fuss that was made about these lights?

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Recess for LED strip light

On the inside of the cupboards there is a small false shelf that will house all the power cords etc for the strip lights.

False shelf

False shelf

We have two issues that have to be resolved. First one is that the fridge space isn’t high enough. We specifically asked for a higher than normal space (1835 mm). What they’ve given us is 1830 mm but that doesn’t take into consideration the height of the tiles. We hope they can fix that without too much drama.

Fridge space too small

Fridge space too small

The other issue is what to do abut the cornicing for this part of the kitchen wall. If we just install the cornicing along like all the other bits we won’t be able to open the overhead cupboard, which we pad extra for so they would extend to the ceiling. We think someone should have thought about that before now!

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A fair amount of the tiles have arrived and the water-proofing of all the wet areas has been done.

Ensuite shower

Ensuite shower

Main bathroom

Main bathroom

The bathroom vanities have all been installed as well.

Main bathroom

Main bathroom

Ensuite bathroom

Ensuite bathroom

We have a rain water tank now.

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Last, but not least, the window has been moved into the rightful spot. While we were inside today checking out the kitchen a plaster guy came and started working on patching up the inside around the window.

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Next week the tiling should start. 🙂

Stairs

The stairs were installed yesterday. They’re nothing too fancy, we just went with the stock standard stairs. The handrails and banisters will be painted, not stained, and the steps will be carpeted. Here’s some photos.

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Storage space under the stairs.

Storage space under the stairs.

They’ve also started moving the window over. Now that some bricks have been removed it’s fairly obvious why the window has been put where it is. They’re going to have to modify the frame to get it into position. I just don’t want to know…

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We’re hoping that the floor tiles will started this week but they haven’t been delivered yet.

Something not quite right

This week the plaster work and carpentry continued. The cornicing went up in most places as well as architraves and skirting boards. All our doors have been hung (inside and out- except for garage door), which means we’re essentially locked out unless someone forgets to lock one of the doors (thankfully they did or I would have died from anticipation). Unfortunately that means there will be less opportunities to take photos from now on.

Front door installed.

Front door installed.

Laundry door installed. It won't be staying timber unfortunately, it will have to be painted.

Laundry door installed. It won’t be staying timber unfortunately, it will have to be painted.

This is the leisure room. It's a good example of the cornicing, architraves and skirting boards.

This is the leisure room. It’s a good example of the cornicing, architraves and skirting boards.

Pantry doors installed.

Pantry doors installed.

Little door installed to access space under stairs for storage (hard to believe this little baby cost us $300).

Little door installed to access space under stairs for storage (hard to believe this little baby cost us $300).

Mirror robe doors in one of the bedrooms.

Mirror robe doors in one of the bedrooms.

Mirror robe doors in our "walk in".

Mirror robe doors in our “walk in”.

Internal door to the garage- this is the door we've chosen throughout the whole house.

Internal door to the garage- this is the door we’ve chosen throughout the whole house.

Around the outside of the house there has been a big clean up of all the rubbish, which has made the yard space look bigger. The lower part of the brickwork has been cleaned as well.

Primary frontage.

Primary frontage.

Secondary frontage.

Secondary frontage.

In one of the conversations James had with the SS a week or so ago was about the downpipe you can see in that picture above. I had taken one look at it from the street and told James that it was wonky. James had gone in for closer inspection and noticed a bracket was bent out of shape and guessed that was the problem, and he mentioned it to the SS. The SS comes along and notices that the problem is a bit bigger than either of us noticed. The ensuite windows and the powder room window don’t line up! Now that I’ve pointed it out to you I bet it’s so obvious! Take a closer look:

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Oops. The window’s don’t line up.

What a funny mistake! The bracket on the downpipe is definitely broken so that will be an easy fix, but now they have to re-position one of the windows as well. Glad the SS picked it up. We probably would have just kept looking at it thinking something’s not quite right. We bet the SS is glad that we’ve kept all those spare bricks.

We were also given our first “guesstimate” on when the build should be finished: 6 to 8 weeks. If it all goes to plan we will probably be moving in a week or two shy of our landlord kicking us out!

Just the thought of moving makes me slightly ill. All that packing. All the cleaning! And, possibly worse, all the unpacking. 

Which is why we’ve decided to approach it like a side of vegetables. You wouldn’t leave the brussel sprouts until the last bite, would you? If we do just a little bit of the boring stuff each weekend then we won’t have a whole plateful come move-out time.

We figure there is roughly 6 areas of our current rental- yard, bedroom, guest room and bathroom, study, living room and kitchen. We’re going to be going through one area each weekend for the next 6 weeks, doing a major cull and clean out and maybe even packing what we won’t be using. I suspect whole bottles of wine will be lost to this cause- I’m certainly not approaching the bathroom cupboard sober.

bathroom mess

 

The work moves inside

This week the work moved to inside the house. Very exciting!

On Tuesday I was SUPER pleased to discover that the plumber had been back to fix the issue with the upstairs plumbing running along our dining room ceiling. The pipework has been re-directed through the space between the upstairs floor and downstairs ceiling so it won’t be seen at all. Thank goodness. I don’t understand why it wasn’t done like that to start with. The one in the powder room won’t be fixed though, so I’ll just have to live with that.

You can also see all these white cables in this photo- the electrician has been on site to complete the wiring rough in. There are only a couple of things that puzzled us- a light switch and a power point in a weird spot. Probably nothing to worry about.

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Plumbing issue sorted and the electricity rough in complete.

We also have a gas meter now. It, thankfully, is in the right spot. It’s actually where the electricity meter should be as well.

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Gas meter- the little gold coloured thing on the corner of the house.

Then came the insulation. The wall you can see in this photo is the kitchen wall adjacent to the garage. It’s not normally insulated at all- we paid an extra $95 to have some insulation in there to avoid heat transfer from the garage to the rest of the house.

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Insulation in the wall.

Next thing we know and just about the whole house has been plastered! It’s probably the most excited I’ve been during the whole process. Finally it’s starting to look like an actual house. I really like the downstairs layout. Upstairs is pretty boring, but that’s typical of a two storey house.

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Taken from where the kitchen will be- you can see the pantry and fridge space on the left of the picture with the kitchen window on the right. The sliding door to the secondary frontage is in the background.

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Taken from the leisure room, looking back towards the study and front door/entry.

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Taken from the home theatre room looking through the cut out to the study.

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Taken from the front porch, showing what you see as you walk through the front door.

This is the powder room, showing the bulk head we have because the plumbers were too lazy to put the upstairs plumbing through the roof joists. This is what we (thankfully!) avoided having in the dining room.

This is the powder room, showing the bulk head we have because the plumbers were too lazy to put the upstairs plumbing through the roof joists. This is what we (thankfully!) avoided having in the dining room.

There is lazy and then there is disgusting.  Leaving your lunch scraps in your place of work when there is a bin less than 5 m away is disgusting.

There is lazy and then there is disgusting. Leaving your lunch scraps in your place of work when there is a bin less than 5 m away is disgusting.

Two types of cornicing to go in- the classic cresent shaped one and then the decorative "tempo" one.

Two types of cornicing to go in. The decorative “tempo” cornice is for the ground floor living areas, master suite and ensuite. The classic cove shape will go everywhere else.

And that’s it. Hope next week is just as exciting!