Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Clock is Ticking

From waiting to rushing
It is 2 weeks until our tentative start date and the time seems to be getting away from us. We are waiting for the bank to finalise our construction loan, the valuer came out on Thursday to value the land and our investment property so fingers crossed that all went well. Once the loan is agreed just need to sign the papers and send the information to Metricon.

Also trying to get everything organised with our pool builder. Apparently unlike when we had a pool done before it is up to us to organise temporary fencing and removal of soil. Not sure when the pool excavation will start so its a bit hard to book anything at this date. Tiny bit frustrated that this has ended up being our responsibilty.

And to top it all off the solar hot water at our apartment is stuffed. Its ok if the sun is out as the panels still work but we have had rain rain and more rain with heavy cloud cover so all we have is cold water as the electrical booster is broken. Have beed advised to replace the whole system as the tank is so old it has rusted out and is leaking. Had a guy out to give us a quote but he was so pushy it completely turned me off! Now I have to get someone else out and continue taking a sponge bath/shower with hot water from the kettle. Funny (not)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Variations - What We Spent at Studio M

Budget, what budget?
It's hard to know how much all those lovely upgrades and finishes on display at Studio M will cost. You go on Saturdays and spend hours going around saying oh that looks good, I'd like to have that, is that an upgrade or standard and most important of all how much extra will it cost. Now the ladies at Studio M are very helpful and knowledgeable but no one seems to be able to give you a price, not even a rough idea so you are pretty much in the dark on selection day and even then they can only estimate what the final price is. It is not until your post contract variations are generated that you get the final tally.
We have decided to list some of our variation costs to prevent those of you in the planning stage from having heart failure when you are doing your selections.
  • rebate slab edge to recess bi-fold door frames   $240
  • off white colour mortar for brickwork   $2400
  • grey tinted glass to front elevation   $325
  • deadbolt lock for rear garage door   $95
  • upgrade front door handle add   $145
  • pedestal vanity with ceramic tile kicker add   $66
  • chrome pop up wastes to vanity basins   $50
  • chrome waste for bath   $35
  • towel rails   $70 
  • toilet roll holder   $50
  • towel ring   $55
  • 2 Pac gloss for part kitchen   $2015
  • upgrade handles for drawers and cupboards   $324
  • metal kickboard   $270
  • duct rangehood externally   $380
  • 2 Pac for butlers pantry   $1100
  • upgrade handles   $72
  • upgrade to wide architrave   $594
  • external paint colour for cladding   $165
  • upgrade hot water system to 360L***   $825
*** Hot Water System Comment
Look closely at your house plans, they show you have a gas hot water system included in your build. However, what it doesn't tell you is that is is a tiny tiny tiny system (18L) that would only provide enough hot water for a house with one bathroom. So if you are building a bigger home this system is woefully inadequate and unless you want to be running out of hot water all the time you have to upgrade to a larger system. Now you would think that Metricon would be aware of this and would provide a suitablly sized hot water unit in your base price and it would then be your choice if you wanted a much bigger system or one that uses solar or a heat pump etc. But no you don't find this out until the colour selection appointment and then have to choose from the upgrade options adding yet another unexpected additional cost. Hmmm.

I hope that you potential home builders find this useful as you go through your planning stage as it is so easy to get swept away by the lovely displays and finishes on offer and then before you know it you've spent so much more than your budget can stretch to.
We found that some of the standard finishes were excellent whilst others were very cheap and plasticy or just didn't look that nice. It pays to go to Studio M as often as you can before your selection appointments that way you can ask lots of questions, take your time and be prepared. But even then Metricon will find a way to surprise you with the unexpected (like the hot water system).

Friday, April 22, 2011


Slow and steady wins the race
At the last minute before closing for Easter Metricon provided us with a start date!!!

Friday 13th May (dah dah daaaaaah). It's a good job we are not superstitious.

The bank have to finalise the construction loan before anything can proceed but seeing as start date is 3 weeks from now that shouldn't be a problem.

Guess we'd better pay the rest of the deposit as well.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Variations Have Come

After what seemed like a long wait the variations arrived yesterday afternoon. I opened the e-mail attachments with baited breath and trepidation as we were about to find out if we'd gone totally bonkers at Studio M. Phew after a quick read through it looks like we won't have to sell a kidney or send our 4 year old out to work to fund the project.
What's the damage then?

Essentially we spent $650 on tiles, an additional $6200 on electricals ($16,200 in total but we had a $10k provision in our contract), $3200 on carpet and roughly $7000 at Studio M. Giving a grand total of...........$17,000 extra on the contract price. We had estimated more like $20-22k so we feel we have done really well.

After getting some rough quotes for concreting the driveway, portico area and some pathways we have decided to go with Metricon as they were only going to charge a couple of thousand dollars more. Our reasoning for justifying paying the higher price is that it will all be completed without the need for us to wait until the house is finished, we don't have to organise it and Metricon will be responsible for any problems or issues that may arise. Sometimes the easier option makes more sense to us than the cheaper one.

OK so what is the build going to cost? We had budgeted/estimated that we would need $485k just for the house and the final contract price comes in at $472k which with the inclusion of the driveway/concrete totals $489k.
We are pleased to be so close to our initial figure which we came up with after much guess work. There were a few things that we had overlooked in our budget calculations plus some additional doors and upgrades which we put in along the way so we were relieved to have actually spent less than the budget on the house and not blown the overspend out more than this by opting for Metricon to do the driveway.

There will be further costs for the swimming pool $30k, hard landscaping $12k, fencing $16k (includes glass pool fences) and lawns $10k - estimate an additional $70 to $75k. I had originally factored a cost of $100k for all this including driveway and concreting so hopefully we can bring the completed house and garden in under what we were prepared to spend. Hmm might be able to buy some new furniture after all (wishfull thinking!?).

Metricon have suggested that we may hear about a tentative start date today!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We Have Building Approval

Got notification that Metricon have received our Building Approval - yippee! It has been checked for conditions by the Compliance Department and two items were found that need attention so there will be more variations to include these items. The first is rotary roof vents (whirly birds) and eave vents are required to ensure appropriate ventilation to the upper level because we are having a steel frame and roof sarking. The second item is to delete the rumble pit and connect the surface drains to the storm water line as requested by the certifier. Too easy but I guess that will cost us more money!
Sandy is off for a meeting with the bank today to look at our options for financing the construction loan. It'll be good to know exactly where we stand financially. Once all the variations arrive (yes we are still waiting to know how much we spent at Studio M!) we can finalise the loan and provide Metricon with all the necessary paperwork.

Hoping to hear about a tentative start date soon. Can't wait.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Waiting Waiting Waiting

It has been over 2 weeks since we did our colour selections and we are still waiting for the variations to be produced, costed and signed off. I emailed our new CSC who told me it normally takes 10-15 working days for them to generate the variations so it would be anytime now. Can't finalise the construction loan without the final figures so it looks like that won't be happening to after Easter now - shame as we were really hoping the build might start the end of April - born optimists see!!! I'm sure everything will unfold in its own time but it would be nice to have an indication of a start date.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Electrical Diagrams

For all of those of you out there who like looking a drawings here are our electrical diagrams. Nice looking plates of spaghetti eh!?
Click on the diagram for a bigger view.

Ground Floor


Sunday, April 10, 2011

What Happens Next?

Selection appointments are all done, so what happens now? Firstly we have to wait for the variations to be generated so we can sign off on them. Then we have to provide proof that we own the land e.g title or rates bill. Show Metricon the money....once we have all our figures for costings it's back to the bank to finalise the construction loan and send that in so they can see we can pay. And also give details of who will be doing our pool. Oh yes and pay the rest of our deposit!!
We are busy getting everything quoted so we can include as much as we can in the construction loan as possible but it still feels like we are now some how holding up the process! Our house plans have gone through the certifier and are in with Council so we could have approval any time now.
Once Metricon are satisfied with all the information and have double checked the contracts and drawings again then when they have the nod from council we will be provided with a start date.
Better get some phone calls done today so we can complete the things we need to do.

P.S We have another new CSC - that is now our third one.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Electrical Appointment

We did all our selection appointments in one day so by the time our 3pm consultation with Stratus came around we were starting to dip in energy as we had been hard at it since 8.30am. This was the appointment we were most nervous about as we had read many blogs where people had had such a terrible experiences doing their electricals, from unhelpful consultants to big budget blow outs.
Before our visit we had spent hours deciding where lights, power points, switches etc should go and drawing them on to our house plans. I found the best way to do it was to imagine myself going in and out or rooms and where I would need or like a switch or lights, phone points and so on to be.
Luckily for us our consultant was superb, he really knew his stuff and approached our project like it was his own home. He gave us great advice, took time to explain things, go through the options and even made some good suggestions. He was impressed with our drawings as it made his job much easier and also allowed us to understand why certain things would or wouldn't work.

We ended up with almost 70 down lights along with a few fluorescents and vanity lights, a batten point for a stairwell pendant, stair lights, spotlights for outside, outdoor feature lights, circuits for future garden lights, ceiling fans in outdoor room plus security system and home network and of course all the relevant power points and switches.

All in all we spent just over $16k which was right on the budget we had set. Our consultant said we'd done well as most people spend around $20k on a house the size of the Nolan 45.
This appointment took nearly 2 hours and we were very tired at the end of it but so pleased it went well, mainly because our consultant made it so easy and because we had done loads of preparation which seems to be the key.

We also met with our CSC who is about to go on maternity leave, she informed us Council were only waiting for the hydraulics plan so hopefully we will get the go ahead to start building soon.
I am relieved and excited that all the planning and decision making is over and can't wait for the build to finally start!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Colour Selections at Studio M

So following straight on from tiles we headed over to Studio M for a 3 hour colour selections appointment. Again the sales consultant had all the paperwork prepared in advance and was organised, helpful and very efficient.

Started with bricks and roof which was no problem as we already had them chosen and included in our final contract. Austral metropolis stone for bricks and Linea charcoal roof tiles. Decided to go with off white mortar which is an upgrade of $2000. (Have not had the final price variation yet so everything at this stage is an estimate).
Standard gutters in monument and down pipes in colourbond dune. Rain tank also dune. Standard wide board cladding in you've guessed it ... dune. Panel board garage as standard yes its going to be dune. Outside done.
Bi fold door runners recessed into floor so you don't stub your toes or trip $280 each.
Grey tint to all windows front elevation $25/sqm. There is around 15sqm glass so works out to $375.
Getting a price for concrete and driveway so we can compare. I think we looked at Bushfire? for the colour.
Then we moved on to doors - walnut stain on all wood doors and stairs.
Handles as per promo but upgraded front door handled to the 750mm as the standard one was pretty small. Guessing an extra $350.
Deadlock for rear garage door $90.
Taps, basins, shower, toilet all as promo.
Kitchen 2 pac on part approx $3500-4000
Kitchen sink was wrong one in contract so I guess that will also be more money - we only knew this because the consultants confirm your choices by showing you pictures from the catalogues which we thought was excellent as that way you get exactly what you wanted.

We had already decided on all our laminates and caesarstone so that too was easy.
Timber stairs changed from cantilever to just timber saving around $3000
Carpet upgrade to silver range with best underlay an extra $20/sqm totalling $3220 went for a sisal effect in a mid brown tone called circuit.
Not much to go now....
Glass colour for robe in master bedroom and an off white paint colour through out. Yeah we made it!!

Another drink voucher and 30 mins for lunch later the paperwork is ready to sign off.
Oh but by the way the hot water heater that is included as standard is only good enough for one bathroom so you need to upgrade to a bigger system hmm I wonder how much that will be. Surely if they are doing plans for such a big house a suitable hot water system should be included in the base price?! I think she said it would be another $700 to have the storage heater that we opted for.

Guessing we have spent around $8500 in Studio M.

We were hoping to only spend an extra $15,000 in total for tiles, colours and electricals. Given that we have spent at least $9000 so far that would leave us around $6k for lights along with the $10K allowance we have included in the contract ($16K budget for electrics). Its going to be really tight as looking at our rough plans for lighting, sockets, and switches we both think we'll need more than that especially as we want a security system and possibly home network as well.

I will do another post with all the colour choices etc soon once I have paperwork and pictures seeing as we are mid house move so it is a little hectic right now and I'm not even sure which box they'd be in!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Tile Selections

Our tile appointment went really smoothly, we had made all our choices in 40 minutes. We picked all our tiles from the standard range included in our promotional package creating our look with shades of grey and brown throughout.
The consultant was very helpful and had all our plans marked and highlighted in different colours so we could see which was kitchen, floor, bathroom etc. After showing her a few photos on the laptop she knew exactly what we had in mind and was able to offer suggestions.
Colour Scheme for Bathrooms

The only things we upgraded was the edging strips to chrome (12 in total) and the grout as the standard colour is not that pretty.
As it was going to take an hour to do up paperwork we were given a tea/coffee voucher for the local cafe while we waited.

Once all paperwork was completed and signed we were given a copy and samples of the tiles we had selected.

Total spend approx $650

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Day Out Making Selections

What a huge day, our minds are fried from all the decision making and high level concentration required to do tile and colour selections plus electrical plans all in one day. We set off at 6.30am to be in Robina in plenty of time for our 8.30am start so Sandy and I could chat and finalise details over a cup of tea before getting started. Contracts, plans, samples, photos, magazines, sketches and laptop in hand we had come prepared, we wanted today to go as smoothly as possible. After a lovely pot of peppermint tea at the local cafe and a few side bets on how much of our budget we were likely to spend we were ready for 7 hours of planning appointments.

Thankfully all went brilliantly even our electrical appointment. The team at Metricon were very professional, easy to work with and extremely well briefed. They had checked through our plans and contract prior to our arrival and had everything prepared for each appointment, filling us with confidence that they knew what they were doing and what we would need.

A very tiring day as we didn't get home until 6pm so I will post more tomorrow once I have had chance to process everything and have a look at how much we have spent.
Oh and a big thanks to my Mom for coming over to take our boy out for the day would never have been able to do our selections with a 4 year old in tow!