Monday, October 31, 2011

Count Down

We have started counting down the days until the potential move and will be tentatively scheduling the removalists and our storage pod for Friday 18th November which is two weeks after PCI on the 4th. Fingers crossed all goes to plan, we move in on the weekend we want to, get to enjoy our new home and our pool gets finished before Christmas.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Action and Oh Oh

Next door have had their sit cut done. a) great the level of their land is now the same as ours next to the pool and along that whole side. Excellent. b) why have they dug 5 meters out of the protected native vegetation covenant and why is there building base taking up 3 meters of cut into the covenant? Not excellent.

Due to local planning laws our blocks need to have a 10m covenant containing only native plants. This covenant can not be built in, on, over, fenced or removed. Not even a single plant!
We have been very mindful of this and set our house back almost 12m from the front boundary. Now we are very worried that next door have not complied with this and are planning (illegally) to have their house position a good 5 meters in front of ours. In the covenant - meaning it blocks our view and light and is contravening all Council rules and regulations.
Concerned I have had a word with Council and they will be sending someone out as soon as possible to see what is going on. Hopefully before they pour the slab!
I will be very upset if they build the house where it potentially looks like it could be going.

On a more positive note because the land levels are now even we should be able to put our fencing up with no problems. It also seems after chatting to one of our neighbours who have now moved in to the Soho behind us that palling fences are going to be common.
Oh and they has PCI on a Thursday and had handover 8 days after. Lets hope our goes so smoothly seeing as we have the same builder and SS.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Now The Hard Work Begins

Spent the afternoon at the new Masters warehouse in Springfield. It is huge and has everything from pot plants to lighting and all sorts in between. All your DIY projects are catered for and they even sell white goods.
I've got 3 BBQs that I have my eye on and we have picked out floor lamps, some wallpapers, artworks and ideas for dressing the house and storage to go in the wardrobes and the study/playroom. Oh and they do an incredible range of floor rugs at very reasonable prices. So wish list in hand we will return once we have moved to go on a very big shopping spree. I think they do home delivery as well - hmm that might come in handy!

The building inspector is booked for PCI and we have finally decide on our fencing we will be having slate grey aluminum fences and gates across the front of the house and around the pool and standard palling fences on the boundary areas. It sounds as if the neighbours all want to get together to have a pow wow about the fences before people put them up. Well they better organise something soon as our fencing guy is booked in to start almost immediately after we move in.

Just the digger and turf to organise then the hard work of packing and moving and cleaning and landscaping begins.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


21 = the exact amount of weeks since our build started.!

21 = could be the number of days until handover (the born optimist!!!)

21 = our potential moving date in November.  Ha ha.

21 = half my age.

21 = the number of the form that the Council use to certify the build.

Its all looking like a good omen.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's A Date!!!

It's finally happening, the date for the Practical Completion Inspection (PCI) has been set for Friday 4th November. Wow, gosh and double wow that's next week. We are booking an independent inspection as well which will cost around $550 but will be money well spent if it picks up any issues that need attention.

Not sure how long it takes from PCI to handover - can anyone give us an idea from their own experiences?
Our bank have been really good at paying the invoices and getting things organised so I can't see them holding things up. Are we being too optimistic to think we might be moving around the 20th November?

I'm so excited, it's really happening we are getting a new home oh and a massive new mortgage to go with it!!! Brilliant, now we can do landscaping, finish the pool, getting fences and plants, decorate and furnish the place. Oh to have a big kitchen and bathroom again..... I've gone all dreamy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I sent a few early morning texts and messages to our SS and finally got a phone call in return, it's a miracle! He doesn't want to give us a PCI date just yet as he wants as many of the glitches fixed and finished before the inspection is done. I explained to him that this is OK and we are not trying to rush the house all we are asking is to be kept in the loop. I also explained that it would be really great if we could move in November as the following month is very hectic with our son's birthday, lots of work commitments, meetings and weekends away doing workshops oh and of course Christmas. He said he'd let me know either at the end of the day or today. I guess it'll be today as the only other conversation I had was to discuss the new study door and the position of the the big handle. I'll give him until lunch time then I'll gently remind him that he was supposed to speak to me again.

So the painters have finished (they are lovely guys) and the carpenters were in fixing up the sliding study door which they ruined it by putting a bathroom lock on it and apparently are extremely annoyed that they are having to change it and foot the bill for their mistake - the upgraded door cost nearly $3,000 so it was not a cheap fix!. They are also doing minor little things like inspection hatches and so forth. I find it disappointing that they work in such an angry fashion, that's my home you are polluting with you emotional energy.

I am chasing a few contacts about a digger and driver to move the soil around and we are still finalising the quote for the fencing. We are heading up to Noosa for a day out at the weekend for a bit of rest and relaxation but also to have a look at some mail boxes and other little bits and pieces for the yard at a place called front yard art. I have also sourced a few plant nurseries that specialise in bamboos and structural plants that we might want to put along some of the borders so we might check those out on Friday. We  have also picked out a light for the top of the stairs but are awaiting confirmation of it's dimensions as we aren't sure if it will fit the stair well space.

The Light is Similar to This One

Sunday, October 23, 2011


OK you start with flattish blocks all adjoining each other, then the diggers come in push soil around and make a level area for your house to be built on. This changes the levels between you and your neighbours by about 30cm (or more) because they haven't started building and you're nearly finished. Council has regulations about fence heights and how they impact your neighbours but how high is your fence going to be relative to their land when they haven't built yet? Answer - we don't know. So we have decided to move our soil around to level up the rest of the garden put the fences in and hope they will be alright once the neighbours have built. We have written to the neighbours explaining the situation and hopefully everything will work out just right in the end. At this stage we are not asking them to share costs but if things do need altering later then we would like them to go 50-50 with us as that seems more than fair and generous on our part.
If it were me and the neighbours paid for the fence which then ended up being around 20cm higher than regulations I probably wouldn't even complain. Fingers crossed that our new neighbours think like we do.
Now to find a digger and driver that won't cost too much.

Neighbour Friendly Fencing?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Going Dotty

Ah ah what is that? There have been people in my house as it looks like it has caught a case of the lesser know form of green spotted measles. There are green dots all over the paintwork inside and out. I headed off around the back of the house and low and behold more green dots and the painters are in doing the touch ups on the paintwork and staining the remaining timber work.

Went and had a good look around to find some of the minor issues have been attended to but not all yet. The guy with the mirrors must have gone mad as the one that was in the powder room has also been taken back out so that must have been damaged along with the one for the ensuite. The missing light fixture in the kitchen has been installed and the replacement study door is having a nice lie down in the garage.
Still no news from the SS, really TC pick up the phone will you. I will hound him (again!!) on Monday to see where we are at.

Later on site I peered through the front door and the stairs have been stained (aarrgghhh no camera with me sorry), they look fantastic. I can now suddenly imagine myself really living there. I don't know why but finishing the stairs has made it appear more real that this is our home and we will be living there soon. Amazing.
I will pop back over the weekend to get some pictures.

Friday, October 21, 2011

All Quiet On The Western Front

"Its oh so quiet, its oh so still". No phone calls, no e-mails, no activity on site and no reply to my text messages either. All we want to know is an idea of PCI and handover dates so we can start planning. I'm not getting annoyed or impatient about the end date as our build has only been 20 weeks so far but I think its quite rude not to speak to your clients for 2 weeks when it is your job to keep us informed with weekly progress calls. The Building Support Coordinator (BSC) Karen is very good she answers our email promptly but when it is oh yes TC (the site supervisor) will call you about that and then he doesn't I get irritated by the lack of a courtesy call. if they don't know when PCI is yet then just say that and we'll patiently wait another week.

We are still nutting out the final specifications for the fencing and typical of us we always prefer the more expensive option or products. The budget has blown out by a couple of thousand but we had factored that in in our initial price range estimate. We are also trying to decide do we want curtains or blinds, a combination of both and which is going to go at which window. We are thinking of not having any window treatments for the family, kitchen , dining space as we have massive picture windows that we don't really want to obscure in any way - we may change our minds if it's not private enough or too chilly in winter or there is too much glare in summer. It would save us a lot of dosh if we can avoid having curtains in that room though.

We are also considering a small shed to go in the ugly side of the house where the air con, hot water heater and pool equipment are situated. The shed can the be home for our gardening tools and pool cleaning things which will give us more space in the garage for the boy's toys - you know bike, scooters etc.

Sandy is busy selling our worldly goods on E-bay so we don't have to move things in that we don't really want any more. Better go check that one of my kidneys isn't being auctioned as we speak........

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The bathroom mirrors have been installed, unfortunately the one for the ensuite is chipped and needs to be redone so the poor guy who was there all by himself grunting and straining to lift the damn thing on his own had to carry back to his van again. He was not impressed.

The replacement study door and handles have arrived so they need installing and staining. The stairs will also need to be stained and a few minor corrections needed to be done around the place from the last time we were in. I want to go in again to check on couple of things but haven't been able to get in the house for a while, it'd be nice to measure up for some window treatments so we can get an idea of how much we need to spend and to see if some of those small issues we'd picked up on have been rectified. I think if I don't hear from the SS soon about PCI I'm just going to push for a site meeting. He actually hasn't spoken to us since the last one, what a big baby he is. I will definitely telling Metricon that his attitude and behaviour in the past few weeks has not been pleasant and I would not do business with him again. Shame because the house is awesome.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Form 21

I haven't seen anyone at the house, don't know whats happening, the SS didn't call (again) for the weekly update but we did get some exciting news..... Metricon are applying for a Form 21.
In plain language a form 21 is a certificate of occupancy from a building certifier which is basically a final inspection with council who will come out to make sure your home has been built as the plans show. Once the paperwork is issued this is sent to the bank or your lender so they can then do their bit and make final payment for handover. Wow its really happening, I am chasing up a date now for PCI so I can organise our own building inspector and get a time frame on handover so we can start packing and book the removalisits. Pinching ourselves because can't quite believe it.

Yesterday afternoon we went to King furniture and picked out a very nice sofa and some cushions to match and contrast. We eventually chose one from the Phoenix range as this was more comfortable for us short people. They have good sale on at the moment otherwise normally we'd have only been window and ideas shopping in there. To get delivery before Christmas we need to order it in the next few days. Until it arrives we will put our existing sofa in the family room which will then get recovered and moved up to the leisure room.

Phoenix Range From King Furniture Ours Is Similar To The Larger Picture
Once our things come out of storage we will be able to plan what we a re keeping or selling and which pieces are going where. At the moment we are looking at keeping the dining table but getting different chairs and may be treating ourselves to a king size bed (luxury!).
The other thing we desperately need to source is some floor rugs. Fun times shopping ahead.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Finishing Touches and Tidying Up

The final push to finish our homes continues. The shower screens and bathroom mirrors have been installed and the totally over flowing site bin has been cleared away. The rest of the site is still a tip so we presume they will do a final site clean a little closer to PCI/handover.
I plan to speak to the SS tomorrow to see if we can set a definite PCI date so I can book the building inspector as well. We will also be going out to check out some furniture while everywhere has sales on. This is the sort of thing we'd like for the family room.

King Furniture - Kato Deluxe - In Grey?

We (I should actually say Sandy) worked tirelessly yesterday ringing for quotes on gas, electric and building insurance as well as finalising what fencing we are having and getting us an new quote. It appears that we will now be having frameless glass fencing for around the pool and we have seen aluminium fencing that looks just like timber that would be awesome for a privacy/feature fencing. No maintenance and no wood stain bleeding out and dripping colour onto the granite pavers. aluminium slats gallery

Looks Like Timber But Is Aluminium

It is so surreal that almost a year to the day that the land auction happend we will be moving in to our new home. Crazy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Driveway Poured

The driveway is now concrete and needs time to harden before it can be used. Nice team who did the job well and asked us to check the position of the mark out and talked about how we wanted things shaped before finishing off the formwork.

There were a few tradies on site fixing things up so now we have a white infill at the end of the white kitchen cabinets, completed carpets and a few other odds and ends sorted out. Sadly we got a "no way are we changing the diamond laid tiles in the showers". Hmm I guess we have to just suck that one up but I will be writing to Metricon to point out how disappointed we are with that and that we feel the displays etc are misleading and there should be a discussion at tile studio about not always being able to straight lay tiles in the shower areas. I feel it is best just to move on rather than keep pressing my point and possibly delay progress. I don't even do showers so I don't know why I'm so bothered as I won't even see the tiles when I'm relaxing in the bath! (Ha ha).

Here's some photos of our driveway in concrete (it will be nice when I can show pictures of grass and plants and soft landscaping too)

Front Path

Portico Area

Drive - The Team In Action

Portico - Again

The Left Side of Portico and House

Path From Drive To Front Door - Either Plants or Water Feature To Go In Garden Bed Area

The Drive Being Poured

Entrance Way and Side Path
Here's some shots of inside for you:

Air Con Control Panel

Study Carpet

Master Bedroom Carpet

Bedroom One Carpet and Inspection Hatch

Leisure Room With Our Son Running Around In Circles (He Did This In Every Room With Carpet!)

The Kitchen Infill (Very End at Right) Is Now White
 And now some shots of the finished driveway:

Ta Da! It Looks Beautifull

Ready For Your Close Up Miss Bushfire Exposed Aggregate?
Oh by the way we got the refund amount for the temporary fencing....$1950.00 well worth chasing that one up as now we can probably stretch to a new sofa for the family room!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The form work for the driveway, paths and portico area have been completed ready for concrete today. We have gone for an exposed aggregate in a colour called bushfire which has blacks browns and greys through it so hopefully it will look good against the brickwork.
The fly screens have been fitted, the carpet layers have finished and now the end is so close I think there are only the kitchen appliances left to do.
Formwork and Steels For Drive
The drive has worked out really well and has ended up wider than it was drawn on the plans so we are really happy with the shape of it and it should make it nice and easy for getting the cars in and out of the garage. Eventually there will be a gate next to the front of the garage with a side fence to close the back garden off.

Drive Front Path and Portico Area

Fly Screens Fitted

Sliding Fly Screen Door on Laundry

Powder Room Window Fly Screened

Portico Area - We Have Left A Garden Bed Either Side

Side Path For Gas Bottles and Bins

I am yet to hear back about whether they will reconsider about how the tiles are laid in the shower areas so will chasing that up again today. I sound like a stuck record but it has become a matter of principle as if we want to make amendments a variation has to be drawn up, signed and paid for but if the builders want to change something they just do it without even asking you. The problem: builders love building houses but they don't like building them for people! On another note though we have had a result not only did we get the refund on the pot drawers that couldn't be accommodated we also got after much pushing and asking several times are refund on the temporary site fencing which was never supplied. Score! So for all of you who are building if it says in your site fees provide X amount of lineal meters of temporary fencing which you never got you can ask for a refund. (San and Revi I would be straight on to that if I were you, every dollar counts!).
Concrete today and then I'm not sure what happens next.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

PCI Approaching and Some Tips We Picked Up Along The Way

Could this be the world's fastest double story build? If we have PCI as suggested in around 2-3 weeks our actual build will have taken less than 22 weeks. When we first started we expected more like 35 weeks from reading other blogs and even then we felt we were being optimistic. So we are filled with excitement that we will be moving in to our new home in November (hopefully) as PCI should be happening around 25th Oct.
Must organise insurance, gas, telephone, Internet, Foxtel etc so that we can be hooked up to the world once we move.

Are we happy with Metricon? 95% yes and 5% no over silly little things which have irritated us like a sometimes grumpy SS and the issue over the shower tiles. You look in all of Metricon's show homes, brochures, tile studio images etc and the tiles are all straight laid - don't market something you can't always deliver without offering a disclaimer, it raises peoples expectations that this is what they will be getting, especially when it is written into your contract.

Some tips:
  • preparation is the key when planning your home look at lots of designs and do your research
  • you can't do enough home work before preliminary contract go to lots of show homes see whats on offer, check the quality of the finishes, get lots of ideas
  • see what changes you can incorporate to a standard house plan to make a design work for you
  •  put everything in on your wish list, get it costed then pare down what is too expensive
  • allow 50% more for electrical than you think
  • budget at least another $150K over base price for your upgrades
  • ask lots and lots of questions
  • go to Studio M several time before colour consultation and check out what you can have
  • ask what is standard and what is an upgrade do not presume that you will be getting something just because it is displayed that way
  • go over your contract and plans with a fine toothcomb, check every detail before signing off
  • check your contract and plans often prior to and during build its amazing what things you miss
  • take your plans with you when you visit the site so you can compare
  • visit your build regularly and check on progress, look for things that aren't right
  • regular site meetings and phone chats with your SS are a must
  • prepare to compromise occasionally
  • have fun and enjoy watching your dream home appear before your very eyes
The quality of the work appears to be of a high standard and we love the almost finished product. We have actually started considering where the furniture will go and if we have the budget to may be buy a few new items. Lets hope that the final few weeks go smoothly and everything happens to plan.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Carpets and Site Meeting

We went to the house in the morning for a pre-site meeting check to find the carpet is being laid so we had a quick nosey inside and it looks great. I didn't have my camera so you will have to wait to see how amazing it looks. I love the smell of new carpet.

Thankfully the site meeting with the SS was aimable and professional. After wandering around with clipboard and plans in hand (I am very nerdy!) I spotted a missing overhead light in the kitchen, and extra drain hole in the laundry cupboard and a big hole in the wall where the carpet layers got a little carried away. All in all it is looking great and the quality of finishes is satisfactory. Then we hit the snagging point regarding the laying of the shower tiles in a diamond pattern and not straiight laid as per the contract. In the past this would have become quite a heated debated followed by the threat a fisty cuffs. However I have matured greatly over the years and was able to negotiate that he at least run it by the CM and see where we can go from there. The problem with diamond lay - something my nana would have had, looks old fashioned in a contemporary home. The problem with straight lay - hard to get the fall off so water doesn't pool in the shower. We'll wait and see what they say before making a decision.

The Nolan 45 house is beautiful; in fact I will no longer refer to it as house, site, block or build as now it is almost our home. If we leave the tiles as they are PCI will be in around  2.5 weeks. Lots of shreks and loud whooping noises!! The build will have only taken 21 weeks - I know insane.
We will be getting an independent inspection as well prior to handover so pencil an early November moving in date in your diary!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Nearly There?

18 weeks have passed by since the build started with the site scrape and it has flashed by in a blur of concrete, steel, plaster, timber, cables, pipes, bricks and tiles.

Things are slowly coming to an end, the balustrade on the balcony is in place and the air conditioning unit has been installed. We were trying to think what else needs to be completed before our home is finished and this is what we came up with:
  • carpets
  • appliances in the kitchen
  • driveway and concrete path to portico
  • stain the stairs
  • little bits of painting
  • robe doors
  • fix minor hiccups
  • and let me see can I think of anything more ...... no I can't
No way, is that really all that is left to do before the final inspection and handover, surely we have forgotten something? No it actually looks like this house will be finished in a few weeks (or may be less than that who knows?) now we are starting to get a tiny bit excited, yes!

Balcony With Silver Balustrade

Air Conditioning Unit (This Is The "Ugly" Working Side of The House)

Over Bench Lighting In Kitchen

We have had a stressful few days with the SS verbally fighting with the pool builders. It got very heated and quite nasty and I had to tell everyone to pull their heads in and try to get them to reach a compromise but sadly because tempers had become so heated everyone was digging their heals in and refusing to budge. In the end I had to call the construction manager who eventually calmed things down and got the situation rectified. I never knew temporary pool fencing would cause so much mayhem. I tell you they are worse than kids. However, we are determined not to let a moody SS spoil it for us. But had this happened earlier in the build I would be approaching Metricon regarding a change of site supervisor as I don't appreciate dealing with someone who is dismissive and aggressively defensive and then tries to bully people in to doing everything his way. It is interesting that when you ask him about something his answer is always a sharp "that's standard" I think I'll ask him if he'd like that as his middle name! Yes it has been irritating but Sandy and I are very calm people and can see the funny side of it but when people are threatening to walk off the job and rip up your concrete because a pool fence is too close to the house you know that it's time to say enough is enough. We are supposed to be having a site meeting on Friday so have decided that each time we point out something that needs changing we will be a little tongue in cheek and simply ask "erm is that standard?".

We have had a native plant gardener come and look at the nature covenant, he is going to pull out all the weeds and spray to prevent them coming back, then plant around 40 lovely native shrubs and mulch the entire 250 sqm with a thick carpet of forest mulch. The fencing contractor is also coming out to do a proper measure up and help us decide on the finished designs. We will need to decide where we are having garden beds and turf then get the grass people out for a quote as well. What else will we need to think about - the gas supply, window treatments, mail box, house number, landscaping etc etc etc. What fun!

We would like an independent inspection before handover, can anyone recommend a certifier in the Brisbane area?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Photo Journal Part 5

Pool Concrete Starts

Yay, Concrete Trucks and Pumps

Steel Work and Rio For Outdoor Room
Outdoor Room Pre Concrete

Pool - A Work In Progress

Pool Poured
Pool and Paver Area

Outside Light On Portico - We Also Have These On Garage and Balcony

That Flashing Is Really Ugly - Another One To Speak to The SS About!

Connection For Gas Bottles

Outside Light On Rear of Garage - We Have The Same Out The Laundry Also

Wrong! There Should Be No Lock/Pull This Is Supposed to Have Back To Back Handles Like The Front Door

Fans and Lights Outdoors

Dining Area Light

Couldn't Resist Another One of the Pool

You Can't See It From This View But There Is A Strip of Wood That Needs To Be Removed From This Door

We Have Concrete Floors

One Grand Outdoor Room - This Will Be Paved In light Grey Granite