Friday, February 24, 2012

Metricon Visits

Finally after a couple of increasingly more urgent and slightly more irate emails to the service and maintenance dept at M the Qld Building Manager paid us a visit this morning to assess the drainage (or lack of) issues.
After listening to our concerns, looking at the photos of a water logged yard and examining the site he agreed that we actually need 4 more gully/land drains and a retaining wall between us and out right handside neighbours (who are at frame stage now with M). The retaining wall was originally included in the building plans but was never constructed so M will install this at no cost after discussing the potential land levels with the site supervisor to assess how high it needs to be. As for the land drains Metricon's plumber will come and do these for us and Metricon have agreed to split the cost 50-50. We felt this to be a fair arrangement as if the engineer had recommended additional drainage in the first place we would have had to pay for it all anyway and if we hadn't got M involved we would have also had to foot the bill. Hopefully the plumber can come and do the drains for us the week after next and then at last we can finish the landscaping.

The moral of this story is always get the builder to come out and look at potential issues, stay calm and be reasonable, state your case clearly and tell them how you would like to see matters resloved and then hopefully you get a win win situation.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

100 Days

Its been 100 days since we got the keys to the new house. On one hand the time has gone by really fast and on the other it feels like we have always lived here as we have settled in very quickly and have been busy making the Nolan 45 our home. We still need to add some interior design bits and pieces and put pictures up on walls but we are in no hurry to finish everything off and have it looking like the lovely show homes that Metricon display. However a few more personal touches wouldn't go a miss. The garden is maturing and once we get some feedback about the drainage issues it will be nice to finish it off and get the shed in.

Inside we have noticed some small cracks appearing at the architrave joins, one of the plug socket covers has come loose and falls off every time you use it, the powder room toilet half and full flush are the wrong way round so you get full flush when you use the half button, one of the cavity sliders on the ensuite is stiff and there is a chipped door that we picked up at handover that wasn't touched up. Otherwise the house is working beautifully.

The weather is fabulous so we will celebrate out 100 days splashing about in the pool

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Metricon Have Gone Deaf

Apparently the plumber was coming out on site Monday. Never saw him which is odd seeing as we specifically stated we wanted a meeting to discuss the issues and show him the photos of where and how the water is pooling around the house. I also asked M why a retaining wall next to the garage along the boundary has been omitted from construction, it is clearly marked on our plans and in our contract. We feel this 325mm high retaining wall would have helped deflect some of the water run off from the adjacent block and we have paid for the wall as part of site fees. So far it has all fallen on deaf ears so now its time for an annoyed phone call......

Next door now have a steel frame up they completed the ground floor yesterday and it all ready looks massive. Once the upstairs is on the little Soho at the back of us is going to be totally dwarfed. There have been two more site scrapes, a low set is going in across the way which means we will still be able to see some lovely tress over the tops yippee and up the road they are having what appears to be a traditional Queenslander up on stumps, might look a little out of place amongst all the modern rendered houses.

Breakfast first then on the phone to Metricon, the problem though is who is the best person to speak to as service and maintenance don't seem interested and we no longer officially have a site or construction manager?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Metricon Listens!

When I arrived home Friday afternoon there were two guys installing a sediment barrier between next door's build site and our fence. How is that for service? I contacted Metricon via email the previous morning about the drainage issues and the silt/mud run off from the lot and viola they put the sediment barrier up the very next day. I spoke with the guys and they told me they were only putting along the left side (which is ours) as they had been told to come and do it urgently. So its not all bad news and lack of service out of Ms head office in Qld. I can't help but wonder though if they'd have been as quick getting on to it had I not just completed building with them?
Lets see what happens once the plumber has been out and given them his report regarding the drains!

Great weekend, we've just bought a new car (a Peugeot 3008) and it looks like I have found a new staff member to join my team. Awesome

Friday, February 10, 2012

Drainage Dramas

We had a 30 minute heavy downpour Wednesday afternoon which lead to us being flooded again. To add to this we now have silt and mud washing off the metricon block next door which blocked one of our piddly surface drains so we had almost knee deep water around the side of the garage, Why they have not put up an erosion barrier along the side of the fence I don't know as our other neighbour at the rear had mud all over their outdoor room from the wash of as well.
I have raised the issue with M to be emailed that a plumber will come and have a look. I replied asking what's a plumber going to do? as the issue here is a lack of drainage and not a blocked pipe. We need someone to explain why we only have 3 surface drains and why they have been placed around the garage and no where else on the block so I have asked for someone higher up. If I get no joy I will have to call the CM we had for the build or see if I can actually speak to someone with more authority.
We're a bit peed off now with having to pump water, clean up mud, replace washed away mulch and empty mud from next door from the drain.
Come on M lets sort this out please before the integrity of our new house gets compromised.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Final Draw Down

The last payment from the building loan has been completed and now we can convert the loan into a mortgage. I have no real idea what the final total amount we have had to borrow is as I'm living in denial of what the repayments will be. Hopefully we can negotiate a good deal with the bank as we have previous and existing loans with them. The good news is since we started our build the interest rates have fallen which is a blessing to everyone out there who has home loans as it eases the pressure if only ever so slightly.

Th first electricity bill arrived for $261; hard to say if that's an accurate reflection of our power consumption at this stage or not. The pool runs for 6 hours a day but we have a very efficient pump,oh but it only got installed at the end of December. The washing machine averages 1 load a day as does the dishwasher. So far we have not used the air con during the day as we haven't needed to even on a day like yesterday which was 34 deg and very humid. However it has been on for about 50% of the nights since moving in. Then there are the lights but we tend to only have on what we need and switch things off when we are finished, the TV, foxtel, DVD player etc which use their amounts as does the extractor over the cooker (that gets a good workout as we do a lot of cooking!). It all starts to add up. Luckily we have a gas hob and hot water system which I hear would massively add to our electricity consumption otherwise.
If it is a true reflection (I think it is slightly under) then our power bill would be around $1100 per year which is much cheaper than our old house.
Now I wonder how much the gas bill will be?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Action Next Door

The rain eased to light showers and then glorious sunshine yesterday which was great timing as 3 cubic meters of soil arrived ready for spreading in the miniature lake feature that develops each time it rains along side the laundry area of the house. The thinking is if we can raise the levels and even the area out the water may not pool so much when it rains heavily (wishful thinking perhaps?). The next consideration is do we add some gravel pit soak aways as well as or instead of the 2 additional land drains proposed? I will need to do some more research to see how effective they are and compare costings as there really isn't much left in the gardening budget. I would like enough cash left over as we were hoping to have a small deck and pergola added to the outdoor entertaining area (as if it wasn't big enough already!!).

There has been activity finally on the block next door, site scrape happened Thursday followed by the concrete footings yesterday. My prayers have been answered and there house has been situated on the far side of their block away from us so their garden will be next to ours leaving a good 15 meters of space between our homes. This will allow us privacy, light and distance as well as good breezes and we don't completely lose the view out to the trees and fields beyond. Fantastic. It looks like they are building the Lindrum 52 which is a bit of a squeeze lengthwise but I'll keep you posted once I get some official information i.e. "morning building team do you know which house they've gone for?"

Plans for today, morning walk, light breakfast, family time playing with our rapidly growing spoodle pup Angel who is settling in brilliantly, then off to the landscape suppliers to choose some paving and gravel before a BBQ and afternoon of relaxing.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rain and Solar

At last it has stopped raining. The pool levels got emptied a further 3 times and the submersible pump from Bunnings got a really good work out. I am contacting Metricon regarding the lack of land drains to see why they were only positioned on the one side of the house. It looks like we will need to raise the ground level in the garden on the pool side of the house and add more land drains, gravel and drainage pipes to prevent us filling up with water every time we get heavy rain. A costly project but one that needs to happen to safeguard our home and allow us to have a useable utility garden (shed, veggies, washing line etc area) I think its going to add around another $3-4K to the garden budget which means we may have to put some of the inside of the house projects on hold for a while longer.

On a more positive note we are having a 3 kilowatt solar electricity system installed, 16 roof panels to catch all that glorious Queensland sunshine - ha ha the irony after all the rain we have had! We choose a company called FreeSolar as their prices were extremely competitive. In total its costing $4,000 which we felt was a bargain, Metricon had given us a verbal quote of about $12,000 for a similar installation when we enquired all those months ago at preliminary contract. I don't think a 3KW system will mean we'll be selling electricity back to the grid but it will certainly help with the running costs of such a large house. Not that we have loads of appliances other than the washing machine in constant action! Oh I guess the dishwasher gets a pretty good workout though. We are yet to receive our first electricity bill so we have no idea how the running costs of this house compare to our old home yet. So we should be going solar by the end of this month.

The new puppy Angel is settling in well, a total sweetie and an excellent playmate for our son. Ah Home Sweet Home!