About Me

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I am a SAHM who does work from home occasionally, dedicated to raising 3 Godly, independent, healthy children. Loving the home building process though it is not without challenges. I have fairly free reign over the creative aspect of the project...just not the financial side!

Friday, December 28, 2012

And now for some real action....

...albeit too early! Demolition is not meant to start until Monday December 31. Maybe that means with the heavy machinery?? Brad drove past this morning on his way to the station and rang to tell me demolition had started on the roof! I quickly jumped in the car and went to visit. I was worried about not marking the trees yet. The guys there couldn't tell me when that was booked in for. Made a note to stop in at Bunnings on the way home for some tape to wrap around trees.

Incidentally, do I look Russian? The guy working on the house swore I looked of Russian descent???? I did say to him....do you mean Scandinavian LOL?

Thursday, December 27, 2012


We have temporary fencing ALREADY! My friend and I were off to the city for drinks & dinner at the Opera Bar and drove past the house at 6:45pm. I felt a rush of adrenalin when I saw the fencing up and a tingle of excitement. Obviously a motivated site supervisor! We were SMSing (no language barrier that way) at 4:45pm when I gave him the OK to go ahead so within 2 hours the fencing was ordered, delivered & installed. I have had to quickly organise the notification of neighbours and council; organise the protection of trees on council land and will need to mark somehow the trees that are to stay.

Now to go back a little for you. When I spoke to the site supervisor this afternoon, we worked out that the only thing stopping the demolition for starting early was the temporary fencing. I told him that if he could find a company willing to get it done now, it should be fine. He came back with a cheap price with immediate delivery so I gave him a AOK. I panicked a little about the temp fencing company that I had organised to deliver early in the morning of January 7 knowing that the office is  closed down for 2 weeks. Crossed my fingers and sent them an email. Received a response in 5 min from the administration officer letting me know that she would cancel my order and that there would be no charge - YAY!

So.......demolition should start on Monday with the real action day (ball through the house) being Thursday January 3!

Advice needed please! How do you read point 4)?  Trees will be lopped but need to pay for green waste at tip? Need to pay separately for lopping & tipping?
I have also just reread that our 'special offer' means they pay for the site fence?? Not once has this being mentioned. Grrrrrr.....

More demolition news....

1) I was reading the quote last night (as you do when there is little on TV) and discovered I had misread the document. I thought block clearing including all vegetation was included.  Trees incur a separate charge. I will need to negotiate what is a tree & what is a very tall shrub with the demolition company now.

2) I, in fact, received a call this morning from the site manager for our demolition job. He actually wants to start earlier than January 7. This would suit us apart from the fact that the temporary fencing is not arriving until the wee hours of January 7 and there is a requirement for fencing. I asked him if he could meet with me next week to go through the backyard & discuss the issue of trees VS shrubs. I also told him that we would be on holidays during the demolition period. He will contact me next week to arrange.

3) According to the work plan, the main day of demolition is on Wednesday January 9. If you have a child who may be keen to watch, mark it in your diary and get the camp chairs ready! Free school holiday entertainment!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

One man's junk.....

.....is obviously another man's treasure! I posted on FB yesterday afternoon offering things from our house that will be taken with the demolition company in early January. Well, I was bombarded! In 24 hours, we have had curtains, blinds, security door, air conditioner and vanity taken with someone returning to take a gate & dismantle the carport. Oh and roof tiles might disappear if they somewhat match someone's roof! One guy wanted to take the windows if he could work out how to take them home with him (visiting family for Christmas)
Really glad that others can get something from our house rather than it all going to recycled waste. I felt a little like Santa!

Saturday, December 22, 2012


My dear friend, Lucinda, and I took a stroll around the garden this afternoon to try & work out what can stay and what can go! The demolition company will lop whatever we want and we have permission from council to take down anything on our land. Pretty much we have decided to leave the palm tree in and 4-5 camellias for privacy along one boundary fence. Everything else can be lopped so that we can start from scratch with a more uniform look. Happy with that.....

Friday, December 21, 2012

Some more bank requirements needed

I received an email from my Mortgage Angel (sweet, eh?!) this afternoon to say that CBA required a further 2 documents and then they would release their Authority to Commence Construction. CBA need.....

1 )     Builders Contract of Works Insurance, showing:-
        Insurance amount equal to or in excess of the Building Contract Price.
        Name of property owner and / or the Building Company
        Construction site address or stating `Anywhere in Australia'.
        Expiry date of policy.

2 )    Builders Public Liability Insurance, showing:-
        Minimum $5 million.
        Expiry date of policy.
        Construction site address or stating `Anywhere in Australia'.

Now of course, the timing of this was not great. EBH were not contactable at 3:30pm this afternoon via phone or email so I can only suspect their well deserved break started before COB today! We will now have to wait until EBH are back on deck on January 7 to forward to the bank. At least we know, CBA will send the Construction advice to us as soon as they receive these documents.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Santa brought me a present!

My lovely Santa bought me an early Christmas present today  - a new camera to take loads of house photos with! A camera shop had an unbeatable price on a Canon 650D so I am about to delve into the world of SLRs.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Site start appointment made

I received a call from Rania, our CSA, today to schedule our site start appointment. I was hoping for one before Christmas to finalise everything but the earliest time they had was Friday January 18. EBH, from my understanding, then have 21 days to start building or at least the contract period starts then. All the final plans & documents have now been ordered and will be checked over for us to sign on that date. We are still waiting on our loan documents to come through from our mortgage broker and be signed before the Authority to Commence Construction letter can be given by the bank.
Looking forward to demolition & the start of the build in 2013!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Boring update

Nothing really exciting happening just yet but thought I would post whilst watching Grey's Anatomy.
Silly me mentioned to a few people this morning that I didn't have much to do today. Work is finished for the year, children at preschool or school, Christmas shopping under control, gym workout done. Well....from the time I got home just before 11am until school pickup time, I was on the phone bar a 10min break to eat salad.
Started off with the most frustrating call to Energy Australia to try to organise gas disconnection. Being the owner of the property I have no right to any information as to who supplies gas to the property (I am not the account holder, the tenants are!) I asked questions like how I was supposed to organise disconnection if I can't know who supplies it. The answer was 'I can't comment on that'. After nearly 2 hours on the phone, I have set up an account and I am moving into the property on December 24 AND I want the gas disconnected as soon as possible after that. OMGoodness, I cannot believe it is so hard. Tears were nearly flowing at one point.
Next call was to the temporary fencing company who I have emailed 3 times but never heard back from. Under normal circumstances, I would forget them but as this company is the one EBH use, I was getting a discount as there is no need for them to come & disassemble & reinstall between demolition and start of building. All sorted though there was a hiccup as they close down for Christmas on December 21 but the tenants don't move until December 23. Hopefully they can get the fencing installed before the demolition company start in January 7.
Miscellaneous calls to the mortgage broker to follow up on the loan documents, from my mum and a friend followed.
I have been having issue for the last 6 months with Telstra and internet drop outs. Countless hours & a fair bit of money has been spent to try & rectify the issue. Yesterday's call of hour duration left me very hopeful that the issue was finally fixed only to have more dropouts today. I needed to call AGAIN. This time, I asked for the same technician I had yesterday to try to shorten the call. He worked out that the modem I bought from Telstra 2 months ago in an effort to fix the problem is faulty. Please repackage & return it with a receipt to the place you bought it from. Hmmmm....this is where I wish I was more of a hoarder!! No box kept, no receipt kept. Oops!

Anyway, even though the day turned out to be much busier than I thought, it was productive with a few important tasks dealt with.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Unconditional approval

Music to my ears! The new house has been valued, our current house has been valued, we have attended to a special condition placed on the loan and it has been rubber stamped today. Still waiting on the paperwork to complete (loan offer) and to send to EBH but good as done.
From what I understand, we are waiting on a construction certificate and then our final construction drawings, colour documents and final variations. A site start appointment will herald the end of the admin stage and the start of the construction stage.
In the meantime, I am desperately trying to find out who our gas provider is??? I am on hold to every company I try. I am also attempting to get quotes from fencing companies to get temporary fencing for the very short phase of demolition.
Soon photoless posts will be a thing of the past....

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Inconsistent prices

This blog post is more for EBH to read (!) and for me to have made a note for when/if they ask for feedback at the end of the process.
There has been discussion on the forum I participate in lately about inconsistent pricing. I don't know why but this makes me an angry Kerith! So clients were saying that they received a price for an item at tender which differed to the price they were given at their HOG selection appointment eg. overhead cupboards, pot drawers etc. Sometimes the tender price was more, sometimes less. Surely, an overhead cupboard is the same price with the same company whether you request it in tender stage or just after. Comments were made that it seems like the tender presenter just guesstimates. This does not inspire confidence in the EBH process at all.

Further to my post yesterday about the cool website from one of Eden Brae's competitors....I sent a link to my lovely Manager Bev. She forwarded it on to the Home Option Gallery Manager who was quite interested. They can see the benefit for EBH & their clients. A company has done something similar for a few builders and it has only recently gone live. Maybe next time I build an Eden Brae house....;-)   (Brad doesn't read this blog, does he?!)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cool website

I stumbled across this website today as I navigated through some other HomeOne threads


I have maintained all along that this is something that Eden Brae should do for their clients to assist with complete satisfaction. It is so difficult to select colours from tiny swatches and know how they are going to fit together in your house. How good would it be to sit at Home Options Gallery & to finalise your colours based on a program like this? Interior & exterior. I am a highly visual person and need to see my colours working together. Hopefully in the future, it will all be computer aided - too late for us though.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Loan approved conditionally

Our construction loan has now been approved with conditions - the standard bank valuation on the land we are building on and that the redraw balance on one of our other loans is reduced. I don't understand the concept at all but Brad does. I was hoping it meant that I could go & spend $50K on something other than a new house ;-)  Brad seems really happy with the way that Mortgage Choice have structured our loan - important that he is happy when it comes to money!

Miscellaneous stuff

* Fencing - The demolition company have sent me details of the fencing company they use and costings today. I asked Eden Brae whether we could use the company they use for temporary fencing and extend the length of time forward to include the demolition period. NO was the answer.
Is it only me or does it seem crazy that we use one company for temp fencing for 2-3 weeks, they have to return to disassemble  & then another company comes to erect their fencing for the build?

* The tenants called me yesterday to check whether the letter they received from the property manager was fair dinkum. Do you really want us to clean the house from top to bottom upon leaving? LOL I confirmed that they didn't need to. I could hear the sigh of relief from my end of the phone.

* I received the approved plans today via the Council's website.  Any tree (apart from the neighbours trees in question) can be removed. We do need to plant 4 indigenous trees to maintain canopy cover.

* The valuer is going to visit the property soon for bank loan purposes.

Things are moving along nicely.....

Friday, November 23, 2012

3 out of 3 APPROVED!

After 3 long months, all 3 applications to council have been approved. Ahhhhh.......  We can demolish, build and put in a pool. One neighbour in particular is not going to be happy - they objected to the pool (acoustics & loss of privacy) and the house (privacy & loss of sun).  

"An objection was received in regards to the two storey dwelling-house resulting in a loss of privacy to the adjoining property in Gxxxxx Avenue. The first floor windows serve bedrooms and bathrooms only, in accordance with the prescriptive measures of the Privacy element. The single window on the first floor facing the objectors property is setback over 26 metres from this adjoining property.
As a consequence, the development would have negligible adverse privacy impacts, the proposal meets the objectives of the Privacy element and is considered acceptable."

"An objection was received in regards to the two storey structure causing a loss of solar access to the rear western property. The shadows cast from the proposal would allow at least 4 hours of sunshine to the private open space required for adjacent and proposed dwelling-houses on 22 June (the winter solstice). The shadows cast from the proposal would allow north facing windows to living areas of adjacent and proposed dwelling-houses to receive 3 hours of sunshine over a portion of their surface on 22 June. The proposal meets the prescriptive measures and objectives of the Solar Access element and is considered acceptable."

Fortunately Council didn't seem to think they were legitimate reasons to protest. Can't wait for our first pool party!

Hornsby Council themselves did have a concern over the design initially-  -->
"The proposed 12.9m unbroken wall length of the northern elevation does not comply with the prescriptive measures of the Design element which requires that walls not exceed 10m without a physical “break”. A balance between solid walls and openings and variations of roof form has been incorporated into the elevations to avoid a monotonous or symmetrical design.
On that basis, the proposal would have negligible adverse visual or amenity impacts to the adjoining properties, meets the objectives of the Design element and is considered acceptable."

Eden Brae can't move onto the next step until they have a hard copy of the determination. Grrrr.... This paperwork took 2 weeks to be put in the mail for the pool DA. I wonder if I can print it off and send it to them rather than waiting for Council to do it?? The information is all on the website for public record. Not sure why they don't accept it.

Anyway, happy days here until the next hiccup! Enjoy your weekend. I am celebrating 11 years of wedded bliss with my wonderful husband. Awwwww....

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Status - approved!

Don't get too excited yet. This is only for demolition. So far we can demolish & build a pool  - maybe we can live on a boat in the pool? The DA that has been in Hornsby Council since the end of August is not yet approved though we are close - tomorrow (depending on whether they all have flexidays!) or Monday. All checks are listed on the web tracking site as been completed. Nothing really can happen until we have this approval. EBH need it for final plans to be drawn up, the bank need it ( I think) for the construction loan...
Hurry up  - only about 6 weeks until DDay on January 7.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My visit to Council

Any of my really observant followers will have noticed the title change of the blog to Our Dream. Brad was a little offended that he wasn't included and wanted it changed ;-) It has never been his dream, is happy where we are currently but more than happy for me to oversee this. A few of my friends will remember trawling through project homes when I was in my early 20's when we had a spare Sunday! We would dream of new houses & interior design LOL. Linda H??!

I armed myself with reams of documents this morning to visit Hornsby Council. The lovely Customer Service member was extremely helpful in going through these documents and working out which ones I needed. The application to DEMOLISH was lodged then & there - DONE.

I then sat down with one of the Heads of Planning & Building to ask him some questions regarding trees.
* Any tree marked for removal can be removed without further consent when the approval comes through.
* We may prune the neighbours trees right to the fence without their permission and we may also leave the trimmings neatly stacked on their property for them to dispose of (we will green waste them ourselves)
* The new vehicular crossing required does not need to be applied for until closer to the date of construction.

All in all, a successful morning at council.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Demolition Derby

Firstly, my helpful council officer called me back this morning after speaking with those in the tree department. All we need for the DA to move ahead is a YES or NO from Eden Brae as to whether they are prepared to build using tree sensitive protection measures. A YES given from EBH and sent to Hornsby Council. Unfortunately EBH are not able to price this up until DA has been approved and the tree conditions placed on the DA consent. Leap of faith here.

Finally, I was able to get in contact with the Operations Manager from our demolition company. She has been off sick for a while with obviously no-one performing her duties for her. She seemed a little shocked that the 'job' had not been progressed, in particular, no application with a certifier or with council. Unfortunately, we cannot use a private certifier now as the procedures have changed recently. Myriads of paperwork were sent to start the process. A few minutes later, I was speaking to Council who questioned why I was doing it that way. She suggested submitting my request to demolish as additional information to my existing application - this requires minimal cost & minimal paperwork. How appealing! Not to be unfortunately. Eden Brae have a policy that demolitions and builds need to be separate as they do not want to be held liable as 'owners' of the development approval. Back to the sea of paperwork though it is a little unclear as to what is actually required. It was suggested to me that a trip to Council's clerical department tomorrow with my documents would be a useful idea. Brilliant way to spend a 'day off' with Brad who has just returned from the UK.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Council DAs

Well DDay is here and of course, no contact from the neighbours. I have spoken to my officers at concil who will get back to me about what the next step is. She did mention that if we did move the house over on the block thereby redoing the plans then we would need to go through the DA process again, including notification. NO WAY!
I talked to Sarah about our pool application that was approved despite some objections from a neighbour (privacy & acoustics) . Sarah said that we do have objections sitting there for the house DA too but seemed to indicate that they were insubstantial.
Geez, I really look forward to moving in one day, surrounded by unhappy neighbours on all sides!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Another tree post

OK, this has been consuming me. I left it in the capable hands of EBH over the weekend. I received a call yesterday from the CS Manager who strongly suggested ;-) that I need to convince the neighbours to reconsider their decision. To build around the roots of the trees will be a very costly & involved process. I was coached in what to say to the neighbours (the trees need to be pruned significantly anyway as overhanging our boundary considerably; we will replace them with mature trees of their choosing to allay their fears of more sun, less birds etc) The neighbours are in consultation with each other (2 properties) until Friday - if I don't hear back from them, their original decision stands.
If this happens we have 2 options.....
1) We may be able to move the house over by 1.2m to avoid these trees but then we lose some of the setback we have on that side and possibly it will uncover more costs.
2) Employ 'tree sensitive protection measures' when building the house.

Stay tuned.....

Friday, November 2, 2012

Request rejected :-(

Unfortunately our request to the neighbours to remove, prune or replace their 2 trees has been declined at the 11th hour. They say that "the trees are well established, aesthetically pleasing and attract native birds. In addition their removal will mean more sun in the rooms at the front of the house. We consider that we will be disadvantaged by their removal"

PLAN B...........

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A little brick hiccup!

Upon checking out brick colours on the PGH website (in all my spare time!), I discovered that my chosen brick colour CHOCOLATTO has changed Basix classification from medium to dark. THe documentation that EBH gave me at tender said it was medium; my visit to PGH had it at medium and Home Options Gallery didn't pick this up. Given our Basix certificate has been issued already based on our colour selections etc, I was a little worried to say the least. No other colours in our allocated brick range remotely excited me and I had already spent much time getting the colour scheme how I wanted it.
I had a decision to make....Do I call EBH and discuss with the potential of having to re-do colours and select a brick I don't like? Do I stick my head in the sand and let them discover the change? I then had visions of the BASIX inspector (is there one?) coming at the completion of the house & asking us to demolish as it doesn't comply. I know, a little catastrophising! I decided to ring my upline Manager to have a quiet chat. Bev made my day! She checked the file & discovered that on the Basix certificate the external wall colours have not actually been specified. This basically means we are free to choose whatever colour we wish. Interesting as the Basix documentation we signed stated that our external colours were medium grade.
Phew! I can sleep well tonight & not have nightmares about the house being pulled down at the 11th hour!

Bank approval needed

Decided that is was time to start thinking about the bank loan for this mammoth project. We have conditional approval so it isn't going to be a lengthy drawn out affair (I hope). We need to get a HUGE building contract scanned to send to the broker & bank and some updated payslips etc. Tomorrows job........

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tree letter written

I spent yesterday afternoon drafting the letters to go to our 2 neighbours who live on the property with the trees that overhang ours. The property is subdivided and is on a strata plan. We actually don't know if the owners live there or not. I have enclosed a self addressed, stamped envelopes for them to return their written consent to pruning or removal of the trees. I have also included a copy of the letter from council outlining the issues. Fingers crossed we get a response from them.....

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Update post Fiji!

As you all like photos, I thought I would post one from where I have been the past week!

Whilst we have been away, council have decided that we need to approach our neighbours to ask them if we can prune, remove or replace 2 trees that are hanging over the boundary fence. I think they need to allow us to prune if it is encroaching our property. The letter also mentioned something technical to keep in mind when we construct our new driveway.

PCV-wise - I have one to sign explaining that EBH will place an extra timber beam in the every wall of the house for us. This will allow us not to worry what we hang on the walls - they will be able to take Brad's sports memorabilia easily!

I also need to think about extending the main bathroom wall to create more of a doorway. EBH will do this at no charge for us but I need to decide whether I want a 1000mm opening or a 820mm opening...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tomorrow is D Day or tree day!

Here's hoping that tomorrow will deliver an early birthday present for me. Our development application is scheduled to come out of the 'tree department' tomorrow after sitting there for 3 long weeks. Not sure what has happened in that time as there has been no apparent activity on the site (no calls from DA officer to request access or from the tenants letting us know there is someone banging on the door!) Fingers crossed that all will be OK to remove the trees that are in the way of the build. Rest assured - there are still PLENTY more trees on the block. Trees & stormwaters were the issues with the potential to hold up proceedings. No word on stormwater design as yet.

EDITED to add - Two minutes after posting this, I received a call from the 'tree man' from council to say that he would be checking out the property tomorrow if that is OK with the tenants. Hmmmm, what has been happening for 3 weeks? Nothing like leaving it to the last minute. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A few hints

Wow! I can't believe how many people are looking at this blog. The traffic is enormous especially considering we haven't even started to build yet. Don't forget you can either be a 'follower' which means that it comes up in your reading list with eblogger or you can follow by email, meaning an email is sent to you when I post something rivoting (or not!)

A number of friends are in the process of dreaming, researching or tendering for a house build so I thought it might be useful to post a tip or two for that stage of the build.
  • Identify the upgrade items on the display home you choose to build (take the upgrade list and visually tick them off one by one making a note that they are  upgrades) So much of the display homes are upgraded throughout. Many builders do have display homes that are set out only as a standard home ie without any upgrades. Ask to see one of those for comparison sake. Of course, this is difficult if your home doesn't have a display home or you make so many structural changes like we did!
  • Have a look at similar house plans on the online forums if possible since this will give you  ideas that other customers have come up with. HOMEONE forums are invaluable. There is a 'thread' topic in these forums title 'Things you forget'  - lists many, many ideas for adding to your house to make it your home. HomeOne - Things you forget
  • Make sure all items that you would like to have and think you have included are listed in the tender document.
  • Communicate with your builder via EMAIL. This keeps a record of your dealings with them.
  • Double and triple check prices in the tender - they do make mistakes with calculations!
  • Ask questions from fellow home builders for recommendations since some the other home builders bad experiences may help you avoid a painful situation. Again, I recommend getting onto HomeOne forums.
  • Think about including Provisional Allowances for items that you think you might want to add later in the selection process. For example, we added $10K for kitchen upgrades (needed $20K!!), $15K for electrical, $5K for tiles/carpet, $10K for window coverings etc etc If you do not do this, the variations costs post tender requires short payment terms and this will need to be settled before handover.

    Hope this helps a little.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The answer is....DiLorenzo!

An email was sent early this morning to EBH management outlining my concerns with the communication process particularly the 'additional charges' that appear on PCVs. True to form, a phone call came through early this afternoon to try & resolve the issue. The outside companies are supposed to inform the clients of the additional charges which has not been the case for us or others I know of. With DiLorenzo, there is a document that needs signing to say that the charges have been explained. We have not signed that nor is it in the paperwork that has been forwarded to EBH so Management have deleted that amount from our PCV.
Hopefully, it will ensure these little 'additional charges' don't keep popping up in the future. Again, top marks to EBH for striving hard to resolve the issue and for their great customer service.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Who is responsible?!

It has been a while. Nothing much has happened on the house front and school holidays are in full swing here.
I happened to look at Eden Brae Connect tonight (a portal for customers) and I noticed a PCV sitting there that has not yet been forwarded to me - my Di Lorenzo upgrades. We requested (at great cost) floor to ceiling tiling in the ensuite and the main bathroom (wet area portion only) figuring it was a worthwhile investment. Signed off on the quote 2 weeks ago.
This PCV from EB has this line item added in...
"Provide additional installation charges due to full height wall tiling to Ensuite/Bathroom to include: * Return trip by plasterer to install cornice * Additional room clean        - $650"
No-one has mentioned this additional charge EVER. Was DiLorenzo meant to discuss this with us when we requested floor to ceiling tiling? Is this something EBH should have talked about? Common courtesy I would think rather than slapping it on a variation AFTER we have accepted the Di Lorenzo quote and it is too late to change it. The bathrooms had better be sparkling clean on handover!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thanks for bearing with me in my pictureless posts! I haven't really had much to show of late and probably won't until early next year when construction starts. I remembered today that I hadn't shown the absolutely riveting inside of our wardrobes. They will look something a little like this - white melamine with hanging spaces, shelves & drawers. Brad & I each have a wardrobe that will be U shaped. I am having a motion sensor light in mine - for fun! (Brad couldn't have one as the ensuite is off his wardrobe and I didn't want the light turning on everytime I went to the bathroom)

The children will have something similar but smaller...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Great customer service, EBH!

Geez, I am impressed. I just hung up the phone from a call from the Manager, Bev, who responded a few weeks back to my furious email regarding the storm water bill for $15.5K. She wanted to see how things were progressing for me and how I was feeling about EB. Fantastic lady to chat to. Listened to my concerns about the 'outside' companies and told me what she was going to do about it. I feel validated, cared for and not too fearful of the journey ahead if I have Bev and Rania on my side. Hats off to you EBH!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Finally ALL good!

.....though I am worried about DiLorenzo supplying the goods when it comes time. I mean, if they can't get a quote right on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th attempt, will they be able to supply the correct tiles & carpet in the correct quantities??
Dealing with DiLorenzo has taken up soooo much time - almost as much as Kitchen Culture did. EBH, in my opinion, really need to look at the outside companies they work with. For mine, they are letting down the process and ultimately EBH.
Cooks Plumbing - by far the best & most efficient.
Abbey Blinds - seem to be better at the moment & depends on your consultant.
Outback Landscaping - offered me an outrageously expensive quote for a driveway. No thanks!
Kitchen Culture - based on my experience lacking customer service & a headache to deal with
Electricals - no complaints here but a tedious appointment
DiLorenzo - dodgy marketing (my opinion), time delays on quotes, incorrect quotes, time delays to amend quotes, lack of customer focus (well they have our custom already, don't they?)

All quotes are now in. Waiting for them all to be converted to PCVs and sent to me for signatures - electricals, staircase, tiles, carpets, extra externals taps.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

And they still can't get it right!

1) The carpet quote was finally returned today with the sums correct but the wording was NOT! How hard is it?? Not rocket science. Just careful checking required. Rather than asking for another to be emailed, I sent the acceptance with my handwritten, initialled amendments on it. Let's see if they send another back to me for resigning....

2) DiLorenzo tiles - This is the email I received "I have just spoken to estimating again, There is a tile allowance for the area behind the cabinetry in the laundry, We will need to adjust our Quantity but the quote price will not change as it is a standard tile." He has totally forgotten that he put a half wall of tiles in our quote that I never asked for. This is what I am trying to get taken out of the quote - about $400 worth. His email is telling me that I am allowed tiles all the way around my laundry bench as standard - yes, thankyou, but take the other tiles out! Waiting, waiting for an response.....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A few mistakes......

Just as well I am trying really hard to keep on top of things. There have been a couple more mistakes made in quotes. Mistakes happen & I am OK with that. It is the way it is handled that concerns me & so far so good - 2 of them have been apologetic and quickly fixed without argument.

1) EBH - We upgraded our doors in the tender process without looking at the doors (oops!). When we actually saw them, we didn't really like them so 'downgraded' them to something more suitable. When the PCV came in, firstly we had to pay an extra $911. Now, I was in 'over it mode' and electronically signed the document. When I had to sign the official document, I thought I would question the line 'in lieu of standard' given we didn't have standard doors in the first place. The estimator apologized that he didn't realise (read check the contract) that we had the expensive Eden 3G doors. A nice credit of almost $2200 coming our way.

2) DiLorenzo carpets - I discovered yesterday that they had done our measurements incorrectly. Based our quote on 259m2 of flooring to be carpeted which I didn't question (as I have no idea how to work that out) After about the 4th attempt at a correct quote (grrrr), Tilly told me to wait as she thought it was wrong. Yes, out by 80m2! The carpeted area is only 179m2. New quote to come tomorrow. I told her that whatever that is, we are accepting and if it is incorrect, they need to wear it! I am so over the amount of time spent on the phone & emailing them....all because of their mistakes.

3) DiLorenzo tiles - I am still waiting to hear back from them with an updated quote to our credit. Chris misunderstood what I wanted as far as tiling the laundry splashback. He thought I wanted tiles from the laundry floor all the way up to the top of the laundry bench and put that in my quote. What I actually wanted is tiling from around the tub right around the top of the long bench area. He informs me that that should already be included in my laundry quote from Kitchen Culture. Waiting for a week now to credit me for the other wall tiling that I didn't want......

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Quotes - demolition & blinds

Will we regret it? I hope not. We received a quote today from State Demolitions which was in the ball park figure I was expecting (actually a little lower at $14.5K) This includes council application & tree removal. We decided to go ahead and accept this quote rather than mucking around wasting time & energy getting others for comparison. More quotes also mean inconveniencing our tenants which we want to avoid doing.

We have had a rush of blind quotes over the past few days:-
For the entire house in basswood plantation shutters......
Abbey Blinds - $14K (Eden Brae associated)
GR Blinds - $11.4K (highly recommended by friends)
Shade Elegance - $10.2K (approached me via HomeOne)
I am loving all these quotes as I was expecting a figure more like $25-30K for shutters.
No decisions need to be made for ages. Filed away for future reference.....

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Blinds, tiles, carpets, demolition & hose cocks!

Today has seen me spend inordinate amounts of time emailing various companies to tie up loose ends.

I wanted to see the quote come in for carpet upgrades for 3 weeks ago so I got Eden Brae and my contact at Di Lorenzo both onto that. The quote came in and of course, it was incorrect. This was quickly rectified. The quote now contains upgraded carpet throughout the house ($5 per sqm more) to one that is a little softer under foot than the scratchy ones that were standard. It also contains a medium upgrade to underlay downstairs and the top upgrade for upstairs carpet (I am hoping it helps to muffle the elephant herds upstairs). Sleeping on the quote before I decide whether to accept it...

I had decided that the blind/shutter appointment I had with Abbey Blinds was a waste of time as I had heard they never respond to emails nor do they actually send the quote through unless you hassle for weeks on end. I was already armed with window measurements so thought it would be something I look into next year whilst the build is happening. Much to my amazement, I received the quote from Abbey today and it was very, very reasonable. To put plantation shutters on every window in the house, I was quoted $14K. Now given 11 years ago, we were quoted $13K for Venetian blinds in our current, much smaller house - this quote is too good to be true. This company also have access to the house before settlement as they work with Eden Brae.

Someone from a demolition company rang today to ask if he could quote for us.....within an hour!! Nothing like a bit of notice particularly when we have tenants that need to be notified via a property manager. Fortunately, it all worked out, thanks to my lovely tenants.

I decided that on a house our size we need more hose cocks (where did that name come from??!!). Waiting for a quote for 2 more to give us pretty much one on each corner of the house.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Time for demolition quotes

I had a call from Rania yesterday to officially let me know that the plans had gone off to council. Checked today on the tracking device online & they have been received and entered by Hornsby Council.
Rania also wanted to know if we had submitted our demolition application yet....ummmm, no! Next job on the list of things to do.
Mentioned to Rania that I still hadn't received our quote from DiLorenzo after 2.5 weeks and some followup emails. R said she would followup too from her end - we then had the quote within an hour! We are still waiting on the carpet component of it though.

Personally, I think the way DiLorenzo operate with the builder is a little sneaky. Even though they are up front about the charges for laying tiles that are larger than 250 x 250mm, the tile displays they show you for standard EBH tiles are all larger than 250x250mm. Basically, you need to specifically ask for smaller tiles to avoid charges. Anyway, our tile quote came to the amount we allowed for in our contract as I decided to ask for floor to ceiling tiling in the main & ensuite.
It will be interesting to see the figure for carpets as I would like to upgrade the carpet and the underlay!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Off to Council.....

The exciting news of the day is that our plans have now been sent to council to await the rubber stamp of approval! Yay! A major step closer though a long road still ahead.

I sent an email to EBH management this afternoon regarding my dissatisfaction with the hydraulics PCV. To be completely honest, I wasn't really expecting a reply. Within an hour, I had a call on my mobile from a lovely lady, Bev, who listened, understood & cared though not really solving anything! Bev was great at explaining things that hadn't been discussed with me. Thankyou for your prompt response Eden Brae.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Laminex Platinum Micro - long bench

Laminex White - Cupboard underneath and shelving

One side of laundry. Other side to be all cupboards. Love the bench space for folding!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


We finally received our Kitchen Culture drawings this afternoon so I will run through the kitchen selections with you. Enjoy!




TILED SPLASHBACK IN A WOODGRAIN LOOK (will be narrower 'planks' and in more of a brick pattern)







Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stormy waters

Today was not a good day in EBH land! We received the PCV for the hydraulic system as per the design put together by the external engineer. EBH allowed $8K for this in their professional opionon at our tender presentation. Well, it has come in at $15.5K. How can they get it so wrong? Not happy at all. An email has been sent with a few questions.

Friday, August 17, 2012


On a roll today with posts! Tied up electricals from our appointment on Tuesday. Happy with what we did and got everything on the wish list (sort of)

* 5 x Step Lights
* 100 (exactly) LED downlights (at $120 each o-: )
* Provision for 4 pendant lights
* 2 x twin floodlights
* 2 x under cupboard lights
* 2 x Updown lights for facade
* 3 x outdoor sockets
* 14 x single GPO
* 34 x double GPO
* 3 x quad GPO
* 4 x data points
* 1 x phone socket
* 4 x TV points
* 2 x 3 in 1 lamps
* 2 x ceiling fans for alfresco
* 2 x motion sensor lights for pantry & my wardrobe
* 1 x junction box light for pool lighting
* Prewired for surround sound in the theatre
* Prewired for NBN
* Digital TV antenna
* Provision for wall mounted TVs x 2
* Upgrade alarm keypad to touch pad & slimline siren.
* Provide doorbell
* Run HDMI

This was an exhausting 3 hours!


Being home with sick family members (again) is allowing me time to get on top on things my end. I just wish I got responses from people on the other end. Genneral Stairs were super quick with both their initial quote and then the amended quote - makes it all so much less stressful. Here is a version of the staircase we have picked.
We will have open timber risers to the bottom flight (12 steps) and then closed timber risers to the top few that wind around to the upper landing (to accommodate Brad's tiny cellar under the stairs!) Semi frameless glass balustrading with stainless steel posts and a timber handrail.

Pools and brokers!

For a while, I have been wondering what to do about the fact that EBH let us put a PA for a pool into our initial contract yet the pool company are not actually a part of EBH. The pool is on a separate contract and paid on a different schedule.
Yesterday, I spoke with our wonderful mortgage broker (Paul Pappas from Mortgage Choice, Pitt St) who advised us to take the pool PA out of the contract and get a separate loan for that. Paul also confirmed there was no hurry to get formal approval for the construction loan - November would be ideal. Phew!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Eden Brae are proving to be SLOW at the moment

And this is being experienced by a few of my fellow H1 members too. This is more a to-do list for me but these are the things that need following up.
1) Quote for a bulkhead in the laundry 07/08 - not needed according to CSA 16/08.
2) Quote for the change in front doors & rumpus sliding doors to Madison 06/08 - received & accepted
3) Follow through on wardrobe shape in main 02/08 - not needed as will leave as is.
4) Quote for extra aircon vents to the laundry, main bathroom & ensuite 14/08

Also waiting on.....
1) Kitchen, bathroom & laundry 3D drawings from Kitchen Culture 17/07 received 22/08 accepted 22/08
2) Answers from electrical guy to tie that variation up 14/08 (DONE 17/08 - accepted)
3) Details from Di Lorenzo for tiles, carpet & kitchen splashback 14/08
4) Quote from Abbey Blinds though won't hold my breath - someone is still waiting on their quote from NOV 2011!!) 14/08
5) Quote from Genneral Stairs for balustrading 14/08 - received & approved
6) Relocation of gas point from inside to outside 14/08
7) Images of wardrobes from HOG 07/08  Received 24/08
8) Image of standard mirrors from HOG 16/08

And now with a change to the Front door colour

Lucinda, my gorgeous friend, photoshopped the front door colour as I was not loving the Nutbush colour. This is what we came up with.....

Much better...and I think we may even go a tad darker & greyer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Facade colours

Found this mob on the web yesterday who will put your colours together for you...for a small fee. A great idea for visual people, like myself!
What do you think?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fiddly bits and followups

It has been a while since I have posted an update. Nothing major has happened just loads more research on the forums to see what others are doing and going back through emails to see if there is any item that seems to have fallen through the cracks.

1) The pool contract is here for some light bedtime reading. Hmmmm, I just love reading all that fine print. I also need to talk to the mortgage broker soon to see if we need to take the pool allowance out of the EBH contract as Concept Pools are not related in any way to EBH. (This is more a little note to myself than of any great interest to anyone!)

2) Waiting to hear back from the estimators on the Madison front door and door to rumpus room as pictured below.

3) Still waiting to hear about the shape of our Bed 1 robes - the plan has them as Ushaped but the design of the fitout from Wardrobe World is named L-shaped. Don't want 2/3 of the robes not shelved!

4) Not being au fait with reading plans, I have been a little in the dark about measurements of certain things in my house. This has been highlighted when planing the luxuriously large laundry. No-one has told me what sort of material the laundry cupboards will be made of - laminex? No, gyprock inside, architraves and flush doors. No heights, depths etc. Discovered the height of them which does not go to the ceiling. Now I am waiting on estimating to get back to me on a quote for a bulkhead over these cupboards - I really do not want an open space above the cupboards for dust and lint to collect (or for me to dump stuff!) I am guessing that the picture below, from a display home, are the standard height.


5) Caught EBH out on a little error this week too. Reading through a PCV for me to sign there was an extra charge for $494 to install 2 upgraded freestanding baths. Pretty sure that the baths I selected were not freestanding (don't want them) and even if I did, there was no mention of this when I signed the Cooks Plumbing quote. A quick apology was made when I pointed this out to them. I reckon some clients might just sign away without checking too carefully.

6) Finished all my variations (I hope) with Kitchen Culture for the kitchen (obviously), bathroom vanities and the laundry benches. Waiting on my 3D drawings and plans which will take approximately another 2 weeks.
I really wish EBH used more than one company for their fittings etc (kitchen, electricals, flooring etc) These companies know that we are 'stuck' with using them so there is no competitive pricing at all and customer service could be better.
Whilst I am on suggestions for EBH, I will note here for future reference (mine) that my idea would be to have another level of inclusions called Platinum (or the like) for clients like me who seem to want all the upgrades. They could include things like, but not limited to, glass splashback, stone tops in kitchen & bathrooms, wallfaced toilets, raised ceilings/doors, softclose drawers, pot drawers, 2 DPOs per room, more TV points, more data points, overhead cupboards in kitchen & laundry, higher category of carpet & tiles.......
Anyone else on my wavelength?

Ramble over now. Excited about Tuesday's appointment - electrical, window coverings, staircase and floor coverings. I am sure there will be a big post on Tuesday or Wednesday!

Friday, August 3, 2012

A great start to the weekend

I have just received an email from EBH to confirm that we can use the fill from the pool excavation on the house construction. In our house contract, we were paying $4300 for additional fill and in our pool contract we were paying $6000 for fill removal! I spotted this last week and saw $$$$$ (savings/more spending!) We will need more fill than the excavation provides but I have just saved us $8K. Happy dance....

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mainly shelves today

Today I spent a fair bit of time following up on loose ends because I received replies to emails that I had been busy sending.
1) Questioned the shape of our wardrobe fitout as it is listed as Lshape whereas our robes are more U-shaped. I would prefer for the whole robe to be done not 2/3s of it. HOG is checking this out with both EBH and Wardrobe World who are doing the job. I can see more $$$$ coming! In looking at this, I began to think about how we already had shelving/hanging rod in the 5 robes and we had not been given a credit for it. Sent an email to EBH who told me that I wasn't entitled to a credit as we were upgrading from the standard wire shelves. This didn't make any sense to me nor my cohort on H1 forum. I copied some of the credit examples they gave me to EBH and voila (!) the estimating team are working out what I am owed!
2) After I signed my 'final' Kitchen Culture variation, I realised that there were colour items missing from there. We decided to upgrade to a white silk finish on the main bathroom vanity and that had not been quoted or recorded and one of our standard choices for the ensuite was not recorded either.
The really big oopsie on my part was that we are having a large bench run the length of the laundry with a shelf underneath it where we can put some baskets for bits n pieces. Didn't really think about the washer and dryer that will need to fit under that shelf - well, it won't (!) so we will need to cut the shelf short!
3) It seems strange but we have never actually seen an image of the large feature front doors that we have agreed to pay nearly $2K for. I think I just trusted the lovely sales person when he said that I would want to upgrade to a nice feature door. I have never been able to find this particular door on the web. Finally today, HOG have been able to produce a picture and I am not sure I like it :-(

This is THE door but we have 2 of them with sidelights and a highlight - too much glass and not enough door in my eyes. Agree?!

I prefer something more along these lines......

I think my next project is to research more front doors.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

And more.....

It didn't like my post earlier and I couldn't add anything more to it hence my subsequent post.
So these are some of the wet area combinations they suggest. There would have been about 50-60 suggestions.

I took some photos of some tiles that I might be able to use for a splashback in the kitchen.

And finally the carpet - not a great range. Same colours but slightly different pattern/textures. Pretty rough to touch. I ended up just taking a photo of the few that were at HOG.