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!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Site ready to handover to Eden Brae - yay!

Today saw the concrete being sprayed into the pool - 3 trucks worth, I think. The phone call was made to Eden Brae that the site was all theirs! According to the schedule, the peg out should be now ordered (up to 5 days)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Delayed schedule

The horrific storm of Monday pushed everything back so the site is not yet ready to hand over to EBH.  Peter, our foreman, checked our pool out early Tuesday morning hoping to still spray the concrete that afternoon. On top of the muddy water in the pool, which he pumped out, he found weepers. These are spouts of water moving out the side of the pool due to the rock around the pool. Peter said he would try to get the spray done on Wednesday but if not possible, it would be Thursday. I am hoping that I get to call EBH tomorrow with good news.

The fencing company has finally removed their temporary fencing - 3 weeks late!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Pre plumbing & lighting

It was a good news day today. I drove past the block and noticed the foreman there working in the hole. I stopped to chat to him about progress and he informed me that it should all be finished by Tuesday now (not next Friday) as the concrete spray is booked in for then. In preparation for this, he was doing the preplumbing and the lighting. Peter let me know that he changed the lighting from the plan from the right hand side to the left hand side (usual position). From the house, yard & alfresco, you want the ambient glow of the lighting in the water not looking direct at the lights. Fine by me!

I asked him about the mountain of fill to the side of the hole as we have already paid for fill removal (including the rocks). Peter told me that this is fill for EBH that we asked for. I had assumed that all the fill had rock so all of it was to be removed. Hopefully that will save us about $5K in additional fill that EBH will require!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Steel reinforcement completed (I think)

As a family, we went away overnight so stopped by the block on our way home. Excited to see the steel reinforcements in place. From what I can remember, we have a certification check scheduled for tomorrow before they can continue after Australia Day.
The gardeners were meant to finish off clearing the block today but were not able to. When I spoke to Geoff today, he agreed to backfill the holes left by the stumpgrinders and try to remove part of a stump that is still remaining. He is meant to be there on Tuesday now.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Excavation complete

Excavation complete - please cough up 25% of contract price plus extras for rock! On the up-side, I have been able to meet one of my neighbours who is just lovely. Seemingly non-plussed about the build and even went as far as sending an email to the demolition company congratulating them on the good job. If only she knew it from our point-of view LOL!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Rock on!

Pool excavation started this morning and by 8am we had received a call to tell us that they had hit rock :-( Peter, the site supervisor, needed me to contact EBH to see if they would use fill with sandstone in it. It took a while for the answer from EBH which of course, was NO!
Peter has measured the rock to be 18.3 m3 with the monetary value of $3.4K for the excavation alone. Depending on how many loads of fill there are, we will now have some cartage/tipping fees too ($1.2K per load)
Peter estimates the excavation will now be finished by Wednesday and with the Australia Day holiday thrown in, it will be more like next Wednesday when they finish as they have a few EBH contracts that they need to start at the same time.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Site start appointment

Yesterday in the sweltering heat, we all travelled over to Bella Vista to have our site start appointment. It was great to be able to put a face to the voice of our CSA, Rania. It was an efficient meeting with all my points dealt with - I am glad I took the advice of my fellow HomeOners and emailed Rania prior to the appointment.
Expected timeline from here.......
* Pool excavated on Monday 21//01
* Pool shell constructed, boarded up & fenced
* We notify EBH when that is completed who will order the peg out
* Once the survey from the peg out is received, our contract period begins.
* The slab should be poured within about 3 weeks.
A big relief to get to this point after 15 months of planning.

We did receive a confusing email from our Mortgage Angel yesterday regarding the pool. The email seemed to contradict itself. We are funding the pool ourselves though because it is part of the valuation for the house, it seems that CBA want the money upfront for that and to release funds themselves?? Brad questioned this with our Mortgage Angel who herself, didn't seem to understand what was required. Sitting tight on that one before we send over $50 K to CBA!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

In preparation for our site start appointment

After weeks of waiting, 2 days before our site start appointment, we received our final variation documents and construction drawings yesterday. Many thanks to Lucinda for her assistance in going through the reams of paper, double checking, triple checking. I am not sure how she pulled up but I had motion sickness from the constant head movements and focusing in fine print.

Firstly for those yet to get to this stage of the journey, be warned. I found the final admin variation list one of the most confusing documents ever. This is our contract document and rather than registering our final decision on selections, it has recorded every single addition and deletion over the last 9 months. For example, there is a mention of our front door about 10 times over the pages of the contract, leaving me wondering if the correct doors will indeed be ordered! Surely, it would make everyones job easier if the contract was a true reflection of the final state of play - less chance of oversights, happier clients, happier site supervisors, happier CSAs??

There were a few errors, some minor, one fairly major.

* We had flyscreens and a security door for the laundry in the colour document that shouldn't have been there. I was very tempted to overlook that mistake but I am too honest!
* We had the wrong package for some door furniture and wrong code for all our kitchen/vanity/laundry handles.
* A possible incorrect handle for the pantry door.
* Possibly incorrect taps for vanity basins in all bathrooms - to be clarified tomorrow.
* A missing towel rail that we paid extra for
* The tender has architraves at 75mm but our colour document has our selected ones at 67mm. Do we choose smaller ones or is that a mistake?
* I have noted that one aircon vent is right up near a cornice rather than more in the centre of the room - that would really bug me.
* The biggie - for our cellar under the stairs, the tender presenter squared off the area that adjoins the media room which was part of the price as well as gyprocking, tiling and a door. This was signed off on the tender variation in handwriting. I wasn't too worried that it wasn't on the contract plans as neither were all the changes to our kitchen. I was told it all comes through in the final drawings. Move forward to yesterday and it didn't come through. I look back to the more official typed up variation 1 and I had signed it off without them adding on the 'squared off' bit. I emailed EBH today explaining the situation and owning my mistake in signing it off when it was not correct. If we were going to be penalised for making a change now, I would have left it. I received a PCV this afternoon requesting the change to the construction drawings with NO CHARGE! Very happy buildee and a happy Brad (more wine storage!)
* In adding the plans to my blog, I have also just noticed that the stacker doors to the family room are opening the wrong way on this plan. Correct elsewhere though......

Antenna recommendation

Not really related to this house but good for anyone in my local area needing antenna work.

I can highly recommend our local franchisee for Jim's Antennas - Martin Vedris. We have been having issues with Channel 7 Digital over the last few weeks. Martin courteously called when he was running late, listened to/heard me when I said that I wanted the cheapest possible solution given we are selling this year, worked in searing heat on the roof and in our roof space for about an hour, made some minor adjustments and wanted NO money for his efforts. I insisted and he relented asking for some money to cover petrol (we gave him more than he asked for) Now, that is service. He suggested that we monitor to see if the problem is fixed before we get him to return to replace the antenna.

If anyone needs help with TVs, antennas, home theatre setup etc - call Martin direct on 0431 455 255 or email on martinv@jimsantennas.com.au Tell him I sent you and I know he will take good care of you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tree work completed

All done...almost! I found out today that the guys don't remove small stuff like agapanthas as it does not mulch well. I have quickly organised for my regular gardeners to blitz the property of the final small bits which should be possible next week. We will also need to do a garbage removal sweep over. Obviously our tenants or even the previous tenants left small items in the overgrown shrubbery eg. balls, mops, half a cricket wicket, pot plants

If you ever need tree work done, the guy I just dealt with did a fantastic job. Friendly, flexible, VERY competitive. Tell him I sent you and Simon will really look after you!


Monday, January 14, 2013

A snag!

Poor Simon! His mulcher has been mulched. Apparently, many years ago someone planted a steel rod next to a tree and the tree has engulfed it completely. Simon's boys didn't realise and put it through the mulcher. Oops! I wondered why they gave up so early on Friday afternoon. Simon seems to think that they will be now finished by tomorrow afternoon.
Here are some progress photos for you...

From a few metres from the back fence

From the street

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Jack is out of my life!

He has been paid...after I received 3 ignored phone calls from him early this morning. I was just waiting to hear from the tree lopper in writing about exactly what he was going to do today before I paid Jack his money. I did need to chase the clearance certificate even though I was told it could be sent 10 minutes after money had been received. An email from me, an SMS from me....nothing. Brad rang this afternoon and it was emailed to us within 20 minutes with a note to say that we had been a pleasure to work with LOL.

Brad has just returned with a bottle of Mo√ęt to celebrate with all our good friends tonight over some Canasta.

Simon, my wonderful tree lopper is doing his bit today & tomorrow. Barring any catastrophic events, the site will be completely cleared by the end of the day tomorrow for pool excavation next week or the week after.

Yesterday also saw us receive our 'Authority to Commence Construction' letter from CBA - another step closer to the building starting.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


What a relief! With the heat of yesterday, I lost sleep last night worrying about whether Jemena & Ausgrid were able to do their utilities disconnection. My brother sent me photos this morning showing me the ACTION on the site. My friend, Lucinda, can attest to the screams of sheer delight as I was waiting for the email attachments to open - her ears are still recovering.
The excitement levels remained high until I received a phone call from the demolition company at 2pm, declaring the job complete and the payment due NOW. I told him that I was not paying until the site was cleared and ready for the builder (no tree work has been done yet) Again, we argued over his ambiguous quote getting nowhere. He said he needed the money to pay his staff on Friday! I told him that I didn't care about his cash flow issues. He told me that the contract was redone when I engaged HIS treeloppers services. Um....I have not re-signed any contract! The quote & therefore payment was now for demolition of the house only.
Whilst I was waiting for Simon, the treelopper, to call me back, I decided to drive back to Sydney to check on the block. Finished? Not quite! There were still a few guys there at 5pm working on the block. Interestingly, one of the guys told me that he was expecting as per normal to clear most of the vegetation but was told not to for this site. Ask me privately for words to describe this company!
I need the clearance certificate from him so the builders can access the site - not worth fighting at this stage. The job has been done well - the process has been so stressful especially when dealing with the owner of the company.
Looking good now. Treework to be done tomorrow.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Going on holidays

Au revoir! Going away tomorrow for a week and don't I need it! If anyone drives past the house, feel free to snap a pic of the current state of demo and send it to me.

Another BIG day on trees & demolition

I received a phone call from Jemena yesterday to inform me that the contracting company has our job booked in for January 8. It is a little more complicated in that Ausgrid needs to be present because mains power is involved. Demolition of the house therefore cannot occur until Wednesday.

I received a phone call from the tree lopping company contracted to do the job last night quoting me $5k to do the job of removing all vegetation & stump grinding. Aargh! No way! Told him that I couldn't pay that on top of the $15K demo job especially when the quote says that it includes removal of all shrubs, bushes & trees (with an extra charge to take trees from the site). The lovely man Simon rang back at 9pm to lower the quote to $3700 which still was not acceptable to me. He really wanted the job and was prepared to do it on Saturday. I explained that I had a trusted CHEAP tree lopper that I was going to get a quote from.  I SMSed Jeff straight after and we organised for him to quote today.  After a false start (read he didn't meet me at arranged time due to a doctors appointment), he walked through the property while I was on the other end of the line. I could tell that Jeff really didn't want to do the job (HUGE). Said the tell the other company that he would do it for $3300. Jeff also suggested that we get rid of the palm tree that we were planning on keeping - they are bad news. Called Simon who is going to do the job for $3500 including palm removal.
At some stage, I need to nut out this terrible quote with State Demolition. After losing sleep over the past few nights about this, we might wait until after my holidays.
Be wary of cheap quotes, I say!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

And now for another BLIP in the journey

Update on this afternoon.....
So I did receive a call from Jack to meet him at the property at 3:30pm. I don't think he could quite believe the amount of vegetation to be removed LOL! He is organising a quote for mulching & removal of trees that are to be lopped. He gave me an approximate timeframe of Monday & Tuesday for demolition of the house and the trees after that BUT.....
He did notice that the gas had not been disconnected as yet. This is obviously of great concern when knocking down a house. I organised this on Dec 11 with a note to say that it would be done ASAP after Dec 23.
So I came home and spent a frustrating hour on the phone to Energy Australia and Jemena. EA (retailer) told me that they had done their part and it was with Jemena (provider) now. We should allow up to 20 working days for it to happen so it may not be done until January 11. Aarrgghh! I explained that the house is partly demolished and we need disconnection before it can continue, I rang Jemena who told me that the job has been dispatched but they cannot tell me when it will be done as it is the hands of the contracting company. The lovely CS lady was going to send the Manager of said company an email to hurry them up and requesting a phone call to me.
So in a state of limbo now until we know when the gas can be disconnected and really hoping it doesn't end up costing us money due to a delayed building start time.

And now for NO action :-(

So the course of no-events......
* Sent an SMS on Friday morning regarding tree work. "When will it me done as I need to identify trees to be kept?". Rang me in the afternoon to say that we could walk around the yard on Saturday morning before tree lopping is to be done. I rearrange my day on Saturday to wait for him to call. NOTHING.
* I send another SMS on Monday morning asking the same question. NO RESPONSE
* After driving by this morning and seeing no work being done, I call him. No answer. He calls back and when he hears that it is me, he hangs up. I try 4 times to call him over the space of an hour - no answer. I send an SMS to say 'Please call me urgently'. No response.
* Sneaky me calls his mobile from my landline and BINGO, it is answered!!! He blames his children on the hangup. Informs me that he cannot get the machinery needed to do the job this week. I ever so politely say that it is OK but it would be courteous to just let me know. I thought he had done a 'runner'. Jack promises me that he will be in contact to walk through the yard today or tomorrow. I encourage you all not to hold your breath waiting....
* Message me if you would like the name of this company...or scroll down to read the quote and you will find it there!!