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!
Showing posts with label trees. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trees. Show all posts

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

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!!

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?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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.....

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.

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...........

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 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.