Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Finished Product

Well it is finally finsihed ...well almost. Still a few finsihing touches but it is close. Delays in time between last entry and this one can be explained by the commitment to getting everything unpacked and sorted in the house. We totally underestimated what this would take but now 3 months after being in  we are just about there. And now for the finished product. and some reflections on the process
Overall we are delighted with our home. It is everything we envisaged and more. It functions in the was we had planned. The building process was remarkably good and we are very happy with the quality of the work. Brent and his team have done a fantastic job.

Some lessons learnt
 It has taken about two and a half years planning, estimating, getting ideas and quotes to plan and execute the plan. It was worth it. You cannot underestimtate the time it takes to do this but the benefits in terms of time frames for building, budget and the finished product are worth it.Something will always go wrong when you are building. We have been lucky that these have been kept to an absolute minimum. The important thing when things go wrong it is that it is recognised and fixed. For example for a range of reasons the first attempt at sanding the floors resulted in a pretty poor job. But this was recognised and arrangements made to redo the floors. Brent had also been in a position where he had to use a painter that he had not used previously. Darren the painter promised Brent the world but did not deliver. Again Brent dealt with this problem and thankfully Brendan and the boys came in and fixed up what was really a pretty terrible job.

Many thanks to Brent and all the team. We would highly recommend them. And a thank you to Zol and all the team from Cutting Edge Joinery who did the kitchen, pantry, bookshelves, wardrobe, linen and vanities. You have been amazing!

On quoting
You need quotes as you go to ensure you stick with the budget, value for money and for competitve reasons. It has amazed me the number of times I sought quotes which were often provided on the spot and yet there was no effort to find out our names or if names were sought there was no efffort to follow up to see if we were interested in accepting the quote. For example... carpets. We went to four places to get quotes, all provided quotes, all let us take samples, only two took our names despite us having their samples  but only one of the four  followed up about the quote and wanted to negotiate on price. One store who have us a quote which was 15% higher than the other would not enter into any negotiation about price at all. And guess who got the quote... the one carpet business  who took our names, followed us up once the quote was provided, ....offered a reduction in price. The others - all who advertise as the place(s) to buy carpet have no understanding about sales!!

Similarly with air conditioning. We attemtped to get 5 estimates. Four companies got back to us. One spent 15 minutes on the phone telling me the problems with the job, and offering not one solution. One demanded to meet us on the day we asked for the quote, offered a different solution to what we wanted, said they would get back to use the next day and that was the last we heard. The winning one Lakeside air was the only firm which provided the quote, followed up on the quote, kept in touch with us through out the build to ensure we were on track for their requirements and delivered.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kitchen, Colour and Tiles

The fitout has continueed at an amazing pace. All in preparation for floors starting Friday. The kitchen benches have been installed. It looks fantastic. Zol and the boys, and his stone people have done an amazing job. They have now also finished most of the other parts which were partly installed. Today Zol came over to finish installing the vanites so Matt O'Connell could finish the plumbing. The tiles are very hard so makes installation difficult but their effort in getting them in is greatly appreciated. Most of the internal plumbing is now finished, with Matt starting on the outdoor plumbing on Friday.

Most of the house is very neutral in colour - all the same throughout (Bristol Harbour Mist). So some colour was needed and some red walls and a red front door have been delivered. It sure brightens the place up. All out for Friday for the floor sanders.

 Dave has continued on with the tiling , now in the main bathroom. The ensuite is finished. He has done a fantastic job with tiles matched so closely. The executive decision made by Dave and the tradesman regarding lining up of tiles has worked. I know these larger tiles take some laying ("Don't let anyone think that cause the tiles are big that they are easier to lay" - Dave).

Last weekend, in the rain, the brickies built and bagged the front fence. This now has to be finished off with paint and slats. This week Philipe from MaryLand Gate and Fencing built the fence which will form the base of the front side fence and will also be the framework for the driveway. In pouring rain and wind Phillipe and his offsider continued. Again an amazing job with a really clever construction of wood and aluminium for the posts.

At the weekend, the tradesman and the apprenctice worked all weekend focusing on the lighting and the powerpoints. The tradesman finished upstairs, ably supported by the wiring capabilities of the apprentice who now know the difference between earth and +ve, -ve wires - or at least that they are different colours!! This weekend will be the outdoor work.

Note I have just added a new blog to the ones I follow. Given the temperatures are starting to fall I thought this was a great blog - for soup. Always looking for different and some tried and trusted soup recipes!! Found this from Mutterings from Maryville.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Fitout is Underway

Security including video surveillance and security system is all in place and in operation. Jet Electrical has completed the board.
The internal fitout has commenced. Zol and the guys from Cutting Edge have installed the kitchen cupboards, pantry, WIR and WIL, the laundry cupboards and the office area. They have done a fantastic job. We are so happy with the kitchen and looking forward to the bench tops going on. It all looks amazing.

Chris finished the wooden floors and is now working on the bannister for the stairs and the back deck. His workmanship is amazing. He is so particular about the measurement to ensure all the woods fits in properly. He even framed up the area where the hearth tiles will go so that the wood would be even in the area.

Dave is continuing with the tiles. The floors in most of the areas are tiled and grouted. It is such a neat job especially where he has had to make cuts to get the fall right for drainage.

The tradesman and the apprentice are still working each weekend with the focus now on installing the lights, switches and power points. We are getting very excited at the prospect of moving in very soon.

And today Brent turns 50. Happy Birthday Brent despite the impact of a cold!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Things are really moving now. In the last 2 weeks the stairs have been installed by Chris Porter, the waterproofing finished, the gyprocking just about completed and the front porch and water tank pad cemented in place. And today the painters have actually turned up! It is countdown to completion day - may be towards the end of May.

Chris Porter has also started to install the wooden floors (spotted gum) downstairs. The meticulous measuring of the first few planks down the hallway and into the backroom took place last Friday. The precision with which they are doing this is amazing and greatly appreciated. He has also been great about ideas for the back deck and stairs.
A lot more of the floors are down. They look amazing. Chris Porter is doing a fantastic job. So meticulous and caring about the quality!

Up at 5.00 last Saturday morning, after the Royal Wedding Party, to reserve park for Vern for cementing works. Slept in the car till they arrived at 6.00 with the tradesmans mind I am sure still on #pippamiddletonsarse. Vern and Wally worked hard to get the water tank pad in and the front porch cemented for tiling in between showers.

The tradesman despite only a few hours sleep worked most of Saturday to complete the electrical board and such a neat job it was as well. Yesterday the board was given the OK by Michael (Jet Electrical). I was home packing boxes for the impending move. By night time again we were stuffed. But back at it again on Sunday cutting more holes for lights. The apprentice even managed to prepare a few power points using numerous tools and a lot of grunting.

 Troy and the other gyprockers are just about finished all the gyprocking. Very happy with the downstairs cornice and advice from Troy. The lounge room area is coming together and can even visualise the fireplace.

The tiles have been delivered and tiling in the wet areas will start this week. The architraves, skirting boards and internal doors will also be delivered this week so that Jessie and Travis can get stuck in with the finishing.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lock Up

We are now at lock up .....Yahooooooooo!!!!! Garage doors are on!!!!. And the water proofer has  been.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

More than a bath....

So much progress and some regress over the last few weeks.
The bath is in upstairs. Built in by Dave the tiler with hebel brick ready for tiling in a few weeks. It may not look much but to us the installation of the bath means that it is getting close! In preparation the tiles have been ordered through Jacoba Tiles at East Maitland. All the PC items were delivered by Reece Kotara via Reece Newcastle - they have been fantastic all the way

The bath installation also followed a hectic few weeks. The tradesman, with only occasional help from the apprentice, had worked his butt off over the last few weeks finishing the wiring. Two weeks ago, much to our horror, we arrived on Saturday morning to find someone(s) had come in over night and cut the wires! Why!! Well that still remains a mystery. Amazing that some people can sink so low!! But with a lot of hard work the tradesman and the apprentice, and an extra apprentice on Saturday finished the (re) wiring last weekend. We were on a deadline to be ready for the gyprockers who were due to start this week. On Sunday night we were so exhausted we could hardly speak. But it was done!!

Doors and doors

Langfords have fixed the problem with glass part of the back doors and now they are in. We love them and so glad we chose black ....after advice. Both closed ......and open. Now we wait for the screens.

We now also have a front door and a laundry door. On Friday Travis gave me the keys to the doors. That was really exciting!! He had put the handles on so they could be locked. Pity the tradesman forgot about this on Saturday and went down to do a few things only to phone because he was "locked out - no keys"!While it is not quite at lock-up yet, these two doors make things a bit more secure, helped by the board Travis and Jesse nailed over the door from the garage into the house. Now if Saddingtons can remedy the problem with the garage doors order, and quickly, we will be at lock up.

The handles for all the doors were bought from AJ Edden. Andrew from Eddens has been very patient with the selection process over the last 12 months.

Insulation and Gyprock
The insulation has been put in...all but finished. This has meant the gyprocking has started. Two truck loads were delivered last Tuesday and on Thursday the gyprocking started. I met Troy from Ace Interiors on site on Thursday to sort out the question of cornice - the original choice just did not seem to suit the house. So Troy put a few "test" pieces up a so we could make a selection over the weekend. And we have decided to go with the one that is close to square set with decisions supported by Michael and Lynda.

The gyprocking make such a difference with rooms looking bigger in some instances. The office is the most complete and looks great. The louvre windows allow a great breeze and allow a really beautiful light. 

It now seems very close and while we are trying not to get too excited (no pressure Brent) we can't help it. I have even seen the kitchen, or at least the cupbaord frames minus the "pretty stuff" (Zol/'s description) when out at Cutting Edge the other day with Judy

Sorted out all the appliances recently with Mel from Winnings who has been great through all the process of decision making. Have had the range hood delivered to Zol and will probably need to take other appliances there soon.

This week we have to sort out the lights, quotes for shower screen and splash back, and water tank. Grace from Eurolight Kotara has been fantastic in guiding and providing multiple quotes. We are now ready to go with all the lights.  The water tank is now sorted. A chance drive-by at the weekend saw Hunter Irrigation at Raymond Terrace - they had not come up in my google search to date. Rang the Maitland store and Steve was most helpful of all contacts made for water tanks. And...he rang back when he said he would. If only other companies would realise that this counts for so much in making decisions about quotes!!!
Over the next few weeks we expect the gyprocking, the waterproofing and the architraves et al will be finished. Then the stairs. flooring, painting and kitchen......(again no pressure Brent just trying to think about the next steps) and then the tradesman and apprentice will need to finish the electrics and lighting. Some time in this the driveway and front fence will be done!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Scaffolding Down, Roof Up, Paint on, Wiring and Air Conditioning in, Kitchen Underway

Much has happened since the last post and I have been slack in recoding this progrss (bad knee, work etc, etc). Thank God for Darren at Lambton Physiotherapy, the knee appears to be on the mend.  Brent as usual has been great at coordinating the trades and most importantly letting me know what is going on! The scaffolding came down and within the time frames!! It is really starting to look like a house without the scaffolding. The roof has gone up - happy with the colour. The painters have been there and have just about finished painting the outside and it is looking as imagined. And yes the colours align with the blog!!

The air-conditioning was installed last week. After a number of quotes and discussion with air-conditioning firms we chose was Lakeside Air. We were absolutely amazed at the number of air-conditioning firms that identified all the problems with air conditioning the house but seemed incapable of coming up with solutions!! Not sure what sort of sales they are trying to make but it was certainly unconvincing. In contrast Dave from Lakeside Air has been great - prompt with quotes, suggested a whole lot of solutions to roof space problems, arrived on time on the day he said he would! And we have recommended them to friends.

The tradesman had a week in the Snowy Mountains fishing. Luckily he came home with a lot of trout!. He even won the trophy for the longest fish. Very proud moment. He then spent the next week wiring up the house. It is just about ready - next weekend should see it all wired up and ready for sheeting.

We have had a bit of a hiccough with the back sliding doors but we are hopeful that Langords will sort that out this week as we are getting very close to lock up. Matt O'Connell will start the plumbing tomorrow.

We have organised the kitchen and laundry now. Cutting Edge Joinery are doing the job. Decision again based on previous work, responsiveness, timeliness of quotes and of course price. Had some decisions to make re colours and surfaces but we got there. Zol has been to measure up and he has told me they have started cutting the doors. Now it is getting close!!!