Thursday, December 3, 2009

We have a slab!

Slab was poured yesterday, and looks great. Next is the frame, but not sure how much activity we will see this close to Christmas.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Formwork complete and ready for slab pour

Popped round to the site yesterday and was really pleased to see some significant progress. All the formwork looks complete and the steel is done, so I guess it means it's ready to pour the slab now. Time to give Provincial a call :)

Also, Narellan have been in to complete the pool concreting. I was initially worried that the finished level was too high, but now that the house footprint is done, the levels look perfect. Phew!

View of rumpus room, alfresco area, and kitchen

Pool stage 1 completed.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

We have a loo! Yay!

In building terms, the delivery of a portaloo indicates one thing - the imminent arrival of People :)

This happened on Tuesday and on Friday "the concreting guy" said they would begin the piering on Saturday. I went over to site to take some pics and they were everything really fast, in total 122m of piers dug ready for the slab over the next two weeks or so. Next steps apparently, are cleanup, formwork, steel and then slab pour

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Finally some movement!

After what seems to be ages since the levels with council were sorted out, Provincial did the site cut on Saturday 14th. This officially starts the 'build process' and their clock starts ticking down (38weeks plus 5weeks for Christmas downtime).

We are really pleased with how the block looks now, but didn't realize how big the 'step up' through the levels was going to be.

At least we are on the way...

Looking down the block

Pool is now in, but still lots to do

Step up between garage and rear living spaces

Thursday, September 24, 2009

All that glitters...

...are diamonds. In our case, a diamond edged rock saw! Work continues at pace to cut out the pool. Hoping for the install early next week.

A few pics taken from site today

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pool dig

Great excitement on the block yesterday as we finally started the pool excavation. I know it's only a minor step, but it's great to finally see some ACTION!

Of course, there were some issues and we hit rock at 2.5m. Serious rock. Ironstone or something. I'd like to take my hats off to Tim at Narellan Pools who was so helpful, full of suggestions and accommodating. So far, I can't praise Narellan enough. The jackhammer onsite was clearly not up to the task, so a 20ton machine is on order for later this week which will "go through that stuff like cheese."

Let's hope so :)

First turning of soil

Something bigger needed

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Contracts Signed :)

Finally, after what seems to be an absolute age since we bought the block in January, we signed off the final build contract with Provincial today. The whole experience was fairly painless, but we did get a bit of a shock when they informed us that there was something wrong with the contour survey and that the levels might need to be changed!

We are hopeful for a quick resolution - the pool guys are due in to excavate in the next 2-3 weeks and need to know the final levels. Sometimes this whole experience feels like 2 steps forward, one step back...

More to follow on this I'm sure.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Electrical plan

We had our elec appointment with Clipsal today, and it went really well. We realised long ago that the standard provisions for lighting and powerpoints etc were never going to be enough, but the additional 8k spend was a bit of a surprise.

I'll load the elec plan later when we get it through from Clipsal. There is SO much to think about,downlights, pendants, transformers for outside lighting, security spotlights, recessed lighting for stairwell etc etc. It pays to be prepared and do your homework beforehand. Even so, it still took a full 2 hours to go through it all.

We also upgraded to their slimline range, and add in a few Saturn switches in the kitchen area for a bit of a feature.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Serious sandstone

Visited site today to find that the rear retaining wall is being built. It will look stunning when complete as the blocks are 2m long solid sandstone. Not cheap mind you, but will look amazing when it's all in and frames the pool etc.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

DA Approved

I can't even begin to explain how relieved we are - DA is done and we can now 'start the process'' Warringah have been useless. 3months+ to get the DA done.

But, at least we can now get on with it. A hurdle passed, and I'm sure there will be a few more to come.

For now, it's time for the bubbly.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Still waiting on council...

We have 'been in' with council for 9 weeks now and it's getting a little ridiculous. I called them last week to be told 'we are dealing with a backlog and should get to you soon'.Pigs might fly.In the meantime, we have now finished off the colour selections and signed off the variation form (upgrades etc) so now we are waiting on council with not much else to do.Also, the pool is starting to move along. Design and plans should be out this week and then submitted to council. Heaven alone knows how long it will take then to approve the DA for the pool.A large dose of patience will be required...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Colour selections

We had our 'colour selection' appointment today with Provincial and it went very well. Of course, being well prepared in advance was a great help :)
Will post some photo's as soon as we have the colour board selections and tiles. We decided to 'upgrade' the kitchen to polyurethane vanities and pencil edge which will negate the need for door handles and therefore give a very clean look.

Still waiting on council for the DA assesment so we can move forward, at the moment it's a race against the clock to get the slab down before end June so we can get the first homeowners grant. Fingers crossed...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Concept landscape plan

DA submitted - wooo!

Finally, we have gone to council :) About 4 weeks from the original plan but some of that is our fault - took much longer to get the concept landscape plan done, and also the arborist report done for the tree removal had to be done AFTER the landscape due to the driveway locations etc etc.

We had a good 'win' on the arborist report tho' - original quotes were around $1000 for 5 trees but I managed to find someone who is a retired consultant horticulturalist (sp?) who did it for us for $400 ish.

Now the clock starts to tick. We have absolutely no idea how long council will take and are completely at their mercy...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Land closure and DA prep

Met with SA again today to finalise plans prior to DA. All good but we want/need to bi-fold the whole of the back of the house. Need to check if they can span 6.5m+ or we will have to incorporate a column. Otherwise, we are 95% there on the final plans.

Land wise - we have movement! Heard from solicitor today that completion will be this monday. 'Bring us a cheque tomorrow or meet us in Sydney at 9am.' Tomorrow it is. Very scary to be writing a cheque for $615k.

I need wine, just thinking about it....

Friday, January 30, 2009


Yay! We have some draft plans. They came through as promised yesterday so now we have the weekend to go through and check for any changes prior to Council submission. Some minor changes likely, but we are 90% there. The biggest one though is (re) deciding to completely open up the back of the house with bi-fold doors. It's gonna cost tho'...

Also heard from the solicitor - seems that bank papers will be through and we will complete on the land next Friday. Fingers crossed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sign here please!

Yay - we met up with Provincial on Saturday and signed off the commencement fee. Now over to them to draw up the first set of plans for review. Hopefully submit DA to council mid Feb.

We also went through the tender inclusions very carefully and we agreed on a number of items. The best win for us was the swap of sink to the outside and cooker to the island which was a design we always wanted.

This week we are getting some quotes for the concept landscape design and also trying to work out if we can retain some of the gum trees on the block. Thanks to the homeone forum we now have lots of contact points :)

Very early concept sketch for pool area:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Splish splash

Met up with Narellan pools today at the site to get a quote for their 7m Symphony pool install. Link here:

I was very impressed with their efforts. Lots of ideas and very accommodating. They gave a quote of $29,000 with is exactly what I was hoping for, and this includes everything (install, pump, filter, chlorinator, water feature etc etc).

We will get a few more quotes in just to compare, but I'd say we are 80% there :)

Also heard from the broker today - we have bank approval so looking good for close and completion on the land by end Jan, which is a good result.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

tick tock

Nothing really happening on the house front as 'our contact' at Provincial isn't taking calls until the 17th. Didn't really want to push too much as we want to retain the continuity. We have an appointment over the weekend to go through next steps. woo.

Land wise, still waiting on StGeorge to come back with final approvals, and the broker mumbled something about 'early next week'. We'll see...

Other stuff has moved forward - Pool - chosen 2 likely candidates (Bluehaven as they are building in the other lots and few few recommended) and Narellan as I like the idea of their fiberglass options and their sizes/shape could be a good fit on the block. We have a site inspection tmrw with Narellan so will be interesting to see how the approach things.

Retaining walls and tree removal is giving me sleepless nights. Been doing lots of reading on the homeone forum this week and it all sounds like 'blank cheque' stuff. Might have to do some/most of it myself, depending on costs. ho hum.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Is it included or not?

Very pleased we went to see the display home again today. Every time I walk into the door I feel that it's the house for us. The idea of today's visit was to try and spot the finer details we may have missed. We missed lots previously :)

Here is the mail sent to the builders earlier tonight with a few questions...

Hi George,

Katrina and I spent a bit of time at the display home today and would like to clarify a few points with you if possible. It's amazing how the more you look, the more you notice :)

Hopefully we can go through these in finer detail if we meet on Friday.

1. The tender mentions 24 elec points scattered throughout the house. Do you have the standard electrical plan so we can see where each is located? We are also interested to know what provision is made for the fan and light in the alfresco area, and whether there are any additional external points for bbq area etc? What is the expected timeline for us to go through the locations? I presume this is done post commencement of contract?

2. Family bathroom - can we change the current corner bath to a more standard one? Would there be a cost reduction if we did? A standard bath would mean that the vanities would need to be slightly bigger as compensation, and we would like the vanity width extended to the edge of the sink as well?

3. Caesarstone in the upstairs bathrooms - the display home has these but they are not included in the tender price. Do you have an estimate if we chose this over laminate?

4. Would we be able to change the family bathroom sink? We would source our own - would this mean a cost reduction if we didn't take the display ones. Same goes for the 3 600mm mirrors in the bathrooms. We will source our own.

5. Can we change the bathroom floor drains from the (awful!) white plastic ones? We would opt for square stainless steel instead if available from your supplier.

6. What are the front door options? The urban fa├žade has a different door to the display home. Are there differences in price/colour etc? We would like the full door, instead of the sidelight panel.

7. For the rumpus room, what are the window dimensions?

8. The latest tender plans have the alfresco area as 2.52m only, which is impossible taking into account the current column placement from upstairs. We make this area as 3.2 x 6.5. Please confirm.

9. The Rumpus room at 2.52m deep is now too narrow to watch TV. I took a good look at the levels again and would like to make the rumpus 5 x 4.5 (which brings the outer wall in by 500mm). If we need to drop down into the lounge by 1 step to compensate the levels, then we would consider it.

10. Please add back the 2 side drop to island bench caesarstone. The cost for this was $1750 on a previous quote.

11. The tiled patio area outside the laundry seems to have dropped off the tender price. Please confirm if this is still included as it's likely we will need stairs from this area to work the levels correctly. Do we really need this? It's likely that I'll be pavin the whole area anyway.

12. Please confirm the house floor level? Is it as per the LHS garage, at 147.5m?

13. The revised tender now only make allowances for 20m deep edge beam, instead of 38m. Please confirm why this is?

14. As previously agreed, I would like you to move the aircon system and HW tank to the LHS of the house. This is to ensure a clear run down the RHS. If you needed a location for the aircon duct, I'd like to suggest the interior cupboard of the 5th bedroom upstairs.

15. We notice that the ducted hood in the kitchen is an optional extra. We presume that this is therefore not required? Would it be a huge inconvenience for us to swap the locations of the center sink with the cooker? We particularly dislike center sinks as it always looks messy and would like to cook in the center island instead.

16. Please provide an indication for the cost of the halogen downlights as per the display home?

Lots of questions, but look forward to your responses either via email or when we next meet.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Re-visit re-vist

We are going back to the display home tomorrow for a final peek before we close the tender. There are just so many things to try and get right (power points locations, window depths etc etc) that we want to get the tender price right before we commit. We also need to re-measure the alfresco area as Kat is stressed about the depth - it looks too small on the plan (2.52m) and won't fit a big table/couch. I suspect she might be right, so we need to go and check.

Tip: There is no harm in checking checking checking. Now is the time to make changes, not after the bid is finalized!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Caprice by Provincial Homes

We have gone ahead and chosen Provincial Homes as the builder of our new home. We have been very impressed with their engagement so far and they have been very open to suggested plan changes.

Our design will be based on the Caprice. Link here. We are expanding downstairs to include a playroom (called a Rumpus here in AUS) and adding a 5th bedroom/ Studio room upstairs for Kat's endeavours.

The external facade will look similar to the photo above (but we will likely change the final colour's).

These are the standard floor plans. I'll post the final ones once they come from the design guys.

Up and running!

Back for 2009 and a year of projects for us. First effort is to get the blog up and going.