Friday, June 26, 2009

A driveway and more!!!!!!!!!!

We had a meeting at our house with our builders area manager to discuss our concerns and I'm feeling positive about our house again!

OH made some phone calls yesterday in an effort to find somebody who would listen to our concerns about the house... and he came up trumps when he was directed to the area manager (I think that's his title). He listened to what Bryan had to say about our house and our experiences and actually suggested that we bring in Kevin to inspect the place. How different is that considering our SS really doesn't want us to bring our own inspector in (and it so happens that Kevin is our chosen inspector too).

We met with him today at the house it was like a breath of fresh air for me. He was pleasant and easy to talk to and listened to all of our concerns and explained things where necessary and let us know that all of what we'd pointed out were reasonable concerns that needed to be fixed.

It also helped that we arrived to see that the driveway had been done and there were two different groups of tradesman working - a very pleaseant surprise I'm feeling again that our house may be finished in the near future. We will be calling Kevin on Monday to rebook our inpsection allowing them about a week to finish the list of jobs so far (it will take that long to get an appointment from what I was told by Kevins office this week when I stupidly let my appointment go because SS wouldn't call me back to confirm a time). Following that we will present Kevin's report to the SS and CSO and will book our PCI after that.

So after a bit of a photo drought, I finally have some pictures of our house with our new driveway and path...




Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The initial inspection went.... hmmmm.... it went well I think. I'm still not exactly sure weather it was a PCI or not but we definitately used it as an opportunity to point out the many (many!) faults.

The house had been cleaned with the floors washed and the carpets steam cleaned as requested (they were still damp when we went through). Our meeting started with the SS taking it very casually as though we were just going to walk through and say "this is great". After pointing out a few things, he decided he might need a notebook and proceeded to note our concerns. He agreed with most of what we pointed out and noted everything that needed fixing which I was very pleased with.

At the time we went through there were still a few things unfinished - the garage doors and driveway (still!) and the laundry tub and a few power points as well.

So what did we pick up on? Here are just a few things...

...the grouting of all the tiling, except the main living area floor, is appalling and even the SS called it "unacceptable". There is grout all over the tiles and the grout lines in many places are higher than the tiles on either side. I can't beleive that anyone could leave a job in this state and think that it was finished!

...The tiles are uneven in the ensuite. There is a visible difference between the top of the feature tile and the top of the rows on either side (and it's the first thing that you see when you walk into the ensuite)

...There is also a visible difference in the feature tile on the bath as well - the feature is at least half a centimetre deeper than the surrounding tiles (they are not at all flush as you pass your hand over them)

...The garage is a shocking job - above the main opening the inside section is a mess where there are cracked plaster sheets where the plasterer has forced the sheet down over a peice of timber that should have been trimmed first (it would have fit then!) and all of the nails holding it in place have popped already. Hard to explain but suffice to say its the result of laziness! There is also several other sections where the edges haven't been finished or sealed and the access door is as rough as it can get.

...The lounge room window has a gap that you can fit your hand into (on the outside) between the frame and the bricks - you can even see the timber frame of the house through it

...The exhaust fans/heat lights that we upgraded to in both bathrooms have been left off and instead have only a single batten light fitting.

...There's a power point missing in the hall and the ones in the lounge still haven't been corrected (and they are at the wrong height)

...The external lights that should be sensor lights are missing their sensors

...The plaster in one room needs the lower sheets from 3 walls to be replaced as they have ripples in them (someone had already marked "damaged" on these walls and then dropped the black pen they were using on the carpet leaving a black mark!! The SS tried to rub it off but I told him I wasn't happy with that! as I said "rubbing it in isn't getting the mark out!!!" )

...There are other things that OH has picked up and we still need to get our inspector to take a look. Again the SS questioned us about "why" we felt it was necessary, claiming that he was just trying to "save us money". My reply was simple... "we want to know that the house is structurally sound... he picked up things in the first inspection and we need to know that those have been corrected and that no other mistakes have been made since". SS tried to tell us that we'd already had him check the structure and that those things have been fixed so there's no need. We won't be swayed however and are booking the inspector anyway!!

SS has asked for a week to fix up the stuff that we've pointed out before we bring in our inspector. Then there will no doubt be more to fix (which they should do in 2 weeks unless it's something major). The SS is also taking a week off next weeks So I expect that we are still at least 3 weeks off handover (more likely more!).

No problem though - we're booking the fencer to start next week regardless. The verandah will be started soon and I'm also in the process of lining up the concreter. We may have all of this done before we move in at this rate!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Initial inspection tomorrow!!

I rang our SS this morning to let him know that we'd need access to the house on Friday for the verandah/pergola measure and quote and he suggested that we could do our initial inspection at the same time! I don't know if this is a different name for PCI or just an inspection prior to the PCI, but I really don't care - it means we are getting there. I have however told him that we won't be signing off on anything until we've had our independent inspector give us a report on the place first.

I'm not sure if this means that the garage doors and driveway have been done yet - we'll see tomorrow. At least it means that we'll have a chance to find out about some of the issues that we've identified so far.


I drove past our house yesterday on my way to work and it looked lonely... all of the other houses in the estate had a flurry or workmen busily working to finish their respective houses and ours was sitting silent, waiting on garage doors and a driveway. "Please finish me" it was crying out!

Monday, June 15, 2009

No PCI today...

Today is the 15th and no the PCI will not be happening. After chasing for 2 weeks I finally got an answer from our CSO on Friday that the PCI on the 15th will need to be put back. We are now waiting on a call from the SS to let us know when the new PCI date will be. Apparently the driveway has been held up due to the weather and the garage doors have been ordered but won't be here until (hopefully) later this week.

We dropped by on Sunday afternoon and peered through the windows to find that the painting has finally been finished!! The doors and door handles on all the rooms and robes have now been installed and the tiling in the kitchen has been finished - can't say about the bathrooms because of the obscure glass that we opted for. As far as we could see there is still some electrical fit-off work to be done, the laundry tubs still needs to be installed, the down-pipes painted, and of course the garage doors and driveways.

As we walked around there were few things that didn't seem quite right but I need to check the contract to make sure - power points that are doubles instead of quads, external lights without sensors etc...

It's all looking good though (despite the fact that we've both decided that we don't like the paint colour that we've chosen) and should be ready soon. So we've started booking appointments for quotes on fencing, verandah and concreting. I've also tentatively booked the independent inspector in anticipation of a PCI in the next 2-3 weeks.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The end is near!!!!!!!

We received a letter today telling us that our PCI (practical completion inspection) is booked for 15th June 2009!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our CSO will confirm this with us tomorrow but it's nice to know we're not far off. After the PCI they have about 2 weeks to fix any problems which means we should have our keys by the end of the month or the first week in July. Of course this is all dependant upon the SS and relevant tradies getting the job done and on the bank getting the evaluation and processing the payment so anything is possible!

Maybe NOW it's time to start packing....

Monday, June 1, 2009

Weekend report!!

I've spoken with our SS today and he told me that:

  • The tiling should have been finished on the weekend
  • The painter should have finished on the weekend
  • The carpet was due to be laid today

He's not certain that any of it has been done yet but I've got an appointment to meet him on-site on Thursday so I will find out then. Still no word on when we're looking at handover (our SS is a man of few words), but given that the carpet is going in today and they keep telling us that carpets will be last, we can't be far off.

Our weekend was also a productive one - we only hope that they were as productive over at the house.

We managed to achieve a couple of things...

1. We purchased fabric for the remaining curtains. We've chosen a reddish fabric that is the same type as the green one that we have for the kitchen/living room. It's called Tobasco and is an dusty-orangey-red (not as bright as it looks in the photos - although that's the colour I would have preferred). This will also be made into Roman blinds.... soon I hope! I still have to remember the tape-measure for Thursday's meeting so that I can measure up and get started!


2. I did some reading on how to make the Roman blinds and now have a fair idea of how they're made/assessbled and am not at all scared by them anymore. My only real concerns are a) that I have enough fabric and b) that I get the rod pockets straight so that they don't look "home made".

3. We decided on a landscaping plan - and we both agree on it! This is pretty exciting as all along it seems that we've had different ideas/thoughts about what would work and what we prefer. Somehow we've managed to incorporate both of our 'wants' in a way that works both for the house and for us!! I can't wait to see it come together now! 3

We've decided on Conifers in the front yard with a couple of hardier maples for the autumn colour (and to meet the developers guidelines). We're going to put pencil pines out the back around the fence-line and we'll have a native garden outside the loungeroom window. There will also be a paved patio with a pergola. Now we just need to work out what this is all going to cost and which bits we can do ourselves and which bits we'll contract out...

4. We started buying plants... I've been reluctant to buy any plants until we knew what it was that we were going to do - I didn't want to end up with plants that didn't work with our final plan. Not that we're going to buy too many more before we move or get the keys but...

I took a drive up to the Dandenongs to visit the conifer gardens and seeing that I'd made the trip, decided to buy a few. I was a bit reluctant about conifers until I visited this nursery - it is amazing. If you think that conifers are just pencil pines and book leaf pines, take a look at this place and you'll discover that there's so much more to it!!!


Whilst up there I also found a nursery that had a heap of specials on the natives that I love and so had to buy a few of them too. Now we just need to hope that we're not too far off on hand-over.

We also found the maple that we want at a nursery in Geelong and will get that when we have the house - we'll need to hire a ute or truck for that one and so we only want to move it once!

Here's our collection of plants so far - there are also a few that we bought a while back along with a couple that we've rescued from the bargain sections...