Friday, March 27, 2009


I've recently discovered how relaxing and peaceful I find my block of land. I've had a couple of days over the past few weeks where I have had a crappy day and I have ended up out at my block of land and just ended up sitting there, in my car listening to the surrounding noises... the birds, animals, machinery from the estate and I have really found it peaceful and relaxing. I love being able to hear the magpies and the cows.

Am I the only one that does this? Either way, it's great that I find it all so beautiful and relaxing

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tiles are done

Total time at National Tiles - 1hr 5 minutes! 40 minutes spent discussing it all and then 20 minutes to get it on the computer and then no more than 5 mins to review! :D

Entry, Kitchen and Laundry are ETAFL504 - Loft Walnut in 330x330
Ensuite, Bathroom and toilet floors are NT4-554FL - Agra Sandstone 330x330
Ensuite and Bathroom shower feature strip is MAXWL016 - Chocolate Matt 100x300 in a vertical strip with the tiles horizontal
Bathroom hob top and front are the same as the feature strip
Shower walls, niche, hob Laundry and vanity splash are all MULWP002 - Mulia Gloss White 200x250mm

It was suggested by National Tiles to allow for $250 for my feature tiles in the shower, it came in at $90 for both :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tiles tomorrow

On Thursday I emailed my mortgage broker my quote for my heater/aircon and didn't get a reply. So yesterday I emailed asking if everything was OK and she got the quote... no reply... called up and left a message for her to call me back... no call back.

I called again then and managed to speak to her and she hasn't submitted my documents yet to the bank :( My finance clause expires on April 8th, that's 2 weeks tomorrow

I just got a call from her now to say that she is faxing the application off and she said if it's not sorted by April 8th (finance clause on land expires) then she will organise an extension with my solicitor :)

I have my tiles appointment tomorrow!!

I'm too tired to really think about it though to be honest, I had another sleepless night last night - these only started since doing this whole building a house thing.

I'm choosing all tiles from the standard range and will put a vertical feature row of slimmer dark chocolate tiles in each shower to offset the white tiles. I'm also considering making the top of the bath area the same chocolate tiles but I'm still undecided on that one. The entry, kitchen, toilet and laundry floors will be a darkish sandy colour and the bathrooms will be a lighter sandy colour - well at least that's what I'm starting with.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The waiting game

The h1 forum has been down for maintenance all weekend - WARGH!! It came back for a bit this arvo and then went again... waits...

Yesterday I went to the PD and Stockland auction around the corner from my block in Mernda - it was interesting to see a contested auction.

I just worked out that my house is going to be 700m further away from my sister than the current place I rent... the place that she has never been too cos, you know, its too far and out of the way... I'm also starting to tire of asking her to come and to things with me as there is always an excuse. She hasn't really shown a huge amount of interest at all in me building a house... while I am not suprised, it still hurts and I'm just about ready to stop asking her opinion or telling her anything.

I feel like I am in a bit of limbo at the moment. I can't do anything for about 4-6 weeks. The bank has 2.5 weeks to approve it all and then we wait 2 weeks for land settlement and then wait for PD to start building!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Building contracts are signed!!

Yes, all done :) -phew-

It's great having all these extra detailed drawings of side elevations of everything and having the house in the correct direction on the paper!

My soil tests came back as P class slab -shock- This means that they need to do piers at the back end of the block due to the fill used and then use a H slab - soooooo glad I have fixed site costs!!

My build time is 157 days which is just under 23 weeks. It doesn't fit to the standard 20 weeks due to the slab requirements and my site start is still some time in May soooooo should be done and dusted by the end of October at the latest but if they start at the beginning of May and thing's don't go wrong then August/September could also be a possibility!! :D :D D

A few changes were needed
  • Heater hadn't been credited
  • Tiles allowance needed to be included
  • Cupboards over fridge needed to be added
  • Shower rail to bathroom had gone missing
  • WIR door to be hinged on other side
  • Door from garage to house hinged on other side
  • Side setbacks had been written incorrectly
  • Kitchen drawings to show pull out range hood and cupboard
  • Kitchen drawings to show glass splashback
  • Reduce fencing allowance to fit within budget

The extra insulation for the 5 star energy rating I have ended up paying for as it was explained it was primarily probably due to the higher ceilings required as part of the estate covenants. I conveyed my frustration about not having this explained by the sales person and they had also reduced the amount from $911 to $806 which was nice and at the end of the day I'm ok with it.

All in all I think it was pretty good :) I got along very well with N and we talked about a few different things and I think it's all going to go well :) I ended up being there for about 4 hrs all up.

Now I just need to sit back and wait for the bank to do their thing.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My land is ready and waiting

That's right, my land is titled and ready and waiting for me to complete all the required paperwork with the builder and the bank. This means that settlement will not be delayed at all by the land developer YaY!!! :D

5 star energy update

So yesterday was my first real issue with the build and I hope that it's the only big one I have (doubtful) as it wasn't much fun for me, but by the end of the night things were ok'ish again.

I spoke to N and basically she said that they never guarantee fixed price for the 5 star energy rating. I explained to her that as someone new to this whole process, I was told by my sales person that I am building on this block of land at a fixed price - I was never told that I could then be hit up for extra cash to ensure that the build complies with 5 star rating. I have been promised a 5 star rated house.
She claims that they allow a set amount for every single house regardless of orientation etc - they don't look at each package individually to allow more or less, but if it comes in at more then the client has to pay it - I'm sure if it comes in less they don't refund the client though Rolling Eyes

I kept trying to stress to her that I was not made aware of this, I was told it was a fixed price and that I would only have to pay for more if I chose to upgrade items myself. I have not chosen to upgrade the insulation, they have been told that it needs doing.

We did however both agree that the sales people need to be making this clear and that it isn't a total fixed price package, it's just fixed price site costs.

I asked her to get her manager to send me an email explaining this as I am not happy about it. Naturally her manager was scheduled to be in a meeting for most of the day but she will try to make sure he contacts me.... is it just me or are their managers ALWAYS in meetings?

Later in the day I got a phone call from P. P explained things in a totally different way to N and in a way that made sense and was understandable. P explained that each house is looked at for each block and are all made to be 5 star energy rated in their fixed prices. He wasn't too familiar with my file, but he thinks that it is most likely due to the window changes. I explained that I added an East facing window to the meals area and I wanted the window on bed 2 moved to where I always thought it was going to be according to all the sales paraphernalia which was different to the detailed floor plans. He is going to find out for me why the upgrade is required and he has told me he will be available on Friday morning to discuss this with me when I am in the PD office. I mentioned that if it was due to changing the window on Bed 2, I don't want to pay for it as their paperwork is misleading and confusing.

P at least explained why it could have come back as more and didn't just say I had to pay it. P also explained that the office was extremely busy at the moment as sales have gone through the roof and that they are getting more staff. I let him know that I had heard quite a number of people were not happy with the (lack of) communication coming out of the office and I again mentioned the level I expect and that I hate being in the dark - it was a really good conversation and I appreciated the phone call.

P also mentioned that PD will take care of all my DA and council approvals and that they have someone specifically in the office that does this. I am so relieved I don't have to worry about any of that! He also said that he needs to get 8 houses started on the ground each week, so once all my paperwork is done and the land is ready to go we should be able to jump ahead of the queue if others aren't ready to go so the build might be able to start early May instead of late May!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

5 Star energy rating = FAIL

I got an email from N yesterday about my 5 star rating, due to the orientation of the house on the block it has failed it's 5 star rating and requires an upgrade of the ceiling insulation to R3.5 batts at a cost of $911.
I asked N to confirm that I wasn't required to pay for this as I am doing a fixed price house and land package on a block of land which PD selected and had a list of applicable houses itemised with respective prices for a FIXED PRICE. N came back with something about allowing a certain amount for 5 star rating and anything above the minimum they allow for needs to be paid for by the client - umm how is that fixed price??

I'm going to call the government body today that deals with all this kind of stuff and ask them what they think as I really don't think that I should be paying for this required uppgrade.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Contact has been made

So I ended up calling N @9:30am, no answer, sent an email explaining how concerned I am about the lack of communication so close to the contracts appointment and how I really need answers from her. By 10:50am I still had no contact and she was still not answering her phone so I called reception to make sure she is actually at work - she is. Left a message with reception to get her to call me and @11:30am I got an email from her, finally!

My upgrades have come in at $906, thankfully within budget and the plumbing provision for the water tank to the 2x WC's can be done, but for $610 - I've asked her for clarification on this as others I know are getting it all (including the external power point) for $450.

I've also asked for:
  • 2 x double power point to rumpus room along the wall adjoining the laundry spaced to the middle of the length of the wall at the same height as the other power points in the rumpus (300mm AFL)
  • A double power point added to the internal north wall of the garage, spaced to the middle of the length of the wall from the hallway to the rear access door at the same height as the other power point in the garage (1350 AFL)
  • Costings of the above
  • The outside light on the corner of the rumpus room doesn't have a connecting line to the light switch in the laundry - can you please get this light added to the laundry light switch
  • The cost to get two external junction boxes installed
  • The plumbing provision terminated and the included double outdoor power point for this to be on the east side of my house, along the meals wall, south of the meals area window. I plan to put the water tank near the down pipe on this blind side wall but north of the HWS.

I don't expect to hear back from N again today in regards to this, but I hope to have something by lunch tomorrow

Not Happy Jan

Yesterday morning I emailed N at 8:16am about the plumbing provisions and the cost of my extras and I ended my email with "I look forward to your call and also receiving the detailed costings of my extra's today" as per what she said she would do on Friday.

By 1:30pm I had still heard nothing from her, no call or email, so after trying to call her over a 20-30 minute time frame I sent another email "I really need to get an answer on the below today. I just tried calling and there was no answer. Can you please let me know about the plumbing provision and the cost of my extras by COB today."

If I haven't heard anything from her when I get back from going for coffee soon, I am going to be calling and if she doesn't answer, then I will be calling reception and asking to speak to someone else who can answer my questions.

I have my contract signing on Friday and I need to get all of this stuff sorted as I need to work out the dollar amounts and adjust things accordingly and add extra power points etc too!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Water tank plumbing issues

This is probably going to sound silly, but it's another one of those OMG I'M BUILDING A HOUSE kinda things... I can now enter competitions that do things like garden make overs and all those other type of comp's that involve you owning your own house!! YaY!!!

In other house news, I'm having issues with PD trying to get them to provide the actual cost to do the plumbing provision for my future water tank to the two toilets. My sales person put in a $2,000 provision but I know other people building with PD that have been charged $450. I asked my CSC, N, to provide exact costings for me and she came back saying it was just over the $2k provisioned - ummm?? I told her that all I wanted was the plumbing done and I know what others were charged. she came back saying that they HAD to include the following and couldn't separate them:

-Installation of pump,
-Connection to 2 WCs,
-Mains water supply back up,
-Round PVC downpipe connection,
-Overflow to stormwater

I again asked for clarification as it seems really silly that they can't separate it when I'm not getting a tank through them! N then came back and said that they are concerned that if they do what I am wanting that it will affect my Certificat of Occupancy - wtf?!?! Grrrr.
I've been given the wording someone else has for their's to present to N (thanks Wanna!) so come tomorrow, if I haven't had a call or email after lunch, I will be calling N as I really need it sorted ASAP so I know how much everything is costing.

I also asked N on Friday for a total price for all my extra's so I can again work out how much everything is costing. She was going to try to get it to me Friday, but hadn't, so again I -need- that Monday

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Colour and Electricals - Tick!

Well my day at Hopetoun went really well!! I did all my colours in just over an hour and my electricals only took an hour too when each one has you booked in for 2 hrs each!

I started off with the brick colour of Brushwood and then asked the colour consultant what she thought would be a good roof tile and the first one she chose was the one I had as most preferred (barramundi) and then the second one she suggested (sambuca) was also my second one listed - off to a good start so we locked in Barramundi! :) We then went to windows and I picked out Merino and then she asked if I was going to match the garage door, yes, and I went to pick my choice, paperbark, off the wall as she was suggesting paperbark! Garage door is a Panelmasta Caprice (rectangles and not squares).
I'm also getting my gutters/fascia and downpipes to match the window's/garage (her suggestion as I really wasn't sure). I'm also getting my front posts of my portico and the side window next to the front door the same colour. Sliding doors will also match the window frames.
Render to the front of the house is Flood Mud although she had no record me requiring render but she has written it down for me as I know I need it.

We then did paints and I chose Bone for the walls and white for the ceiling and cornices and all the doors and door frames will be bone but in gloss. I also chose Biennale (purple) for my front door inside and out and translucent glass for the door. The side panel of glass to the front door will be clear but I might put something on that myself as it's a lot cheaper to DIY.

As mentioned previously, I'm upgrading the front door lock to include the deadlock in it as a combo, in satin chrome, and I've added a deadlock to the garage door into the house. All my internal doors are the standard flat streamlined ones and standard satin chrome door handles. All the other handles in the house are standard satin chrome bow's, but the ones on the cupboards are bigger than the kitchen and bathroom/laundry ones.

Bench top is quantum quartz - Ice in 20mm (changed to this today). Cabinet doors for kitchen, bathrooms and laundry is Fini Chocolate. Over head kitchen cupboards are Rock Maple and my splashback is now Mocha Magic. Laundry bench top is Laminex Diamond Gloss in square edge.
WC's I've upgraded to a porcelain one. and I've made the shower rose in the main bathroom the same as the ensuite - a shower rail.

Carpet is still Old leather cut pile plush.

My upgrades, all 8 of them, should come in around $700 - $800 or so she thinks.

For my electrical plan, I came in at $1,041 and had put in an allowance of $1,000 which I'm pretty pleased about almost meeting. I didn't get my garage outside lights and I did cut back on a couple of power points but I did get my 3 lights over the bench and 3 extra outside lights (water proof battens)

Did I enjoy it all? Yes! Both of the consultants that helped me commented on how organised I was with everything and said that the appointments were really quick and easy - when they only go for half the allocated time, I guess they must be right.

I also didn't hear back from my CSC until this afternoon by way of an email and not the phone call I requested or the phone call that a different CSC said she would get her to make to me at 8:30 this morning. She also got the details of what I wanted for the water tank plumbing wrong so I have asked her to re-calculate it on what I actually want them to do. She also mentioned that my 5 star rating isn't back yet and that part of my estate covenants includes the ceiling height required to be 2590 when my contract actually has 2550, so I've asked for this to be reviewed as well and the difference reported back to me.

I can't believe I am still awake after only 3 hrs sleep! Oh and I also saw my GP today and I'm on antibiotics for my sinusitis and have steroids to take if progress doesn't start to show in a few days for my asthma (boo!). I really should try to have a nap soon.

I need to sleep

It's 1:15am in the morning and I've been in bed since about 10:30 and I am still wide awake... seriously. I had to get up out of bed as I was getting all fidgety after 3 hrs of just laying their trying to sleep. I haven't consciously been thinking about my appointments as I am that tired and sore from standing up at track racing for nearly 4 hrs, but maybe I am in the back of my mind...

Tomorrow and the rest of the week is going to be ugly and awful if I don't get sleep soon, even if it is only 4 or 5 hrs.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I need to just breathe....

I have my colours and electrical appointments tomorrow and I am getting myself all worked up over it all and feeling physically ill due to the stress.
I'm so concerned about going over budget and not knowing the cost of things is really not helping. Also knowing that the staff at Hopetoun Interiors don't know the costs either does not help - I wont know until Friday week what it all costs and that's when I go in to sign the contract.

I think part of it is also that tomorrow is when I make all these decisions - all the things that I can decide upon for the house I have to decide on tomorrow. It really is a very important day. I know that there will be lots of things that don't go to plan over the next 6-8 months during the build, but all of this tomorrow is in my hands and no one elses. Yes I know things can be added and changed once I am in the house, but it's better to try to get things right from the start... although I'm prepared to give up some power points and outdoor lights to get them done at a later time/date if needed.

Urgh, gotta stop stressing over it, thank gawd I have track cycling on tonight to try to distract me a bit from it. Also, I think accidentally cutting my laptop power cable in half yesterday hasn't helped with the stress (it got caught in my reclining chair mechanism) and combine that will still having sinus issues (pain and headaches) it is all just going against me at the moment.

Gee I hope I get some sleep tonight cos I didn't get much at all last night.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Second thoughts

This afternoon I started to have a mild panic about my colours and electrical plan. With my appointments only a few days away I started second guessing myself and I really shouldn't... I need to trust myself in what I have been happy with the past few weeks. I also need to work out the details of my electrical plan. Where power points will be down to the minute detail of how far from x wall and how high on the wall etc - lots of stuff to consider.

I also hope that things just seem to fall into place, but I can't just go in blindly hoping this actually happens. I hope that on the day of my contract signing, if things come in at too high a price I can remove them if needed w/out causing a delay, I need this to be able to happen on that day so that I can get the paperwork to the bank for them to do their valuation.


Too much to think about!

Monday, March 2, 2009

One a week

I just put my annual leave in for my building appointments this month - my boss is going to wonder what's going on! Monday 9th is Labour day here in Vic, so a day off then I've put leave in for Wednesday 11th, then the following Friday 20th and then the following Wednesday 25th! I'm not going to have a full week of work after this week until April!

I think I have also finally decided that I am going to get a phone point and power point put into my pantry for my ADSL modem and wifi router. I'm still not sure if I will be able to get ADSL (exchange issues) but one day I will be able to.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Outdoor lights

The last few day's I've been putting some thought into my electrical plan and more so focusing on outdoor lights. I decided I wanted to get a light down the side of garage between the garage and the fence, so I will get a batten light put out there and then I was thinking about lights out the front.
After much thinking, I am considering getting two battens put on the garage, one on each side on the one light switch and have them linked to a sensor and then the light under the front portico I will get put on it's own sensor. I will get the builders to put the battens in, but I'm not sure about if I will get them to do the sensor or not, I think it will come down to how much they will charge.

I'm also going to find out how much it will cost to get those IXL Tastic light, heater and fan units installed in the bathrooms.