Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tree Replanting / Marking Up

We spent yesterday at the block. Hopefully we can stop the demolition company and the builders from going into the back corner of our block. This is because we spent a lot of yesterday moving rose bushes and a whole bunch of trees from the front yard and from areas that will be built over to the back corner.

We've made a bit of a mess of the side and the back corner now looks overgrown but hopefully all will be well by the time the new house is built and we can move the trees to where we want them.

Yesterday we also marked out the house, using some marking spray paint.

We labelled some of the rooms and marked where the windows would go so that we could get an idea of what we would be looking out on.

The end of the house coincides with about half way down the old garage.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Layout on Block

We had to do it.

Other than the usual impulse to continually go past our latest expensive possession we thought we'd better check the mail, look at the fences etc. etc. Today we decided to try to lay out the new house.

We were asking questions like:
- Where will the kids bedroom look out on?
- How big is our back yard?
- What will our alfresco look out on?
- How much space have we got down the side?
- What will our drive way look like?

The only thing available today though was some bricks marking out garden beds and our extremely accurate 1 stride = 1 metre (also my vague memory of the dimensions). Here is where our back wall is (look very closely for the bricks):
This weekend we may get some marking paint and a proper measuring device along with a copy of the plans and we will mark it out for real. I also might try to replant some of the great roses on the block into the far back to see if we can save them for later.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What does early this week mean?

Spoke to the salesman yesterday. Apparently the latest costings will be provided to us "early this week." Once we have them we will need to decide what to include and what not to include then the only remaining issues will be:
- Have they considered the tree report I gave them in the costings?
- What will council come back with with flooding?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tree Research

You have to love the Internet. I still had a few concerns regarding the use of 1H:1D (One times height to One times distance) for the measurement of where a root barrier is required on our house.

First I thought that I would look at Australian Standards:
AS2870-1996 the Australian Standard for Residential Slabs and Footings - Construction states in Appendix B, clause B2.3 (c) Restrictions on tress and shrubs:

"Planting of tress should be avoided near the foundation of a house or neighbouring house on reactive sites as they can cause damage due to drying of the clay at substantial distances. To reduce, but not eliminate, the possibility of damage, tree planting should be restricted to a distance from the house of:

  1. 1.5 x mature height for Class E sites.

  2. 1 x mature height for Class H sites.

  3. 0.75 x mature height for Class M sites.

Our soil report said that we had an M class site so I will need to push back to get a shorter area of protection.

I then did some more googling and I have since found that there is not a lot known about the direct effect of tree roots on foundations. It looks like the best option is to either obey the above in both your design and future planting of trees and then to get the advice of an arborist.

I think the best course of action is to put a root barrier in under the instruction of an arborist.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kitchen update

I thought that I had better put an image of what our kitchen will now look like. We ended up going for a concealed range hood with an iso drive.

The ovens will be two Siemens ovens. The stove top will be a highland.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Is this a 30m tree?

Supposedly the builder has discovered a 30m tall tree in our neighbours front yard? This seems to have popped up from nowhere. When we first got our site quote from the builder they highlighted a tree to the South of our house that they think could cause a problem (see tree highlighted in green). They said that this tree was 15m tall and we needed to put 2m deep blinding concrete (low grade concrete) beneath our foundation to act as a root barrier. Highlighted with pink highlighter on our plan was a line of where this was to occur.
At $5000 plus other expenses for this I was a little concerned. Also the fact that the tree that actually overhung our soon to be garage (red circle above) was ignored.

I brought this up with the sales guy and he said he would look into it. Oh oh...

Now apparently the tree in the front yard of our neighbour to the North is 30m tall and we need blinding concrete almost over our entire house, oh yeah and an extra $10,000. Now I am no Einstein but I don't think that tree is 30m. Here's another view.
Now I agree it is a little higher than the power pole and maybe as much as 3 times the height of a house. I might give them 12m.

Just as a bit more ammunition we found that the local council publishes lists of significant trees. Our Northern neighbours happen to have one of these (the one highlighted in blue in the top image). Luckily the builders didn't notice this, however it is a bit further away and according to the council it is only 15m tall, and happens to be taller than all of the other trees around. Sort of knocks the 30m on its head. See below for an extract from the council report:

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Specifications Submitted

We finally got them off and we finally made some decisions. We sent off our kitchen ideas, our tap ideas and hopefully the major changes that we want to lock in.

Her indoors will go to the salesman tomorrow and ask a few more questions. Now the ball is in their court and we can hopefully move to the next step.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

We can afford it....

Had another meeting with our mortgage broker the other night. It looks like we can service a loan for even more than we need (if we want to live on the poverty line). The only thing we need to worry about now is what valuation the bank gives us when we finally submit our plans and permits, if the valuation is too low we may need to pay mortgage insurance or go into our savings a bit more to get our gearing to 80%, or even a combination of the two.

Now back to finalising the kitchen and the spec. Another weekend at stores ahead.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

3D Version of Kitchen

I think I might be able to add a 3D version of the kitchen:

More Kitchen Ideas

Her indoors had a good look at ovens etc. yesterday and has now thrown something new into the mix. Apparently the 900mm wide ovens don't compare terribly well to the 600mm wall ovens. The compromise of going to the bigger space means that you lose out on actual oven performance. Therefore we now have a new idea, see to the right.

Instead of a freestanding oven we are now looking at a 900mm wide stove and possibly two side by side 600mm ovens beneath it. This rearranges the kitchen a little, but gives a bit more flexibility. Now we need to decide about the stove, the ovens and the range hood etc.

I went to Clive Peters today and spoke to a great salesman. Only problem is I am now even more confused. We first really liked the Highland Stove top. It has great reviews and supposedly the wok burner pumps out 22MJ/hour (compared to 12.5MJ/hour for the base westinghouse that comes with the house). The salesman however said that the gas supply to the house would never give you this power anyway so you were really kidding yourself going for this stove. He was recommending an LG stove that had more control on the burner and had three gas jets inside to give better output.

The next one was the oven. Her indoors found a really good Siemens oven and my salesman said the LG made great ovens. It is all starting to get too hard. Here's some pictures to make the page look nice.