Friday, August 27, 2010

More Brickies Sand

More progress.  I managed to get a chance to look at the house during daylight yesterday.  Some more brickies sand has arrived, it is now a massive pile.

I also inspected the drainage work that I had done with the boys the weekend before last.  We put on our rubber boots and took some shovels there on the Sunday and dug some trenches so that the water flowed away from the foundations.  I also adjusted one of the down pipes so that the water that pooled at our front porch would drain away a little better.  Yesterday things were looking a lot dryer so hopefully the brickies won't have too much to complain about.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back to the House

Her indoors spoke to the SS today after a few calls to get in touch.  Here is a bit of an update:
  • Windows are to be moved higher in the rumpus (although he will look into the size issue).
  • Overhand of flooring is not a big deal (this is my opinion also, however I want something in writing stating that I was concerned just in case something goes wrong in the future).
  • Stain glass will be put in the front windows much later on.
  • It looks like the brickies may be back toward the end of this week.
  • Electricians will be roughing in in a couple of weeks.
  • We could still make before Christmas.
No comment on the extra nailing required, however we will keep on them for this.  So hopefully by later this week I will post pictures of the house rather than cakes.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Second Party / Second Cake

As usual we have a party for the school friends and a party for our friends and family.  So I was at it again last night:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Stadium Update

OK now for the finished product

Friday, August 20, 2010

Stadium Construction (non building related)

It's the eldest boy's b'day soon so we are having a party on the weekend.  Her indoors had the idea of doing a cake with some dessicated coconut on it that had been dyed green.  Like this:
She found this design here.

I said that looked great, but I thought I'd add my own touches, you can also tell what team he goes for too now:

I've still got to put ribbons around it and add some balls like the one above but I'll do that before the party.  This is my first attempt at this sort of cake construction and I have another party on Sunday to try to improve on this, maybe I'll just do a brown and yellow football.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We've been wrapped

I've seen this title on so many other blogs etc. and now it is time for us:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Site Visit / Plumbing and Sound Insulation

Sorry I haven't posted for a while. I'm trying to do my tax and other things so I am getting more of "why do you an mum spend so much tim on those laptops?" 

On Thursday morning I met up with the Site Supervisor (SS). We were both early and I went through the list with him in almost 45 minutes.  Unfortunately, as far as her indoors is concerned, I missed out on the most important question "will we be in by Christmas?"  The SS was pretty easy going about the list of items and asked that I send them in an email.  He did do the expected "Well the insulation isn't in the spec, so that's why we didn't put it in."  I followed this up with it is on the signed drawings and I am sure that it would be required for a five star rating.  This was followed by, "Oh well, I suppose someone is going to get into trouble."

As I was finishing up with the SS the plumbers arrive to start to rough the plumbing into the frames.  They got all of the pipework in, the only thing that I couldn't see was there was no water supply for the evaporative cooling. I also noticed that the pipes for the hot water supply was insulated but not with what Jay and Kylee was describing as appropriate insulation.

We have recently been looking into providing some extra insulation within the house, predominantly for soundproofing.  We want to make sure that bathroom noises don't pass into the boys rooms etc.  Her indoors did some phone shopping and drove around and found some good deals for Bradford Soundscreen insulation.  We've sized them up and now we need to order them, according to the SS we can put them in any time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Research on Queries / Some pictures

I had a bit of a chance to look through the BCA (Building Code of Australia) today and look through some codes, so I have reviewed some of my queries / concerns.
  • Overhanging of bottom framing plates over particle board flooring, up to 40mm*  The Building Commissions Guide to Standards and Tolerances states that an over a slab there should not be more than 10mm of overhang.  I could not find any details relating to timber on particle board, however this would be similar.
  • Deep bottom chord on short span truss compared to longer span trusses* - I will need to discuss this with the builder to see if I can get a copy of the frame design.  This does not make sense to me.
  • Hold down straps in garage are not connected to timber* Table 9.4 gives minimum connection details and states that three nails on each leg of the strap is required.
  • Top plate splice in lounge appears poorly finished* Cl 9.2.8 of AS1684.2 gives minimum connection details for the top plate.  I don't think that this has been met.
  • Only one set of bracing on North wall*  This looks OK, however I will still ask about it.
  • Large gaps around some windows* I'm sure this is to allow suitable fixing etc. however again I will just ask.
  • Very poor site drainage has water pooling near most foundations. Figure of BCA gives guidance as to avoid water pooling under a house. The guide to standards and tolerances also states "Slab and footing failures are defects when they are caused by foundation movements that are the result of local drying and wetting caused by such factors as the effects of trees, excessive wetting or lack of site drainage when these factors were present during construction."
  • No flashing used on garage bricks* Again this may be OK, however I will just ask.
  • Termite protection on top of stumps may not be up to scratch* I have not been able to find any details on this, however I'm not confident in the capping on the stumps.
  • Wonky verticals under lounge room window*  I'll need to measure this to see if it meets the standards and tolerances
  • Only two brick ties in garage where it will connect to front lounge window* I missed this one in the BCA I think I may be able to find this one.
Here are some photos of the problems
Lack of insulation
Crack in Stump
Overhand of bottom plates
Poor site drainage

Monday, August 9, 2010

Room4acubby Inspection Service

So Sunday afternoon her indoors dropped me off at the house (I can now call it a house now instead of a block) to perform an uninterrupted inspection.  I had a camera, a tape measure, a note bad and a copy of AS1684.2 Residential Timber-Framed Construction - Part 2: Non-cyclonic areas.  I also had a copy of AS1684.2 N1/N2 Supplement 2 Residential Timber-Framed Construction Part 2: Non-cyclonic areas N1/N2 Supplement 2: Timber framing span tables - Wind classification N1/N2-Seasoned softwood-stress grade F7 (supplement to AS1684.2).  Now I'm used to quoting codes but I think that that last one is ridiculous.

I started by wandering around the house taking photos of things that looked suspect and measuring bits and pieces.  I had already reasonably familiarized myself with AS1684 however I had only got to the wall section, I'm yet to read the roof and bracing section, however I will get there tonight hopefully.

Following this I went through all of the tables in the supplement to see that the spans and spacings of the studs, the noggins the trusses etc. all met the requirements.  The only things that didn't match up were some of the spacings of the bearers, however given that I was reviewing to stress grade F7 rather than MGP10 I think it was all OK.  Unfortunately I couldn't freely download the MGP10 supplement as work so I had to go with F7 which is not as stiff a grade of timber as the MGP10 (Machine Graded Pine grade 10).

The following is a list of concerns that I have with the construction as it stands.  This is from memory and with no photos.  I may add more photos and more items tonight:
  • No subfloor insulation, which differs from plans
  • Cracks in three stumps
  • Overhanging of bottom framing plates over particle board flooring, up to 40mm*
  • Insufficient nailing of particle board flooring (nails should be 150mm apart at ends, they were more like 200mm) 
  • Use of multiple timber beams for load bearing jamb studs etc did not have sufficient joining nails.  AS1684 requires nails at at least 600 centers.
  • Deep bottom chord on short span truss compared to longer span trusses*
  • Hold down straps in garage are not connected to timber*
  • Top plate splice in lounge appears poorly finished*
  • Missing noggin in lounge room 
  • Missing noggin in rumpus room
  • Rumpus windows are the wrong size
  • Only one set of bracing on North wall*
  • Poor bricks / mortar near rear garage door. (I think these have been done deliberately so that they can be easily replaced with vents)
  • Large gaps around some windows*
  • No stain glass in windows (they may come this way and then require replacement)
  • There is a stud directly where the return air will be going
  • Nails in aluminium windows which may cause dissimilar metal corrosion. 
  • Some general poor quality timber in places and poorly aligned  strutting in the roofing. 
  • Very poor site drainage has water pooling near most foundations
  • No flashing used on garage bricks* 
  • Timber columns used for alfresco whereas design calls for brick piers (most likely a temporary solution). 
  • Termite protection on top of stumps may not be up to scratch* 
  • Wonky verticals under lounge room window*
  • Only two brick ties in garage where it will connect to front lounge window*
 * - items which are yet to be verified in the code or other documentation.
 Even though the above may look like quite a long list I am really quite happy with the progress and the quality is really very good compared to some inspection reports I've had a look through.

I have a few more things that I want to do before I finalise my review however.  I need to finish going through the roof and bracing component of AS1684, I need to review all of the photos to check things like corner blocking of studs etc. and following fit off of electrical and plumbing I will want to have another look to make sure there are not too many cut outs etc.

I am in the process of arranging a site visit with the Site Supervisor so that I can go over the above.  I wrote the following nicely worded email to the builder to organise this and as usual I got a prompt response saying that it will be actioned and they will give me a time.

"I have quite a few queries associated with the framing at our house, all of which I am sure that the Site Supervisor can answer very easily and satisfy my concerns, however I feel that it would be easier to accomplish this with a site visit and a walk through.

Is it at all possible to arrange a walk through with the site supervisor at any time, I will be able to make myself available at almost any time. The queries include things like:
  • missing noggins 
  • no subfloor insulation 
  • the occasional misaligned brick.
All of which may be as simple as these have been deliberately left that way to facilitate another stage in the construction, however I just want to make sure that they are fixed if they are an issue."

Friday, August 6, 2010

Monument Rox

That is the title of the email I just got from her indoors, followed by these photos.  The roof is going on and some windows are in...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Guttering / Facia / WIndows - more

More progress today despite the miserable weather, they really do have the hurry along.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Guttering, facia and windows arrive

More progress today so thing are really happening. Her indoors went past this morning and had a chat with the roof plumbers (no not plumber or roof fixers but roof plumbers). They said that our project had been given the push along, which it certainly seems like at the moment.

They were working on the facia and guttering today.

 And this is later in the day
Here are some of our windows
We also got an email from our lovely neighbour with the photos that she took when the builders were at the early stage of framing.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Roof Truss Cross Bracing and Base Stage Invoice

This morning they were adding bracing to the roof truss.
We also received our base stage invoice today.  The base stage is described as:

"In the case of a home with a timber floor, the stage when the concrete footings for the floor are poured and the base brickwork is built to floor level."

Looking back through the blog I think that this happened on the 9th of July.  Now for the next stage 'Frame Stage' defined as:

"the stage when a home's frame is completed and approved by a building surveyor."  This one may not be that far off.

I've also done a bit of a quick look though other blogs to see how long it took from the stage that we are at to handover to see if we have any chance of being in before Christmas.  Unfortunately it looks like 5 to 6 months from now which puts us just behind that hurdle.  Oh well fingers crossed.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Roof Trusses going up and minimal engineering

Got sent these photos during the day from her indoors.
The first two were in the morning and the last was by 3:30.  Not bad for a days work.

I also phoned the builders office to see if I could get the engineers design for the frame.  Here is an extract of the extent of what they have:

Note that the above "engineering" states "conventional timber flooring to AS1684.  I was expecting a little more.  It would be like a bridge engineer showing on a drawing Point A and Point B with a line between stating "bridge to AS5100"  It would make the engineers job a lot easier, however I wouldn't want to be the people constructing the bridge.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Frame Started

Hi Everyone,

Sorry about the lack of posts.  We've been away.  We got a text on Tuesday from a neighbour, apparently w whole pile of timber was delivered.

We returned on Friday to see the following:

More bricking has been done (up to top of garage) and all of the walls have been done.  It was fantastic wondering around the house and imagining myself in the kitchen and thinking of what the garden will look like.  Here are some views of different rooms:
View from the kitchen out the window to North and out to alfresco.
View out to alfresco.
View down to rumpus
Our highlight windows in the rumpus.  They are actually lower than we thought, but looking at the plans they seem to be in the right place.  Oh well we'll live with this.
View out rumpus rear window

The only things that seem to be amiss are the wall extension into the walk in pantry isn't long enough and her indoors spotted some cracks in the concrete piers.  We'll mention these to the our construction manager on Monday and I'll also ask for the structural design of the frame, as I want to make sure everything is correct.  From my quick look at what they have done so far everything seems to be in the right place.  There is still some bracing and boards that don't seem to have been installed however I presume that these are just yet to come.