Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Heating Ducts

OK so I've been extremely slack and haven't updated the blog with all of the details that I promised.  Also I'm sur you don't care about heating ducts but this.post comes at the request of her indoors and she must be obeyed.

Anyway we have now been in our fantastic house for three months now and we are still sorting out things such as curtains and landscaping.  As part of getting the curtains organised we've had an interior designer helping out and she noticed that some of our heating vents are a little too close to the windows.  This.may cause a problem with our curtains.

Romeo have been very good with the three month maintenane items that we informed them of so far.  They've sent out the heating guy already, the garage guy will be there today and the plumbers tomorrow.  Our zoning on the heating wasn't working correctly the evap cooling wasn't pumping water and the sub floor ducting needed to be better secured.  This was all done with no fuss but when we asked about the vent location the guy said they should be further away but they won't do anything about.  Her indoors has a cousin in the heating and cooling game and his advice is that best practice is to use a template that ensures that the vents are 50mm from the wall or 150mm from a window. This has not been done in our case. The biggest problem is our master bedroom and the lounge where we want flowing curtains down to the floor. With a vent right in the way this will be a problem.

So this is for you people (Linnibea and JanineK) who can still get things right. Thinks.of your window.furnishings when placing vents. Also if anyone can point me to the strict rules on heater vent placement please let me know so that I can get the heating people to get it right.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A lot has happened

Hi all and a million apologies for the extreme lack of updates.

Hopefully over the next few weeks we can update you on the following:
  • photos of the house
  • driveway installation
  • renting out our old house
  • beginings of landscaping
  • interior decorating
  • storage ideas
  • 3 month maintenance requirements (things that aren't quite right)
  • and all things relating to preparing to build the cubby
Again I am so sorry for the lack of updates.  I will really try to get more info on this blog.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

We're In

Successful handover today.

We are camping out in the house tonight.

These are our old stools that her indoors wants to update ASAP.
My son made up the display in the first photo.
Cleaner and our driveway to come tomorrow removalists on Monday.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hand over this week?

Well they still didn't get everything together last week to satisfy the inspector for the certificate of occupancy.  Supposedly he needed a certificate to indicate that termite protection had been done, however this was not provided to him.

This of course meant that we will have very little time to get the cetificate of occupancy to our bank in order for them to organise an inspection and then get the cheque to us in time for hand over.  Her indoors was the one to find this out and using her usual negotiation techniques managed to get an assurance from the site supervisor that we will be in by the end of this week.  So it was action stations on Friday afternoon. Appliances were booked to be delivered on Thursday and we are hunting for removalists.  The one we had lined up may only be able to do the Tuesday after the Queens birthday long weekend.  This may actually be great, it will give us the whole long weekend to get things sorted for the move and even to move some things ourselves.

So I thought that I had better put together a list of things that still need to be done:
  • Touch up around the alfresco pillars following the rebricking.
  • Need an aerial
  • Need some lights to be fixed that aren't working
  • Solar hot and gas hot water needs to be connected
  • Need garage remote controls
  • Need bolts for sliding doors
  • All locks are to be keyed alike
  • Check that insulation is finished in ceiling
  • The privacy lock to the toilet doesn't quite work properly
  • Warped steelwork above verandah still needs repair
  • There are a few locations where the mortar colour will need to be fixed up
  • Need to check that the toilets are properly sealed
  • Security system needs to go in
  • Ducted heating needs to be working
  • There is a really bad kink in the gas supply to the ducted heating
  • The power supply to the ducted heating is via an extension cord, this is not acceptable.
  • Down pipes still have not been painted at the base
  • Alfresco gas supply has not been fitted off
  • The bath tap needs to be re-attached
  • Mortar on the alfresco pillars will need to be cleaned and possibly recoloured
  • Need to check that the mortar near the sub floor access has been repaired
  • Need evidence from the electrician that the light covers are acceptable.
  • The 50mm hole in the bathroom vanity needs to be sealed in some way
  • The 2.9m long shelf in Bed 2 needs reinforcing due to the long span

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pillars are down

We went by on Sunday and this is what we saw.

Yes the alfresco columns are down. They'd also borrowed my barrow (which I had left in my back yard from my brick moving experience) to sort some bricks into the garage in preparation for bricking.
They have also done some earth works down the side.

They may have finished the bricking yesterday, however we couldn't confirm this.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lots to update but we still aren't in

Sorry about the lack of updates but things have been a little hectic.  I've hardly been in Melbourne and our new Site Supervisor has been keeping us busy.
We thought that we may have been in the house on Friday 27th May.  We spent Friday 20th May walking through with our independent inspector.  Yes, given that we had so many issues from our previous site supervisor we thought that we had better have a new set of eyes have a look.  On Monday we also got our final invoice which we needed to send to the bank to get them started on processing our final payment.  With the invoice we also needed to send the bank the certificate of occupancy....

Oh yeah the certificate of occupancy......(more on that in a bit)

Our indendent inspector had found a few things that we hadn't noticed, but mostly his extremely good and extensive list included what we already knew.  Here's just a quick snapshot:
  • underfloor access door should be painted

  • drainage around the house needs to be fixed (something I have been mentioning for far too long)
  • insulation not finished

  • some down lights too close to timber in the ceiling
Then there were a few minor things that were good to have noticed:
  • doors rubbing on carpet
  • seals required on doors to garagae
  • scratches on benchtops
  • tiles out of alignment.

Then there were three reasonably big things:
  • Not enough gap under the master bedroom windows
  • Tiles in master ensuite shower did not have an appropriate step to stop water coming out of the shower
  • And here's the interesting one.  The brick perpends (the vertical bit of mortar between the bricks) are too wide on the alfresco pillars. Including the one that was rebuilt
So we spent the Tuesday morning (within 24 hours of getting the report from the inspector) walking through with the Site Supervisor.  He was really good, everything was to be fixed, painted or repaired, except for a few things.
  • Apparently the electrician had already put baffles on the top of the lights and these mean that they can be closer to timber.  He will get the electrician to supply this information to me.
  • He wasn't too worried about the lack of the gap on the master bedroom window as there was about a 5mm gap when a 10mm gap is required.  If anything is to go wrong it will present itself as cracks in the master bedroom plaster.  So we may need to revisit this after the 3 months maintenance period.
  • The shower was actually our fault.  This is the arrrangement that we wanted so we were going to stick with this.  We didn't want the whole bathroom re-tiled.
  • The brick perpends on the alfresco pillars was something that we didn't mind too much about as they matched well to each other and were now quite neat.
Then came the certificate of occupancy.

On the afternoon of our walkthrough with the site supervisor the builders inspector came around to supply the certifcate of occupancy.  We were a bit worried about the following things:
  • There were no steps coming out of our laundry door
  • Our alfresco decking was over 1m high off the ground and there was no balustrading.
Apparently these can be got around by ensuring that the owner does something about them.  Unfortunately he found two things that we weren't really ready for.
  • The first was the front steps that the builder had put in needed a landing.
  • The second was the perpends on the alfresco brick pillars.  They needed to be fixed.
To fix the front steps they could build up soil to make the number of steps less.  For the brick perpends Romeo tried to get an engineer to sign off on them (unlikely given that they are outside the limits of the code).  So the engineer offered two solutions.  Rebuild or render (cover up the problem so that no one know?).
So on Saturday down came the pillars, one for the second time.

Oh well more to come.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What needs to be finished?

I was getting a little frustrated with the lack of progress yesterday so I thought I would let the builders know what needed to done. Here are some extracts from emails I sent yesterday. I am posting this from my iPhone so the format won't be great, however I may come back and fix it up if I get a chance.

Dear builder, thank you for the brief update on what is to be done following our phone call. As discussed I have put into writing all that I am aware of that requires work at Room4aCubbies place. Could you please provide responses for the items marked with an asterisk (*).

Items required to be completed / fixed. (this is not an exhaustive list - we expect that The Builder would have a greater understanding of what needs to be done)

Window aluminium infills. Following the re-bricking it is understood that the lintels in some locations have been installed higher than the top of the windows, resulting in a gap. Apparently this was necessary due to the large mortar gaps created by the previous brickie. Could you please provide details as to what will be done about these items and when these will be repaired.*
Privacy Locks. It is understood that the privacy locks will be installed this week.
Hole above master bedroom. When viewing the house from the rear it is evident that there is a hole that is yet to be filled at the back end of the master bedroom gable. When will this be rectified. *
Sub floor insulation. Understood to be going in on Thursday.
Repair of corroded steelwork on lintels. It is noted that some of the steelwork used for the lintels has developed spot corrosion. How is this to be repaired and by when. *
Eaves around alfresco require repair. Due to the brick repair there is some work required on the eaves and timberwork around the alfresco. This will need to be replaced and repainted.
Front verandah eaves require repair. Due to the brick repair the ceiling of the verandah will require repair.
Warped steelwork above front verandah. The colourbond flashing above the front verandah contains a crease. When will this be repaired? *
Timber beading near master bedroom and other locations due to brick repair requires replacement.
Bracket in Garage. There is a bracket in the front left corner of the garage as you enter which will need to be removed.
Sliding door beading. Currently there is no beading hiding the sliding door mechanism. This will need to be installed and painted appropriately.
Mortar Colour. I understand that the mortar will need to be recoloured. We agreed with your director that this could be done following hand over, however we require evidence that this has been ordered and paid for by The Builder.
Damp Proof Course. Due to the brick repairs there has been damage done to the Damp Proof Course membrane. A solution discussed with your Director was to apply an epoxy to seal this mortar. We require details of this solution and when it will be done. Similarly to the Mortar Colour this can be done following hand over, however we require evidence that it has been ordered and paid for by The Builder.
Scratch on Drawer. There is a scratch on a drawer in the Bathroom Vanity.
Sealing WIP. There is a gap to the left of the bench in the walk in pantry. When will this be sealed? *
Sealing Brickwork. The expansion joints in the brickwork require sealing. When will this be done? *
Stain Glass windows. The stain glass windows in the bedroom need to be swapped with those in the lounge.
Termite Protection. When will this be done? *

New toilets. It is understood that the new toilets will be installed on Tuesday or Wednesday this week. Just to clarify, these toilets are to be BTW toilets Reece code 9501855 Porcher Cygnet BTW Standard Close Coupled.
Plumbing of new toilets. It is assumed that the plumbing of these new toilets will be also performed on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Sealing of new toilets. It is assumed that the sealing of these new toilets will be also performed on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Longer tap in bath. The current outlet for the bath in the bathroom is too short and is very close to the edge of the bath. Please provide details of the proposed new tap and when this will be installed.*
Repair of Downpipes. It is understood that the downpipes will be repaired on Tuesday or Wednesday. It should be noted that some of the stormwater drainage pipes at the base of the downpipes has been damaged during the brick repair and these will require repair.

ELECTRICAL (provide timeframe for electrical work*)
Dimmers There do not appear to be any dimmers installed as per our selections
Power points in Vanities. The ensuite and bathroom vanities were to have power points inside them. This does not appear to have happened.
Microwave Power Point. There is no power point for the microwave in the walk in pantry
Stove GPO. Currently there are only two points for the ovens, there does not appear to be a powerpoint for the stove (we require 3 in total.)
Undercabinet light provision . It is not clear whether provision for undercabinet lighting has been provided.
Security System Power Point. There should be a power point for the security system in the walk in robe in the master bedroom.
Network hub. There does not appear to be a network connection in bed 4. There should be 7 network points.
There needs to be a double GPO at the rear of the house.
There needs to be a double GPO in the alfresco.
The external electrical work still need to be completed.

Repair of plaster for new toilets. Following removal of the new toilets it is understood that there may be some damage to the plaster. Please provide details as to when this repair will be done. *
Alfresco Ceiling. The cornices in the alfresco require replacement. When will this occur. *
Cornice in Laundry. There is still a noticeable gap in the cornice in the laundry. This will require repair.
Electrical Repair. Following the work performed by the electrician there is likely to be work required to repair plaster.

Repainting of lintels. Following the repair of the lintels from corrosion they will need to be repainted. When will this occur.*
Repainting of eaves around alfresco
Painting of external paintwork that has been repaired. There will need to be multiple coats applied to all of the timber and cladding used to repair areas following the rebricking. When will this occur? *
Painting of render coat. The rough cast render on the master bedroom gable needs to be painted.
Fix all painting throughout the house. The following items will need attention and need more coats:
repair of plaster from toilets / electrical / other
  • Picture rail is not painted on the top
  • Top and bottom of doors
  • Between the Walk in Wardrobe and the Master Ensuite the wall appears to only have one coat.
  • The Alfresco ceiling only appears to have one coat.
  • Other general areas will require attention.

Inclement weather. As we have heard no further information relating to inclement weather from The Builder regarding our estimate for inclement weather it is understood that The Builders have accepted our calculation of inclement weather of 14 days. Therefore the contractual finish date is 6/3/2011 based on your notice of commencement and the 10 days included for inclement weather within the contract.
Agreed Damages. Following from the above inclement weather we have calculated an agreed damages as per the contract as $2,442.85 as of today and a further $42.86 per calendar day from now on until all work meets the required specifications.
Final Invoice. Until all items identified above, all items identified in our final inspection and any item identified by our independent inspection is fully rectified we will not be paying the final invoice. We also expect that this final invoice will include a deduction for the damages as detailed above.
Documentation required. Further to contractually required documentation could you also provide the truss design documentation that you would have received from the truss suppliers.
Independent Inspector. Due to the poor workmanship that has been found in some areas we have opted to engage an independent inspector. Could you please let us know when the best time to have them review the house is. *

If you require any clarification relating to the above please do not hesitate to contact me.

After I sent the above info I realized I'd still managed to leave some items out. So I sent a second email.

Further to the previous email the following items also need to be attended to:
  • Garage Doors
  • Ducted Heating
  • Ducted Vacuuming
  • Hot water booster for solar hot water
  • Staining of Alfresco Decking
  • Covers for ceiling entry manholes
  • Levelling of site, particularly around alfresco pillars and rear of house where water is pooling under North West corner.
  • Appliance Fit Off including fitting of three lights to front of house. Please provide us with an expected time that you require delivery.
  • The paintwork on the front door appears to include lots of little white dots.
  • Installation of temporary stairs
  • Softclosing hinges for kitchen and bathroom cupboards.

This list is still not exhaustive and there may be other items requiring attention.

I am sure that my only response will be a yes we are looking into it, but I suppose they have now been told.....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Nearmap - Spot the difference

I finally managed to have a look at the latest nearmap image of the house:
This one is dated 6/4/11 - You can see that we now have our solar hot water collector at the top of the image and the evaporative cooling at the bottom of the image.  Also you can see the pile of demolished bricks in the front yard.
 This is what the roof looked like in November last year.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Too many bricks

What shall we do with these bricks?

These are the bricks that we have saved and put to the back.

These are the bricks still left in the front.

The brickies have now finished and the brickwork looks excellent. The sill bricks are just right and the expansion joints go all the way up and down now. The mortar is all spaced nice and evenly it will now just need to be re coloured.

We still haven't had a final inspection yet and we still don't know when we will be in the house but things at least are still moving.

Last week, after multiple calls to the office, I was finally told that a site clean was going to happen on Thursday. I knew that there was another huge batch of bricks left so I left work early on Wednesday and started moving bricks from the pallets at the front to the stack we had started at the back. This was very hard work with my cheap wheelbarrow and rain and mud. I managed to move about two pallets worth (750 bricks). We now have about 1500 bricks stacked in the backyard.

On Thursday morning whilst I was shopping for our Easter trip away I drove past the house to see the site being cleaned.

I asked what they were going to do with the bricks still left in the front and they planned to leave them. Then our new site supervisor arrived. His first statement after our introductions was do you want to keep all of these bricks. He said they can move them out of the way of the driveway for us if I want. All of that work on Wednesday to save the bricks and they could have done it for me.

Anyway at least the bricks are all ok. Now to bombard the new site supervisor with lots of questions. He had copies of my email queries with him and we went through each and every one.

He called the insulation people to see when the subfloor insulation would go in. They were in the process of scheduling it and it should go in this week. The right toilets need to be delivered, I made sure that he had exactly the right code etc. Unfortunately this means that the plaster behind the toilets will need to be fixed.

We pretty much went through everything and I am now pretty confident that by final inspection all should be good. Unfortunately it looks like final inspection won't be until next week. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, April 8, 2011

We have a splashback

Her indoors is not 100% on the colour, however I think it works well.

It really depends what angle you look at it.

Once the power points are right and we have light working it will change again.

Apparently the director at Romeo is sick this week, this has pushed our inspection out to next week. The brickies are back and redoing the rest of the house.
More to follow...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, March 31, 2011

One coat and I love it

Just got these emailed from her indoors:
The email was titled "Stinks but worth it" 

Stripes, sparks and bricks

Popped by last night to see the sparkies cleaning up and asked if we could have a look inside ;-)
The first thing we saw was a stripy floor.

The floor sander had been there.

It seems as though they have done a first pass sand and have filled the holes with a dark putty. This must be where the Firestreak floor boards get that awesome look.

It's fantastic to see the floors being done as this puts us on schedule for a final inspection of the inside by some time next week.

The sparkies seem to have made a few errors. This is most likely due to the fact that the poor guy doing the work only gets a faxed copy of the colour coded hand scribbled plans.

I am supposed to have 7 network points coming out of here too.

We have battens


And the flush powerpoints on the kitchen bench look awesome.

The brickies were also there and have finished the north wall. The scaffolding had gone so I assume that they will take a few days off to let the floor sanding and polishing finish and then come back to do the rest.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Walls down or floors polished?

Following my review of the brick work the other day I felt a bit down.  Following this her indoors chatted to the brickies on Monday and she ended up a bit down.  Apparently her conversation even resulted in the hint of water works starting so the poor brickie felt a little sorry for her.  This prompted her to ask "If this was your house would you be happy with a patch repair of the other walls?"  Being a brickie with high standards of course the only answer he could give was "No."

This prompted a phone call to the builder the next morning asking for an immediate meeting on site, which ended up happening yesterday afternoon.  After walking around the house and pointing out areas that were unacceptable Romeo have now agreed to the following:
  • Remove all of the bricks above the lower course of the highlight bricks on the South and West Walls.
  • Remove the bricks between the rumpus ans study window
  • Remove the bricks down to the fourth course from the top on the North West corner.
  • Remove the bricks to the right of the front door and down to the base of the lounge room window.
  • Reinstate all of these bricks with new of cleaned old bricks.
  • Repoint the internal corner at the front door to the full height.
  • Spot repair areas that look uneven.
  • Engage a firm to colour the final mortar so that matches across the project and provide a certificate and guarantee for this mortar colouring.
  • Reseal the damp proof layer with an epoxy and provide appropriate certification.

The reseal is required due to the following:
In the process of removing bricks the damp proof membrane has been damaged.

Following agreeing to all of this we were left with the decision as to what to do next.  Do we want to try to have the inside finished as early as possible so that we can get in, or do we want to have the brickies finish and then get the inside done.

After a bit of back and forwards we decided that the best course of action was to rebook the floor sanders / polishers (they had to be cancelled due to the bricking).  Have the brickies take a few days off whilst the floors are being done and then have them back once the floor has fully cured.  This way the inside can progress to final inspection and everything inside can be done.  We don't necessarily want to move in but with this in progress the bricks should be finished on the day of handover so everything should be sorted.

Our new timeframe is to have our final inspection in just over a week from now, then two weeks after that we have hand over.  We may be in just before the end of the easter school holidays.

By the way, here is our kitchen tap:

Monday, March 28, 2011

How not to brick

I had a comment the other day asking what to look for in bad brick work.  I have now educated myself and in the process of kicking myself many times for not doing this months ago, I now know what to look for:

First go to the Victorian Building Commissions Guide to Standards and Tolerances.  Particularly look at the following information:
The masonry information in the guide appears to be taken from AS3700, the Australian Standard for Masonry Structures.

Other things to look for are really dirty bricks and windows.  Such as these:

Watch to see if the brickie adds detergent to the mortar mix.  This helps to make the mortar much more workable, however is a cheap solution to a plasticiser which is designed for the purpose.

Here's some photos of bad workmanship.
Greater than 15mm of perpend mortar.
Greater than 13mm of bedding mortar.
Crooked bricks and poor looking mortar
Internal corners are difficult, however should not look this bad.
Vertical perpends less than 5mm.

It's a bit of a shame that I could find all of these problems even after the brickies had started their repairs.  Stay tuned for more wall shattering posts.....

Thursday, March 24, 2011

And the Walls Came Tumbling Down

Just to prove that Romeo weren't kidding when they said that they would be fixing the brickwork, this is what her indoors saw today:

Communication is great!

"Communication is great." That is what the latest email from the director of the builder said. A little ironic that we are getting good communication now that the house is well over schedule and I am sending them constant updates as to what is happening on the block.

This email came after an email from me where I went through some points I was concerned with after the electricians and plumbers had started their fit off.

The first point was that there was only one cut out in splashback for a power point whereas we had specified two.

I had been told that the splashback was to be measured early this week.

The next concern was that the painting hadn't had a quality check. This was answered by the fact that painting wasn't finished and they would be back to clean up.

The plumber also seemed to have installed the wrong tap in the kitchen. We were hoping for an elegant pull out however we have only got a boring mixer. Apparently this tap is just a placeholder and will be replaced.

Further to the kitchen tap it looks like the toilets may be wrong we ordered BTW toilets which means Back To Wall. This ensures that there is no gap behind the toilet and gives them a cleaner look. We seem to have the right toilets bit not the BTW variety.

The final concern and probably the biggest was the quality of the brickwork. Since the brickwork had been cleaned it became obvious that there were serious issues with the quality of the brickwork. Particularly around the alfresco where our friends would sit around looking in detail at the workmanship.

Yesterday two bricks were on site and I had a chance to chat to them. Apparently it was the worst job either of them had seen. Whoohoo. It looks like one full length of wall from floor level to roof and from garage around the alfresco and to the back will be coming down. They will also be doing a lot of patch work here and there.

This is the start of some brick removal.

All of the sills along this side have been removed.

Apparently all of the repairs and rebuilding the wall will take 3 to 4 days and will not impact the schedule.

That's a lot of sand.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

We have a timeframe..

I received an email from the builder yesterday.  Here's the timeframe:

Tiler Finish by end of week
Heating fit off 18/3
Plumb fit off 21/3
Elect fit off 21/3
Insulation 22 / 3
Floor polish24/3
Carpet 30 / 3
Expansion joints etc to follow.

I asked for a bit of clarification and was told that we should deliver our appliances to the builder on the 1st of April and to be ready for our inspection on the 4th.  So assuming that there isn't too much fixing up to be done and that they meet the above timeframes we may be in by say the 8th of April.  Just in time for the school holidays.

Also yesterday the tiler has almost finished:
Her indoors is now much happier with the tiles above the bench in the laundry, the grout makes them look a lot less cream and they work well with the floor.
The bathroom just needs a bit more grout, hopefully this will make the feature tile next to the bath stand out a little more.
Similarly with a bit of light and more grout, the feature niche should look good.
The shower base looks good in the ensuite.
The vanity in the ensuite is looking good.  Just need a bit more grout and the mirror above.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tiles started

We returned from a long weekend camping today to have a look around. The first thing I noticed was that the door furniture has been installed.

This is the door from the garage into the walk in pantry.

They seem to have done all of the handles throughout the house. Unfortunately our privacy locks variation has slipped through unnoticed. Our hanging rails have been put into the cupboards.

The tiles have started.

They still need to do the grouting.

This is the laundry.

Still some more tiling to go though.

The painting seems to have been finished, however I think they need to do a quality check.

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