Saturday, February 26, 2011

Verandah Downpipes Fixed

Stopped by this morning and noticed some guttering in the bin. I borrowed this for the future cubby development.

The guttering at the front has been replaced with one with a hole at the right end.

It looks like they even fixed the fall of the new guttering. Have a look at the paint line in the next photo.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

"They're killing it in."

Apparently that is what the glaziers were doing to our stained glass windows today.  Unfortunately when our youngest fires a water pistol he says "kill, kill, kill."  Hence "killing it in" is what glaziers would have been doing with the nail gun around the perimeter of the new windows.
Here is the homicidal glazier.
The plumbers don't seem to have finished putting up all of the down pipes, which is a good thing.  Because I hope that they don't leave this one as it is:
One of these downpipes should be on the left of the verandah.  Hopefully this is just a temporary fix.  I find it strange that there was a pipe coming out of the ground to the left and now there is nothing going into it.

It looks more like a house

Now that the bricks have been cleaned and the facade has been painted (although possibly not how we want it) the house looks more like a house.  I have even noticed that in the blog posts I have been referring to it as "a house" as distinct from "a site." The down pipes went in yesterday and the carpenter is working on the alfresco decking today.
The blue bit to the left will be finished with a rough cast render and the outer windows will be replaced with stained glass.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fretting over fretwork

Antique White USA or Manor Red?

I went by the house this morning to see the painters continuing on the facade. They have painted the vertical timber bits on our gables manor red.

This seems to be how we specified the paint. However we thought that those little white bits should also be red. We have two choices now. Either argue that the spec we copied was wrong and that this should be fixed. This may result in us having to pay a variation. Or leave it as it is. The painter was happy to fix it, however since it was in the spec he would need approval from Romeo.

The painter was kind enough to let me look through the house. It looks as though water has got in from the brick cleaning and stained the floorboards near the front door.

Hopefully sanding and staining will get rid of this.

Also I've noticed that the expansion joints in the brickwork do not appear to continue all the way up the brickwork.

I would have thought that the movement will need to be taken out over the whole depth. Without a continuation over the window the mortar in this are could crack. Don't ask me though I'm just a structural engineer.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Brick Cleaning in progress

At least there is something else I can cross off my list of things that need to get done.  The brick cleaner was on site this morning.  I think the facade looks great with clean bricks.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Painting started

We had three trades at our house today. An electrician was there doing something in our meter box. Our carpenter was there, apparently still not sure what to do with our deck (we will send him a photo and sketch of what was at the display home). And our painters were there.

Her indoors stopped by after a work meeting and got stuck talking. Whilst this may not be surprising to those who know her she was in a hurry. She was waylaid by the carpenter about the deck and then the painters wanted to make sure they had everything right about the paint. Apparently the painters were very careful to make sure they had e everything right. Her indoors helped to make sure that every feature wall was in the right place and that the right colour was above and below the picture rail. Lucky I wasn't there.

Unfortunately we stuffed up our selection for the exterior paints. Do you see something weird.

They have painted the fretwork in the cables antique white USA. We could swear that we had never chosen that colour, however that is exactly what we had copied from the display home selections. Now that I know what fretwork is I may have been able to see the error but back then we had no idea. It should really be manor red.

The carpenter has also finished some more fretwork over the master bedroom.

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4 to 6 weeks?

Well the meeting on Wednesday morning went OK. I was given a timeline of four to six weeks and an apology for putting our site supervisor under too much pressure.

The director seemed to be a reasonable bloke however he did tell me that it was rain that had caused most of the delays which got me very annoyed. He did also contradict himself in saying that he would take responsibility for the finalization but then kept referring back to the site supervisor. That is, he would say I will have to get the site supervisor to sort that out.

Supposedly the painting should have started already. He said if they don't start painting by Friday (today) he would get a different contractor in. Therefore if there isn't any action today by 4:00 he will get a phone call. The painting is supposed to take a week.

Following our meeting in the morning there still did not seem to be any action. However yesterday it looks like the electricians have been around.

There are holes where most power points and switches should go.

It looks like they haven't finished though as we are supposed to have two power points in the splashback.

Oh well we'll see how things go for now.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Take a breath and relax

Well that is what I will do until Wednesday morning when I will be meeting a director of Romeo Homes at the house. This all came to a head on Wednesday and Thursday last week.

I was in the process of drafting a detailed letter to Romeo discussing our disappointment at the delays and the claim for inclement weather. Just as I was reviewing it with her indoors I got an email from the construction manager with a breakdown of inclement weather. "Unfortunately I don't know what was booked for the days you requested." and "whilst work may not have been booked for your job delays at other projects will effect yours." After picking my jaw up from the floor for this stupidity I redrafted my letter to the top level at Romeo.

That night I got a reply from one director who passed the buck to the other because he deals with the job up to permits. He still tried to defend the method of counting every work day with rain of more than one millimeter. "Rain is a pain in the ass."

Thursday morning I sent a response including 8 reasons why this method was wrong and unethical. Such as most of the days claimed included work on the site. Lots of the days were after the house was wrapped. They only provided this information when it was asked for.

Later that day I got an email from the other director, the one responsible for construction, he will now take over our construction "to repair our relationship" with Romeo. So Wednesday morning I'm meeting him at the house to go through what's next.

My main aim is to make sure everything that is supposed to done for fixing invoice has been done.

Cornice still not done in kitchen.

Garage still not finished.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Painting? Fixing? Meeting?

It looks like the painters may have been by and bogged the holes.

See the white dots. I assume that it is the painters finishing off.

We got the fixing invoice today. I immediately asked for a walkthrough with the site supervisor.

I think I also need to start playing hard ball because once this invoice is paid there is only 10% left to scare them with.

So hopefully a meeting soon.

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Progress? Carpenter v SS and issues.

Well a few things have happened during the week however nowhere near enough to finish by the end of this upcoming week.
On Tuesday plaster was put into the garage and on the ceiling in alfresco.
On Wednesday nothing really seemed to happen.
On Thursday the carpenter was there and her indoors caught up with him.
On Friday I got a call from the Site Supervisor but not too much seemed to happen
Yesterday I went by and had a look around after the heavy rain.
Carpenter v SS
Her indoors not being one to hold back had a good chat with the carpenter to see if he knew how progress was going and what we could expect next.  As usual he seemed to be in a reasonably bad mood and was whinging about things.  He did however tell us a lot about the building game and why some projects (ie. ours) get delayed.  It is all to do with communication.
Apparently our carpenter pops by quite frequently to see if things have done.  If he doesn't see that the plasteres are there finishing their work he doesn't see it is necessary to get on with his work.  According to the carpenter the painters have been past quite frequently to see if the plasterers have finished and then just left. We still have nails in the plaster in the cornices to keep them in place and the garage and alfresco are not finished.  It is only once this is sorted that the painters will start.
So why is it that the plasteres aren't finishing.  Supposedly due to the current lack of skilled tradies they have a lot of power over the builders. If they aren't being paid fast enough or if there is not enough communication they will work on another builders project who is a lot easier to work with.  To me this sounds like the builders are better at getting contracts sorted between their clients and themselves than they are at organising appropriate contracts with the different trades that they use.
It is not all that reassuring hearing all of this complaining about the builder from the trades but it seemed to be aimed at the builder themselves rather than at the Site Supervisor.
During this period of discovery her indoors thought that she had better check that the communication channels were actually working. She asked the carpenter whether he was aware that we were expecting the alfresco decking to have a border surround.  It appeared to us as though he had started to make the deck without a flat border of merbau decking.  Unfortunately with her indoors inability to think in three dimensions and her distinct lack of patience in explaining things the conversation with the carpenter about this aspect of decking took quite a lot of hand waving and took a while to get anywhere.  In the end the carpenter understood, however he was adamant that he had not been told and that none of the information he had told him how the decking was supposed to turn out.  He also said that most of the frame for the decking that he had already made would have to ripped out and rebuilt.
The next day I received a phone call from the Site Supervisor early in the morning.  He assured me that he had told the carpenter that we wanted the deck with a border surround and that the carpenter must ave selective hearing.  He also assured me that the it is just a matter of adding a couple of extra joists to ensure that I specified deck is achieved.
I thought that I had better summarise our current outstanding issues in the one place.
Timing - This is probably the thing that we worry about the most at the moment. When is this house going to be ours?  On Friday morning the SS told me that plastering would be finished this weekend.  This is clearly not the case.  I think the painters will yet again come by to a non finished house.
Wet foundations - When I went by yesterday I again noticed that the drainage was very poor.  I will yet again bring this up in writing.
Inclement Weather - We are yet to receive any details or justification for the inclement weather.  This will form the basis of letter that will be sent to Romeo this afternoon.
Sill Bricks - These have not been rectified
Vents - There appear to be some areas where vents should be added to the brickwork where they do not appear to have been put in place.