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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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tiles delivered

Unfortunately not too much action happened yesterday. However when we went in this is what we noticed.

Our tiles have been delivered.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Carpentry Finished

Popped by again last night and this is the first thing I saw:
The deck for our alfresco is finished and it has all been boxed in.
This is the view from inside.  It all looks nice already and it still needs to be sanded and stained.
This is the side of the deck.  There is currently over a 1m fall so we will either need to fill up against it or put in some balustrading. We are still debating what to do about this.  Apparently it may stall our certificate of occupancy, but we will worry about that later.
This is a very blurry photo of the little door that they have to access below the deck, now we have even more storage.
Speaking of storage.  They have now put the man hole into the garage,  this will be great for future storage too.
Here are some nice stairs up to the WIP door.

They were also finishing the painting.  I think all of the skirts and doors have now been painted and they only have to finish off a few more things.  Hopefully this will all be finished by Thursday.

The plumbers have been back and done some more work on the down pipes.  All of the downpipes are now in the right place but they still need to connect a few at ground level.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Painting Ongoing

Well the painters seem to have been at the house almost all day yesterday and things are starting to look great.
The fretwork has been repainted manor red, which I think looks great now and offers the contrast that we wanted.  The bases of the columns on the front verandah have now been painted.
The fine detail around the door has been touched up and looks to be great quality.
The internal doors all seem to have been painted.  I wonder if they did the tops and bottoms?  I will have to check if I get a chance to go in tonight.
It looks like they covered up the benchtop OK in the kitchen.  I think the colours are looking good.  Above the picture rail is Fair Bianca Half and below is Grand Piano.
We may really have the painters finishing by Monday...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Two Ceilings and a Shower Base

Popped by last night and the ceiling in the garage and the alfresco have been painted.
Garage Ceiling looks great.  This may be two coats.
I think this alfresco ceiling may need another coat.  Also note that there are no cornices yet.
This is the ensuite shower base.  It looks half finished.  I hope the grout doesn't go off and then cause a crack to develop later between the new and old grout.  At least we have a photo now so if something does go wrong we can figure out why later.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Painters to finish Monday

Popped by this morning to see the painters on site.

I checked in with them to see how things were going. They still haven't received confirmation from Romeo that we wanted the fretwork changed to manor red.

They were still cleaning up and taping things. Supposedly they will be spraying the ceiling tomorrow.

I asked about the minor "please fix" areas in the plaster that the electrician left and apparently the painter will fix them himself. If these were too bad he would let Romeo know and charge for them. The amount of repair required at our place meant that it wasn't worth the hassle and he would fix it anyway. He said that our place was in very good condition compared to other places.

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