Saturday, 7 July 2012

Front Yard

It's been a while but life is returning to normal and the house build is no longer consuming 80% - 90% of my time and life,
We had a great deal of help from both sets of parents to get the front of the house looking as good as it does, We have managed to recycle all of the plants that we took out of our garden, we have used some pavers we saved for the basketball hoop and a path across the front and down the side of the house, we are still loving the house and are very happy with the decision to build.



Paving down the side for bin storage

Friday, 25 May 2012

Driveways, Power Poles and Telstra pits

Things to know for a knock down rebuild,

Power Pole - your drive way will need to be a meter away from that.

Telstra Pit – if your driveway incorporates a Telstra pit, you will need to have a concrete pit installed, about $800 for the pit, they are generally plastic or older ones are sometimes made from asbestos sheeting, also the pit needs to be completely in your drive way, and don’t forget that to put the pit in they will need to disconnect and reconnect all the phone lines using the pit approximately $800.

On a side note Penrith council need written permission from Telstra to incorporate the pit in a driveway.

My story went something like this,
Searched the internet to find a number to ring Telstra on, found this number 02 92040989, staff member said that I did not need to get written authority, naively thought this was great so I waited for my concreter to come back from holiday and start the job, he formed up the first time, and tried to sneak me about 300mm closer to the power pole to make the driveway work better,

1st council inspection, move driveway away from power pole, (had to try) also the driveway would not be approved without written permission from Telstra,

Concreter moves the driveway across books in another inspection for the following morning, now the driveway is to narrow at the top, only my wife’s car will fit with about 20mm on either side, I decided to take the morning off to talk to the council inspector about our options,

Spoke to the Council inspector, he took one look at the driveway and said that it wasn’t workable as it was and gave me the option of taking a line past the power pole to line up with the column so that we could drive both cars in the drive now. He also explained that he wasn’t able to budge on the Telstra permission and I should ring them again.
Driveway with angle towards front column

original plan around Telstra pit

Rang the original number 02 92040989 again this time I explained that I had a council inspector that would not allow me to organise the driveway without the written permission, they gave me a different number to call – 1800653935 – I was given a job number and told that the Telstra rep responsible was going to give me a call within 5 business days,

My concreter had also logged a job previously so I got a call about a day later.

The conversation didn’t go as planned; Your pits broken and you will need a concrete pit $800, (Yes I know the pit is broken, it has been broken for 18 months, we log a job and get a job number, the Telstra contractor comes out to fix the pit closes the job without fixing the pit, when the lid breaks we can get a new lid but that’s about it, we got feed up of ringing),  the pit needs to be in your driveway, not possible, its half on my side half on my neighbour’s side (not like others in the street which are placed on one side of the boundary) then we have to move it, So now I need to pay for their broken pit to be fixed and relocated to the correct place and its upwards of $1600, how far away do I need to be away from the pit, 200mm, great close job.

Concreter moved the driveway from around the Telstra pit, and I finally get the driveway finished, not how I had envisioned but at least it was in.

Driveway moved away from Telstra pit


Finished Driveway


Sunday, 6 May 2012

Easter Bunny Came and Went


Easter was a blur off painting and cleaning, we spent the 4 days of Easter at our investment property, we painted the whole house, carpets cleaned, oven fixed, garden tidied ready for the new tenants.

We have spent the later part of April unpacking, both what we had used while the knock down was happening and what we had stored in the sheds.

We have put up the light fittings we saved from the old house, a blind that fitted perfectly in the kids activity window, the rest of the windows have curtains, luckily the kid’s curtains fitted their new windows, and we bought 3 new curtains sets. 1 from Bunning’s for the master bedroom, 2 from Curtain Wonderland for the Home Theatre and Kitchen Windows.
We have gotten by with most of our existing furniture, a trip to IKEA for a new TV stand for the kids TV area being the exception, we have our pictures up which is a great step to help soften the display home feeling I got when we first moved in, after 3 weeks or so I still love the house and I would build again if I needed to.

The driveway is almost finished but those problems need a separate post, trying to slot a driveway between a power pole and a Telstra pit have been a nightmare.



Telstra Leadin
 Sorry for the lack of photos, my daughter took the camera on a visit to Grandma's and left it with Grandma, now I have it back I promise more photos less writing.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Were Back Online


Now I know why nobody blogs after they move in, it goes like this,

29th - Keys and hand over still no appliances,
MacDonald Jones don’t hand them over until they get there final payment, this is good for most people who build in a new estate and are doing their own floor coverings because you get to choose when they get delivered, so nobody can steal them while your home sits in the middle of nowhere without a neighbour in sight, but for us it was just painful, keys to house with no hot water or oven, ok we roll with it, let’s move in over the long weekend no problem

30th - Appliances get delivered, and I can catch up with my driveway guy, lovely chap, I called at least 5 when I was doing the pads for my man caves, he was the one who had no trouble with coming out and quoting the job what is now 12 months out,  we had been in contact and he had left me the last week before he went on holiday between Easter and Anzac day,  The cut would happen on the 3rd when I was at home getting the appliances installed, then council inspection on Wednesday then poor on Thursday then we would start moving in on Easter Friday.

Anybody seen the problem with this yet, yep that’s it wet concrete right up to the garage door across to the front door, no way to get anything in except down the mud pools down one the side of the house, keep rolling, on Friday 30th at 4.30pm the decision is made let’s move this Saturday, yep tomorrow, prepare and pack who needs that, I rang Kennard’s and they had a truck available, our friends and family that were going to help could make it, Done

So that was it we moved on Saturday, lots of mess no preparation, and very few things actually made it into boxes, everything heavy that we needed help to move and the truck for size was done. We used Sunday with 2 cars and a trailer to get clothes and all the small stuff.

Lucky for us the house we were living in was only 10mins away, 3 days of having showers at the other house, 2 take away meals and one using the electric fry pan got us to Tuesday when the oven, range hood, cooktop and HOT water were installed, yep a whole day off booked and everyone one was done by 9.00am,

Meanwhile ... The phone line was a classic, while the move was on I organised for the phone number to be moved back and the connection to the house, the exchange part happened quickly, Then I got a call at work on Monday afternoon, the guys who came out do the precabling check to the house,  the question from the Telstra contractor who was doing the pre inspection was a classic, expensive but classic,

Did I know where the lead in from the pit is?
Yep sure I said, from the pit it goes to the power pole then up the pole and across to my house on wires,
then came the expensive response, we can’t connect like that anymore, so now I needed to have approximately 16 meters of trench from the Telstra pit on one corner of my boundary to the cable inside the house on the other, (forgot that in my starry eyed looking over of the plans), So a quick check of Telstra’s web site confirmed that, yes I could dig the trench, I could get anybody I wanted to dig it, or the contractor Telstra had organised could do it the next day, I broke it down like this, I work in IT and 18 meter trench 500mm deep would take me the best part of a week, my driveway guy was already busy, or $400 and half a day later the Telstra contractor had it dug laid and back filled.

Meanwhile... we got the final price back on the driveway, which was more than we had left over in our building kitty, faced with the option of making the driveway smaller so we could afford it, it’s one of those things you need get done right and how you want it the first time, we looked at getting a small personal loan to help with the cost of a few other things, (I had forgotten about insuring the new house you move into, unexpected telstra trenches.), So when Monday afternoon arrived I had to make the call to my driveway guy that we didn’t have the money yet, but would mostly have it by the time he finished, we agreed that it would be better to wait until after he came back of holiday, just in case the bank said no a we didn’t have the money, this also gave us some time to check with Telstra about concreting around their pit, and if the council would let us get a little closer to the power pole.

The Irony wasn't lost, we didnt need to move the weekend before. Just keep rolling with it.


Meanwhile... So once the phone was on great I could get the internet connected no problem except that during my 5 to 8 business days fell Easter, lucky for me they got that done just after the Easter long weekend anyway.

If you made it this far its time for a break, I will try to post again later in the week.


Thursday, 29 March 2012

Keys glorious Keys



Today was a major milestone, lots of phone calls over the last week getting through some paper work a few sleepless nights waiting for problems.

This morning we officially moved from our old house  




and got the keys to the new house


I might be off the air for a while as we get our phone and Internet moved across, but I should be back and living in our brand new home.


Friday, 23 March 2012

Practical Completion Inspection

No major problems, just paint, gyprock and some mortar joint touch ups. Below are some close up photos of the kitchen.We now have a hand over date and we just need to organize the final details.



Kitchen







Yep still more kitchen

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Nerves of Steel

Another week and the nerves are totally shot,  we have a week of inspections and we should be in any time after that,
The SS went through on Friday and picked up a couple of things, the council come through on Monday, 
The McDonald Jones Area supervisor comes through on Tuesday, and I should have some inside photos on Friday when we get to have our first look inside in a couple of weeks.

Photos this week include the fly screens and carpet. They also have taken away our portaloo and done a site clean.


Fly Screens and Carpet

Fly Screen for the Stacker doors

Laundry Door
Carpet through the Window

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Views from the Man Cave


While taking a break from mowing the knee high lawn in the back yard, Yeah, 2 days of bright sunshine now the water tank is connected,  I enjoyed a drink from the man cave down in the back yard, all that's missing now is our big square clothes line (a Basix requirement), retaining wall, veggie patch, and to take the fence down.


View from the man cave



Water Tank connected
(I think I am now totally consumed by the house
posting photos of the water tank - just sad really)

Friday, 9 March 2012

Ready for the Big Clean

That's right, next stop clean house, clean yard, no more rubbish left lying around, Yeah

Still to go carpet, fly screens, water heater, final inspections by the the area manager and the most important the final inspections by US!


Yep its the front door again

a close up of the tiles

More Tiles - Out the Back

Out the back still

Close up 

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Photos on the outside

2 Days of sunshine and the tilers have done the outside,

Today we also have a kitchen splash back, it's actually white but the glass gives a subtle colour

The water tank which has been sitting under the porch of my man cave has come up to its final position, it was delivered before the build started because when the house was built there wasn't enough room to get it round the back. 

As usual the pictures follow

Back Alfresco

Water tank

Kitchen splash back

Yep more kitchen

Front porch

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Close but the posts moved



Another week sees more work completed, the tiler started today on the main living areas, and if the rain stops he will do the outside alfresco and front porch, He should be finished by early next week.

On the outside this week they covered the foam expansion joints, and the roof barrier came down, 

The plumber finished of inside, toilets, shower heads, taps and the bath, he still has the hot water heater, and rainwater tank, just think it would be full by now.

We also got a letter, McDonald Jones have claimed 2 extra days to take us out to the 20th March,
One for the plumber not being available and another for the Kitchen Bench. 

Looks like April before we will get in now.

Pics below


Black expansion foam covered up

Railing came down (as did the rain)

toilets are in

taps in the bathrooms - upgraded to flick mixers

Bath in the main bathroom (we removed the en-suite bath to have a bigger laundry)

Shower head and basket

upgraded water purifier tap

Kitchen sink (upgraded to the under bench option)

Kitchen Bench Top




Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Photos from the Inside



Work has continued this week, showers, door handles, mirrors the pantry and linen cupboards have shelving now.  The finial is on so the guard rail should hopefully come down soon.

We asked about doing the drive way but our site super said it was McDonald Jones company policy not to allow this before handover, I will try and push a little more when my client liaison officer gets back of holiday. It's going to be hard to keep the house clean without the driveway. Plan B is to make a path from some pavers we took up before the knockdown.

the finial (the piece of wood that sticks up like a lightning rod)

Main bath vanity with mirror

Main Bath Shower

Main Bath Towel Rack

Main Bath vanity standing next to the bath

Smoke detector and Air con vent  (don't forget the details)


Our Door Handles (upgraded from standard but common in display homes)

Double doors into Kitchen

En-suite Towel Rail

En-suite Shower (one level up from standard)

En-suite from over by the toilet
wardrobe fit out (standard rail and shelf)
we had a lot of elfa baskets and shelves in our old house that we are going to reuse

Looking at the front door from the end of the hallway