Thursday, 30 June 2011

Tears for Piers!!

So there has been some action...thank you rain for staying away ......for a while!

On Friday 17 June we had the site excavated, then on the Monday 20 June we had the piering done. Dad went out to inspect with D3 on his RDO.Mum was at work on stanby to hear the good and bad news! The good news....hhhmmmm..... well the piering had started. The bad news the costs of our build were going up, and up with each new hole.

Dad says you could hear the drill hitting the clay then you would know the pier had hit it's limit in depth. It was a great sound when you knew it wouldn't go further. Mum says it should have sounded like a cash register..ching ching!!

D3 site supervisor! You do not want to know what is in the pink Hannah Montana bag?? They had better get that slab right or her Zu Zu pets will be unleashed!
So our tender with Alkira allowed for us to have a maximum of 70 lin metres of piering. We ended up needing 103 linear metres! Bugger! On top of that we also had to get rid of 120m3 of excess spoil!!  So "ching ching" there goes some more items from the wish list.
Piering work underway

The piering was something we always knew was going to be a variable and was something that we just could not get a price (not even ballpark) during our contract negotiations. Even on the day, Dad says that each pier was different and just depended on what was under there!!

The removal of the spoil was something that we didn't realise was not included in our contract! It took us by surprise so we had to go back and read over the contract to make sure. In hindsight it is funny that it did not register with us though. A few months before we were furiously getting quotes for an in-ground pool for the block. Every quote had a sketchy answer for the spoil removal and varied from company to company. Friends and family were always quick to point out that the spoil would be an added cost "don't forget the fill removal"! blah blah Well, nobody mentioned that for the house did they? It was off the radar.

We were hoping to get the pool installed before the build then they come back and finish it all off once the house is completed. We were getting too rushed for time, we did not have final prices for our upgrades (and still don't) and it would have delayed our build time. So we have put it on hold for now...

But now, thousands of $$ from our "wish list budget' has GOOOONNNEEE!!! The pool is not looking good at the moment girls!Mum will have to rustle up some more Body Shop Parties!

BUT we have piers....and what lovely piers they are

So over the space of 4 days we had the site leveled and marked out, then our piering undertaken. Next thing to come was the....???


The site prepared and ready for concrete!

We did drive bys every day through the week and finally...on Saturday 25 June after soccer we turned up to see it done! Dissapointed that we missed seeing it being poured but thankful that it is now installed.

It is a reality check once the slab is in, as it helps you see the foundation of the house. It helps you gain a perspective of what goes where and exactly how big/small everything will be!

We have been really worried aboutthe size of the yard..or lack of it, since our last home was on a beautiful quarter acre block (and so is the house we are renting) but with the slab down we could now step and walk around in what will be our yard. It is not too bad which is a comforting relief.

On the sunday 26 it was D3's birthday (she turned 4) we had an eventful day and then in the evening went to The ponds Dinner night to check it all out! It was lovely. The girls had a ball (I think that it may have been from the lemonade and birthday cake they had before we went) and the adults had some friendly banter with other people in the area. Most people though, had already moved into their homes. We were very proudly proclaiming though that "we have a slab!".

We heard from the Landcom Project Manager who told us a bit about the rain gardens. It was quite interesting and we look forward to seeing them progress also. Has anyone seen a concept of what the Riverbank Drive bridge will look like? Love the red pylons on the Stanhope Parkway one! Hope the Riverbank one gets a bit of razzle dazzle too. We cannot find any info or pictures of it! Google has let us down on this occasion.

Check out the backyard!Hope the new neighbours don't hear us yelling at the girls!

We didn't put up too many photos of the foundations of our home.So hopefully they will not bore you to tears..or bring you to tears like they did us! Tears of joy that we have started building and tears of sadness as we buried our pool dreams under  a heap of concrete.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

From the Mouths of Babes!

An entry by the kids.
I let the girls have free reign to prepare an entry. They interviewed their youngest sister too. Here is their view which is more like an “I want” entry!!

D1 is nearly 11.
I’m looking forward to having a new house especially a 2 storey, because we haven’t had a 2 storey house before and all of our friends have one. It’s so EXCITING.

The park which is only 200 m down the road with a 3km bike trail.
We are always asking when it will be finished because it is taking too long to do, the answer is always in a few weeks. Then when the weeks are over it is still not ready because its winter and the builders can’t work in the rain.

I’m hoping we can get a pool in the back yard and a television up stairs (it has to be a big one). I am so excited to be having a new and beautiful room of my own.

I hated looking at the houses it was boring! :P
I want to do all of the decorating. Mum says I can help choose colours and furniture but she has the last say.

D2 is almost 9
it was sad to leave our old house
I’m looking forward to our new house so much but so far the builders can’t start now with mud all on our block. I hope we will have a big back yard so we can have a pool, veranda and a nice space for our dogs. We are having a 2 story house and we have never had 1 so were looking forward to that. My sisters and I had wanted one for a long time and now we are finally going to get what we wanted. Now we can stop telling Mum and Dad if that we want a double story one. We are having a brick called Earth and it is a type of brownish colour and there will be a green out at the front porch. There will be all different colours inside the house. We all didn’t want to leave our old house and when we left we said our good byes and left then a few days later. I miss the old house. We got over it. Now it’s so close to moving we are re getting happier and happier. We will soon have a beautiful new house and a new room each 2 our self. Dads says I need to practice cleaning my room. He is funny. Real funny Dad.
It was not exciting looking at the houses but it was better than looking at the bricks that was really boring.

The cubby which was built so well we could not take it with us!
D3 turns 4 next week.
I miss my cubby house it was my favourite I want a cubby with a rainbow inside and some clouds on the outside. I want a purple room and butterfly wings on the wall. I miss my new house (she means the old one but keeps calling it the new one) I helped Dad take photos of the machine that made all of the mud that came out when it went in the holes yesterday (she watched the piering being undertaken yesterday- these were her exact words).
I like zu zu pets and I like my trampoline.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

When Dirt Can Hurt!!

Well last week we had our Builder contact us to say that the piering was meant to start last week but it was just too wet!!! We wanted it to start so badly... but totally understood! On the good side all soccer was cancelled on the weekend. (YAY) so wew were able to shoot up the Coast for some R & R! Well we are renovating up there only r & r (not with capitals).
On Friday morning the builder said that we would have our peiring start on Monday and could someone be on site to see how much "damage''  (our words not theirs) there will be in regards to extra peiring if required. The neighbours behind us unfortuneately have been set back an extra heap of money as they required extra piering and the higher H class slab. We made our builder include the upgraded H in out tender so that if we did need it, it would not be a surprise later (it meant we still pay it but mentally we are not surprised by it!!!) Yes we have warped minds...kind of like tricking children or that bad pizza joke...
" the pizza man asks the customer how many slices they want their pizza cut into, 6 or 8? They reply 6 as they are on a diet and could not eat 8!"
Boom Boom!?
So if we didn't need it then it would be a credit back to us to spend on something else!!  Anyway that is not gunna happen as we need the H class slab, but Monday will reveal if we need extra piering????

The neighbour did because they say that they are close to the creek and building a large double storey. Well we are one house back from them and the creek and building a double storey (although ours is smaller).
So fingers crossed.

this is our coatal house after some renos...we still call it the pink house!

This is the pink house when it was PINK!!! Like the changes/

The removed dirt...any takers??

When we got back from the coast we went out to the block on Sunday afternoon so we could take some photos for our BEFORE portfolia....and boy did we get a surprise.
Our block has been cleared and levelled and set out! Not sure on the technical lingo but there has definitely been some DIRT moved!!
So tomorrow the piering will occur....and we will be dancing 'cause we have started and maybe mourning because our pockets may be stripped just that bit more....

The leveled you know which portaloo we have the red one ..the colour of LOVE!!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

I love you..porta loo!

Well I was absolutely beside myself with excitement because a temporary fence (TF) was placed around around our block!! Having worked in the construction industry for many years I normally have T.F installed when something is being demolished...or it has been vandalised...which is quite common in my field of work :-0.
So, when I drove past one night and saw the fence I was quick to take some dodgey photos on my phone to start bragging about our great advancement!! That was nearly two weeks ago now! :-(

Then last week on another drive by hubby had some super news..."there had been more activity"! Have they leveled the block? no!...Have they started piering? no...Have they moved any soil? what is all of the excitement?? WE HAVE A PORTA LOO.
Well if you thought that we were excited with the fence I was clappy happy with a dunny!! I mean a loo is serious stuff, it means the builders have all of their priorities in place and are getting ready to take action.

We drove past again on the weekend in between the 8 games of soccer catch up games that our family had to cram into the long weekend. Thank you Blacktown District Soccer Football Association for spoiling our only chance to get a sleep in or rest during the Queens Birthday!

And there was NUTHIN! There were no changes to the scenery at all...except that the grass is an extra inch taller...I like nature.

Then came the rain... and some more rain......

Today there has been some more "advancements" as Hubby calls we do not have two porta loos on the site...that would be too greedy..we now have silt hopefully there will be some digging happening soon!
So no soil (or should I call it MUD) has been moved YET!!

Guess which one is ours??

So over and out till the next installment.The kids are keen to add a post so watch out for their view on building a house...or talk of building a house as D3 doesn't quite get it!! She wants to just move into the already has features and toys in her room that she likes! :-0

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Choosing a Builder

Well I thought that I might bore you with the background of choosing the your house!!

My best tips are:

 No 1- make sure it fits on the block!!. Our block is 15m wide so anything that won't give you 900 either side is no good!! See I am good with this technical stuff! NOT!! That part though I did understand!

No-2- make sure it fits Mum, Dad and D1, D2 and D3 in it! We opted for a 4 bedda. Because we had such a large block before...and we love lawn and grass so much, a two storey was a no brainer! You get more back yard with a two storey.

We have never lived in a double storey before and endured many an arguement with people over the pro's and con's of single vs double. We heard it all. At the end of the day we are still young so are quite capable of walking up and down stairs still. We liked the idea of escaping to our own space. We also unfortunately for the fashion concious, wear jumpers and ugh boots in winter ( so will cope with heating the house) and will have ceiling fans throughout for cooling plus an air conditioner. We are pretty laid back in the housework department and the daughters are still learning how to keep their rooms tidy ( I warned you about that when I said we wear ugh boots ha ha) so I love that the mess can be UP STAIRS out of site..I will be showing every nook and cranney of the house to everyone who comes over once it is built though!! hehe
Display house: This is from the kitchen looking at the rumpus and the dining is just to the right. Our kitchen window opens onto the alfresco and the rumpus doors go straight out to it also.We have another courtyard area near the dining too to catch sun all day thru.

No 3- Have an idea of what is compulsory!!?? For us it was 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms ( there are four girls in this house) and an alfresco for Dads BBQ. Plus we wanted the kitchen dining and rumpus/living all together. Alfresco had to be at the back of the house. See above photo of kitchen/dining/rumpus.

No 4- Look around. This is the hard part. We went here there and everywhere. Up the coast, down the coast, Oran Park, Stonecutters, Homeworld, Homezone, The Ponds, blah blah blah! We wnet to the same places 3, 4 and 5 times. If we looked at more than 4 houses in one day though they all blurred into one. So you must pace yourself and plan it well. A special tip is don't take your children..actually I will rephrase  that..don't take OUR children sorry girls xx

No 5- look around ...sorry said that one. but hey while I am at it. Look around again.

No 6- Get quotes! Don't get just one either!! We ended up getting 5 quotes from  five different companies.

No 7-Compare Prices. Compare inclusions, shop around, tell each of the companies what you are being offered from others. Check the inclusions, if you get paint can you choose from more than 5 colours, how many brick choices are included, what facade is standard? Is what is in the display costed into the price, if not how much extra?? Ask lots of questions..The only dumb question is the one not asked!!

No -8- Start a second job to help pay for it all!! Mum is now an Independent Consultant for the Body Shop at Home to help fund the blinds, rugs and furnishings :-0. The price listed for a home does not take into consideration the site costs for your area or any extra inclusions. I use the term extra loosely as most things in a display home are extras.. For goodness sakes having drawers in your bathroom vanity can be an extra. Same with flyscreens on your windows.

No 9- Sign your life away...on your best ever investment!!!

Good Luck! IWe hope that was helpful! Please take the above with a grain of salt!

So we have chosen to build with Alkira Homes and thankfully their display is only up the road at Kellyville Ridge!. The home we have chosen is the "Kennedy".
Alkira offered us value for money, all of the options that we wanted and this was the only house that we walked into and did not want to move a wall or change a room in anyway at all. It was perfect for us and our taste and needs.

Both photos show the brick we have chosen..we love it!

This is the display on Fyfe Road. The facade has that beautiful balcony which is nice as there is some nice remnant trees across the road from this house. However, our house will be looking straight across the road at our neighbours beautiful (Hello Tee) house. So there was no need for the balcony. We have chosen the Malbec facade which is included in the base price.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Bricks-or Building Blocks..very important!

We dragged the three girls all over the countryside looking at bricks!! They hated it and moaned everytime. Mum/Dad: "Do you like this brick?"..daughters reply:  "if I say yes can we go?"
After various visits to various places we narrowed our selections down to a few choices from Austral and PGH. Austral was probably up there in the choice stakes due to their playground at the display we always got to do a few laps there before the kids complained.Here are some shots of our girls having a ball at the brick places...NOT!

We loved Blue Rio, Bowral Blue and Symmetry Earth which of course were not in our allowed selections. The quote to use Blue Rio came in at over $13,000 extra so it was quickly wiped from the list.
The Flushcombe Road entrance (near the library) of Westpoint Shopping Centre at Blacktown has Blue Rio bricks but it has been graffitti coated and has lost it's flair". They remind me of my grandmothers house that was in Northmead. They knocked her house down and built the Power House on Briens Rd (now Dick Smiths). It was very ironic as her maiden name was Power.  Anyhow, enough of the history lesson....So Earth it is!!
Above are a couple of our choices.... EARTH just happens to be on the display house of the OUR HOUSE too so everytime we go there now we run our hands over the brick and pat each other on the back because we like them so much. They are a brown brick with an almost flat colour. There are no flecks but they do vary in colour. They are solid and look like they are made from brown clay straight out of the ground.From the EARTH!