Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Moving Day Panic!!!

Edvard Munch's The Scream
(Source: 123RF.com)
We're moving in today.  The removalists are arriving in 7 hours and 15 minutes.  And I'm still packing !!!

What the heck is the matter with me?  Why do I always have to cram ... argh!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Love Where You Live"

It was a week ago today, 382 days since Site Start, Monday morning, 6/8/2012, and we were preparing ourselves for another day of QA inspection.  Our third one (or maybe it was the fourth one?).

It turned out to be a very bright, beautiful Monday morning, no kidding.

Good day to get the keys, perhaps.  Fingers crossed.

We brought the final cheque payment ... just in case.  Had it settled with the bank for at least 2 weeks already.  Besides, we can't afford for another week delay.  Had lined up a number of pending deliveries that Friday.  Otherwise, we're in for some more nasty penalty fees.

We were so looking forward on having the handover, if not the following day, the day after that.  But not the following week, or the week after that.  That day.

Our SM was on time.  Good guy, our SM.  Just came back from a 3-week break.  Thought he abandoned us and handed over the reins completely to our CM.  He didn't.  Nothing wrong with our CM, but our SM really tried his best to get us through the hurdles. Top bloke.

QA#3 commenced ...

  • Articulation joints fixed ... check
  • Sarking under the roof tiles under the downpipe spreader ... check
  • Joint gap in the porch deck fixed ... check
  • Agri drains around the site cut at the rear ... check
  • External powerpoints sealed ... check
  • Flashings to fall back away from the house ... check
  • Exhaust fans to be ducted though to the outside air ... outside vents installed, but ducted? Need to get SM to confirm.
  • Scratched glass panels replaced with new (x5) ... check
  • Roof light switch relocated close to access door ... check
  • Roof bearers under heating unit ... upgraded roof trusses certified to hold full weight of heating unit
  • Leaking downpipes fixed ... check
  • Paint touchups ... nope ... tri-sliding doors need to be re-stained (minor)  

QA complete.  Outstanding items still to be fixed. Show stopper ... No!  

Can we handover now?

You betcha!!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day 381: It's all about the Keys

(Source: equivocality.com)
As someone said, the transfer of the keys is the culmination of the long drawn process of building a new home.  It is the very last step, the ultimate goal, whereby full ownership is finally handed over by the builder to the homeowner.  Of course, prior to this happening is the homeowner handing over the bank cheque, the final payment, to the builder's representative, and with the hope and promise that the builder will still be available, ready to fix whatever issues that may arise in the next ninety (90) days.  And us homeowners do wish that it wouldn't happen - issues arising, but at the back of their minds, that if there will be any issues or problems at all, that it will manifest itself fully in the next 90 days.

The keys signify that the build is done.  That I, as the homeowner, is happy with the build quality.  Have I done my due diligence in ensuring that everything is within the BCA standards? Have I done my utmost best to pester my Site Manager in getting all the listed quality issues and defects fixed and completed?  I hope I did.

Tomorrow will be what we hope would be the final(est) presentation of our home by Metricon to us.  The bank cheque has long been drawn, and we do hope that we'll be handing it over, as well, if not on the same day, in a day or so.

Wish us luck.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Day 378: Still NO PHONE SERVICE!!!

We are probably getting our new home keys very soon, but ... WE STILL HAVE NO !@#$%^& PHONE CONNECTION !!!

Not Metricon's fault.  It's Telstra's and their line provisioning contractors - Service Stream !@#$%^&

Telstra keeps telling me that from their records the line is ACTIVE.  IT IS NOT!!!

So what do I do ... I'm logging a phone line fault ... as recommended in a forum I'm reading.  So, instead of typing my rants here, which can be full of expletives, I dare not,  I'll let somebody else give you their story.  It's almost the same story or experience as mine, just early days for me.  It's a good read. Highly recommended for people about to move to their new home.

MUST READ: "7 weeks+ Suburban Phone Connection" Story

And just in case I need to file a complaint and also get some compensation, some very important links ...

Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO)
TIO Case Study - Phone Connection
The Customer Service Guarantee (CSG)

Do you want to know who your Telstra Approved Contractor is, you can find them here.

And so far today ...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 375: "Dude, Where's My Phone?"

(source:  www.wreckamovie.com )
For the past four weeks at least, Metricon have been trying to sort out all the issues that have been listed in our PCI log, as well as our independent QA inspector's report.  To Metricon's credit, they've been pretty good at complying with what's on those reports and (slowly) replacing scratched glasses, and fixing up minor defects.  I guess, what's frustrating is just the slowness or the turnaround time of fixing stuff.  What makes matters worse is when the replacement also needs to be replaced as it falls below Metricon's standards.  To date, there are still a few things that needs to be replaced and my SM has told me (I don't want to say "promised me") that  the glass replacements will be done tomorrow and paint/stain touchups will be done a day later.

Handover will be done Friday, so they said.  Maybe with some minor outstanding items that Metricon says they will fix post-handover.  Right.  We'll see first what's on that list.

So before we move in or, at least before handover date, I thought I may just get our current telephone number transfered to the new house; and, while I'm there, get that new 200Gb Ultimate Cable Internet bundle from Telstra.  Nice!  We currently have ADSL+, thought we might go for something quicker like cable internet for our new home.  And so I did.

Telstra moved our telephone number to our new address last Friday (with the vision we'll have settlement by the end of July, this year); Thought of calling up our "moved" number, just to test ... and I got this ... "your call cannot be connected, please check the number and then try again" ... hmmmm, I thought it would at least just ring out, shouldn't it?  Called up Telstra Customer Service.  The beautiful voice on the other line said the move has been completed, I presume, successfuly.  Checked the Telstra website, too, given my order number ... Completed.  Maybe I just need to hook up a telephone handset on the other end of the line.  It should still ring out even without a telephone handset connected to any of the phone jacks, right?

Cable Internet guy called me up to say he's coming over to the new house to connect our cable internet.  Woo hoooo!!!  Better call my SM straight away to open up the property.  I'll bring a spare telephone handset to test the phone lines while I'm there.

You can imagine how excited I am at this stage.

Met the Cable Internet guy at the new property.  And while waiting for my SM to arrive to open up the property, the cable guy thought he'll check the underground pit and show me what he's doing.

CiG: Mate, here's where you're underground pit is (opened up the pit with his pit cover removal tool)
Me:  Wow (what should I say?)
CiG: (pointing to a cable) and here's the phone cable that leads-in to your house where your phone box is ...
Me:  Yes, I got my builder to take care of the trenching into the house
CiG: (sifting through the water logged underground pit) er, there's no cable or even a lead-in pipe that comes from the aerial post from the other side of the street (pointing across the road) where the actual phone lines are ...
Me:  Dude, where's my phone (line coming from)?
CiG: Nowhere.

Now everything makes sense ... "your call cannot be connected, please check the number and try again ... B..U..W...Q... your call cannot be connected ..."

At this point my SM arrived, told of the gravity of the situation, and he had assumed that everything should have been in order and all Telstra needs to do is just activate the line.

He assumed wrong.  He's on the phone straightaway to someone trying to salvage the situation.

Handover Friday?  With no required underground telephone cabling into the property, yet?

Friday, July 20, 2012

365 Days!!!

And so it goes that after three hundred sixty five days we thought, and hoped, and prayed, and begged, and wondered, and imagined, and expected ... that we would have moved in to our new home by now.

Not to be.

Not yet.  But we're getting there.

"The world is changing, I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, I smell it in the air ..." - Gladriel (LOTR)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 355: How are we looking today?

Just a very quick and short picture update of how we are looking today (as requested by Anonymous) ...

Driveway by Craig, building by M3tr!c0n, car by Hyundai

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day 354: Bird's Eye View

Thanks to Cam and Kirsten and Jess and Ryan for leading us to a web site that provides a different perspective (view) of our building project.  This view is from above, literally speaking, and it provides you some sort of a timeline or historical view of your address from above.  We were waiting, though, for this excellent website to put up the latest aerial photo of our build, but we've grown tired of waiting for an update (just as we're getting exhausted in waiting for the handover date to come through).

So, without further ado, here's a bird's eye view and a historical representation of our build from pre-construction stage to near-completion stage ...

Our old house (6th April 2011).
It's the one in the middle with grey roof tiles.

Our land, post-demolition and site scrape (28th June 2011).
Unfortunately, the spy plane didn't fly during demolition time.  Would have been nice to see it as we've missed taking photos during demolition.

Slab's poured and the frames were starting to be put up (20th August 2011).

After 2 months (18th October 2011), (first floor) roof's up.
Gas hot water heating system's solar panel installed.
Dining room and Outdoor room roof still pending.
Scaffolding still in place.

A month later (17th November 2011), scaffolding's down.
Still no roof tiles on  the ground floor area (Dining and Outdoor rooms).
No roof trusses for the garage just as yet.

Much progress after a fortnight (5th December 2011).
Roof completed for the Dining and Outdoor rooms at this stage.
Double garage with workshop starting to take shape.

Day after Valentine's Day.
Double garage has been completed.
Looks like the Balcony's done, too.
Portico flat roof, yet to be done.

12th March 2012.
Some work happening ... must be inside.

Latest aerial photo.  12th April 2012.
It's all happening inside the house now.
Driveway has been finished, too.
(Not in the photo, but another construction work just commencing behind us).

Will add some more aerial photos here as soon as NearMap have updated the photos on their site.  Other areas, though, like Bentleigh and Brighton, for example, have more recent and more frequent aerial photos.

This is much, much better than Google Maps, seriously.  Our property, in Google Maps, was still as of April 2009.  And no historical views.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day 349: OK

My daughter and I were having dinner this evening.  My 4yo finished all her food on the plate and was about to leave the table ...

4yo:  "Dad, can I be excused from the dining table, I'll go sit in the couch to watch TV"
Me:  "Ok"
4yo:  "Dad! Don't say 'Ok', you either say 'Yes' or 'No'"
         "'Ok' is kinda half 'Yes' and half 'No' ..."
Me:  "Uh, Ok, I mean ... Yes ... sure ..."

So, if you're going to ask me how did our PCI go?


There were only a few things that we were not happy about.  I mean, it was generally all good.  M3tr1c0n (and their subcontractors) did a quality job, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't perfect.  Just little, tiny things, like ...
  • Stains on the front door glass panels
  • Scuff marks on the wall
  • Chip on the window reveal
  • Loose door lock fittings
  • Loose TV plug
  • Stacker door quite difficult to slide/close
  • Chipped paint in aluminium window frame
  • Cracked header brick
  • Dirty toilets (yep, skid marks, eeek!)
Yes, just tiny, little, minor things, really.

Overall, once all those minor defects have been fixed, it will be perfect!  Can't wait to move in now.

But wait until I tell you about our independent QA inspection report.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 344: Practical Completion Inspection Day

(source: csis.org)

It won't be quite like "Rocket Science", really, but we'll be doing our PCI sometime later today.  So, I'm told by our Site Manager.  Yesssssssss!!!

Just a quick note.  We'll tell you more later.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 341: Final QA Looming

(source: seton.net.au)

So with bated breath we await, the day Final QA Inspection M3tr!c0n theirs will do.

As per mymetricon, it shall be this Thursday, 28th June.  Hopefully, the painters would have gone thru and fix up all the "Red Dot Specials" that abound before the date.  Haven't been able to go in the house to inspect, but as of yesterday, there were still a few stuck around.  But what makes it really exciting is the fact that they have taken down the temporary fencing, removed the portaloo, removed the "cage", leveled and cleaned out the front, too!  Wow!!!

Getting restless now ;-)

But do you know who else was excited (or getting impatient, to say the least)?  My bank.
They called me up just to ask how things are going as it's been a while since we made our last drawdown.  Probably just want to make sure that there's actually a house being built ... hehehe.

Keeping all our fingers (and toes) crossed that we'll have our PCI by early next week.

Should we start packing now?

Watch this space.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Day 332: Red Spot Specials

It seems that everywhere I go there are "Red Spot Specials".  There's a red spot here, a red dot there, a couple up there.  Must have been a "stocktake".  Must be that time of the year.  It's time to have a closer look.  There's heaps of them.  My wife would "love" to see these.  There's some good colour combination here.  Ah, some "scratch-and-dents" - that's a "red hot special".  Imperfections?  Of course, that will be a "red dot special".  Oh, man, the manager has missed this, there's a bit of a scratch on the surface, I'm sure they can give this to me as a "Red Spot Special".  My wife's eyes would sure widen when she sees these!!!

It's June.  Mid-year.  End-of-Financial Year.  Red Spot Specials everywhere.  True.  But I'm referring to our house.

"I'm seeing spots ... red spots ... all around me ..."

After most of our cornices have been replaced and repainted a week ago, our CM has gone through and around the house for another QA inspection.  Yes, you're not wrong.  He did knock himself out putting the "red dots" here and there.  The walls, the ceiling, on the doors, the cabinet doors, the glass windows, the architraves, the skirtings, the carpet, the bricks ...

Honestly, in my humble opinion, and in my personal opinion only, I reckon M's build quality is excellent.  Not impeccable, not perfect, not faultless, but I'm sure there's no volume builder out there who is that ... perfect.  So to say the least, I'm happy to see the RED DOTS now, and let them fix it.  I'll be more disappointed if I have to put more red dots during our walk through (someday), or if our independent QA inspector have to give us a long report.  Watch this space.

So, it's June.  Mid-year.  End-of-Financial year.  Red Spot Specials everywhere.  Maybe now is the right time to buy the things we need and that we say we'll do POST-HANDOVER!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Day 321: hoy no hay foto porque no tengo ganas de nada

"There's no picture because I don't feel like it."

It's true!  I don't seem to have that motivation to post some photos, I'm afraid.  Maybe it will be a different story next week.  It's been 21 days since I last posted and I've been wanting to post something nice to show and tell.  But I don't feel like posting anything not constructive or not exciting.  Not that there's nothing happening ... well ... it's been a very slooooow three weeks, if I must say.

Imagine this ...
Carpets been laid, floorboards put in place, timber venetians on all front-facing windows has been installed, place has been cleaned, just a few more paint touch-ups here and there, doors just need to be adjusted and then the CM will do his cursory QA/inspection.  QA, I really like the sound of that.  Quality Assurance.  It's so nice to hear if ...

Everything looks OK, right? 


Apparently, most of the cornices are skewed.  What?  Even Boral says so.  What?

So what does that mean ... 

Cornices were not straight.  They were not within prescribed tolerances.  And they have to be replaced.  The cornices have to ripped out, new cornices to be delivered and hanged, walls/ceilings to be re-plastered/re-sealed then re-painted ... yada yada yada.

In a nutshell,  the place had been a mess more than 2 weeks ago and it's just coming back to normalcy this week.

But on a positive note (ever the optimist, I am), we're thankful that it's caught now, and our CM had caught it.  I don't have to complain then.  Not at all.  But we're just frustrated.  We're pushed back by another month.  We're supposed to have another QA today.  I wonder what happened.

Note on external powerpoints:

Oh, one more thing.  For those still around the Fixing stage of their build.  If you have external powerpoints being installed at the side of the house.  Make sure that the external or outdoor powerpoint is not within 750mm radius from where the gas meter would be.  Our bright sparky installed the outdoor powerpoint just a foot above where the gas meter have to be installed.  The Gas Company came to install the gas meter but would not until the external powerpoint is relocated further away from where the gas meter should be.  But hey, our bright sparky's need not be fully blamed, he's just following what was on the electrical plan (electrical designer's fault, then).  But you would think that licensed electricians should know the standards.  It's probably just one of those days.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 298: Outside looking in ...

(Source: Original painting by Sabrina Cabada - Fine Art America)

With the probable PCI date looming, our SM has been quite diligent in locking the doors by the end of the day that I now have to be content in just looking through the glass windows and doors, wondering how things are progressing inside ... outside looking in.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Day 295: Are we there yet?

(Source: www.cpsu.org.au)

No, not yet, but close ... we hope.

Phew! What a fast-paced week had it been. Lots of things have happened since we last posted. And it does look like the 27th (of May), as what our SM had mentioned, is the day.  What day?  Walk through.  Presentation.  Also known as PCI or Practical Completion Inspection.  Really?  Wow!  We're stoked!

Hmmmm ... let me just put that in our calendar ... checking ... May ... 25 ... 26 ...


Let's not worry about that now.

So what has happened or finished since?

Last time we had the timber flooring laid, this time, we got carpets.  Category 2 carpets!  Our original choice had some quality issues from the suppliers and so we were asked to choose another colour.  We had a Category 1 selection (colour 89 Biscuit) but had a hard time choosing another colour on the same category.  We decided to upgrade to Category 2, instead (colour 44 Putty), and was prepared to pay the upgrade cost.  We got the upgrade as a no cost variation. Bonus!

Painters were also in to complete all the outstanding painting jobs (entry/portico), staining (alfresco/beams/doors), and touch ups.

We also got the solar gas hot water system installed (integrated tank & booster).  Kitchen Island Bench stonetop re-installed.  Timber venetians (front windows only) hanged ...

And what makes it feel that it's getting closer to completion? The appliances are in.  Installed.  Connected.

I'll post some pictures next time.  Maybe this weekend.

Don't forget it's Mothers' Day this Sunday (13th May).   A Happy Mothers' Day to all mothers and mother-figures out there.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Day 282: It's been a quiet week or two

It's been a quiet week or two, and what had been a flurry of activities, left, right, and centre, a couple of weeks ago, sort of just grounded down to a very slow pace thereafter.

Our SM is managing 3 to 4 other projects around our area.  Two of them need to be handed over soon and still not ready; Another one, apparently, had a mysterious gas leak which needed to be traced back to the source.  And then there's the other one who had to have the kitchen island bench Ceasarstone benchtop de-installed and replaced as the manufacturer-supplied sink colanders do not fit.  I could imagine the stress that our SM is going through right now.  Poor bugger. :(

The latter one was us, too.  Ouch!

Forever the optimist, I am, I was just happy to see the house cleaned inside.  At least now I can see inside clearly from outside.  The SM has been diligently checking the house after the tradies have left for the day and locking all the doors, including the garage.  I should know, I pass by the house after work.  Unfortunately, it gets dark quite earlier nowadays.

So what has been done so far after my previous post?

Monday, April 16, 2012

UPDATE: Favourite and Useful Links

We've updated our "Favourite and Useful Links" to include a link to another link to get the "Mother of All Checklists".  It's a 44-page checklist extremely useful for those who'll be doing their PCI (Practical Completion Inspection) at some stage.  Thanks to Home One Forum members - Amanda, Belinda and Karla for compiling the list and making it available (via an email request) to anyone interested.  Had a quick look and it's really quite comprehensive.  We would just need to update the items on the list to suit our own home design (it was originally written and compiled with the author's new house in mind).

Check out the other links while you're there, too.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Day 268: On the brighter side ... we got the driveway done

We want to put in more "Sparky having a bad day" stories, but I thought I'll just let it go for the meantime.  Besides, it's Easter week, we had a good break at Batemans Bay for the whole week last week, and ... it's back to school, back to work on Monday ... eh?  We must be "loco" or something ... but, we couldn't wait to come back to Melbourne just to see how our house build is progressing.  Did anyone else feel that way when they were building?

Anyways, what have been happening in our neck of the woods?


Electricians are still doing their work (2 weeks!!!).  Last time I looked, they have completed 95% of the job.  There are still a few bits and pieces missing - a few powerpoints, both internally and externally; a couple of powerpoints and switches that need to be fixed firmly to the wall; and my Number One bugbear - our main ensuite switches that are still located outside the main ensuite.  How many times do we have to tell the electricians that it's meant to be inside the ensuite!!!  Look at the electrical plans!!!  It's all very clear there!!!

But on a more positive note, a lot of other things have progressed, quite well as a matter of factly.  See for yourselves ...

Lights on, Lights off ...

Outdoor Room downlights have been installed (and so did to the rest of the house);
Wiring in the middle of the ceiling space to allow for a ceiling fan (no light) post-handover.

Stairwell lights ... Light up your way as you go up and go down the stairs.
2-way switch at the bottom and  the top of the stairs.
Not showing you the other (half) side of the stairs.  Yet, another issue with the electricians.

Standard light fittings (with light batten and cowl shades);
Walk-in / behind-the-bed Robe;
Will replace after handover with track lights or multi-directional halogen/led spotlights.

Heating Lamps (IXL-Tastic), fan and downlights in all bathrooms (upstairs only).

We chose standard light fittings for most lights upstairs (downstairs are mostly low voltage downlights);
We'll replace them all with "better-looking" light fixtures after handover;
Already gone to Beacon Lighting to have a look for some options (DIY and professionally-installed);
Any other places you would recommend?
Also looking at Matt Blatt for alternatives (pendants, lamps, etc).

All sorts of lights around the kitchen area.  Still looking for some nice pendant lights to put above the island kitchen bench.

Bathroom Taps, Shower Heads, Spouts and Mirrors

Guest Bedroom Ensuite

Main (ensuite) bathtub with a hob-mounted bath spout and a wall-mounted mixer.
Looks like a spa, sized like a spa, but it's not a spa bath.
Bath looks chunky relative to the size of the bath spout.  Could have (should have) chosen a better bath spout if we knew how chunky this bath is going to be.

Main ensuite with his-and-hers inset basin and large mirror, and a tad wider-than-normal shower recess with  a Dorf Jovian rail shower with overhead.

Did I say we got a driveway?  Yes, we have ...

Driveway's done, too.  Just last week.  When we were away.  Pleasant surprise.

Looks wide enough to accommodate 3 (actually 2.5) cars. 

We had this included in our contract with M3tr1c0n previously, but we asked the concreter to widen the entrance (to 3+ meters wide).  Will pay the concreter directly for the difference (with no M markup).
op guy, this concreter.  Highly recommended, ask me if you need his business number.  Looks like a family business, too.  Met his dad and mom at the site, yesterday.  Mom doing the measurements, Dad cutting the concrete.

And wait ... there's more ...

Done by the same concreter - concrete pathway on the side of the house (utility/service area).  Outside the contract with M, but cleared with our Site Manager to allow for the hot water system to be installed on a solid, leveled, concrete base.  No need for M to put a slab under the hot water tank to stand on when they have it installed.  This was actually a brilliant suggestion from our SM himself.  I should also not fail to mention that the concreter also sub-contracts for M.
and that's my shadow with a Gumby-like leg; I was wearing some baggy shorts, for crying out loud)    

And ... my horizontal kitchen window sill has finally been bricked-in ... thank goodness for that.

This is Day 268 of our "knockdown-and-rebuild" project.  How much longer?  I don't know.