Before our Electrical Appointment, Lifestyle National sent us our appointment confirmation and their price listings. This price listing, we're told, are specific to Metricon customers only. They do handle other builders, just different pricing schemes. The price list contains most (if not all) of the electrical fittings that they can provide. From interior lighting, exterior lighting, light switches and power points, to ceiling fans and exhaust fans, TV connection points, to Alarm Systems, Intercom and Home Theatre wiring. Most of the electrical fittings that we saw from the display homes that we visited are on these electrical options list. The price list also gave us a guide on what we want to include on the contract. It brought us back down to earth, as well, pretty quickly. It is not cheap.
When we were first looking at display homes, inside, we didn't bother look up (ceiling) or look down/side (on the walls). It was all about how the house looks, how we admire the kitchen, or the bathrooms, or how the furnishings all fit together, etc. It's not about the lights, or where the power points are. It's not about the security or home theatre system that the display has. When we got our electrical appointment scheduled, we had to go back to see the display homes again. This time we're looking up (how many downlights should I put in this room, what colour - white or satin chrome), or looking down the wall or on the side of the wall (those power points look cool, how many should we have), or looking on the side wall while going up the stairs (that's a nice rectangular light to light up the steps). All of a sudden, we're having a new view of how we want our lighting to be.
We were given a few tips from some of the blogs we read and from friends who've gone through the same process:
- Get them (builder) to put the standard fittings (lights) in, it's cheaper to replace them with the light fittings you really want after handover (conditions apply);
- Exception to above statement are ground floor downlights. It's harder to replace standard fittings with downlights on the ground floor of a double storey house (try getting your sparky-friend to go through the cavity between floors). If you have the budget, get the builder to install all the downlights that you require for the ground floor.
- For exterior lighting, put in junction boxes in lieu of non-standard exterior lighting. Install that nice exterior wall light that you'll be buying cheaper from Beacon Lighting after handover. Lighting retailers have regular markdown sales, Lifestyle National don't. Besides, they even have to put in a significant markup to the price.
- Thinking of putting up some outdoor Christmas lights or some garden lighting? Don't forget to specify exterior weatherproof powerpoints.
- You can never have enough powerpoints. Two doubles per room at the minimum. One double in a corner per wall will be just right.
- How many electrical kitchen appliances do you have on at any one time?
- Retain (be-friend) a sparky. You'll definitely need them after handover.
- And ...
If you're planning on having a ducted refrigerated air-conditioning system and you're building a double-storey home, you better tell your builder before you sign your preliminary contract. Yes. Before you sign your preliminary contract. Why? Apparently, that cavity between the ground and first floors need to be upgraded to fit bigger/wider ducts. Ducting required for refrigerated cooling is bigger than for heating. So, even if you've budgeted for ducted refrigerated cooling (not cheap), it could all be too late to specify this at the Electrical appointment.
Our Electrical Consultant from Lifestyle National was pretty good. Very helpful and very thorough. We thought we've planned enough before fronting up to our appointment, but there were still a few things we missed. Our appointment took between 3-4 hours. Imagine that. And what did we finally decided in the end ...
- 50+ downlights
- 10+ exterior junction boxes
- 15+ additional powerpoints
- 5+ double weatherproof powerpoints
- Additional 3 x light circuit + 4 x power circuit (for all the additional lights and powerpoints)
- Alarm system
- Clipsal Star Serve system (for TV, Phone and Data)
- Upgrade heating system from 3-stars to 4-stars
Following are our Electrical Plans:
|GROUND FLOOR ELECTRICAL PLAN|
Have we told you that we an under-stairs storage room? Yes. One of our variations was to put a door to what was once a wall covering that space under the stairs. I was hoping to make into a mini-cellar. After our Electrical appointment, that space under the stairs turned into a mini-Control Centre.
|FIRST FLOOR ELECTRICAL PLAN|
Pop Quiz: Where do you find the light switches to your ensuite?
Answer: According to our Electrical Consultant - outside the ensuite, just maybe, next to your bedside table.
Apparently our fault. We had the entrance (or opening) to our ensuite to have a double cavity sliding door. Rule of thumb: No power or light switches can be installed on the wall where there is a cavity sliding door. Hmmm, fair enough. We had it varied to have a wide single cavity sliding door, instead. And extend the wall on the water closet side. This "new" wall will hold the switches, inside the ensuite, and maybe have some space for a towel rack or hanging hooks. We have to convince M3tr1c0n that it's a "design flaw". In their original working drawings, there's no space to install any towel racks. Put a towel rack on the toilet door?
We're happy with the overall result (except for the additional price on our contract). Just before handover, we have to start looking for a number of exterior wall lighting, ceiling lighting fixtures for the bedrooms and Leisure room, and the pendant lights just above our kitchen island bench, and a few more, we're sure.
Following pictures are just some of our choices from our Lifestyle National Electrical appointment:
|Low-Voltage Compact Fluorescent Downlights. Cannot be dimmed, and more expensive than the regular low-voltage downlights. We're using these lights just for the niches.|
|Low-voltage downlights, in satin chrome.|
|Wall lights. We used these specifically for the stairs only. To light the stairs as you come up or down the stairs at night. Good if you have kids, and they don't look that shabby, too.|
|Bathroom heater. We got no heating in the bathroom, so we're having this installed. It does impact our 5-star energy rating to have these installed, unfortunately.|
|Our Alarm System. For peace of mind. We've been burgled once and it wasn't a nice experience to have.|
And the rest? Standard light fittings and fixtures. Will upgrade them after handover.