The Build continues – Roof tiles!

Brendan Iphone 012 The tilers got the upper roof on pretty quickly on 8/9 of October. We have selected monument fascia and gutters with Magnum tiles from Bristile.

Brendan Iphone 010

They came back last week and did most of the tiling for the alfresco roof and have more tiling to go on the roof able the garage. I’m not sure if they will finish off the lower roof before they do the brick work and outside boards.

We have our frame inspection booked for Monday coming (2/11/15) It was booked earlier but we have changed our site supervisor again, and had a bit of rain…so things have been a little delayed. The inspection is really for our peace of mind – if nothing else it let us know that the frames are straight!

The electricians and plumbers have been doing the rough in this week, so that should just about be all done by Today (Friday). There were certainly a few utes parked near the house this morning when I left. Being so close to the build its always a great start to the day when I leave to go to work and there are  builders already on site!

One thing we did pick up very late was the installation of a TV antenna! We hadn’t raised it during all the planning or electrical appointments (and neither had Clarendon or the electrical company) and it only occurred to me when i was looking at the roof and thinking about the electrical rough in that we didn’t have an antenna, despite the fact that we have multiple AV points through the house! Anyway, it was just a call to the electrical contractor and they gave us a quote to do it and now it will be all sorted before the house is finished!

The other big change this week was in regards to our alfresco tiles. Our CSC sent us our ‘variation’ for removing the alfresco floor tiles on Thursday. She did a great job in helping us sort out a bit of a dilemma – we wanted to have the same tiles in the alfresco run out around the pool. Unfortunatley the tiles we had selected for the alfresco wouldn’t have been suitable around the pool. Fortunately when I raised this with our CSC she arranged for us to be able to remove the alfresco tiles from the contract. This allows us to source suitable tiles after handover and have the one ‘look’ right out to the pool.

It also nice to see a negative number on a variation too!!

Today (Friday 30 October 2015)  the builders are putting our windows in and our CSC has advised that we will have bricks starting in the next two weeks!

Hopefully it keeps moving along as it has! It would be amazing if it was at lock up before the Christmas shutdown!

Site work

So let’s get this blog up to speed!

So much has happened! Our File went to construction on 27 August 2015

Earth works happened on 3 September 2015. This was a lovely surprise! We just came home (we live just down the road) and saw our levelled block.

We were a little concerned that they may have made the height of the block a bit to low, but once they levelled all the cut around the slab pad it was ok.

The Surveyor came back on 7 September.

Piering happened on 8 September

Piering
Piering

Drainage/plumbing was done by 10 September.

Drainage and plumbing

Slab frame was done on 11 September and we also had a pre-slab inspection by Craig Rynne Builders. He picked up a few things, which Clarendon sorted out and then it was good to go.

preslab

The slab was laid on 14 September 2015.  This made us finally realise we are building a very big house!

Brendan Iphone 004 Slab

Temporary Fence  arrived on the 15th of September

Temp fence

Frames started on 16 September! Happens so fasts once they get going!

Brendan Iphone 008

Down stairs frames were done by 22 September, or perhaps more accurately, the scaffold went up so that the carpenter’s could start the 2nd level.

Second story fames went up on the 25th and the next level of scaffolding when up as well so they could do the roof frames.

Roof frames/trusses were all done by 30 September 2015.

Brendan Iphone 009

Facia and gutters started going on 6 October 2015. We were originally going to have a light coloured facia but changed it to be monument and are very happy that we did.

All of this has happened very smoothly, especially given we had three site supervisors in this period.

Clarendon have also come to the party in regards to allowing us to remove our alfresco tiles from the contract so that we can have the same tiles on the alfresco run out to the pool. So this tiling will be done after handover.  Clarendon didn’t have to do this, so we are pretty happy with our CSC at the moment.

Roof tiles are the next things, they are almost done so I will put another post up shortly.

The Building process (pre-site work)

So I’ve been a bit slack in my blogging but this one will bring us up to speed to where we actually are up to (Slab laid on 14 September 2015!)

The building administrative process is not difficult but for us was frustrating. Don’t be put off by this, it is something you have to do but it certainly should not have been so frustrating but it was. We thought it was just us, but having read other blogs/forums and spoken to friends of ours that built, the admin part of the build is the worst part!

Anyway rather than moan about it, I’m going to try and put together some of the lessons we learnt along the way. And then I’ll whinge and moan! Ha

The number one thing is this – read and check everything! This applies for everything – tenders, quotes, plans, contracts, building agreements, variations! Don’t assume that your building company does it all the time and will get it right. Don’t assume that since you have discussed and confirmed in email a change/addition etc that it will actually be reflected in your contract/variation.

When you go from a tender to a contract, before you sign the contract make sure nothing that was included in your tender has ‘mysteriously’ not made it into the contract (e.g. recessed door tracks).

The second lesson we learnt was to make sure you have as much as possible included in your original tender before you sign the contract. The contract you sign should be as correct/final as you can make it. We made the mistake of signing our contract at the same time as signing a post contract variation (PCV) in the belief that it would speed the process along. It didn’t! We had to have multiple ‘drafts’ of the variation because Clarendon couldn’t seem to get what we actually wanted in the variation (took 4 weeks to get right). And on top of this, because the PCV actually reversed a previous change and resulted in changed plans we had the unfortunate experience of having the wrong plans submitted to our certifier for approval.  These ‘wrong’ plans got approved (had a smaller balcony), but when Clarendon admin finally recognised the mistake, we then had to go back to the certifier and to council for a relaxation that added 4 weeks to the process!

If we ever build again, I would go as far as to list the tiles, tap ware etc I wanted included rather than rely on an included range. I would make sure it is very specific. One experience we had was in regards to the inclusions. We opted for a ‘diamond’ range kitchen (as per the display home), however when it came to colour selections,  our colour consultant tried to tell us that the createc laminate wasn’t included in our contract as it only stated ‘a laminate’. If we hadn’t stuck to our guns regarding as per the diamond on display, we would have been charged another $2,500 on top of the upgrade costs of the diamond kitchen!

So my advice is, while you are dealing with the sales person, get everything you want included before signing a contract and make it very specific. In hindsight, it was crazy for us to sign a contract when we didn’t even have correct plans (I just wanted to get it started!). Make the salesman work before you pay the 5% deposit! There were times in the admin process that if we hadn’t paid the 5% we would have walked away from building with Clarendon.  Had we specified everything (well as much as possible) in the tender process we would have had less post contract variations and there would have been less (not none I’m sure) changes, errors and mistakes in the admin stage.

Third lesson learnt – if you’re not happy with the progress during the administration stage, escalate it to the area manager. We didn’t escalate our ‘file’ until late August after we got super frustrated that were weren’t going to meet out building commence start date that was in our contract (26 August 2015). We should have escalated our concerns way earlier than we did. We really should have raised our concerns right at the start when we had all our problems getting the first PCV right!  4 weeks was way too long, especially as we detailed everything in emails and at one stage even drafted a version of the PCV so that they could simply copy and paste (and they still got things wrong/chose to forget items!).

While I hate complaining, if nothing else the escalation would have brought our file to the attention of the area manager sooner and unfortunately the ‘squeaky wheel get the oil’!

Now the whinge…

As I’ve mentioned, the admin process in our build wasn’t much fun. The biggest frustrations arose from:

  • Errors/mistakes/exclusion in documenting the post contract variations. To us it felt like not enough effort/care was put in by Clarendon’s staff to get this right. The most frustrating part of it was that everything was written down, in a clear manner and we were available to discuss if need be and yet mistakes were consistently made!
  • Without knowing who was responsible for updating our PCV we can only assume that was our CSC’s job and this, as pointed out above, was poorly done.  Questions we asked weren’t answered, or were half answered with lead to more confusion. In our opinion, things we thought were simple were made complicated by the admin process. Requests for items that we knew existed and could be used were met with a flat answer of ‘no you can’t do that/they don’t make that’. Case in point was the front door.In our situation, dealing with the admin stage was almost enough for us to walk away from Clarendon. It was simply terrible and we have raised this Clarendon.
  • Customer service consultant and Colours consultant not knowing what was actually included in our contract and trying to ‘down’ sell us items (hopefully unknowingly by them) when we had higher quality/more expensive options already included in our contract. As I mentioned above, this could have resulted in us paying for createc laminate twice! There were other instances with door handles, cabinet handles, our timber stairs! And to add to the confusion, the booklet they sent us prior to the colour selections had different names for items in the showroom. In fact, just to add to the confusion, the names for the door handles in brochure were the same as the names for the door handles in the showroom, but the names were all mixed up – for example Door handle A in the booklet was called Door handle B in the showroom. So even after we had reiterated that the door handle we wanted was the door handle a we still aren’t confident that we will get the right handle!

Anyway, that’s enough whinging! We have finally finished the admin stage, so my next post will hopefully be a lot shorter, happier and with some pictures!!